Horniman Primary School

  • Horniman Drive
  • Forest Hill
  • London
  • SE23 3BP
  • Tel: 020 8699 3190
  • After School Club: 020 8699 8378
  • Email:
  • Headteacher: Mr Andrew Pickering
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Horniman School Curriculum


Curriculum Intent

The curriculum at Horniman School is designed to be engaging, broad and rich. It is a curriculum that evolves, based on the needs of our children and changes in the world around us. It takes into account the local context of the school, experiences and backgrounds of our children and provides them with relevant and memorable learning experiences to enable them to become rounded successful citizens. It supports and promotes the vision and values of our school.

Children leave Horniman Primary School, ready for Secondary School, equipped with the experiences, skills and knowledge they need to function as young people and adults in the 21st Century. They develop a sense of belonging and desire to contribute and influence their local and global communities.

The curriculum is inclusive and aims for all pupils to be challenged. It focuses on vocabulary development and experiences which increase children’s cultural capital to allow them to reach full potential

It fulfils the requirements of the National Curriculum through ambitious and challenging enquiry led learning, with clear progression and specific learning goals for every subject. It is deep, allowing children to return to and build upon previous learning, applying skills and knowledge to new challenges.

All curriculum leaders show understanding of key concepts related to curriculum design, ensuring there is clear skills and knowledge progression and sequencing allowing all members of the school community fully understand the rationale behind our curriculum.



Our curriculum at Horniman Primary school is carefully designed, organised and planned for depth of learning.

Our definition of progress is; the widening and deepening of essential knowledge, skills, understanding and learning behaviours.  We design, organise and plan our curriculum to ensure that children are not merely covering content but achieving a depth to their learning which enables them to use their skills and understanding in all areas of the curriculum. Our careful curriculum design and planning means that we build in many opportunities for repetition and practise. This ensures that children are able to revisit previous learning, which allows them to gradually develop a deeper understanding of the skills and processes within subjects, at their own pace and in the best possible way for each individual child. Our curriculum is designed to move the nature of children’s thinking to a higher order deep level of understanding rather than just acquiring new facts and knowledge.



At Horniman Primary school we carefully design, plan and implement a curriculum to provide balance for every pupil.

It is our underlying belief that every child should feel valued and experience the feeling of success in a wide range of curriculum areas. We believe that through the curriculum we can impact on what is in children’s head and how they feel about themselves, so that they feel clever, confident and ready to tackle any challenge they may face. We have designed, organised and planned our curriculum to ensure every child receives an appropriate mix of academic and personal development which means that in practice our curriculum places equal importance on core and foundation subjects. We place high priority on ensuring children’s physical and mental wellbeing are met. We understand that children will not be successful learners unless they are emotionally secure, therefore we carefully design our curriculum and adopt a flexible approach to timetabling to ensure that we can meet and respond to any issues which may arise. Children’s physical and mental wellbeing are as valued and important as academic development. We carefully monitor children’s progress with their personal development and our well planned and thoughtful approach to SMSC helps to ensure that every child is well cared for and supported. Our balanced approach to the curriculum is not at the expense of high standards in core subject areas. High standards and enabling children to reach national expectations and above is of vital importance if they are to succeed at the next stage of their education and go on to achieve full and happy lives and careers. Our full and rich curriculum, with its excellent range of experiences, ensures that every child at Horniman Primary School makes excellent progress both academically and personally. Our unique curriculum ensures that every child is given the opportunity to shine and flourish.




At Horniman Primary school we carefully design, plan and implement a curriculum which provides breadth for every pupil.

Careful analysis and discussion about our pupils’ backgrounds, life experiences and culture has helped us to design a curriculum with four key drivers underpinning every subject area. 

Our curriculum drivers are:

Creativity - we aim to provide experiences that allow the child's creativity to flourish and develop ways to creatively approach all areas of learning

Diversity - we aim to provide experiences that allow children to recognise and celebrate the diversity in our world, both on a local and global scale and understand it is their duty to challenge prejudice in all its forms

Enquiry - we aim to provide experiences where children can be curious and find out about the world around them, with teachers as facilitators of learning


Environment – we aim to provide experiences which help our children value their environment and understand their responsibilities towards sustaining their local and global environment.


These are our curriculum drivers and are evident in all that we do. The curriculum also reflects the schools location, as an urban London school, and the local community, as well as the interests and passions of the staff and children. 

We have designed and planned our curriculum to offer a range of experiences which contribute to every child receiving a full and rich curriculum.  These support and champion our culture and ensures that our children benefit from a full range of academic, spiritual, moral, social and cultural activities.  These activities enrich their lives and those of our whole school community and make them proud of their British values and diverse society to which belong and play an active part. We are proud that our curriculum gives our children the skills, confidence and self-belief to lead a happy and fulfilled life by encouraging them to aim high and work towards their goals and dreams in life.


The National Curriculum is used as a basis for designing Horniman School's curriculum to meet the needs of our children while at the same time offering a unique curriculum, with a clear progression of learning and specific learning goals for every subject. 

The National Curriculum can be viewed here.


Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural development, alongside Fundamental British Values are woven throughout our curriculum and embedded in all subjects.


For more information visit the subject pages from the curriculum drop down menu.



The Horniman School Curriculum is organised into immersive cross curricular topics. The topics vary in length, some lasting two or three weeks, while others may last the whole year and be revisited at different intervals.  This allows us to create exciting learning journeys and respond to the needs of the children.

There is also time and space for whole school topics (e.g. Book, Art, Science or Maths weeks), topics that reflect contemporary events (e.g. the Olympics or Royal Wedding etc.) and topics devised by the children or teachers’ personal interests.


Mathematics and Literacy are taught daily as discrete subjects that link to the topics, wherever possible, to allow a comprehensive coverage of skills and provide opportunities to apply what has been learnt in different contexts across the curriculum.



As well as designing a stimulating engaging curriculum we are committed to providing enrichment opportunities that enhance learning and contribute to the Horniman experience:


Forest school and outdoor learning 

Reception classes have weekly forest school sessions in our on site forest school and have regular visits to Sydenham Woods. Year 1 also have Forest school sessions every other week and older children use Forest School linked to their topics.

There is a forest School club after school for older children.

The outdoor learning environment is also used throughout the school and we encourage children to learn outdoors wherever possible using the amphitheatre, playground, pond and forest school areas.


All classes from Year 2 to Year 6 have a half term of weekly Philosophy sessions led by Peter Worsley, an internationally renowned educator in this field. Peter works with teachers to link his input to the curriculum being covered at that time and teacher use enquiry based methods across the curriculum.  

The Arts

Horniman School is committed to the arts and employs specialist teachers to teach art and music.



All classes have weekly music sessions with the music teacher in which they learn to play a variety of percussion instruments, compose pieces of music, learn songs and appreciate a wide variety of music from different cultures.

All children in Key Stage 2 learn an instrument (currently recorders) taught by a music specialist and we encourage children to learn an additional instrument through our peripatetic teachers from Lewisham Music Services. Children currently learn guitar, violin, clarinet and flute and have the opportunity to perform regularly in assemblies.

There is also a school choir who meet weekly and perform in a variety of settings, including school fairs, old people’s homes and at The Southbank Centre.

We showcase the music at Horniman through assemblies and performances throughout the year.

We have an autumn assembly, Christmas songs outdoors, a spring assembly at the Horniman Museum and a Christmas Nativity and End of Year production.



As well as art being taught by class teachers, we have a specialist art teacher who teaches art skills and techniques in drawing, painting and sculpture, as well as undertaking projects in a variety of media to be displayed around the school.

There are also a wide variety of art clubs after school which children can attend.



All children are taught dance during their PE lessons and other dances liked to their topics.

We have a dance week in the summer term. 

Last year a whole school carnival was planned with Samba drumming and dancing and in previous years all classes learnt a number of folk dances, such as maypole and Morris dances, led by dance specialists and performed them in the Horniman Gardens.

We also have ballet and street dance clubs who have the opportunity to perform in assemblies.



Drama is often used throughout the curriculum through activities such as freeze frame, hot seating, story squares and conscience alley. 

In addition Year 2 and Year 6 perform a play with the other year groups making up the choir. Children are involved in making props and costumes. In recent years Year 6 have performed Bugsy Malone, Alice in Wonderland and Shakespeare Rocks! Year 2 have performed Whoops-a-Daisy Angel and Strictly the Nativity.

All classes perform a class assembly in the Spring term, based on their current topic to which parents/carers are invited. These include presenting drama, songs, animations, films and other work from their current learning.  

We also regularly invited drama groups to perform at school and organise visits to theatres. 


We believe in providing high quality sports and fitness provision to help our children live a healthy lifestyle.

Physical Education is taught by a specialist sports coach as well as by class teachers.

All classes have twice weekly PE lessons. Children in reception have daily 5-a-day aerobic sessions.

Click here for more information about 5-a-day fitness

The school also competes in a variety of sports competitions, such as football, cricket, multisports, tag rugby and athletics.

We hold an annual sports day at JAGs school playing fields.

There are after school enrichment clubs in tennis, karate, ballet, football, cricket, multisports, and street dance.

For more information about sports provision and how we spend the Sports premium grant click here 

Horniman Primary School is committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and young people and expects all staff and volunteers to share this commitment.