We look to the stars…

Telephone: 0117 903 0077


Headteacher: Tim Browse


At Air Balloon Hill Primary School, we are committed to ensuring that we give our pupils the best start in their education by offering them a wide ranging curriculum that puts them at the centre of their learning journey. The aim of the Air Balloon Curriculum is for children to understand why the world is like it is and explore how we can make it better. We do this through our selection of Inquiry Projects.

Inquiry Projects

Through our Inquiry Projects and teaching of the core subjects of Reading, Writing and Maths, we provide our pupils with a broad and balanced curriculum in which they develop the skills they need to become lifelong learners and to success on later life.

The inquiry approach provides a context through which the children will acquire knowledge and develop skills that will enable them to respond to the inquiry in a meaningful way. Each inquiry has a lead subject (typically science, history or geography) with additional subjects contributing to the inquiry’s key themes.

To help children understand why the world is like it is, we have developed six archetypes of human behaviour. Throughout their time at Air Balloon, children will develop their understanding of how human behaviour can change the world. By critically reviewing these human behaviours, children will then have the opportunity to consider how they might be able to make the world a better place.

Each inquiry project provides multiple opportunities for children to explore the six archetypes through careful questioning within each subject studied.

The six archetypes are:

  • Civilians: living with others in a community and being contributing members of society.
  • Leaders: taking control and leading others, ensuring that the world we live in is fair.
  • Influencers: thinking up new ideas that will help change the world.
  • Guardians: protecting the vulnerable and helping to preserve what is good about our world.
  • Pioneers: exploring and modernising the world in which we live in.
  • Creators: Enriching the world we live in through the arts.

As the children grow older, they will explore both the positive contributions that these archetypal behaviours can have on the world and the negative. This will enable them to explore the complexities of human behaviour and the conflicting views about some of the world’s most significant figures in history.






Lawful, accepting, responsible…

Controlled, hidden, thoughtless…

Malala Yousafzai, Rosa Parks…


Inspiring, compassionate, brave…

Despotic, single-minded, cruel…

Nelson Mandela, Julius Caesar


Innovative, specialist, foresight…

Manipulative, selfish, stubborn…

Greta Thunberg, Socrates…


Moral, caring, empathetic…

Overbearing, martyr, reckless…

Mary Seacole, Kofi Annan…


Brave, inspiring, foresight…

Reckless, single-minded, short-sighted…

Captain Scott, Amelia Earhart…


Creative, thoughtful, passionate…

Single-minded, overbearing, selfish…

William Shakespeare, Frida Kahlo…


There are three inquiry projects to be covered by each year group throughout the year.  More details on the curriculum of each project can be found in the links at the bottom of the page.

 Inquiry Projects Overview:


Year 1

Year 2

Year 3

Year 4

Year 5

Year 6

Project 1

Time Capsule

Animal Park Rescue

Children of our Time

Environmental Action

Space Rover

Adapt to Survive

Project 2

Expedition Adventure

Fire! Fire!

Tomb Raiders

That’s Entertainment

Let’s be Friends

Let There be Light

Project 3

What a Wonderful World

Food, Glorious Food

Stone Circles

Election Race

It’s a Boy!

No News is Good News

Core Subjects


At Air Balloon we believe that story telling should be at the heart of our English curriculum. Therefore, from September 2019, each year group will have a core of key books called ‘The Reading Spine’ which all the children will experience. The aim is for every child to experience the pleasure and challenge of great literature. Children are encouraged to read a wide range of books both at school and at home and are welcome to borrow books from our well-stocked library.

Reception – Reading skills are taught through daily phonic sessions and weekly 1:1 reading sessions with the children. Children start with learning their unit sounds and move onto learning tricky words (words which are not phonetic) and blending. By the end of the year, they will begin to blend vowels and syllables together to read longer, more complex words.

Year 1 – Reading skills are taught through daily phonics where children build on the phonic skills they developed during reception and widen their repertoire of tricky words. Reading time happens daily: some children will continue to have 1:1 reading sessions whilst others will be taught reading skills in larger groups.

Year 2-6 – We teach the whole class daily for at least 30 minutes instead of small groups once a week. In order to do this, teachers provide the children with a variety of challenging text extracts from books and teach them how to appreciate and understand these texts by focusing on the following skills:

  • To retrieve and record information from a text
  • To make inferences and justifying with evidence from the text to back up opinions.
  • To make predictions based on details stated or implied.
  • Discussing and understanding words in context.
  • To identify main ideas drawn from more than one paragraph and summarise these.
  • To identify and compare themes and conventions in a wide range of books. (KS2 only)
  • To identify how language, structure, and presentation contribute to meaning
  • To discuss words and phrases that capture the reader’s interest and imagination. (KS2 only)

For more information about our Reading curriculum and to find out more about our Reading Spine books, please visit our Reading page –



As a school we have adopted the talk for writing process for the teaching of writing. This involves a 3-stage learning cycle through the processes of:

Imitation – exploring the text’s language and structure so pupils are in a position to read it and identify key features.

Innovation – enabling the children to adapt an exemplar, critically reflecting on the effectiveness of key features.

Independent Application – independently applying their knowledge of the text type to create their own piece of writing.

Inspire – the opportunity to write for their own chosen purpose based on a class stimulus.

Our consistent teaching approach to writing aims to raise attainment by enabling children to become critically aware and independent writers. We follow the ‘Talk for Writing’ methodology, for both fiction and non-fiction which helps children to develop their writing creativity and gives them opportunities for more independent writing. Wherever possible links are made between the children’s writing and their learning across the curriculum – in particular to their Inquiry Projects.

Narrative texts

There are six key narrative types which are covered by each year:

  • Journey (KS1) – character travels in search of something or someone. Travels from A to B or there and back.
  • Defeating the monster – a threat is identified which challenges the status-quo. Eventually it is overcome.
  • Warning Tale – Character is warned not to do something/go somewhere. They ignore and get into trouble.
  • Finding Tale – A character finds something of value.
  • Transformation Tale – A character transforms (rags to riches/timid to brave) and their world view is changed.
  • Wishing Tale – A story involving someone who wishes for something but there is a barrier to overcome.
  • Portal Story (KS2) – A story involving someone travelling to a different world/time through some sort of portal (door/object).

Grammar is embedded within the Talk for Writing process and features in the imitation and innovation stages in particular

Phonics / Spelling. In EYFS and KS1 children have a daily Phonics lesson. From Year 2 onwards each year group follows the No Nonsense Spelling programme and children participate in the end of term Spelling Bee competitions.  For more details on our Spelling Bee competitions and full details about the No Nonsense Spelling programme, please visit or Spelling Bee page:

Handwriting – In KS1 children have a 15-minute lesson every day and in KS2, lessons are three times a week as isolated 20 minute lessons. We follow the Pen Pals scheme of work.



At Air Balloon, we follow Maths No Problem to ensure the sequence of lessons is logical and coverage is complete. We use a range of different resources and techniques to teach maths across the school and teaching is always planned to fit the needs of the individual child and is dictated by the needs of the class. We want to help children to develop into resilient, mathematicians who are fluent in the key maths skills and can solve problems. We encourage children to understand that making mistakes help us learn, and staff foster an inclusive and supportive problem solving environment. Staff consistently combat the “I’m no good at maths” stereotype while allowing greater depth learners to deepen their understanding.   All children have a ‘Times Tables Rock Stars’ log-in and password and are encouraged to use this at school and at home to improve their fluency and speed in times tables.



The teaching of science is undertaken as part of the termly Inquiry Projects. Our science curriculum falls under 3 main areas of biology, chemistry and physics, we also teach children to work scientifically. Children will develop their scientific skills throughout their time at Air Balloon and will build on key knowledge and principles, often re-visiting areas of science that they have covered in earlier years. Example of some of our areas of scientific study include:

  • Biology
    • Identify and name a variety of common wild and garden plants, including deciduous and evergreen trees.
    • Identify and name a variety of common animals that are carnivores, herbivores and omnivores
    • Identify that most living things live in habitats to which they are suited.
    • Understand a simple food chain, and identify and name different sources of food.
    • Observe and describe how seeds and bulbs grow into mature plants
    • Identify and describe the functions of different parts of flowering plants: roots, stem/trunk, leaves and flowers.
    • Identify that animals, including humans, need the right types and amount of nutrition, and that they cannot make their own food; they get nutrition from what they eat.
    • Recognise that environments can change and that this can sometimes pose dangers to living things.
    • Construct and interpret a variety of food chains, identifying producers, predators and prey.
    • Describe the differences in the life cycles of a mammal, an amphibian, an insect and a bird.
    • Draw a timeline to indicate stages in the growth and development of humans.
    • Identify and name the main parts of the human circulatory system, and describe the functions of the heart, blood vessels and blood
    • Recognise that living things have changed over time and that fossils provide information about living things that inhabited the Earth millions of years ago.
    • Identify how animals and plants are adapted to suit their environment in different ways and that adaptation may lead to evolution.
  • Physics
    • Identify and name a variety of everyday materials, including wood, plastic, glass, metal, water, and rock.
    • Identify and compare the suitability of a variety of everyday materials, including wood, metal, plastic, glass, brick, rock, paper and cardboard for particular uses.
    • Recognise that they need light in order to see things and that dark is the absence of light.
    • Notice that some forces need contact between two objects, but magnetic forces can act at a distance.
    • Compare and group materials together, according to whether they are solids, liquids or gases.
    • Identify how sounds are made, associating some of them with something vibrating.
    • Construct a simple series circuit, identifying/naming its basic parts, including cell, wire, bulb, switch and buzzer.
    • Describe the movement of the Earth, and other planets, relative to the Sun in the solar system.
    • Recognise that some mechanisms, including levers, pulleys and gears, allow a smaller force to have a greater effect.
    • Look at a range of phenomena including rainbows, colours on soap bubbles, objects looking bent in water and coloured filters.
    • Compare and give reasons for variations in how components function, including the brightness of bulbs, the loudness of buzzers and the on/off position of switches.
  • Chemistry
    • Observe changes across the four seasons.
    • Describe in simple terms how fossils are formed when things that have lived are trapped within rock.
    • Compare and group together everyday materials on the basis of their properties, including their hardness, solubility, transparency, conductivity (electrical and thermal), and response to magnets.
    • Use knowledge of solids, liquids and gases to decide how mixtures might be separated, including through filtering, sieving and evaporating.
    • Explore reversible changes, including, evaporating, filtering, sieving, melting and dissolving, recognising that melting and dissolving are different processes.


Through their Inquiry Project studies, children will develop a secure knowledge of key events in both British and International history. They will develop the skills required to be a historian, including choosing reliable sources of evidence. In Year 1, children will learn about the history of Air Balloon and how the school and locality has changed since the Victorian period. They look at both Victorian Britain and Britain in the 20th Century. In Year 2, children study the Great Fire of London and significant explorers in history – including John Cabot, Amelia Earhart and Neil Armstrong. In Key Stage 2, children study Prehistoric Britain, Ancient Egypt, Roman Britain and the Roman Empire, Anglo Saxons and Vikings, the Mayan Empire, World War 2 and Ancient Greece.



Our Geography curriculum equips children with knowledge and understanding of both physical and human geography, place knowledge and skills in field work. Children begin their study in Key Stage 1 with studies of the local area, characteristics of the United Kingdom, the seven continents and five oceans of the world. This is built upon in Key Stage 2 with more in-depth study of world maps (including the longest rivers, biggest deserts and highest mountains). Children will learn physical and human geographical vocabulary and be able to describe key aspects of human and physical geography.



RE at Air Balloon focuses on spiritual, moral, social and cultural development. Reflecting one of our guiding principles that Everyone Belongs children learn about different faiths and cultures and the major world religions in a safe, kind and respectful environment. RE aims to promote understanding and respect and challenges stereotypes, prejudices and discrimination. We follow the agreed Bristol Syllabus for RE – Awareness Mystery Value – for more information, please visit their website –



We use the 3D PSHE curriculum from Dimensions Curriculum Ltd. Through this curriculum, we will help pupils develop and demonstrate skills and attitudes that will allow them to participate fully in and contribute positively to life in modern Britain. Pupils will also be taught through three underlying core themes, within which there will be broad overlap and flexibility:

  1. Health and Wellbeing
  2. Relationships
  3. Living in the Wider World.


All children participate in PE and we are fortunate to have a range of specialist coaches come into school on a weekly basis to both facilitate and support our teaching of PE. Activities include boxing, gymnastics, football, fencing, archery, BMX biking and Bikeability. Children take part in both indoor and outdoor sporting activities and we hold regular sporting competitions against other local schools. From Years 3 upwards, children receive 2 terms of swimming lessons each year. In addition to weekly PE lessons, children have the opportunity to attend a number of extra-curricular sports clubs, including football, gymnastics, netball, dodgeball and dance.



At Air Balloon, we are fortunate to have a dedicated music teacher who forms part of our PPA cover allowing pupils across the school to experience a more in-depth music curriculum throughout the school. We inspire pupils to develop a love and appreciation of music by giving them the opportunities to listen to, explore, create and perform music. Our curriculum ensures that pupils:

  • Develop an understanding of and ability to identify different pulses, rhythms, pitches, tempos and beats
  • Listen, perform and engage with different styles and genres of music – including through dance
  • Learn to use their voices and to sing
  • Have an opportunity to play different musical instruments (including percussions, keyboards, violin, steel pans)
  • Create and compose their own music.

We have a wide range of extra-curricular music activities that children can participate in, including 2 school choirs, a steel pan group, recorder club and school band. We take part in the Bristol Plays Music summer and winter concerts as well as performances to parents and local care home residents. We have also been fortunate, through our work with Bristol Plays Music to participate in various school band music workshops with the University of Bristol.



At Air Balloon we want our pupils to be literate in all aspects of our digital world and prepare them for using technology now and give them the skills they need to adapt as technology changes in the future. Our computing curriculum teaches children how to use technology responsibly and safely. Children learn how to use a range of computer programmes to create and edit their work, design multi-media presentations, create art work, program algorithms and solve problems. Children are taught how to explore the internet safely and through our term 3 Safe Kind and Respectful week, we do lots of work in conjunction with the national Safer Internet Day. We are fortunately to have 2 dedicated ICT suites where children have regular lessons and can also access at lunchtimes in KS2.



Art is taught through our Inquiry Projects as part of our cross-curricular approach to learning. Children have the opportunity to create art through drawings, 3D designs, paintings, sculptures, prints, collages, textiles and digital media. Children will also learn about art and artists through the creators element of our 6 architypes


Design Technology

Through elements of their Inquiry Projects, children will design and create various items, they will learn how to use a range of materials and components to get the best outcome, learn how to evaluate their designs and make suggestions for improvements or changes. As part of DT, children will also study health diets, how to prepare and cook food safely and hygienically and how to use a range of cooking techniques (e.g. peeling, chopping, grating)


Modern Foreign Language (MFL)

At Air Balloon, children are taught French, in Early Years and Key Stage 1, this is mainly through songs and games while in Key Stage 2, children develop more detailed skills in speaking, listening, reading and writing.


For more information about the curriculum coverage of our Inquiry Projects, please view the documents below:

Year 1 Inquiry Project Curriculum Overview 2020-21

Year 2 Inquiry Project Curriculum Overview 2020-21

Year 3 Inquiry Project Curriculum Overview 2020-21

Year 4 Inquiry Project Curriculum Overview 2020-21

Year 5 Inquiry Project Curriculum Overview 2020-21

Year 6 Inquiry Project Curriculum Overview 2020-21


For more information about any aspect of our curriculum, please email us –


Special Events
  •  Stories Around the Christmas Tree

    Tuesday 13th December


© 2012-2022 Air Balloon Hill Primary School, Hillside Road, St George, Bristol, BS5 7PB
Telephone: 0117 903 0077 Email: