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Five Islands Academy Curriculum Intent


The Five Islands Academy brings together children from the archipelago of the Isles of Scilly, 28 miles out into the Atlantic from Land’s End. We take our learning principles from our extraordinary environment, our creative islands community and the far-reaching horizons in every direction that inspire boundless possibilities.



We are working together to design a truly excellent curriculum for our students: one which will nurture curious, collaborative, creative global learners with the rich knowledge and confident oracy that will empower every student to thrive whether they choose to contribute to their local community or to sail away across the wider world.



We believe that every aspect of our children’s learning should have meaning and purpose. We have the privileged opportunity to guide each child’s learning journey from the ages of 3 to 16, allowing us to take a holistic approach to building a coherent curriculum, all parts of which lead to authentic outcomes and powerful preparation for life beyond school.


Curriculum Coherence

Our curriculum design philosophy is underpinned by four key strands of thinking: substantive content, guiding disciplinary concepts, adventurous and ethical connections, and confident communication.


Content Concepts Connections Communication
  • Carefully sequenced learning of substantive knowledge across all subjects

  • Key vocabulary identified and expertly taught

  • Knowledge revisited and built on with reference to prior learning

  • Guiding disciplinary concepts at the core of progression

  • Learning conceptually driven by Essential Questions

  • Evolving sophistication of conceptual understanding

  • Meaningful links made across the curriculum through Primary topic webs and Secondary horizontal planning

  • Authentic adventurous projects growing out of interdisciplinary collaboration

  • Powerful ethical connections with community, environment and wider cultural links

  • Authentic outcomes built into planning for the academic year

  • Children with the confidence and oracy skills to present their learning to real audiences

  • Opportunities for exhibitions, debate and performance planned into the academy year

  • Collaboration at the heart of curriculum design


Curriculum Design in Practice

Our philosophy is turned into practice by teachers and leaders empowered to become curriculum designers through a collaborative programme of professional development and close links with our LEAP partner schools.


The curriculum is shaped around a rhythm of learning inspired by the Expeditionary Learning approach: learning sequences conceptually driven by an essential question and culminating in an authentic outcome that connects students meaningfully to the wider community. In the Primary phase, topic webs closely linked to subject progression models and knowledge organisers map out content and conceptual learning within the inspiring immersive curriculum. In the Secondary phase, disciplinary learning is planned in nine week quadmesters, each building on prior knowledge and understanding. Subject-specific expertise is prioritised to give students the strongest possible foundation for their post-16 move to the Mainland and further learning. Horizontal curriculum maps are used to explore alignment opportunities for deepening of learning across subjects through adventurous learning in quadmesterly Project Weeks. The whole school comes together to celebrate and communicate their learning in exhibitions, performances and community events.


For detailed curriculum and topic maps, please click below.