Rift House Primary School

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                                            ‘taste it, touch it, see it, smell it, hear it'                                       

Planned and focused opportunity for first hand, real life experience is essential in ensuring our children acquire knowledge and skills that commit to long term memory and that is why school embed a ‘senses’ philosophy in all areas of our curriculum.

Our vision is that through carefully planned, memorable, sensory learning experiences; high quality teaching; collaboration, and a united aim our curriculum enables children to make the right ‘CHOICES’ and that these positive attributes will support them not only in their next stage of learning but throughout their lives:


C – Caring and Kind

We are empathetic & compassionate and want to make a positive contribution, big or small

H – Honest and Respectful

We appreciate and learn from our own and other cultures, history, values & traditions and value honesty & fairness

O – Organised

We can self-manage our time & projects and organise our thoughts & ideas

I – Imaginative

We can use a range of thinking skills including being creative to solve problems and make reasoned decisions

C – Confident

We are reflective risk takers who approach challenges with resilience & determination both independently and by communicating positively with others

E – Enthusiastic

We foster a love of learning that is lifelong

S – Safe and Responsible

We know how to keep ourselves safe through the choices we make about our own personal wellbeing and understand how our actions can affect and impact upon ourselves and others



Our developed CHOICES approach that promotes the spiritual, moral, cultural, mental and physical development of pupils at the school and of society, and prepares pupils at the school for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of later life.



This is aided by the use of our CHOICES diaries – which enable children to reflect on their choices throughout and at the end of the school day.   



MR BEAT– Children record how many times they raise their heart rate in the day.

FUELLING FITNESS – children reflect on their food choices (fuelling learning) – They think about fruit and vegetables, water and how well they balance their diet.

ME, MYSELF and I – Children reflect on their emotional state – kindness, happiness, feeling safe, positive contribution to others, honesty, confidence, trust, responsibility, enthusiasm, respectfulness, politeness.

School are working in partnership with Tees Valley Sport in the development of the 'Active Schools' Initiative.


At its most basic level, mindfulness equips children with the skills to focus on the now and also form a strategy to address their worries and uncertainties and manage these emotions positively - it can help them learn how to work skillfully with the stresses and strains of childhood and adolescence without being swept away by them. These coping skills then are more likely to remain with them into adulthood.

Findings have shown that mindfulness helps them:

  • Feel calmer and more fulfilled
  • Get on better with others
  • Concentrate better
  • Manage their stress and anxiety
  • Manage performance more effectively in areas such as sport, music and drama.


At Rift House we have trained staff who promote mindfulness in the classroom, in small nurture groups, through targeted support with EP involvement and through weekly assemblies. It is also displayed around school and reinforced with children when needed throughout the school day.



Primary movement:

Primary reflexes are movement patterns which emerge during fetal life and are critical for the survival of the newborn - e.g. infant rooting and suck reflexes. They are obvious during the first six months of life and primary reflex tests are routinely used by paediatricians to assess the neurological integrity of the newborn baby. As the nervous system develops, however, they are inhibited or transformed and the persistence of primary reflexes beyond their typical timespan (twelve months) interferes with subsequent development and indicates neurological impairment


The Primary Movement programme developed at Queen's University, Belfast has been shown to have a significant impact on reducing reflex persisitence.

The Primary Movement programme is used within the early years of Rift House and for those children targeted when identified. Younger children first learn a series of songs with added movement, in order to prepare them for participation in the core Primary Movement programme, a sequence of specific movements which are based on replicating or mimicking the primary reflex system of the fetus.



Aspirations and SEMH:

Aspiration and future choices should start from the very first day children arrive at our school and this is planned for within many areas of our curriculum, including through purposeful educational visits, often present in many of our day to day curriculum subjects, particularly our planned STEM days and by making use school speakers/guests. A strategic plan is in place and a delegated staff member ensures these plans become realised. As does a wellbeing team ensure that all aspects of the whole school ensures the health and wellbeing of all staff and children in school.


This is a good school which is improving rapidly because every member of staff ensures every child has the best possible opportunity to achieve well academically, personally, physically and creatively. Pupils thrive in a welcoming, positive, caring environment to become confident, young people who want to learn. Ofsted 2018


Awards Achieved:

  • International School Award
  • Eco Schools Award
  • Golden Apple Healthy Eating Award
  • Healthy School Award
  • Sainsbury’s School Games Award – GOLD
  • PESS Sports Mark – GOLD
  • Primary Science Quality Mark


Working towards:

  • AFPE
  • The National SMSC Quality Mark
  • Wellbeing Award for Schools


N.B. School have also recently been nominated by Tees Valley Music Service for The Schools Music Award on account of our excellent provision.


Future Curriculum Developments

Target 1 - Nature Based outdoor learning:

This innovative educational approach to outdoor play and learning aims to encourage and inspire individuals of any age through positive outdoor experiences. School are in the process of developing this.

Target 2 - Current affairs:

We are working on further developing our current affairs curriculum e.g. to include more global, as well as national political issues and ‘one off’ events i.e. 70+ years of NHS services.


Examples of Learning beyond the classroom...

Year 6 

Eden Camp,

Crucial Crew,

Borough Hall, Lord Winston Visit,

High Tunstall - STEM Workshop,

Explosive Science,

Borough Hall - Lablive Science Event,

York - Chocolate Factory,

High Tunstall STEM Event


Year 5

Borough Hall,

Lord Winston Visit,

High Tunstall - STEM Workshop,

Virtual Learning - Rainforest & Space,

Preston Park - Victorian Christmas,

Summer Hill - Tree Planting,

Newcastle - Bella Italia and Hancock Museum,

Virtual Learning - Scrapheap Challenge

Beamish - Victorians

 Winter Gardens

 S.U.F.C - Science Day



Year 4

Virtual Learning - Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe, 

Borough Hall - Snappy Christmas Music Festival, Summerhill - Science,

Skipping Competition,

High Tunstall - Science Tiny Things

Virtual Learning - Food Design 

High Tunstall - Science Workshop

Mill House Skipping Tournament

Brierton - Skipping Competition


Year 3  

Teesmouth Field Center - Rocks,

Salt Holme - Animals,

Virtual Learning - Egyptians

High Tunstall - Science Workshop

High Tunstall - Explosive Science

Bowes Museum

Pedestrian Training

Sunderland Winter Gardens

Summerhill Tree Planting


Year 2

Virtual Learning - The Great Fire of London,

Mill House - Skipping Competition


Washington Wetland Center  

Year 1

Marritime Museum- Toys form the past,

Virtual Learning - Animation Day,

Ward Jackson Park 



Summerhill - Autumn Walk,

Kirkleatham Owl Sanctuary

 Washington Wetland Center 

Post Office

Winter Gardens



Summerhill - Autumn Walk,

Summerhill - Winter Wonderland




Morrisons Carol singing 

Middleton Grange - Carol Singing

Lindisfarne Care Home

Laurel Gardens Care Home