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Our thematic curriculum


At Dunbury Academy we believe that children learn best when they are motivated, happy and inspired so we offer an exciting and enriching curriculum which is carefully planned to meet the needs of every individual. If you would like to find out more about the curriculum we follow you can click on the links below. Please do visit our achievement page for a sense of how we bring the curriculum subjects to life.


Our curriculum fulfils the requirements of the Early Years Foundation Stage and the 2014 National Curriculum but we use these documents to help structure a much wider set of rich and exciting learning experiences.


The Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum covers seven areas of learning:

  • Personal, Social and Emotional Development; Physical Development and Communication and Language (the "prime" areas);
  • Literacy; Mathematics; Understanding the World; Expressive Arts and Design (the "specific" areas).


Children in our Reception Year learn through exploration, discovery and play, in a rich learning environment, guided and ignited by high-quality teaching and assessment.


The 2014 National Curriculum comprises:

  • English; Mathematics; Science (the "core" subjects);
  • Art and Design; Computing; Design and Technology; Geography; History; Music; Languages; Physical Education; Personal, Social, Health and Economic Education (PSHE); Religious Education (the "foundation" subjects).


Deeper learning, higher flying

We are passionate about growing lifelong learners so we teach our pupils to be both aspirational and reflective. We have adopted an approach to exploring depth of learning called the "SOLO Taxonomy". For a simple explanation, watch this video.

We have developed our own system which is as follows:

"Never heard of it" (prestructural understanding - the concept is unknown)

"Heard of it" (unistructural understanding - the concept is known but knowledge is very limited)

"Getting there..." (multistructural understanding - knowing a few things about the concept)

"Got it" (relational understanding - able to apply knowledge of the concept to solve problems)

"Owned it!" (extended abstract understanding - able to use the concept to create something new, to link it to the "big picture"...)

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Reading and phonics

Reading is highly valued at Dunbury. For home reading books, we use the Oxford Reading Tree and supplement these staged books with other titles, including from Rigby Star and Project X. Early on, the acquisition of phonics is prioritised and the books children take home to read support their current phonics learning. As their fluency increases the range of home reading books widens. Reading comprehension becomes the emphasis as children become more fluent.

We follow the progression of learning set out in Letters and Sounds and supplement this using resources from Read Write Inc and Jolly Phonics

In Key Stage Two, children read together several whole high-quality books each year. These are used for the teaching of reading comprehension skills and also read for enjoyment. There is an opportunity to purchase the books at a discount price after they have read them, so that children can have their very own copy to re-read and love all over again should they wish to.



Currently children from Y1 to Y6 learn Japanese as a foreign language, taught by Mr Barker and supported by Mrs Barker (a Japanese national). The emphasis is on developing positive attitudes to learning about different cultures, through everyday communication, storytelling and fun. We hope it will be a great starting point for learning languages and exploring the world in the future!


Our approach to the curriculum is thematic, linking subjects together wherever possible within the context of the chosen topics. Links are made and encouraged across the curriculum, including meaningful opportunities to write and apply mathematics.


Our teachers plan carefully to produce exciting, relevant and differentiated activities which ensure that all children are able to access the curriculum and achieve high standards.

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Music tuition

We are fortunate to have very well-resourced music provision at Dunbury. In addition to this core curriculum, in Years Three and Four children embark on a programme of study with Dorset Music Service, studying an instrument which might be anything from the flute to the violin, from samba drums to trombones. 

Children at Dunbury are offered the opportunity to learn to play an instrument through peripatetic tuition provided by the Dorset Music Service. If your child is interested in starting music lessons then please enquire for more details at the school office. Here is a link to the Dorset Music Service website where you can find information on instrument hire, funding opportunities, playing opportunities and much more:


Please note, if you are in receipt of certain benefits or your child is eligible for free school meals, we will fully fund music tuition as part of our Pupil Premium strategy. Please speak to the office for details.