We aim for our children to make progress, be happy and be successful citizens of society. We are developing a knowledge-rich curriculum that is designed to strengthen their retrieval of ‘powerful knowledge’. We aim to prioritise opportunities to recall what has been learned.
Our curriculum is based on the National Curriculum. We are developing our curriculum with the aim that we not only meet but exceed the requirements of the national curriculum in providing our pupils with a knowledge-rich education to ensure their success as they move into KS3.
The new English curriculum (2014) states the skills that children need to be able to read and write successfully. As it states the different genre the children should read, we have linked these to the written genre the children will use to develop their skills. To ensure the children are given opportunities to read and write across the curriculum, the subject leaders have worked together to link foundation subject units of work to the English curriculum for each year group.
Phonics is taught at St Thomas' through the Read, Write Inc. scheme introduced across the school in September 2016. The Fresh Start element of the scheme is used as an intervention in Year 5 and 6.
Children are given many planned opportunities to read, including whole class reading, silent reading, one-to-one reading, guided reading, reciprocal reading and paired reading. They all also have the opportunity to visit the school libraries, giving them access to a wide range of books, both fiction and non-fiction, a range of comics, e-readers and audio books.
Both home/school readers and guided reading sets, are colour banded to ensure progression both within each year group and across keystages. The children read books from a range a publishers to give them breadth and a greater choice of reading materials to promote enjoyment. Our children also take part in regular guided reading sessions to develop reading and comprehension skills.
Maths at St. Thomas’ CE Primary School has primarily focussed on preparing students to meet the demands of the new National Curriculum, now used in its entirety across all year groups.
On the advice of Jane Jones, the OFSTED mathematics lead, we are teaching a mastery curriculum, concentrating on three main areas of study, in the following order: 1. Place value and number; 2. Calculations; 3. Fractions. The concept of the mastery curriculum works on the proviso that the majority of children work within expected levels for their year group before the next objective is taught. As the majority of mathematics relies heavily upon students’ knowledge of the aforementioned areas of study, classes will work at their required pace through these areas, incorporating as many inter-mathematical links to geometry, measurement, statistics, algebra and ratio. When all the 3 main areas of the curriculum have been taught, teachers will specifically teach each of the remaining areas, incorporating as much revision of place value, calculation and fractions as possible.
In order to facilitate the teaching of the above areas of mathematical study, a teach, practise, apply model has been adopted throughout the school. Children are initially pre-assessed towards the chosen objective. This informs the teacher as to which group they need to be allocated. The teach group work directed being taught all the progressive skills and fluency needed to achieve this objective without aide. As children demonstrate to the teacher that they have understood all the key concepts, they are moved to the practise group. The practise group afford children the opportunity to show they can use the skills independently. On successful completion of these activities, teachers will then move children to the apply group in which they complete more unusual problems and activities aimed to broaden and stretch their ability to apply their skills and understanding in a myriad of situations, problems and tasks. It is in this final grouping children can fully demonstrate their mastery of the objective. A post learning assessment is delivered only when the teacher feels the majority of the class are now working within the expectations of their given year group.
Upon completion of all objectives within an area of study (e.g. place value and number), the children sit a test incorporating questions, reasoning tasks and problems based on all the objectives they have been taught in this area. This further informs teacher assessment.
Children who are deemed to have not understood an objective sufficiently are targeted through interventions conducted and set up by their class/year group teachers and teaching assistants.
To enable staff to deliver this approach, appropriate resources have been bought and are currently being lined up for purchase. Resources to assist assessment, reasoning and problem solving have been purchased for each group. A maths specialist from Number Fun, Dave Godfrey, has delivered a full day’s training to the maths team and to NQTs about how to teach calculation. He later delivered a training session to all staff to enable us to better understand the concept of mastery and what it looks like.
From the training received, the school would like to further purchase Number Fun’s Visual Calculation Policy and Concept of Number Policy. This would enhance the understanding of students, staff and parents regarding place value and calculation progression within St. Thomas’. It also leads into the next phase of development for the subject in which the notion of a child’s concrete understanding of these is supported using relevant and appropriate tactiles to support their understanding and progression towards the abstract. So far, the maths team are auditing all the manipulatives currently in school and then seeking to resources each year group accordingly. Training on how to fully incorporate and use effectively the year group’s newly acquired selection of hands-on resources will the be delivered and developed.
Plans to further raise the standard and status of maths around school will involve re-marking of the playground and walls to enable classes and children at break times to play mathematical games. A ‘guesstimation’ station will be set up and a weekly draw done to further children’s recognition of maths outside the classroom.
Religious Education is a main taught subject,aiming to provide children with knowledge and understanding of the nature of religious beliefs and practices. More information on the Worship page, click here.
The children will be taught computing using 2Simples' Purple Mash scheme. It is supplemented in areas including: e-safety and programming with an individual programme to ensure full coverage of the requirements.
The e-safety element of computing will be taught regularly in each year group to ensure the children are aware and safe when using the computers and internet.
History provides a means of exploring, appreciating and understanding the world and where we have come from, whilst inspiring their curiosity to know more about the past. History allows pupils to gain a better understanding of Britain, its past and that of the wider world. It contributes to the cultural, social, spiritual and moral life of children as they acquire knowledge of understanding about the complexity of people’s lives, the process of change, the diversity of societies and relationships between different groups as well as their own identity and the challenges of their time. History is the subject in which pupils learn the skills to ask perceptive questions, think critically, weigh up evidence, sift arguments, and develop perspective and judgement. It is essential to teach children to become historians so that they understand that the importance of where mankind has come from and how the world has been shaped.
Geography provides a means of exploring, appreciating and understanding the world in which we live and how it has evolved. Geography explores the relationship between the Earth and its people through the study of place, space and environment. We aim to carefully decide the knowledge, skills and understanding we want our children to know and think how best to achieve these.
Art and Design/Design and Technology
The arts curriculum is used to help children explore or make connections in other subjects.
In using this approach the children receive a cross curricular approach to learning. On occasions where objectives are not met through the cross-curriculum, stand-alone lessons are used. The key skills of progression show the EYFS early learning goals to specific skills for each KS1 and KS2 year group. The key areas are generating ideas, skills, evaluating work and knowledge. We also have an artist in residence that works alongside teachers in lessons to ensure that there are opportunities to share and develop good practice in teachers’ knowledge, skills and understanding of arts and cultural delivery.
Music is taught using the Charanga scheme throughout school. Years 3 to 5 have weekly strings lessons provided by our local music hub. Each term, a different year group continues enhancing their skills from the previous year in order to show progression.
In each year, the children follow a rich and varied programme of Physical Education and we are proud of our provision. We employ specialist sports coaches to work alongside our teachers to improve physical literacy. We offer numerous extracurricular clubs throughout the year. Currently, we are offering football, multi-sports, kurling, table tennis, climbing, martial arts, dance, gymnastics and archery clubs. We have developed links with clubs such as Lancashire Cricket Club, Werneth Cricket Club and the Mahdlo centre. We have interschool competitions throughout the year and we play team games against other schools in the West Oldham cluster on a almost weekly basis. We take Year 3 and Year 4 for swimming lessons.
We have achieved the Gold Sainsburys Sports Mark Award.
(Personal, Social, Health, Citizenship and Economic education)
PSHCE contributes to the schools statutory responsibility to safeguard children. Teaching children how to keep safe, how to stay safe and to also take responsibility for their own and others safety. This teaches children to recognise dangers and harmful situations.
Healthy Relationships will be taught through the Barnado's scheme of work called 'Real Love Rocks'.
Sessions are held to support the development of critical thinking, empathy, increased awareness and understanding of difference and diversity, the consequences of actions for self and others and a deeper knowledge of cultural issues in the wider world. These are done through the Sophie Lancaster Foundation
Sex and Relationship Education
Sex and Relationship Education intends to contribute to the promotion of the spiritual, moral, cultural, mental and physical development of pupils at school and of society and preparing pupils for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of adult life. More guidance can be found here
In Year 5 the School Nurse, who is known to the children, visits school to talk to the children about their hygiene. This is continued in year 6 with a further talk about personal development.
Age phases in school
The Foundation Stage, which consists of Two Year Olds, Nursery and Reception, takes children from age 2 to 5. The Reception Class has 60 places, Nursery can offer up to 78 part-time places and two Year Old Provision 24 part time places. All the Foundation Stage children work towards the Early Learning Goals following the Curriculum Guidance for the Foundation Stage. We are fortunate to have skilled staff, with a variety of qualifications, some of whom speak more than one language. The children are provided with a wide range of activities focussing on first-hand and practical experiences. Our aim is for the children to develop their independence, grow in self-esteem and be happy and willing learners.
The Infants, or Key Stage One, is made up of four classes .These classes consist of two Year 1 and two Year 2 classes. The children build upon their learning in the foundation stage through practical, first hand experiences and more formal tasks. The children are taught the national curriculum and primary strategy, applying new skills in all curriculum areas. At the end of Year Two, teachers formally asses the children’s progress through the Key Stage One SAT’s.
The Lower Juniors mark the beginning of Key Stage Two. There are four registration groups, two Year 3 and two Year 4 classes. The children build upon their experiences from Key Stage One becoming more independent and confident learners in a more structured environment. They are taught either in their registration group or in age related sets. The children’s progress is monitored and assessed throughout and formally tested using GL assessment through the year. The Year 4 children attend weekly swimming lessons on Thursdays; Year 3 attend swimming lessons on Tuesday in their registration group.
In the Upper Juniors is made up of two Year 5 and two Year 6 classes. The children are expected to be very independent learners who are able to make links, and build upon, all that they have learned in previous years. Wherever possible, links are made between the parts of the curriculum that we teach,. At the end of the key stage the children take their standard assessment tests, in common with all of Year 6 children throughout the country. We prepare the children carefully so that they are confident and enthusiastic to move on to the next stage of their education at secondary school.
English as an Additional Language Support
Most children at St. Thomas' have English as an additional language. We are given limited extra resources to assist their English acquisition. We employ Bilingual Assistants and an H.S.L.O. The children take pride in their bilingual skills and we actively encourage them in this. The main languages spoken by the children are Bangla, Punjabi, Urdu and English. Portugese, Czech, German and Malayam are also spoken.
There are usually staff available to translate for those parents who require help in Bangla and Urdu.
In line with the ethos of the school, we take care of all our children, but there are always those who have extra needs. There is a teacher in charge of special needs and regular meetings are held to plan work for individual children. We also have several children who have individual support plans. A teacher who is specially qualified or support assistants work with those children who have been identified as needing extra support. We recognise our children in school who are gifted and talented in all subjects and ensure there are opportunities for these pupils within school.
All children are expected to do homework. The programme varies according to the age and needs of the child. Reading, learning tables, spellings, vocabulary and poetry are regular tasks. Older children may be given work to complete or a task connected to their class topic. It is helpful if parents ask children to tell them about their homework and support them, where possible. Children will bring home reading books and there is space in their records for parent comments.
If you require any further information please contact school.