St Nicolas CE Primary School, Abingdon

Navigate - Inspire - Challenge - Succeed

Curriculum Overview

A curriculum for children to Navigate, Inspire, Challenge and Succeed


At St Nicolas, our mission is to serve the local community, families of all faiths and those with no faith at all, by providing a broad and deep outstanding education, rooted in Christian values, where we journey together and live life to the full.  our 'NICS' acronym of Navigate, Inspire, Challenge and Succeed encompasses everything that impacts on the learning and opportunities for all stakeholders within our community.


Our St Nicolas Curriculum intent


We aim to cultivate positive learning behaviours and foster a genuine love of learning through well-structured projects taught in engaging and creative ways.  Our curriculum is connected, coherent and cumulative, ensuring all children learn more, know more and remember more.  At St Nicolas, reading is at the heart of the learning with a text-rich curriculum that enhances learning, supports communication skills and makes links with their learning to build knowledge.  We develop pupils to learn about the journey of people both past and present that support and encourage the navigation of their own future.



Our children are encouraged to think deeply, to develop curiosity and think critically about the world around them.  Nurturing their curiosity allows them to become independent learners.  At St Nicolas, we aim for this inquisitiveness to be throughout the school: from awe and wonder in early childhood to creating the 'thinkers and doers' of the future.  Pupils and staff alike are inspired by each other, building reciprocal relationships within our school community.



Children are actively encouraged to embrace challenge within the curriculum and recognise its importance in ensuring successful outcomes or progression of knowledge.  All stakeholders understand the need to be resilient in order to overcome challenge and solve problems without giving up.  The school curriculum encourages every child to develop independence that empowers them to act and be more responsible for their own learning.  Children recognise that challenge plays a huge part in both their social and academic successes.  They also appreciate challenge within their everyday lives as well as their individual learning goals and aspirations.



Children are given extensive opportunities to feel success and celebrate success as they continue to build on their knowledge of themselves and the world around them.  Our curriculum enables all stakeholders to acknowledge successful outcomes and understand the relationship between 'success' and 'what next?' in order to drive continuous improvement and build on prior outcomes within their learning. 



Language acquisition surrounds our curriculum at St Nicolas.  Our children need the vocabulary to be able to express themselves clearly, confidently and with consideration for others.  Communication is the key to 'articulating ideas, developing understanding and engaging with others'.  It encompasses both learning to talk, and is the vehicle for learning through talk.  Vocabulary teaching supports children to develop a wealth of cultural knowledge; it provides a gateway to access the knowledge of the curriculum; and is a tool to use when talents are emerging and skills are advancing in our challenging curriculum.  Language enables children to become confident communicators who are equipped to succeed both now and in the future.



Monthly values at St Nicolas are developed and explored in a variety of ways which include both weekly whole school and class assemblies.  These are supported by our bespoke assembly programme of study that introduces each value through a key story in the bible where we can reflect on what Christians believe and how this can teach us to develop these key values in our every day living.


Our St Nicolas Curriculum implementation

Our teachers use their knowledge of their children, their deep subject knowledge and consistent high expectations to provide (inspiration and) challenge for all through:


  • Carefully selected half termly knowledge-rich projects that are thought provoking and provide the children with broad experiences preparing them for their next stage in life.
  • A thoughtfully designed whole school curriculum map to ensure teaching is sequential, coherent and progressive, and builds on each stage of their learning journey.
  • Carefully selected high quality texts which develop the skills to ‘learn to read’ and ‘read to learn’.
  • Four distinct aspects (elements) across each half term: (approach) Navigate, Inspire, Challenge and Succeed.
  • Our Navigate phase where we gather prior knowledge with the children focusing on what the children already know and what they want to find out. A clear, defined and final destination challenges are set, the new project is ‘launched’ and the class embark on their learning journey. Knowledge mats are shared with families to support the children as they navigate the learning. 
  • Teachers carefully considering how to inspire our children through the project using a text-rich curriculum, real-life/hands on experiences, visits in school from members of our wider school family and links or visits within our Abingdon community.
  • Challenge for all as we equip the children with essential key skills, knowledge, concepts and values through quality first teaching.
  • A final Succeed week which provides key assessment opportunities, as children work independently on their final destination challenges.  Over the year, ‘Success events’ take place giving the children a clear and real audience. Class Knowledge walls are built through the half-term as a record of their class’ learning journey.


Our St Nicolas Curriculum impact

The impact of our curriculum can be seen in the individual successes of each child and measured through:

  • Children’s achievements and progress academically, physically and socially through regular progress reviews and summative assessments.
  • Children with SEND achieving the best possible outcomes.
  • Children’s attendance, learning behaviours and enthusiasm for learning are excellent.
  • Children knowing how to make a positive contribution to their local community and endeavouring to be the best they can be.
  • Children being ready to continue their learning journey with the necessary skills, knowledge and learning behaviours to succeed at secondary school.