“Memory is the residue of thought”

Daniel Willingham

At St Michael at Bowes, we have constructed a rigorous, knowledge-rich curriculum that reflects the wonderful diversity of our community and the opportunities offered to us by the area we live in. Topics are organised in the best way to allow pupils to build on their previous learning, make progress and thrive in their study of the subject.   Children build on firm foundations by studying topics that are designed around a logical set of ideas that build on each other or follow a sequence. Each topic reinforces prior learning and widens as children move through the school, revisiting concepts in greater depth. We want our pupils to lead successful lives.That is why we strive every day to ensure that every child receives a holistic education that encompasses the principles of:

Life Long Learning:

Our inclusive curriculum is based on the belief that every child should be provided with an equal opportunity to take ownership of and become masters of their own learning. To help our children lead successful lives, weaim to understand the experiences of our pupils and to provide a curriculum that enhances pupils’ cultural capital and endeavours to overcome any barriers that they may face.

We want children to use their learning as inspiration for their own creative journeys; for them to enjoy their learning, develop enquiring minds, gain essential knowledge and develop the personal qualities they need to be good citizens of the world. By introducing children to the best that has been thought and said across the world and through history, they will develop a strong sense of self and begin to form their own great thoughts and deeds.

Teachers strive to provide engaging, relevant and exciting learning opportunities in all subjects.

Mathematics teaching, for instance, follows a mastery approach where children develop a deeper understanding of mathematical concepts before moving on to new content. Through carefully planned lessons, we teach children how to make sense of the world around them through developing their ability to calculate, reason, solve problems and ask thought provoking questions. This enables children to understand relationships and patterns in both number and space in their everyday lives. Through their growing knowledge and understanding, children learn to appreciate the contribution made by many cultures to the development and application of mathematics.

Linguistically Focussed:

At SMAB, we strive to give our children the best start in life by establishing secure foundations in reading. Reading is at the heart of our curriculum and we believe that it is a fundamental life skill that impacts on the acquisition of all knowledge.  Our aim is to ensure that children learn to read fluently and for pleasure, regardless of their background. We want every child to be passionate about reading, be hungry to read broadly and often, and have the desire to want to learn to read for themselves with a view to becoming lifelong readers. With this in mind, we aim to inspire a true love of reading, whereby our children are enthusiastic, fluent and motivated readers who feel confident about talking about books and authors. Teachers model this love of reading by choosing challenging and engaging books which are read daily in “The Big Read”. The teaching of reading is delivered through our school’s reading cycle using the ‘MIDAS’ strategies. Our whole class reading texts are mapped progressively and link to the wider curriculum.

Our whole school approach to writing is delivered through writing cycles that are primarily linked to the History and Geography topics that are being studied at the time. Other writing cycles are linked to stories from the ‘Big Read’, community events and the current wider world. Great emphasis is placed on the importance of developing vocabulary. Drama and oracy are integral to lesson planning to develop speaking and listening skills. The lesson sequence incorporates short writing tasks and activities that build to a longer, sustained piece of writing.

Social Justice and Social Mobility

As a school, we teach what children need to make sense of and improve the world. It is our belief that children need powerful knowledge to understand and interpret the world. Without this knowledge, they will become dependent on those who have it. This knowledge opens doors and liberates children from their daily experience and enables social mobility. It is only fair and just that all children should have access to this knowledge. Through our teaching, we explicitly promote equality and diversity and it is our hope that children see themselves and each other throughout the curriculum.  Our goal is for children to grow into useful citizens with an understanding of the common good who will shape the world together. Most of all, we want children to develop all the skills they will need in order to confidently flourish in the world.

Character Building:

In our foundation subjects, we focus on a holistic combination of academic, personal and global learning, that develops an appreciation of human creativity and development. Children will have a strong grounding in their own nationality, faith and culture, at the same time developing a deep and profound understanding and respect for the nationalities, faiths and cultures of others. The best way to achieve this is by delivering a diverse curriculum with an emphasis on ordering, interrogating, preparing and connecting knowledge. The curriculum is supported by the school’s core values of respect, resilience, caring, co-operation, honesty and fairness which are explored through the curriculum and during collective worship.

Your interest in your child’s education is greatly valued and we will ensure that you are kept well informed about the work done in school. Newsletters are sent home weekly and at the beginning of each term, class teachers send an outline of the work they intend to cover during the term. Please make sure that you check your child’s bag for this information! A copy of the newsletters is always posted on the playground notice board and in the main entrance by the school office. You will also receive updates regarding the work done in class on ClassDojo.

Please click below for our curriculum map for 2022 – 2023. This map is evaluated and adapted every academic year to reflect the changing nature of the school and our community.

Please also click below to see our progression of skills documents for the foundation subjects (Art, Computing, Design Technology, Geography, History and Music)

Curriculum Map 2023-2024 Whole School

Foundation Subjects

Art  – Progression Skills  / Curriculum Map / Intent

Computing – Progression Skills / Curriculum Map / Intent

Design & Technology – Progression Skills / Curriculum Map / Intent

French – Progression Skills / Curriculum Map / Intent

Geography – Progression Skills / Curriculum Map / Intent

History – Progression Skills / Curriculum Map / Intent

Maths – Progression Skills / Curriculum Map / Intent

Music – Progression Skills / Curriculum Map / Intent

PE – Progression Skills / Curriculum Map / Intent

PSHE – Progression Skills / Curriculum Map / Intent

RE – Progression Skills / Curriculum Map / Intent

Reading – Progression Skills / Curriculum Map / Intent

Science – Progression Skills / Curriculum Map / Intent

Writing – Progression Skills / Curriculum Map / Intent



In this school Christianity forms the core of what we uphold and teach, and believe it to be evident in the ethos of the school. At the same time, however, we acknowledge and value the multi-faith nature of our community and society. St. Michael at Bowes aims to give its pupils an understanding of the Christian way of life. The school maintains close links with the parish church of St. Michael at Bowes and St Cuthbert’s. Our pupils participate in services there for some of the major Christian festivals, or on special occasions throughout the year.

For a breakdown of individual year groups’ curriculum map, please click this link /for the intent  click this link 

Relationship and Sex Education

All relationship and sex education is taught in the context of Christianity and is introduced through Health Education as part of the Science ad PSHE curriculum. Some elements of the curriculum are taught separately within each term group. Parents are advised that they have the right to withdraw their child from all or part of the Relationship and sex education offered outside of the Science and PSHE curriculum. Please discuss this with the headteacher in advance.


We pride ourselves on being an inclusive, accessible school where equality of opportunities goes hand in hand with a broad and balanced curriculum to develop each child’s potential. Our teachers are adept in recognising and planning for our more able children. Our Inclusion manager regularly supports and monitors the progress of those children who require extra help, whether it is academic or pastoral. We receive guidance and support from various external agencies, including the Borough’s Educational Psychologist. We have established close links with our partnership primary schools and feeder secondary schools, in order to ensure greater continuity in children’s education.


Assessment is a continuous process, which is integral to all our teaching. We assess children in order to ascertain what they have learnt, so that we can plan the next stages of their development. Much of the assessment is based on the teacher’s professional judgement of the child’s achievements, backed up by evidence from the child’s work.

Your child will also participate in the following formalised assessments: The government  has introduced changes to assessment arrangement. We are in the process of reviewing the school’s assessment procedures and gradually bringing in the necessary changes. We will continue to inform you of your child’s progress throughout the year.

  • Baseline assessment at the start of Year 3
  • Standard Assessment Tests in Year 6 to assess their progress at the end of Key Stage 2
  • Optional SATs in Years 3, 4 and 5 are used to inform teaching assessment and allow us to anticipate additional support for the coming year
  • In addition, further detailed assessments are made for children with special needs

Click here to view our assessment statement.


For further information on the National Curriculum please click on the below:

Department for Education National Curriculum