A break from the conventional timetable
Headteachers say it has the advantage of giving children time to do extended work, is based on their own experiences and gives more opportunities to apply skills across a range of contexts.
Unlike the pre-national curriculum topic work - which was criticised as hit and miss - the national curriculum now has to be covered and subject objectives reached while covering the topic.
If a particular curriculum goal does not fit into the topic it is taught separately, rather than shoehorned in or dropped.
At Calton junior, Gloucester, the break from subject-based teaching began with a Year 4 topic on the Second World War called "Bombs Away, Victory Ahead". This included enacting an evacuation. The children picked up their suitcases and gas masks (made in a design and technology lesson) and were taken by teachers to meet "host families" in a village a few miles out of the city.
The school's "city" curriculum, developed with help from the Education Action Zone, draws on the Gloucester area to inspire children.