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Getting cross-curricular with your curriculum planning

Our newest contributor, SAGE, has jumped on board TheSchoolBus to give you some valuable insights into the new national curriculum. Since 1998, SAGE has been publishing innovative and high quality education and teacher training books.

The new primary national curriculum came in to effect last year. How are you finding it? Have you been using cross-curricular approaches to teach it? Below is an excerpt from Planning the Primary National Curriculum where author Keira Sewell provides some useful guidance and ideas for creative cross-curricular lesson planning.

The following examples are designed to inspire your own ideas of how to put an exciting, broad and balanced curriculum together which will stimulate children’s interests and support their learning across a range of subjects. However, there is a note of caution here. When planning in a cross-curricular way, it is easy to get carried away by the ‘fun’ aspects and forget the key point of the curriculum: learning.

  • Make sure you only put subject areas together which fit within the learning aims of the theme.
  • Ensure you can justify how the learning from one subject area supports or enhances learning in another.
  • Be explicit about the links between the skills, knowledge and understanding drawn from each subject.
  • Make these links clear to the children in your class; remind them that they are using a range of ideas drawn from different disciplines so that they may make sense of this and continue to develop these in their future learning.

Maths from stories

Year group: All ages

Subject foci: Mathematics, English, and potentially every other curriculum subject depending on the book!

There is a rich vein of cross-curricular mathematics work to be tapped in the form of picture books for all ages. A comprehensive bank of these can be found here but a couple of good ones to start with are: One is a Snail, Ten is a Crab by April and Jeff Sayre, and 365 Penguins by Jean-Luc Fromental.

Natural sculptures

Year group: Key stage 1

Subject foci: Science, art and design, geography

Children could begin to explore a local outdoor environment and consider what plants grow there. They could map out their findings, building up a profile of the habitat and beginning to identify and name common plants found. They could look at how nature can be represented through art and consider the work of Andy Goldsworthy in creating their own natural art. Through this they could explore characteristics which enable us to group and classify plants and describe basic structures. This could lead to large scale art by covering parts of the school field with shapes of black plastic (e.g. the centre and petals of a large flower) for around a week. This will make the grass turn yellow and leads well into thinking about photosynthesis as well as making striking art.

Roman Market Place

Year group: Key stage 2

Subject foci: Mathematics, history, English, design and technology

In this activity, children work in groups to create a market stall for a Roman market. They would research the kinds of items that would be bought and sold on a typical market stall and make trays and products to sell. They use Roman numerals to label the price of their items and design their own money and devise calculation systems in order to charge and pay for them. Lastly, they can create posters to advertise their market to potential customers.



This education blog is associated with TheSchoolBus, a revolutionary online resource for the school leaders. TheSchool Bus wants to ease the burden on school leadership team by providing a wealth of expert advice and resource. Our easy to use, intuitive website offers a range of time-saving resources, with immediate access to hundreds of useful templates, guidance and the latest insights provided by top brands like Lloyds Bank, RM Education, Berg, ParentPay and more. Your time is our business. Visit us here.

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