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Tel: 01920 821450 Enquiries: Mrs W Sellers, School Secretary

Tel: 01920 821450 Enquiries: Mrs W Sellers, Office Manager

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Curriculum

At St Thomas of Canterbury Catholic Primary School we follow the Early Years (Nursery and Reception) Curriculum and the National Curriculum in England (Key Stage One and Two).  As a Catholic school, our faith and adherence to British values underpins the delivery of our curriculum.

We have four mixed age classes:

  • Nursery and Reception
  • Year One and Two
  • Year Three and Four
  • Year Five and Six

Early Years:

The Early Years Foundation Stage framework is used to plan and assess learning and care in the Nursery and Reception class.  It focusses on three prime areas which underpin everything that we do in the Early Years:

  • Communication and Language
  • Physical Development
  • Personal, Social and Emotional Development

And four specific areas which develop once the prime areas are secure:

  • Literacy
  • Mathematics
  • Understanding the World
  • Expressive Arts and Design

Each of these seven areas is assessed against an Early Years outcome; an end goal which the children are aiming to achieve at the end of their Reception year.  The Early Years curriculum ensures that learning is always preparing children for these goals whatever developmental stage they may be at from birth to five years.

The children in Nursery and Reception learn through play and play based activities in the Early Years Foundation Stage.  Practitioners observe the children’s learning rigorously and plan next step activities which enable the children to develop their interests and learning even further.  Observations are captured using an online recording system called “2buildaprofile”.  Each child has their own electronic Learning Journal which is updated and shared with parents via email on a weekly basis.  Parents have the opportunity to comment on their child’s learning and share photos and comments of the learning that is also taking place at home.

Please see our EY Policy below:

EY Policy 2017

ASSESSMENT:

Pupils are assessed coming into school using “Developmental Ages and Stages”, and progress is measured against the Early Learning Goals at the end of Early Years using the Early Years Profile.  Children across the school are assessed regularly throughout the year using diagnostic tests linked to National Assessment Criteria, which help give teachers, parents and pupils valuable information regarding progress.  This information, along with Teacher Assessment, helps the school project targets for pupils termly and track their progress from Early Years to Key Stage One and from Key Stage One to Key Stage Two.

THE NATIONAL CURRICULUM FOR KEY STAGE ONE AND TWO:

From September 2014, we have implemented the new “National Curriculum in England”.  For full details of what is covered within each subject area, please click on the following link to the DFE website:

The school operates on a two  year rolling programme of curriculum study, based upon the National Curriculum in England to ensure broad and balanced learning opportunities.

Please click on the following link to view Detailed Long Term Plan 2017/2018

Please click on the following link to view Detailed Long Term Plan 2018/2019

Opportunities to discuss or raise concerns regarding your child are available throughout the year through Parent Consultations.  Parents/carers are always welcome to make an additional appointment if the need arises.  It may sometimes be necessary to have a meeting with more than one member of staff i.e. the Special Needs co-ordinator (SENCO) and / or the Head Teacher.

RELIGIOUS EDUCATION:

As a Catholic School, our Religious Education follows the Curriculum Directory for Catholic Schools and Colleges in England and Wales  Religous Education Curriculum Directory using the scheme “The Way, The Truth and The Life”  (EY to Year Six).  This is supplemented by the Love in Action Caritas programme http://www.caritaswestminster.org.uk/love-in-action.php

St Thomas of Canterbury is a Catholic Voluntary Aided Primary School under the Diocese of Westminster.  We have a daily act of worship which is led by staff and children, to underpin the catholic ethos of the school.  Throughout the year we celebrate Mass in St Thomas’ Church for key liturgical events and feast days with children, staff, parents and parishioners.  Through our Religious Education lessons delivered through “The Way, The Truth and The Life” scheme, children are able to explore in depth the Catholic faith and gain an understanding and tolerance of other Christian denominations and major world religions.

ENGLISH:

Children have the opportunity to explore a wide range of genre and writing styles.  We have high expectations of handwriting and presentation which is consistent in all Key Stages through our Letterjoin programme https://www.letterjoin.co.uk/  Children are encouraged to review and improve their work.  Spelling, grammar and punctuation are regularly taught as part of the main English focus.  Spelling will be consolidated using weekly spelling lists for children to practise and learn at home.  The National Curriculum in England requirements are met through the use of a scheme of work, called “Wordsmith” from Ginn, supplemented with other resources to support grammar, punctuation and spelling. We have a two year rolling programme for our literacy units of work which can be viewed through the following links: Wordsmith Literacy Units Year A (2017 2018) and Wordsmith Literacy Units Year B (2018 2019)

Reading is a strength of our school.  We use a multi-sensory “Synthetic Phonics” programme (Letters and Sounds supplemented with Jolly Phonics resources) to teach reading.  This is reinforced through guided reading.  Our main reading scheme is Oxford Reading Tree.  This is supplemented by other decodable reading resources.  For confident Key Stage Two readers we have a range of modern and classic age-appropriate books.  We also have a well stocked, predominantly non-fiction resource library for the children to access at any time.

We encourage children to become confident communicators through development of their speaking and listening skills.  Children have opportunities to participate in a wide range of activities for example collaborative work in groups or pairs, sharing opinions, questioning, role play, performing to an audience in assemblies and school productions.

MATHEMATICS:

We meet the requirements of the National Curriculum in England by delivering Mathematics through the Abacus Active Learn Primary scheme of work from Ginn.  We aim to give the children a rich variety of experience in their daily Maths lesson.  The main mathematical focus is the teaching of number skills and the using and applying of these.  This may be done through a range of practical investigative activities, development of mental skills and the more formal teaching of traditional written methods.  Times tables are essential and St Thomas’ places great emphasis on pupils knowing them off by heart as soon as possible (end of Year 4).  

We also consider problem solving within a mathematical context to be key in developing children’s deeper understanding of using maths in the real world.  Many children initially find worded mathematical problems difficult to understand and we use a “Bar Modelling” approach to assist this understanding.  In Early Years and Key Stage One, this involves the use of concrete resources leading into a pictorial representation.  In Key Stage Two, children gradually use their own pictorial representations (ultimately bar models) to assist their understanding.  

Other areas of Maths include shape, space, measures and data handling.

SCIENCE:

The school teaches Science through a two year rolling programme drawn from the National Curriculum in England, using the “Switched On Science” scheme of work.  We place a heavy emphasis on the role of observation and investigation within the teaching of our science topics and encourage a “hands on” approach.

We are in the early stages of developing an outdoor wildlife area including a pond and class allotments.  We encourage the opportunity to learn outside throughout the curriculum but particularly in science making full use of our extensive grounds.

COMPUTING:

This is a rapidly changing and developing area of the curriculum, subject to constant change.  We are currently delivering a programme of work to meet the requirements of the National Curriculum in England using the “Switched on Computing” scheme of work.  Skills are discretely taught but the opportunity to apply these skills may occur in any area of the curriculum.

ICT comes into all areas of the curriculum and the school is fortunate in having a wide range of ICT equipment:

  • iPads
  • Desktop computers
  • Laptops
  • Digital cameras
  • Recording equipment
  • Programmable devices such as Beebot, Floor Turtle
  • Extensive range of EY ICT toys eg walkie talkies, metal detectors, listening station
  • Data logging equipment

We take E-Safety very seriously and this message is embedded in all Key Stages.  Children and staff sign “Acceptable Use Agreements”.  Our E-Safety co-ordinator delivers an annual E-Safety workshop for parents to reinforce this important evolving safety issue.

MUSIC:

We have a Music Specialist Teacher who delivers our weekly lessons from Nursery to Year Six based on the National Curriculum in England music objectives supported by units of work from Music Express.  A strong emphasis is placed on the role of music in various cultures, historical background/famous composers and a basic understanding of musical notation.  Where possible lessons link into other curriculum areas.  Singing is a strength in our school as evidenced through our lively hymn practices and active choir.  Our school choir participate in annual collaborative events with other schools and may also have the opportunity to perform at the Royal Albert Hall and O2 Arena.  All Year Two children have the opportunity to learn the recorder and all Year Four children have weekly violin lessons delivered by a peripatetic teacher for the autumn and spring term.

All EY and Key Stage One children participate in an annual musical Nativity and Key Stage Two children celebrate Advent with a festival of Christmas carols and songs.  Key Stage Two children also perform a musical play every summer term.

HISTORY:

The main focus of the National Curriculum in England is for children to develop a good chronological understanding of British history and as such in Key Stage Two, History is taught sequentially from the Stone Age through to 1066. Other historical topics include ancient civilizations, famous historical figures and a local history study.  Guest speakers and trips are considered very important to ensure that the study is a first-hand experience including an Egyptian workshop, Romans visit to Verulamium, Bronze /Iron Age visit to Celtic Harmony and a Saxons / Vikings visit to Sutton Hoo.  We endeavour to instil an awareness of what life would have been like during these historical times compared to our own modern day lives.

GEOGRAPHY:

In Key Stage One, the focus is for pupils to develop their knowledge about the world, the United Kingdom and their locality.  In Key Stage Two, Geography is taught in class themes based on studies of North and South America, the United Kingdom and Europe in order to develop an understanding of the local Geography, mapping skills, geographical processes and features, and studies of contrasting locations.  In Year Five and Six, children have opportunities for field-work along the Norfolk coast (during a residential trip) and the Lea Valley navigation system.

ART & DESIGN:

Children learn to explore themes through a range of media such as painting, sketching, 3D modelling, collage, printing and photography.  We endeavour to link our art work to other areas of our curriculum for relevance including the use of ICT.  Children are encouraged to observe carefully, and are taught appropriate techniques to be able to express themselves creatively.  Visits to galleries, exhibitions and art workshops are encouraged to inspire the children.  The National Curriculum in England also stresses the importance of studying a range of great artists / craft makers / designers from history.

DESIGN & TECHNOLOGY:

Children will explore Design and Technology through a range of themes including cooking and nutrition working with textiles and construction using a range of materials.  Periodically we have workshops delivered by outside organisations to give the children a first hand experience of a particular skill.  Children will be encouraged to ask questions, seek solutions by creating and evaluating their own designs and that of others.

LANGUAGES:

At St Thomas’ we teach French throughout Key Stage Two, using half termly themes delivered from the LCP Primary French scheme of work.  Basic vocabulary is constantly reinforced, building upon prior knowledge.  Whilst focussing on developing children’s speaking skills, they are also introduced to basic reading and writing within the language.  In EY and Key Stage One, children have the opportunity to participate in our lunch time Italian Club and in Key Stage Two, French.  In Year Six, children have the opportunity to participate in a lunch time Latin club led by a retired classics teacher.

PHYSICAL EDUCATION:

The school offers a wide variety of Physical Educational opportunities including football, netball, hockey, rounders, tag rugby, golf, cricket, tennis, volley ball, dodgeball, athletics, cross country, gymnastics and dance.  We have an extensive range of sports, lunch time and after schools clubs. We regularly compete in inter-school events and competitions within the Rib Valley Consortium and local Catholic Schools.

Currently, Reception to Year Five have swimming lessons each year.

During their residential trip to Norfolk, Year Five and Six children take part in a variety of outdoor adventure activities to develop individual and team building skills.

The school receives additional Sports Premium funding from the Government to enhance the delivery of Physical Education through the use of specialist coaches and general improvement of sports equipment and facilities.  More detail can be found under the Statutory Requirements tab, Sports Premium.

PSHE (PERSONAL, HEALTH, SOCIAL EDUCATION):

At St Thomas’ we use the overview planning of the PSHE Association (PSHE Education Programme of Study Key Stages One to Five).  This teaches through three core themes: Health and Wellbeing, Relationships and Living in the Wider World.  This programme is supplemented with resources from the SEAL (Social Emotional Aspects of Learning).   We also provide an age appropriate Sex and Relationship Education programme to Key Stage One and Two children delivered within the context of our Catholic ethos (parents do have the option to withdraw their children from these lessons).  In addition to our Drugs Education programme, we help children to become aware of their personal safety including E-Safety; water, fire and road safety and stranger danger.

Within the teaching of PSHE and throughout the broader curriculum, we help children understand the importance of British values.  The principles of democracy are developed through engaging children in group/class decision making activities including School Council / Pupil Voice.  An understanding of the Rule of Law is developed through class / school rules (Golden Rules) which are regularly discussed and reinforced with pupils with clear consequences for non adherence.  Older children will become more aware of the Rule of Law in society and the PCSO / attendance at Crucial Crew is used to reinforce this.  We teach children to respect each other’s individual rights developing mutual respect and tolerance for all.

We use various outside agencies, including the School Nurse and PCSO to support the teaching of these areas of the curriculum.