Curriculum

The curriculum embraces four stages: Foundation Stage (3-5), Key Stage 1 (5-7), Lower Key Stage 2 (7-9) and Upper Key Stage 2 (9-11). We plan and develop the curriculum so that, as they progress through the school, the children’s experiences will match their particular needs and stages of development.

Information about the Foundation Stage curriculum can be found under the Foundation Stage section of the website.

In Key Stage 1 and 2 we have worked to create and develop a stimulating and creative curriculum which embraces the children’s needs and interests. Individuals and groups with specific needs are identified early so that work can be appropriately differentiated to support their needs. Learning is always personalised to the needs of individual learners, builds on previous knowledge and designed to stretch and extend individual learning.

Teaching Strategies

Individual teachers will adopt a variety of approaches, including whole-class work, group, individual work and, as appropriate, inter-year work. We base our teaching strategies for the foundation subjects on the Cornerstones approach which is divided into 4 main stages; Engage, Develop, Innovate and Express. We believe the delivery style of facilitating a child’s learning enabling them to complete a learning project, empowers all types of learners providing the opportunity for them to access the curriculum through the variety of different approaches used. This embeds our belief that children learn most when they are communicating with each other. Much staff and pupil training has been devoted to the use of Kagan structures which we are finding very beneficial to structuring our paired and grouped work in particular.

Curriculum in Key Stage 1 and 2

The way in which we teach our creative curriculum will change in accordance with the new requirements of the New Curriculum from September 2014. Foundation subjects will be taught through the Cornerstones Individual Learning Projects (ILP’s), which as stated above, have 4 distinct sections. Each ILP is completely cross-curricular with Literacy entirely embedded in the topic, and every year group will cover 6 ILP’s per year. The new materials are motivating, engaging and exciting – for adults and children as they provide engaging and purposeful contexts for their learning to take place. Wherever appropriate, links are made to this theme, however if a particular concept needs to be taught discretely this will be done too especially in the core subjects of Maths and Science. Cross-curriculum themes are carefully selected to ensure that each child experiences the appropriate range of coverage and objectives in each Key Stage. We are developing a two year rolling programme.

Cross Curricular Themes for Year 1-6:

Please see Curriculum Map for KS1, LKS2 and UKS2 Foundation Subjects posted under the Documents and Links section ‘Long Term Curriculum Map Cycle A’.

Partnership with Families

We very much value the partnership we have in learning with families helping to develop children’s learning at home too. To further support this we hold Meet the Teacher evenings at the start of each academic year where parents and carers have an opportunity to meet the professionals who care for their children, find out the programme of learning for the year, routines for the week and also ways in which they can support with homework. We have also invested in an online Pupil world for maths which the children will have access to in and outside of school. This pupil world enables an online homework to be set and is complete with help videos for parents ensuring consistency in the approaches taught in school and reinforced at home. As well as this the more formal Parents Evenings are held twice a year in the Autumn and Spring and a written report is sent home towards the end of the Summer term. We also hold Learning Events which are open afternoons where the children share with parents the learning they have been taking part in with an opportunity to teach the adults. Children also perform in a class assembly three times a year and hold a prayer service which parents are encouraged to attend. As well as these more formal opportunities, we adopt an open doors policy and always encourage parents and carers to see us regularly with any questions or concerns more informally.

 

Website and Apps to support learning at home

Early Years
  Websites Apps
Maths   Little digits
English Phonicsplay.co.uk Pocket phonic
Others Ictgames.com CBeebies Playtime

The beginners bible

Finger paint

Kids doodle

Pic Collage

 

KS1
  Websites
Maths http://www.topmarks.co.uk/maths-games/5-7-years/counting

http://www.ictgames.com/

English http://www.phonicsplay.co.uk/freeIndex.htm

https://www.oxfordowl.co.uk/

http://www.topmarks.co.uk/english-games/5-7-years/letters-and-sounds

Science http://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/ks1/science/
Others www.tesiboard.co.uk

http://www.bbc.co.uk/education/levels/z3g4d2p

http://resources.woodlands-junior.kent.sch.uk/

 

KS2
  Websites
Maths https://uk.ixl.com/

www.wmnet.org.uk

http://www.topmarks.co.uk/

English http://www.storymuseum.org.uk/

http://www.crickweb.co.uk/ks2literacy.html

RE http://catholicmom.com/

https://www.biblegateway.com/

http://request.org.uk/

Science http://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/ks2/science/
Others

 

 

Subjects

The subjects we teach in Key Stage 1 and 2 are:

Religious Education (RE)

Personal Social Health and Citizenship Education (PSHCE),

English,

Mathematics,

Science,

Computing,

History,

Geography,

Art,

Design Technology (DT),

Music,

Physical Education

Modern Foreign Languages – French (MFL)

 

ENGLISH

We aim to encourage our pupils to be confident, articulate people using speech, writing and reading to the best of their ability so that they are able to communicate with others at different levels. Pupils take part in daily Literacy lessons based on the National Curriculum and wherever possible, a cross-curricular approach is taken to make links with topic, Science and RE. This enables children to master and apply the skills that they have learnt in a variety of contexts. We also deliver learning sessions focusing on Literacy skills which encompass: reading, grammar, Phonics/spelling and handwriting.

Speaking and Listening

As part of their learning, children have opportunities for talking and listening to teachers, other adults and their peers in a variety of environments and situations. Children are encouraged to verbalise their ideas and work collaboratively in groups, during discussions, drama, hot seating and presenting work, so speaking and listening becomes integral to every part of learning.

Reading

At St. Thomas More, we continue with the good example you have shown your children in their early years and enjoy sharing the love of books and reading with children. In the Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1 we also focus on phonics which supports early reading and writing. Each child has a reading record book which parents are encouraged to fill in regularly when they have heard their child read at home (as children progress through the school the challenge in the reading record book increases and it becomes the pupil’s responsibility). Children in Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1 use a range of different published schemes to support the learning of reading including: Read, Write, Inc; Dandelion books, Oxford Reading Tree and Project X. In Key Stage 1 and 2 children take part in regular group reading sessions (guided reading) where they all read the same text and develop different reading comprehension skills. We believe that Good Readers make Good Writers and have developed Whole class Shared Reading sessions which happen regularly as part of Literacy lessons. This not only promotes an enthusiasm among the children for reading for pleasure but wherever possible provides cross-curricular links to the class topic. These lessons support the development of higher level thinking and comprehension skills as well as helping to embed the understanding of grammar and punctuation. Also, wherever possible, links between reading and writing are encouraged, to provide children with a stimulus and inspiration for their own creative writing.

Writing

Pupils will be encouraged to write in a manner which is appropriate bearing in mind the audience and the importance of presenting their thoughts and ideas in a clear, concise manner. The writer will acquire a distinct style of writing which will show due regard for spelling, syntax, punctuation and handwriting. Where a storytelling approach is used, children learn stories and non-fiction texts. Through a range of activities including drama they embed the text and become able to tell it independently. This allows them to gain experience and understanding of a range of language features, sentence, structures and higher level vocabulary. From here the children use the known story and innovate it; make some changes to the original to create their own story. Through this process they are actively composing, talking and writing at a high level. The final stage is to take the language features, plot structures, etc. that they have been taught and use them to compose their own story from scratch.

Cursive Writing

Please click here for advice on cursive writing. 

Please click here for our

Phonics

Synthetic Phonics and Spelling are taught in Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1 through Letters and Sounds and the follow on programme Support for Spelling. It aims to build children’s speaking and listening skills in their own right as well as to prepare children for learning to read by developing their phonic knowledge and skills. It sets out a detailed and systematic programme for teaching phonic skills for children with a national expectation of starting by the age of five, with the aim of them becoming fluent readers by age seven. We begin teaching synthetic phonics at the age of 3 on admission to the Nursery.

There are six overlapping phases which are summarized below:

Phase Phonic Knowledge and Skills
Phase One (Nursery/Reception) Activities are divided into seven aspects, including environmental sounds, instrumental sounds, body sounds, rhythm and rhyme, alliteration, voice sounds and finally oral blending and segmenting.
Phase Two (Reception) up to 6 weeks Learning 19 letters of the alphabet and one sound for each. Blending sounds together to make words. Segmenting words into their separate sounds. Beginning to read simple captions.
Phase Three (Reception) up to 12 weeks The remaining 7 letters of the alphabet, one sound for each. Graphemes such as ch, oo, th representing the remaining phonemes not covered by single letters. Reading captions, sentences and questions. On completion of this phase, children will have learnt the “simple code”, i.e. one grapheme for each phoneme in the English language.
Phase Four (Reception) 4 to 6 weeks No new grapheme-phoneme correspondences are taught in this phase. Children learn to blend and segment longer words with adjacent consonants, e.g. swim, clap, jump.
Phase Five (Throughout Year 1) Now we move on to the “complex code”. Children learn more graphemes for the phonemes which they already know, plus different ways of pronouncing the graphemes they already know.
Phase Six (Throughout Year 2 and beyond) Working on spelling, including prefixes and suffixes, doubling and dropping letters etc.

 

MATHEMATICS

Mathematics teaching is wherever possible linked to real-life situations such as shopping and is linked to the ILP being studied so that children quickly see relevance and the way in which mathematics skills are essential to our daily lives. Wherever possible, practical hands on activities are used to help children with their understanding of the more abstract signs and symbols which go with the subject. Our children follow the National Curriculum for Mathematics requirements in their daily Mathematics lessons and also have daily maths skills sessions following the concepts of Big Maths – Counting, Learn It’s, It’s Nothing New and Calculation (CLIC). This programme reinforces basic number facts, applies existing knowledge to unknown concepts and develops strategies for problem solving. The results are excellent and the barriers to Maths can be broken down. The children are regularly assessed so that any gaps in their learning are able to be plugged quickly.

They focus on the basic skills as well as having a weekly problem solving lesson where they are able to apply their learning. Children also engage in a range of Mental Maths activities and are encouraged to learn their times tables facts at home to support the learning that they do in school.

 

SCIENCE

Our Science learning is based on the National Curriculum which aims to ensure all children gain scientific knowledge and a conceptual understanding through the specific disciplines of biology, chemistry and physics. From September 2014, Evolution will be taught as a Science topic in Year 6. Wherever possible, opportunities are made to link the Science learning with the topic being studied however if necessary it is taught discretely to ensure a focus on core knowledge and key skills as well as Working Scientifically. Our aim is to make Science fun developing positive attitudes to the subject by ensuring that it is enjoyable, relevant and hands on. We use different opportunities for curriculum enrichment with visitors and visits.

 

COMPUTING

Computing is central to learning at our school as we believe that children need to use technology from a very early age to be able to succeed in the ever changing world. Pupils are taught computing both discretely and more commonly in a cross-curricular approach.

Coding is a new element on the Computing Curriculum and is being covered in all groups using exciting interactive software Espresso Coding as well as other programmes.

Computing is embedded throughout the termly topics to enhance children’s learning in other areas of the curriculum. Children regularly use tablets and laptops and have access to other digital equipment including: cameras, videos, sound recorders, microscopes and programmable toys.

All classrooms have Interactive Whiteboards and visualisers. We also have 32 pupil laptops stored in trolleys to enable them to be easily transported and used in all classes.  In addition, we now have 15 ipads and 15 Samsung galaxy tablets which the children thoroughly enjoy using to support their learning in all areas of the curriculum.

RELIGIOUS EDUCATION (RE)

As a voluntary aided Roman Catholic School the religious ethos is to be found across the whole curriculum. The aim of the school is the Christian growth of the children, not simply growth in their faith but their growing awareness of the world as a maturing Christian.

We follow the Religious Education programme from the Birmingham Diocesan Catholic Schools Commission – ‘Learning and Growing as People of God.’ The strategy enables children to explore the beliefs, values and way of life in the Catholic tradition. Through this programme we familiarise the children with the Gospel message.   We also consider wide Christian issues and learn about other religious traditions.

All children participate fully in the religious life of the school and receive instruction according to the Catholic Faith. Children attend mass in the church regularly throughout the term.   Children are prepared for the Sacraments of Reconciliation, First Communion and Confirmation by the Parish.

PERSONAL SOCIAL HEALTH & CITIZENSHIP EDUCATION (PSHCE)

We believe that PSHCE is a fundamental subject as it underpins learning in all areas of the curriculum and is the language which weaves through all aspects of school life.

Children have weekly PSHCE lessons which explore Growth Mindset helping children to understand that changing their mindset equips them to learn.

We also look at Health Education valuing the importance of a good approach to exercise and daily living both in and out of schools and are part of the Change 4 Life Initiative.

Citizenship encourages children to take a responsible role in society. Being part of the Eco Schools and Fairtrade Programme supports this learning as well as having an active child-lead school and eco council.

Through Drugs Education we educate children in the safe handling of medicinal drugs as well as the consequences of misusing substances such as alcohol, tobacco and recreational drugs.

Sex & Relationships Education is taught as part of our Religious Education programme with a view to encouraging children to respond to the gift of being created male and female, with pride, and a commitment to follow God’s plan for life and love. Parents have the right to withdraw their children from participating in this.

Gospel Virtues are also looked at in both assemblies and class. We have a two year rolling programme and this includes: courage and honesty among many others.

British Values are also taught at St Thomas More.  These are embedded into our school ethos, PSHCE and across other areas of the curriculum.  The Values of Democracy, Rule of Law, individual liberty, mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs are also referred to during Collective Worship.  To see more details click below:

HISTORY and GEOGRAPHY

History and Geography skills are always directly embedded in the termly topics being studied. Children work to develop a sense of chronology through history and of the world beyond their own locality. We always try and link the learning to children’s experiences and create a sense of wonder through the use of artefacts, visitors, visits and multi-media which we have often found stimulates children to carry out their own research.

DESIGN TECHNOLOGY (DT) and ART

Design Technology and Art skills are also linked to our termly topics. Through our Design Technology curriculum children produce designs then make simple models, structures or 2D representations of their ideas. We always encourage children to use their plans to direct their work and evaluation is seen as a key part of the learning process. Art is explored creatively and gives children a chance for self-expression and careful disciplined observation. We focus carefully on developing children’s skills in mark making and the importance of producing work to proudly share and display with others. Children in Key Stage 2 will create their own portfolio which they will build year on year, taking their sketch book with them to their next year group.

046 001 013 014

MUSIC

All our children have an opportunity to take part in Music lessons and singing practice where they explore singing, percussion and are introduced to the work of different composers and musical styles. Again, wherever possible the work is either linked to cross-curricular topics or festivals and seasons and musical skills are clearly emphasized in each lesson. Our children in Year 5 also work with the County Music Service and have a weekly lesson learning a brass instrument and individual lessons are available in a number of different instruments.

011

PHYSICAL EDUCATION (PE)

ST THOMAS MORE VISION STATEMENT FOR PE

At St Thomas More School we understand the importance Physical Education and School Sport have in developing the whole child. Our vision is to inspire a generation of children to recognise the importance of living a healthy active lifestyle through a spiritual recognition of the values of teamwork, respect, honesty, determination, passion and self-belief.

Our aim is to challenge each child to reach their full potential and a desire for lifelong participation in physical activity or competitive sport.

Our PE activities incorporate the development of games and gymnastics skills. Co-operation and team spirit are encouraged through a variety of activities. Children also explore dance lessons which often directly link to the topic they are learning or our continent focus. Our staff are highly skilled in their delivery of the PE curriculum and we also draw on expertise of coaches in the local area and link with the local secondary school. Pupils have the opportunity to take part in sporting activities and competitions with local schools and we also have tournaments between the different houses in our school.

Copyright © St Thomas More Catholic Primary School |   Primary School ICT & Site by 123ICT |   Log In