Year 1 Negotiated Curriculum

 A Negotiated Curriculum

At Kells Lane Primary School, we teach Year 1 according to the ethos of the EYFS, through a play-based ‘Negotiated Curriculum’. The curriculum offers children a mix of adult led and child led learning opportunities. This is in response to a number of aims:

  • A desire to build on the quality of independent learning children acquire through their time in the foundation stage;
  • A desire to create life-long learners with the intrinsic motivation to engage in learning opportunities;
  • A desire to create systems that accurately assess the acquired knowledge, skills and concepts of our children so that planning can reflect the individualised learning needs and styles of the children;
  • Inclusive practice that helps every individual child to meet their learning potential regardless of gender, belief system, culture or language;

Our ultimate aim is outstanding progress and outcomes for all of our children.


In Year 1, Read Write Inc., Maths and some elements of English skills are taught discretely. Every other subject is taught through a play-based, negotiated curriculum, which is linked to a carefully chosen topic. Play provides opportunities for children to experience learning in a meaningful and purposeful way, allowing them to develop the skills needed to become effective learners whilst developing their own time management.

Each day, children learn through either a small group adult led activity, child-led investigation, or by choosing from a planned ‘Rainbow Challenge.’ The learning environment consists of different areas both inside and outside the classroom, including the outdoors.

The ‘Rainbow Challenge’ consists of independent activities initiated by the teacher (linked to curriculum coverage and progression) and the children (through ongoing discussion and during the planning stage.) They are linked to skills taught the previous week in order to give children the opportunity to deepen their understanding and consolidate their thinking. Children manage their own time, to ensure they have completed all activities on the ‘menu’ by the end of the weekly cycle. ‘Review time’ plays an important role in allowing children to become reflective learners, talking through their work and planning their own next steps. Once a child has completed their rainbow challenge, they are able to work on a personal project of their choice, planning their own challenges and reviewing how well their project is going.


A continuous provision has many benefits. Our children enjoy learning and are active and engaged throughout the whole day. They are involved within their learning as they have the choice about the activity they want to focus on and the peers they can work with at that point in the day. As there are no restrictions on the areas they can use, the free movement gives children of different learning styles a more enabling environment.

Teachers retain a very tight control over the curriculum and outcomes for the children, through ongoing formative assessment of the children. This is done through both teacher led activities and by observing children in their play. Teachers are then able to set challenging targets, which are differentiated to the individual needs of the children. The inclusion of reading, writing and maths skills are an integral part of the negotiated curriculum as this gives children the opportunity to develop and use these skills on a daily basis, in addition to planned, focussed literacy and maths teaching. This helps the children to make links within their learning and view these skills as relevant to their own lives, with meaning and purpose.

Developing Effective Lifelong Learners

The skills that children develop are significant. Every day, children are given the opportunity to manage information, solve problems and make decisions, make connections, be creative, self-manage, work with others and value others ideas, resulting in independent and resilient children.

Gateshead RE syllabus

CLICK here to view the primary national curriculum in full