High Peak Federation

Teaching and Learning

We have developed our RESPECT curriculum, alongside introducing our new ESSENTIALS curriculum for implementation in September 2021. We have worked closely with curriculum experts to develop:

  • progressive learning - ensuring the children's learning more clearly builds on what has been covered previously and prepares them for what comes next
  • learning that becomes embedded in long-term memory - by revisiting learning at more regular intervals and by building on what has been learnt before
  • depth of knowledge - by focussing on 'big ideas' when we visit curriculum areas will develop a stronger understanding within each subject
  • vocabulary - extending key vocabulary helps the children to have the language required to describe and explain their understanding

Our Essentials Curriculum is sequenced so that learning is developed year-on-year and within each year too. You can access this through the class pages for each school. 

See KEY INFORMATION - CURRICULUM for details for all curriculum subjects.

Three elements make up the Essentials Curriculum:

Threshold concepts

Threshold concepts are the ‘big ideas’ that shape students’ thinking within each subject. The same threshold concepts will be   explored in every year group and students will gradually increase their understanding of them. An important principle, therefore, is that exploring concepts will never be complete; students will continue to explore them for as long as they continue to study the subject. Each subject begins with an overview of the essential characteristics students should develop and these form the basis for the threshold concepts.

An example of one of the threshold concepts in history is “evidence tells us about the past”. This, of course, cannot be taught in isolation: it would be abstract and meaningless to students. The concept must be explored within a breadth of different contexts so that it has tangibility and meaning.

Breadth of contexts

Breadth provides the contexts for exploring the threshold concepts. It has two roles:

1) Knowledge*. Concepts need knowledge to make sense. Contexts give students subject specific knowledge with which to think about the concepts. For example, students will use the context of the Great Fire of London to explore the concept ‘evidence tells us about the past’. They will be shown extracts of Samuel Pepys diary and will explore how an historical account gives us the knowledge of the cause and spread of the fire. The more knowledge students have, the better their understanding of the concepts becomes. Another benefit of knowledge is that it helps pupils reading comprehension. A student with a greater knowledge of the world will infer more from a text than one with little knowledge, no matter how good his or her decoding skills may be.

* by knowledge we mean procedures (skills) and meaningful facts. Knowledge does not mean simply remembering unconnected lists of facts.

2) Transference. Whilst it is only possible to explore a concept within a context, this also causes a problem for students: their understanding is context bound. They find it very difficult to transfer the concept to another situation. By providing a breadth of contexts, students begin to transfer the concepts. They do this by comparing the new context knowledge to previously learned knowledge, the bridge being the concept. For example, if students explore the concept ‘evidence tells us about the past’ through the context of The Great Fire of London they learn that a vital piece of evidence is that Samuel Pepys kept a diary. They then later explore the same concept in the context of The Ancient Egyptians, in which they learn that the Rosetta Stone gives us evidence of the meaning of hieroglyphics.
Each subject has a suggested breadth of study which exceeds the requirements of the English National Curriculum. it is also recommended that schools consider additional breadth of study so that students develop cultural capital. (The essential knowledge that pupils need to be educated citizens, introducing them to the best that has been thought and said and helping to engender an appreciation of human and creative achievement.)
Milestones for progress
Because the threshold concepts are repeated in each year group it is important that students progress in their understanding of them. The Essentials Curriculum sets out this progression in the form of three ‘Milestones’. Each Milestone contains a range of descriptors which give more detail to be discovered within the concept. Over a two year period students will become more and more familiar with these details by exploring them in a breadth of contexts. These descriptors are not exhaustive and should only be used as a guide for teachers. They should not be ‘ticked off’ as each one is covered: they should be repeated in as many different contexts as possible. 



From September 2019 we launched our RESPECT curriculum.

This curriculum not only covers the broad content of the national curriculum, but also prepares our children for life beyond school. The RESPECT curriculum focuses on the character traits and life skills that a young person will need to draw upon as they go through life. We are confident our RESPECT curriculum will enthuse and engage our children.
Lessons have been transformed into Missions. Resilience is key and is taught to our children across all year groups. Strategies to self-regulate are taught in the face of adversity and mistakes are taught to be lessons, rather than disappointments.

A feature of the children's learning is the development of RESPECT values. This could be working in teams and using their creativity and problem-solving skills to complete challenges, putting their character to the ultimate test. 

There is a constant link to the following behaviour values -










The children have a big say in their learning. Their ideas are included in our Topic plans and help us to teach both knowledge and skills across many curriculum areas such as History, Art and Design and Computing.


English and Mathematics are taught daily, sometimes in discrete lessons, but often using the topic theme as a stimulus for work in these subjects too. Children receive high quality PHONICS teaching. We use Essentials Letters and Sounds - a validated scheme that supports children well with  their phonics learning and reading development. We have also introduced the Accelerated Reader Programme  to support children through school with their Reading and comprehension.


We are continually improving our Curriculum delivery and are committed to offering the children a rich and broad learning experience. We have weekly whole class instrument lessons, visits to Forest school and specialist PE coaching too. We also invest time in developing the children's confidence, support and respect for one another and their leadership skills too. We are developing our IT curriculum, have engaged with Artsmark and introduced Character Education too. We are also developing learning opportunities that are more purposeful and linked to 'real-world' outcomes. 


We are required to actively promote the fundamental British values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs. We also explore how well Britain supports vulnerable members of our society. We have always endeavored to promote these important areas. We regularly debate and discuss school issues with the children and have our even School Council as well as children involved with the High Peak Kids Council. We have agreed school rules linked to rewards and sanctions developed with the children and have a weekly Newsround Assembly which covers current important British and World issues. We also have a themed R.E. and British Values week during the Summer Term where the whole school collectively look at different faiths and beliefs and the values that are a key part of living in Britain.


A key element to enhancing the Curriculum delivery is our involvement with the wider community. We get involved every week with learning beyond our school, have regular visitors, enjoy school trips to different towns and cities, get involved with supporting those more needy than ourselves and try hard to develop those important 'life skills' needed for adult life. Each year we engage with a STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Maths) project and are increasingly becoming more involved with activities that lead to environmental improvement.


We teach all of the above to include the required National Curriculum objectives. Follow the links below for more detailed plans:

Early Years Curriculum
Key Stage 1&2 Curriculum Plan (except English)
Key Stage 1&2 Curriculum Plan English