Our INSPIRE Curriculum


The INSPIRE Curriculum Statement

At Katherine Semar we want every child to reach their full potential.

To ensure everyone achieves the very best they can in every area of the curriculum, we have developed the INSPIRE curriculum, which is based on the National Curriculum, educational research and the needs of our school community. It encompasses our school values, curriculum aims, subject disciplines and enrichment as well as promoting language development and knowledge retention.                      

We believe our curriculum is relevant to our children and as a result our children make outstanding progress across the curriculum.

School Values

Our INSPIRE curriculum cannot be separated from our school’s core values: be kind, be confident, be curious, be positive, be respectful and be resilient.  These permeate all aspects of school life and underpin our curriculum.  Although these are directly taught within our curriculum they are also ‘lived’ throughout our school and effectively create the culture that allows our curriculum to be successful. 

Curriculum Aims

Alongside our school values we have a set of aims for our school curriculum.  These are the golden threads that underpin and link our children’s curriculum experiences together.  We want children to: question; challenge themselves and each other; investigate the world around them; experience the world first hand; communicate effectively; and seek to develop their understanding of themselves, each other and the world around them.   These aims were developed by and for the school community; parents, teachers, staff and governors collaborated to create our INSPIRE curriculum aims.

As you know at Katherine Semar, we are very fortunate to have Mrs Cass (our very talented music teacher) who has written our own Katherine Semar song. Listen to our junior children singing the song this week which reminds them about our INSPIRE curriculum aims and our core values https://youtu.be/CxNr_892jSc                                                                                                                       

Subject Disciplines

At Katherine Semar, the direct teaching of knowledge and skills is organised into subject disciplines and our aspirational INSPIRE progressions set out the precise knowledge (declarative knowledge) and skills (procedural knowledge) which should be taught in each subject in each year group.  They ensure effective progression across the school as children embed and build upon previous learning. 

The INSPIRE progressions have been developed by subject and year group specialists who worked collaboratively with curriculum leaders to combine: the expectations of the National Curriculum; published research into effective teaching and learning in each discipline; the expertise and experience of our knowledgeable staff and an understanding of our school community.  We believe all children are entitled to appropriate challenge within the curriculum and this is embedded within our skills progressions.   The bold statements within our curriculum demonstrate where the expectation of our curriculum goes beyond those of the National Curriculum. 

We also believe that the real world is more complex than individual subject disciplines and that children need to understand the connections and dependencies of their learning.  To do this, we make meaningful and purposeful links between different subjects where it supports children’s development. 


To achieve our curriculum aims, we deliver a curriculum which is rich in first-hand experiences and children across the school:

  • Begin each topic with a launch event designed to spark children’s interest and engagement and act as a knowledge harvest to allow teachers to ensure planning meets the needs of all pupils.
  • Go out on a school trip, at least three times a year which deeply links and supports their learning in the classroom. 
  • Visit a forest throughout their time in school and engage in genuine outdoor learning experiences
  • Carry out regular Philosophy 4 Children enquiries
  • Attend daily assemblies carefully planned to expand our school curriculum
  • Have opportunities to explore new skills, experiences and talents in a broad range of clubs and squads
  • Have a say in the shaping of the school through pupil voice and ambassador roles.


Without language and communication, learning is impossible.   Language development is central to the INSPIRE curriculum; it is a text-rich, language-rich, word-rich curriculum

The school has a literature spine which has been designed to ensure all children enjoy and learn from the highest quality texts, including poetry. They are the books we believe no child should leave primary school without experiencing.  They drive our English curriculum, enhance our wider curriculum and fuel our children’s love of reading. 

We directly teach children to use language and oracy plays a central role in our curriculum.  Philosophy for Children is a key tool in developing children’s dialogic skills; teaching children to articulate their thinking and understanding,

Children need to understand how to speak and listen effectively but they also need the vocabulary to articulate what they want to say.  To support this, our curriculum is word rich and subject vocabulary spines ensure new language is directly taught in all areas of the curriculum.

Retaining Knowledge

The INSPIRE curriculum is carefully sequenced to build children’s knowledge as they both explore new learning and revisit key themes over time.  To ensure learning is retained in the long-term memory, lessons include planned opportunities for retrieval practice.  Knowledge organisers are also used to collate the core knowledge taught in units of work and support retrieval practise.


Our teaching of phonics is focused on empowering children as young readers and writers and thus phonics teaching and learning should be a highly positive and successful process for all.  To achieve this we use a systematic, synthetic phonics programme ​which meets the DfE validation requirements. A clear progression details when sounds are taught and all children in EY and KS1 have a discrete daily lesson, led by an expert teacher. Each lesson follows a four- part structure and the same procedures and mnemonics for teaching new sounds and words. Children are assessed each half term and bespoke interventions are implemented for those children needing further support. 

Importantly, phonics is also embedded in our wider curriculum in both guided and independent learning opportunities.


We have created a broad and rich language curriculum that immerses children in a world of books and reading, develops a broad range of comprehension strategies and develops fluent decoding of text.

Our reading books are carefully organised to support children in quickly acquiring fluent, independent decoding skills. This begins with children reading phonetically decodable texts matched closely to our phonics programme.

Children read these books in school as part of our partnered reading programme and have access to the text at home in the form of an  e-book. 

In addition, children take home individual reading books which have been carefully ordered to ensure they link to the sequence of learning in our phonics programme.

Once the children are secure with phonics, we gradually introduce more complex and irregular word structures and sentences which require a broader range of reading knowledge and skills.

E Readers – www.activelearnprimary.co.uk

Pupils at Katherine Semar Schools have their own username and password to access books online via the active learn platform.  Children are allocated appropriate books and complete online challenges to earn rewards.

An Evolving Curriculum

The INSPIRE curriculum retains its central principles and core knowledge but also evolves alongside our school community, research and national developments.  The curriculum is central to the school’s monitoring and evaluation schedule and all stakeholders are engaged in regular evaluation and review because we believe “our curriculum should whisper to our children ‘you belong. You did not come from nowhere. You are one of us. All this came before you, and one day you too might add to it.’ (Ben Newmark)