Key Curricular Areas

Expressive Arts

Expressive arts includes Art, Music, Physical Education and Drama. We are lucky in Orkney to have specialist teachers all year round to teach these subjects, as well as instrumental instructors who give instruction to some children in P4-7 on strings, brass and woodwind instruments. 

Health and Well Being (HWB)

Health and Wellbeing includes not only physical health and looking after ourselves but also emotional health, our feelings and relationships and social health, exploring the interaction of the individual with the community and the environment. At SPS we use a HWB resource called ‘Jigsaw’. This resource is a programme of work from P1-7 which covers 6 key themes; Being me in My World, Celebrating Difference, Dreams and Goals, Healthy Me, Relationships and Changing Me. We also support pupils to become emotionally literate through the use of the Emotion Works and Zones of Regulation programmes.

For more information about these programmes follow the links below:

Emotion Works (Putting learning at the heart of emotional wellbeing)

Zones of Regulation (A social emotional learning framework & pathway to regulation)

Roots of Empathy

This academic year, Stromness Primary are completing a project called Roots of Empathy. This program is delivered to help our children recognise and connect with the vulnerability and humanity of a baby who visits the classroom throughout the school year with their parent(s), along with a trained Roots of Empathy Instructor using a specialised curriculum. Monica Johnston, our Support for Learning Teacher is our Trained Instructor. Through the activities during the Family Visit the children are given opportunities to discuss their feelings and listen to the feelings of others. Mrs Johnston also visits the classroom the week before and the week after the Family Visit to deliver activities in preparation for and in reflection of the activities of the Family Visit. These Pre and Post Family Visits deepen the development of emotional literacy (affective empathy) and perspective taking skills (cognitive empathy) in the children, helping them to understand how their behaviour or words can hurt others. This enables the children to build connections and healthy relationships which leads to inclusion and integration.

For more information: Visit the Roots of Empathy website

Languages and Literacy

Languages & Literacy includes listening and talking, reading and writing. As well as the basic skills of reading aloud, children are taught to read for information, reflect on writer’s craft and recognise and read various genres and styles of texts.  The main reading resources used at Stromness Primary are Oxford Reading Tree and Project X Origins.  Through visiting our school library children are encouraged to read for enjoyment and select books from our wide range of texts available. 

Writing in a variety of ways for imaginative, functional and real life purposes are developed alongside learning the technical skills of spelling, grammar and handwriting.  We follow the Jolly Phonics and Jolly Grammar progression within our school.  We are also introducing a scheme called Sounds Write into our school to support the teaching of phonics and spelling.

Children are encouraged to develop their listening and talking skills on a daily basis. They have opportunities to discuss their thoughts and opinions in pairs, groups and as a whole class and also give short oral presentations. 

This area of the curriculum also includes learning a modern language.  All pupils learn French from P1 and an additional language from P5.  This is to comply with the National initiative of Languages 1+2.

Maths & Numeracy

Maths and Numeracy covers number work, practical measurement, work with money, handling information in tables and graphs and exploring shape, position and movement. An important aspect is to develop mental agility – a necessary prerequisite for confidently handling more challenging calculations. Being able to apply mathematical skills and knowledge in solving problems is a challenging but important aspect of learning maths in primary school.

Religious & Moral Education

Religious and Moral Education involves learning about religions as distinct from religious observance itself. Children learn about Christianity, other World religions and personal search, including the moral issues addressed by religion. Opportunities for religious observance take place as part of school assemblies. We are using the RME resource called Discovery RE. This is a programme of work from P1-7 which covers various RME aspects across all levels using an enquiry-based approach.

Science, Technology & Social Subjects

These subjects are mostly taught as a termly project, helping children learn research and enquiry skills in an interesting way, as well as developing a core of important knowledge.   Pupils can be involved in co-constructing class topics based on areas of interest and relevance. Often whole school topics are completed at least once per school year.

Science topics include – Planet Earth; Forces Waves and Electricity; Biological Systems; Materials; Topical Science.

Technology topics include – Digital Literacy; Food and Textile Technology; Technological Developments in Society and Business; Craft, Design, Engineering; Graphics and Computing Science.

Social Subjects topics include – People, Past Events and Societies; People, Place and Environment; People in Society, Economy and Business.

We also complete whole school activities sessions to assist in teaching some of these outcomes. This is where P1-7 pupils are distributed into small group and participate in a range of activities over the course of the school year.


An important support for all children’s learning is the regular practise of working at home. This allows children to consolidate the work learned at school and you as a parent to support your child’s schoolwork. Homework activities range from the first principles of reading and word management in Primary 1 to more complex language and mathematical tasks as the child progresses through the stages of the school. Work relating to the environmental studies topic will also be given from time to time. An important principle of homework is that it seeks to consolidate work done in school – homework will never contain work which is new to the child.  Your help with homework is invaluable. If you would like to discuss any aspect of homework with the class teacher, please contact the school.

Instrumental Tuition

Children in P4-P7 may have an opportunity to learn an orchestral instrument – strings, woodwind or brass, with the instrumental service. Children will need to show some basic musical competence and be prepared to practice regularly. Instruments are provided free of charge, but parents should be prepared to meet the small expense of sheet music, strings, reeds etc. Places are limited, and the school will let parents know when vacancies become available.