The Learning Core






English and Literacy

As a department we aim to create an atmosphere of learning and enjoyment which challenges the able whilst supporting, with the help of our learning support staff, those who need it. We want all the pupils to feel included and motivated.

Pupils are encouraged to take an active role in the learning process through a lively mixture of discussion, reading and writing. We aim to enable the pupils to become independent and critical readers of stories, poetry, drama as well as non-fiction and media texts. All pupils will have the opportunity to enter poetry and writing competitions. Pupils will also have the opportunity to watch drama through theatre trips or films. Pupils are taught in ability sets.

At Key Stage 3, the development of good language and literacy skills is a priority for us. Creative Writing and Literacy Skills lessons are timetabled, as well as stand-alone English lessons. At Key Stage 4 and 5 we follow the AQA and Edexcel syllabi which offer courses including: Entry Level English, Functional Skills, GCSE English and GCSE English Language and Literature. Students are taught in ability sets. There is also the option to study A Level English at Riverston College.

Mathematics and Numeracy

Mathematics at Riverston School is dynamic, ensuring an excitement and enthusiasm for the subject so that pupils share their teachers’ passion. The introduction and teaching of mathematics is a powerful tool for communication, decision-making, problem-solving, thinking, computation, analysing, research and creative skills. It is important that pupils learn that mathematics is not necessarily a subject on its own but has applications in other subjects and the world at large.

The development of basic numeracy skills is crucial for all pupils. Hands-on, practical experiences underpin the mathematics curriculum for pupils with special educational needs. Developing a good understanding of money and time is critical when expecting pupils to attain an ability to use the practical application of maths in everyday situations. All learning takes place in small groups with additional support where appropriate.

For all pupils, a GCSE level 9 to 4, or equivalent Functional Skills Level 2 grade is our goal and some children progress to A Level and Further Maths qualifications.


Science is taught in three science laboratories with access to a wide range of interactive and engaging software to enhance and support learning. We follow the National Curriculum relative to the pupils’ ages but tailor made to match pupils’ individual abilities and needs.

At Key Stage 4 there are a variety of courses available for children to choose from, ranging from BTEC courses at Levels 1 and 2, to the more traditional GCSE Combined Science Synergy course. Textbook resources have been carefully selected to enable full access by all pupils according to their needs.

A Level Sciences are on offer at Riverston College.

Games, Physical Education and Fitness

The PE and Games programme at Riverston School is vital in ensuring that every child appreciates the importance of having a healthy lifestyle. The programme is specifically designed to help children develop their fitness levels, motor skills, strength and love of sport. Sport for life is actively encouraged and boys and girls of all ages are given a variety of opportunities in which to explore their own strengths and weaknesses, likes and dislikes.

We realise the importance of aerobic exercise and want every child to enjoy getting out of breath, therefore team games are actively encouraged, as are competitive and representative sport. Riverston School has had many National Champions over the years in athletics, swimming, cross-country, football and most recently karate.

Dedicated Fitness lessons run alongside P.E and Games lessons for every child in Key Stage 3.


Personal Social and Health Education provides a vital foundation for the personal development of young people in preparing them for adult life. It enables pupils to develop their self-knowledge, self-esteem and self-confidence as well as learning fundamental British values. These things combined, help to combat the social exclusion and disaffection of any pupil, with the capacity to equip all young people with the skills and attitudes needed to react positively to the pressures of modern life. 

Form Time:

We have a daily Form Time Programme which provides regular sessions beyond those which can be covered within the standard curriculum. Regular Circle and Tutor time takes place to prepare pupils for the day ahead.


As part of a recent and exciting initiative mindfulness was introduced across all years as our way of starting the day. We have partnered with “Calm” as part of their Calmer Schools initiative and have built a 5-10 minute slot for mindfulness at the start of every form time.

Teachers, therapists, learning support assistants and key workers all have access to the subscription, meaning that mindfulness can also be practised throughout the whole school, at all times of the day, to help promote a culture of self-awareness and calm.

"Before she joined this school she couldn’t pick up a book and read. Now, she is constantly reading. I don’t even recognise my own daughter."
Year 9 parent