Primary 3 Curriculum


Literacy and English

In Primary 3, pupils read a range of fiction and non-fiction texts regularly for enjoyment, showing through discussion and writing that they understand the main ideas. Pupils are encouraged to read with confidence, fluency and expression and to develop audience awareness when reading aloud. Pupils work in small reading groups to allow for group discussion work. Comprehension skills are developed further, and pupils learn how to answer questions with more detailed responses. With teacher support, they explore a range of reference sources to find information specific to their needs. Simple dictionary work is introduced.

There is increased emphasis on writing consistently in sentences, using simple punctuation. Pupils are encouraged to think about the use of vocabulary, connectives, openers and punctuation in all their written tasks to help develop their writing skills. Writing tasks are extended, with pupils being encouraged to sequence events appropriately and be aware of the purpose of their writing. A spelling programme is followed to assist the pupils in their writing tasks, and a linked handwriting script is learned.

Listening and Talking
Activities are extended to encompass listening for more than one piece of information, instruction or direction, and responding appropriately. The importance of listening carefully in all situations is emphasised. Pupils are encouraged to develop their talking skills through a variety of tasks. They are challenged to become increasingly aware of their audience by delivering short topic-based talks to their peers.

Modern Languages

With a Modern Languages specialist, girls are introduced to short sessions of different languages tied in with their topic work. The girls learn simple vocabulary and greetings and learn an awareness of different types of languages, building their confidence in and enthusiasm for language learning.


Numeracy and Mathematics

In Primary 3, our approach to Numeracy and Mathematics is through a balance between active learning and written activities with the aim of developing mental agility and developing strategies to enable the pupils to apply their skills.

Number, Money and Measurement
Pupils extend their knowledge of numbers to 1000 and learn strategies for adding and subtracting 2-digit numbers and finding change from £1. They use their 2, 3, 4, 5 and 10x tables for multiplication and division and find halves and quarters. The range of units for measurement is extended. Pupils learn to tell the time in quarter hours and record this in words and as digital time.

Information Handling
Pupils consolidate their skills in creating bar charts and use the graphs to answer a variety of questions. They have further experience in using a simple database.

Shape, Position and Movement
Pupils learn to identify 2D shapes and 3D objects from descriptions and use flat shapes to make tilings. They learn to use grid references to plot location and they learn to recognise right angles and symmetrical shapes.

Problem Solving and Enquiry
Pupils begin to use diagrams to solve problems and the range of problem-solving strategies is further extended through active learning.


Social Studies

In Primary 3, the Social Studies programme aims to develop knowledge, understanding and enquiry skills through the following topics: -

    • The Victorians
    • Rainforests and life in the rainforest
    • A Walk Through Time
    • Mapping and Edinburgh: A Local Study



In Primary 3, scientific ideas are developed through play, investigations, first-hand experiences and discussion. A highlight of the first term is a visit from a mobile planetarium.

Topics covered are:

    • Minibeasts
    • Sun, Moon and Stars
    • Inheritance


Outdoor Learning

Our Outdoor Learning Programme across each year group aims to ensure continuing opportunities for children to experience the outdoors across a range of curricular areas.   Blocked outdoor learning time is allocated within the weekly timetable for Primary 3.

Our Outdoor Learning programme aims to provide opportunities to:

    • increase the children’s knowledge and skills without the confines of the classroom.
    • offer numerous and ever-changing natural resources and features which, unlike man-made equipment, are non-prescriptive, their uses limited only by the child’s imagination.
    • create a forum for problem solving skills.
    • create opportunity for child-led learning in unstructured play.
    • nurture creativity and imagination.
    • use the physical freedom of the outdoors to give real freedom to the mind and stimulate creative play.
    • develop physical health.
    • enhance the learning experience and enjoyment of the activity.
    • support confidence and emotional resilience.
    • improve behavioural and social skills – the children will be engaged, motivated, work in a team and co-operate better with each other.
    • offer risk-taking, discovery, adventure and challenge.
    • emphasise healthy routines, protection skills and responsible decision-making.
    • make appropriate use of active learning, whole class teaching, related individual work, small group discussion and collaboration.
    • make appropriate use of role-play and simulation activities.


Health and Well-being


In Primary 3, pupils explore the three areas of Health Education, Physical Health, Social Health and Emotional Health through discrete topics or as a link to another curriculum area. The topics include:

    • Caring and Sharing
    • Road safety
    • Keeping myself safe online
    • Well-being Indicators

Physical Education

Primary 3 has three 40-minutes per week.

The Physical Education Programme in Primary 3 consists of gymnastics, dance, games, swimming and athletics. Pupils extend the range of skills that they can perform and now focus on linking movements.

Throughout the course, pupils are encouraged to:

    • sustain energetic activity for a period of time.
    • use their imagination to express ideas and feelings.
    • use given criteria to describe simple activities and share their ideas with their peers.
    • show understanding in answering questions.

Personal and Social Development

Personal and Social Education is encompassed within the teaching of several subjects,
notably, Physical Education, Religious and Moral Education and Health & Well-being and several cross-curricular themes. It is an integral part of the whole curriculum.


Religious and Moral Education

The programme in Primary 3 covers the following areas:

    • Christianity: The story of Joseph, Christmas, Easter, the Church and Baptism
    • World Religions: Islam, customs and ceremonies
    • Beliefs and Values: Caring and Sharing, Co-operating, Fairness, Trust


Expressive Arts

Art and Design

Specialist Art and Design lessons give pupils the opportunity to develop their visual awareness and creativity using a wide range of two- and three-dimensional media and technologies, supporting much of the cross-curricular work undertaken during the year. These lessons take place in the purpose-built Art block, where the pupils experience artwork produced by students throughout the whole school.

Course outcomes include:

    • Exploring a range of media and technologies to create and present work using the visual elements
    • Expressing and communicating ideas, thoughts and feelings
    • Exploration and imagination to solve design problems
    • Responding to the work of artists and designers and learning to give and accept constructive comments on their own and others’ work.


At all Primary levels, pupils improvise and experiment with movement, voice, use of space, physical objects and sound, showing imagination and inventiveness appropriate to age and stage of development. As they progress through the Primary levels, pupils develop confidence in themselves, and an ability to work effectively with their peers.

In Primary 3 Drama, pupils are encouraged to take more responsibility for their own learning using a ‘Mantle of the Expert’ type learning resource. Pupils take roles as experts in their current curriculum or PSE topic and, through fictitious scenarios, use role-play and improvisation techniques to extend their understanding of the topic through drama. At the core of Primary 3 Drama is the importance of building confidence, skills in presentation and learning to work productively with others.


The Music Curriculum in Primary 3 is based on the skills of performing, listening and composing. It aims to teach the principles of Kodaly musicianship in introducing rhythm names and sol fa notes and signs through songs, rhymes and games.

Each class has two lessons per week. One of these lessons is based on these principles and during the other lesson, the girls learn to play the recorder. During the year, Primary 3 will take part in a Christmas production with the P4 and P5 girls and participate in their own Primary 3 topic-based musical.

From Primary 3, the pupils may have the opportunity to have individual instrumental lessons and join suitable ensemble groups.



Craft and Design

Our design and technology experiences are carried out through topic-based activities. The girls learn the importance of working together as a team and listening and sharing ideas. Careful attention is paid to evaluating and improving its design.

Information and Communication Technology (ICT)

In Primary 3, the pupils develop their ICT capability in the following ways:

    • Continuing skills learned in Primary 2: changing font style, size and colour and working with word processing applications
    • Learning to save and retrieve files and print their work
    • Using word processing to write poems and stories
    • Creating treasure maps, designing tiling patterns
    • Using the Internet to find facts and learning to copy pictures for use in topic work
    • Learning to use a simple database
    • Learning simple programming through SCRATCH
    • Learning about the importance of keeping safe on-line.


Support for Learning

Support for Learning has a broad role, which allows students with specific learning needs and general academic difficulties to be supported in relation to their individual requirements. In order to maximise the individual’s potential, it is considered important to develop support strategies that complement individual learning requirements. 

At this stage, students are carefully monitored for progress by staff. The aim is to help students meet their long-term targets in the Primary curriculum. Ongoing liaison between class teachers, Support for Learning staff and parents is an essential part of this process. 

In Primary 3, pupils identified as requiring support in meeting their long-term targets, are taught either individually or in small groups by Support for Learning staff. This means that pupils in Junior School with identified additional support needs have access to a specialist member of staff who works in conjunction with their class teacher to ensure that their individual needs are met.



Homework is very much a part of our school programme and it helps to foster a link with parents in their support of the girls' learning throughout the Junior School Years. As the pupils progress, they are acquiring individual study skills beyond the classroom which in turn contribute to the development of independent learning as they mature. We always appreciate interest and support in this essential aspect of the learning process. The time required for individual tasks may vary. However, please let your daughter's teacher know if she is regularly taking longer than the guide times. Homework is generally given on four evenings each week (Monday - Thursday).

In Primary 3, there is approximately 30 minutes per evening. Generally, two items are selected from: Mathematics, Spelling, Reading, English Language (grammar, comprehension, handwriting) or from the current social science or science topic.