Gillas Lane Primary Academy and Nursery, Seaton Avenue, Houghton Le Spring, Sunderland, DH5 8EH

0191 500 5956

Gillas Lane Primary Academy and Nursery

Proud to be part of Aim High Academy Trust

Non Core Curriculum


Curriculum Intent Statement

Basic Principles

  • Learning is a change to long-term memory.
  • At Gillas Lane Primary Academy, we aim to ensure that our children experience a wide breadth of study and have, by the end of each key stage, long-term memory of an ambitious body of procedural and semantic knowledge.

Curriculum Drivers

Curriculum drivers shape our curriculum breadth. They are derived from an understanding of the backgrounds of the Gillas Lane families, our shared beliefs about high quality education and our values. They are used to ensure we give our children appropriate and ambitious curriculum opportunities.

The Gillas Lane curriculum drivers are:

  • Rich vocabulary
  • Mental health and wellbeing
  • Raising aspirations

Cultural Capital

Cultural capital gives our children the vital background knowledge required to be informed and thoughtful members of our community who understand and believe in British Values. Assemblies are used as a consistent, scheduled way to expose our children to British Values in a meaningful context. Working alongside the Sir Tom Cowie Charitable Trust allows us to ensure fully inclusive exposure to the arts and other cultural experiences for all of the Gillas Lane children.

Curriculum Breadth

Curriculum breadth is shaped by our curriculum drivers, cultural capital, subject topics and our ambition for the Gillas Lane children to study the best of what has been thought and said by many generations of academics and scholars.

Threshold Concepts

Our curriculum distinguishes between subject topics and threshold concepts. Subject topics are the specific aspects of subjects that are studied. Threshold concepts capture the essence of the most important aspects of a subject and are explored in a wide breadth of topics. Children return to these concepts over and over and gradually build understanding from them.


For each of the threshold concepts, three milestones (containing both substantive and disciplinary knowledge needed to understand the threshold concepts) provide a progression model.

Milestone 1: Year 1 and Year 2

Milestone 2: Year 3 and Year 4

Milestone 3: Year 5 and Year 6