The Fen Rivers Curriculum Plan

Our mission is to enable young people to progress and succeed in sustained education. To do this, we intend to give young people a broad and rich curriculum that gives them both the academic skills and qualifications needed to move successfully to the next stage of their lives, and the personal development skills to ensure a fulfilling future. We have set a curriculum in line with the national curriculum alongside a school structure which supports our young people to overcome their barriers to learning ensuring our young people have bright futures both in their personal and professional lives.

Overarching Aim:

For students to leave with the skills and knowledge to successfully be positive contributors to society
For students to leave being fluent readers
Curriculum Knowledge and Skills Intentions
  • To equip students with key knowledge and skills as determined by the National Curriculum for their age (chronological or working at age)
  • Individual Class Learning Journeys have been created to show the pathway through the academic year and prepare pupils for ‘learning’ that is to come
  • All staff to teach Sounds, Write Phonics and Early Reading across the academy, including DEAR (Drop Everything And Read) daily, promoting reading for pleasure
  • A bespoke Maths curriculum and an English curriculum which supports our our writing strategy and whole-school reading priority
  • An immersive thematic focus in Primary classroom environments, supporting humanities lessons and extended writing lessons
  • PSHE lessons and Votes for Schools delivered to build understanding of self and the young person’s place in the world. Votes for Schools give young people a voice about current affairs.
  • A bespoke therapeutic approach to delivering PDBA in our afternoons, building on executive function skills, promoting pro social skills and reducing blocks to learning.
  • Science, Food tech, PE, Art, CIAG (KS3), RE, Computing, Forest School (KS 1 and 2) add to our broad curriculum and allows pupils to express themselves creatively and acquire new knowledge of the world around them.
  • Key stage 1 pupils will do the Phonics Check and Key Stage One SATS and Key Stage 2 students will have the opportunity to sit SATS and the Times Tables check
  • The curriculum ensures all students leave with knowledge of essential first aid.
  • Our curriculum is ambitious and includes exposure to a variety of new experiences by working towards the DfE Activity Passport of experiences (associated with Life Skills)
  • Interventions are used to support pupils to ‘catch up’ and develop their academic and personal skills
  • There is a devoted daily reflection time where 3Ps (points awarded for People, Place and Purpose) during the day are shared and discussed 1:1 and subsequently communicated to parents.
Curriculum Flexibility Intentions
  • Provide a flexible and therapeutic approach to delivering the national curriculum, and one that aims to connect with children where they are at. We Protect-Relate-Regulate-Reflect with students and begin to bridge their academic gaps, where these exist. Emotional Literacy support and external agencies support the common mission statement of the academy
  • Use Motional assessment to identify areas of personal development that need support, and inform staff of the strategies and responses that lend themselves to effective connection.
  • Provide opportunities and experiences for students’ personal development and support them with personal aspirations.
Cultural Capital Intentions
  • A full programme of PSHE incorporating relationships education to support students in learning how to keep themselves safe, and to develop personal values and respect for others.
  • A fully embedded approach to SMSC, alongside personal development, RE, citizenship and British values
  • Votes for Schools giving discussion and insight on topical issues of the day
  • Through the ambitious curriculum, and extra experiences and support offered, our students are supported to be successful.

Learning Journeys

Our Approach to Personal Development Through Curriculum

Our Approach

Phonics and Reading

At The Fen Rivers Academy our approach to phonics and early reading follows the Sounds Write Linguistic Phonics approach to learning. 

This approach begins with the sounds that we hear in the language and moves from the sounds into the written word, with both the sounds and the spelling being taught alongside each other in each lesson. This approach works well alongside our approach to teaching writing starting with a talk based approach, Talk for Writing.  See further information here

Fen Rivers Reading Strategy

Rights of a reader


At Fen Rivers we use Talk for Writing as our writing framework to develop creativity, essential writing skills and to support bridging gaps that our students may have when they arrive.

Talk for Writing is an engaging teaching framework developed by Pie Corbett, supported by Julia Strong. It is powerful because it is based on the principles of how children learn. It enables children to imitate the language they need for a particular topic orally, before reading and analysing it, and then writing their own version. Staff frequently review barriers to writing for each student, alongside the SENCO and specific EHCPs (see example below).

English Long-term Planning KS3

English Long-term Planning KS2

Rights of a Writer

Fen Rivers Reading-Writing Strategy

Every Interaction a Conscious Intervention

Our ‘Universal Offer’ embeds a therapeutic delivery of the national curriculum, informed by a collective understanding of our children’s needs and rights. This is underpinned by SEMH assessment; continuous 3Ps reflections; behaviour support plans and risk assessments, as well as an understanding of trauma informed practice and normalisation of talk around everybody’s mental health and wellbeing. 

Through our accumulated data and feedback, we have carefully created a curriculum whereby personal development is a priority for our students. Personal development, behaviour and attitudes makes up our afternoon provision at Fen Rivers Academy. Through regular SEMH assessments we are able to plan our teaching and delivery to meet individuals’ needs and embed this understanding in how we interact with the children all through their school day. This makes us unique.

What will you see:

  • Pro Social learning interventions 
  • Blocks to learning (strategies and exercises to remove rage, fear, panic, grief) 
  • Executive functions increasing (handling stress, thinking & concentration, self-esteem, emotional literacy)
  • PSHE (statutory) taught, developing knowledge and challenging tolerances
  • British Values taught and Rights Respecting articles discussed
  • Relationships and Sex Education delivery in a safe and positive space
  • PE delivered to promote physical, mental and social well-being and active lifestyles
  • ‘Vote for Schools’ giving students a safe forum to debate, question and share opinions
  • DEAR (Drop Everything And Read) daily straight after lunch, to support children’s self-esteem and confidence in accessing reading
Curriculum Core Offer and Therapeutic Considerations

Therapy sessions are also available, based on needs of the students such as play therapy, arts based therapies, sensory therapies, including sensory circuits, rebound therapy and Lego therapy. Access to therapeutic counselling is also according to need and via referral. Biophilia (use of the outdoors and green spaces to facilitate wellbeing and improve mental health) is also offered through our Forest Schools Programme and development of a sensory garden).