School Curriculum

This section describes how the curriculum is planned and delivered in our school including the range of subjects and subject areas your child will be learning. It also includes information on how pupils develop skills for learning, life and work, including literacy, numeracy and health and wellbeing in and out of the classroom.

As well as giving you information about the statutory curriculum requirements we have included details on sports and outdoor activities available to pupils and the range of facilities available within the school.

Details of how parents will be informed about sensitive aspects of learning e.g. relationships, sexual health, parenthood and drugs awareness are included as well as information about religious instruction and observance and arrangements for parents who wish to exercise their right to withdraw their child.

Curriculum for Excellence


Bringing learning to life and life to learning, the Curriculum for Excellence has now been introduced across Scotland for all 3-18 year olds – wherever they learn. It aims to raise standards, prepare our children for a future they do not yet know and equip them for jobs of tomorrow in a fast changing world. Curriculum for excellence will be fully implemented by 2016.

Glow, Scotland’s unique, world leading, online network supports learners and teachers and plans are already in place for parents across the country to have access to Glow. Parents should ask the school how to arrange access to Glow and a user name and password will be issued.

Teachers and practitioners will share information to plan a child’s ‘learning journey’ from 3-18, helping their progression from nursery to primary, primary to secondary and beyond, ensuring each transition is smooth. They’ll ensure children continue to work at a pace they can cope with and with challenge they can thrive on.

Curriculum for Excellence balances the importance of knowledge and skills.

Every child is entitled to a broad and deep general education, whatever their level and ability. Every single teacher and practitioner will be responsible for the development of literacy and numeracy from Early Level through to Senior Phase.

It develops skills for learning, life and work, bringing real life into the classroom, making learning relevant and helping young people apply lessons to their life beyond the classroom.

It links knowledge in one subject area to another helping make connections in their learning.

It develops skills which can enable children to think for themselves, make sound judgements, challenge, enquire and find solutions.

There will be new ways of assessing progress and ensuring children achieve their potential.
There will be new qualifications for literacy and numeracy from 2012/13. New qualifications at National 4 and 5 will be available from 2013/14. Our well regarded Access, Highers and Advanced Highers will be updated to take account of and support the new approaches to learning and teaching.

There is an entitlement to personal support to help young people fulfil their potential and make the most of their opportunities with additional support wherever that’s needed. There will be a new emphasis by all staff on looking after our children’s health and wellbeing – to ensure that the school is a place where children feel safe and secure.

Ultimately, Curriculum for Excellence aims to improve our children’s life chances, to nurture successful learners, confident individuals, effective contributors, and responsible citizens, building on Scotland’s reputation for great education.

Our pupils follow a carefully planned curriculum based on the Curriculum for Excellence. The school has developed policies and programmes of studies based on these national guidelines. The main areas of the curriculum for Nursery-Primary 7 are:

Expressive Arts


Expressive arts comprise the four areas of music, art and design, drama and dance. We provide our pupils with many opportunities to be creative and imaginative, to experience inspiration and enjoyment and to develop skills in each of these areas.




Children are encouraged to develop an appreciation of music and rhythm through weekly song practices and singing in assembly. Mrs Martin our music specialist works with all classes from P3-P7. We are proud to be able to offer instrumental tuition in strings (from P4) and brass 7 (from P6) to a small number of pupils. We have a cluster schools orchestra which holds annual practices and concerts. Some of our children are in the Edinburgh Schools Orchestra. Back to index



expressiveartsFrom P3 pupils have a delivered programme of art from a specialist art teacher. In addition all teachers will encourage the pupils to develop their artistic skills through a range of activities.



Drama is taught by the class teacher and is often linked to other curricular areas. We are pleased to be able to invite parents to watch performances by the children. The P1 and P2 parents are invited to watch a nativity play before Christmas and the P7 parents are invited to watch a performance on ‘Evacuation Celebrations’ Back to index



Our Scottish culture and tradition is held in high regard at the school and we teach our pupils traditional Scottish Dancing. Dance in other forms will be taught at the discretion of the class teacher.

Health and Wellbeing


We believe that good health and wellbeing is central to effective learning. This area of the curriculum covers social, physical, mental and emotional health.

Social, mental and emotional Children should feel happy, safe, respected and included in the school environment and to this end our staff are proactive in promoting positive behaviour in the classroom, playground and the wider school community. Anti-discriminatory, anti-bullying and child protection policies are in place.

Social, mental and emotional health is covered in circle time, class discussion, collaborative and active learning. More specifically ‘Living and Growing’ is taught in P5 – P7 and ‘Keeping Myself Safe’ in P6 – P7. Parents are invited into the school to look at class material before children embark on these personal safety programmes. We also have visits from outside agencies to support the curriculum e.g dental health professionals, the school nurse.

The Parent Council organises a ‘Drug Awareness’ programme and ‘Internt Safety’ evening for parents from time to time. Back to index



The children usually have two gym sessions a week, developing skills in games, gymnastics and personal fitness.

In P3 and P5 pupils attend swimming classes at Balerno High School. In P4 and P5 children are given the opportunity to ski at Midlothian Ski Centre. Further, P6 pupils are encouraged to take part in Cycling Proficiency training. We have close contact with the local Active Schools Co-ordinator who provides extra tuition and opportunities in a variety of activities throughout the school year for all stages. Back to index

English and Literacy



Literacy comprises the skills of reading, writing, listening and talking. Every child is encouraged to maximise their achievement in each of these areas by direct teaching using the school’s adopted resources.

Reading At Dean Park we emphasise early reading development. The main programme which is used in the early years is the Oxford Reading Tree. This programme develops skills for reading in the context of interesting and amusing stories. It develops both the skills necessary for reading and accuracy, and reading comprehension. We use a wide range of reading materials in class – fiction, non-fiction, drama, poetry, plays etc. We also encourage children to read for pleasure and classes regularly visit the school library. Back to index




Children have plenty of opportunity to develop their writing skills across all curricular areas. In the early years imaginative writing will focus on simple sentences, stories and poems. Spelling forms part of the weekly homework and we teach the children how to use correct punctuation and language structure. Neat handwriting is also encouraged. As pupils progress through the school they learn other writing skills such as report writing, letter writing and summarising.

Listening and talking Again, skills in listening and talking are developed across all curricular areas, and through activities such as circle time, faculty committee meetings, offering opinions in class, giving class talks and public performances etc.Back to index

Modern Languages


The children have the opportunity to study French at Dean Park Primary School in P6 and
P7. Sometimes it is undertaken earlier in the school but this is dependent on qualified staff. Back to index




The main programme adopted to promote the mathematical skills of the children is Scottish Heinemann. This resource encourages the children to develop their mathematical understanding through mental arithmetic, problem solving and basic numeracy.

It covers number, money and measurement; information handling; and shape, position and movement. As they study these areas the pupils will develop problem solving and enquiry skills.

The teaching of maths will involve much oral work and active learning in context as well as the development of basic numeracy skills Back to index

Social Studies


Through social studies our children develop their understanding of the world by learning about other people and their values, in different times, places and circumstances; they also develop their understanding of their environment and of how it has been shaped. As they mature, our children’s experiences will be broadened using Scottish, British, European and wider contexts for learning. With greater understanding comes the opportunity and ability to influence events by exercising informed and responsible citizenship. Back to index



Science covers areas such as planet earth, forces, electricity and waves, biological systems, materials, and is designed to develop the skills of scientific inquiry and investigation as well as enabling children to recognise the impact science has on everyday life. Back to index



Pupils will experience various technological activities from building structures from recycled materials to carefully designing and constructing Eco Houses in Primary 7.
Pupils will also be equipped with other technological skills such as:

  • Using video cameras and digital still cameras.
  • Creating visual resources using computers, Smartboards, printers and scanners.
  • Using Glow to communicate, create and develop curricular links.

Back to index



Glow is an educational intranet available to all participating schools in Scotland. It allows communication and collaboration at class level, school level, local authority level and national level. Being an intranet, Glow is secure and can only be accessed by a login and password.
Teachers can use Glow to provide learning opportunities for their pupils and pupils in turn can create their own media on Glow and access an almost unlimited array of educational
resources. Back to index

Religious and Moral Education


Dean Park is a non-denominational school. In each year group a different aspect of Christianity is studied and linked with another world religion. Consideration and tolerance for the beliefs hers is central to being a Rights Respecting School. Back to index

Additional Support for Learning (ASL) and Pastoral Care


The City of Edinburgh Council has a detailed policy about supporting children and young people with additional support needs, which promotes all children going to mainstream schools.

At Dean Park Primary School we have a pastoral care system which takes the needs of all our children into account. The provision for children with additional support needs is determined by the Children and Families’ guidelines as set out by the Additional Support for Learning Act. This can be found on the EGFL website entitled In On The Act.

The pastoral Care team comprises of Mrs Shanks (Headteacher), Mrs Watson, Mr Speedie, Mrs Wright (ASL teacher) and Mrs Ready.

The support can take various forms – either as direct teaching by ASL teachers, support for groups and individuals by Learning Assistants, differentiated work in class, support by our partnership agency colleagues from the Health Services or small group activities by specialist teachers.

Parents are consulted if concerns are raised about learning or health and wellbeing. Should support be needed a support plan will be agreed.

You can also find information and advice about additional support for learning from Enquire, the Scottish advice service for Additional Support for Learning, on 0345 123 2303 or see

There is also an ‘English as an Additional Language’ service available to children who are multi-lingual. Please contact Mrs Watson for further information.

Please contact the Senior Management Team if you would like any further information about the curriculum within our school.

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Active Learning


Curriculum for Excellence emphasises the value of an active learning approach. In the early years, children will have a range of learning experiences that include planned and purposeful play and stimulating learning which engages and challenges children’s thinking using real life and imaginary situations. As children progress through school they continue to be involved in active learning experiences which are engaging and give them ownership of their own learning.

Religious Instruction and Observance


Parents who wish to exercise their right to withdraw their child from religious instruction and / or observance should contact the head teacher, in writing, and alternative arrangements will be made for your child.

Extra Curricular Activities


We offer a wide a range of sporting and cultural activities as possible.

There is a range of extracurricular activities available for pupils during lunchtime and after school. Information on these activities can be found on the PTA page on the school’s website.

In addition to in-school activities, classes also make regular educational visits and field studies.

These visits are linked to pupils’ class work.

Active Schools


The fundamental aim of Active Schools is to give school-aged children the tools, motivation and the opportunities to be more active throughout their school years and into adulthood.
These opportunities are available before, during and after school, as well as in the wider community. For further information contact the Active Schools Coordinator, Lindsay Campbell, on 0131 477 7733.

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