An ambitious and engaging curriculum has been designed, as set out in the National Curriculum for all of our children as they journey through St Thomas’. At its heart, our aim is to develop curiosity, build knowledge and develop the skills and understanding of the world around them. Through a broad and rich curriculum, full of experiences and encouragement, our children will develop their character and leave us prepared for a future of hope and possibility.
Through our research of meta-cognition and pedagogy, we know how children learn but we also know that children forget. Therefore, our curriculum is sequenced in a way that makes learning stick. We believe that children require concepts as they are the ‘hanging baskets for knowledge’ (Mary Myatt) and allows children to build schema. By providing a context for learning and a purposeful curriculum, children learn to build upon conceptual content that prepares them to transform from novice to experts as they secure substantive and disciplinary knowledge.
Our spiral curriculum revisits concepts to ensure coherence and depth marries knowledge and skills, which have now been introduced and implemented across the school. Through these concepts, children will make connections as they build their knowledge and will be provided with opportunities to create links and retrieve prior learning so it ‘sticks’ and can be remembered.
Through our pedagogy of a knowledge-engaged curriculum, children explore ‘Big questions’ in each subject. These form the entry point for new learning and are then supplemented with subsequent questions as the unit progresses. Classroom environments support these by displaying key knowledge as it builds. Children are exposed to wide ranging vocabulary within each subject discipline (BAT- 1. Basic words, 2. Adventurous Vocabulary and 3. Technical Vocabulary) to expand and develop disciplinary knowledge within subjects and make connections.
Throughout a unit of learning, all children will have opportunities to engage in experiences to enhance their learning, and further develop their knowledge and understanding. This could be as simple as sharing a high-quality text, school trip, a visitor into school or a practical activity or experience led by school staff.
We recognise the importance of quality texts and oracy in our curriculum pedagogy. When referring to research, we identify with Dan Willingham, who suggests that the ‘brain privileges story’ which means they are remembered differently to other resources. Allowing children time to speak, formulate and share their learning is also an important part of our curriculum implementation.
As a result of our strong Christian ethos that permeates through our school family, our core values (Respect, Resilience, Fellowship, Trust and Compassion) equip our children with learning behaviours which enable them to be successful in our school and our wider community. Reflection and Restorative Practice is threaded through our curriculum offer. Our children understand that hard-work and resilience improves ability and outcomes.
Our assessment and reporting system includes:
- Ongoing assessment by the class teacher throughout each lesson, through questioning, observation and dialogue to inform next steps in teaching. Children knowing what they are being asked to learn and more importantly why.
- ‘Mind -maps of Knowledge’ are used for prior assessment to establish existing knowledge and are built upon over the unit of work to answer the ‘Big question’ and these are then used as a retrieval tool to secure children’s learning.
- Work is assessed both by verbal and written feedback (pupil, peer and teacher).
In addition to the above, we will have three 'formal' assessment points in the year. We will use NFER tests for reading and mathematics, as these will provide us with a standardised score to tell us how much progress children are making and if they are on track to meet National Curriculum expectations for their age range. Furthermore, tests will also allow teachers to identify next steps in learning.
Teacher assessment is used for writing across the school. In Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 Reading, Writing and Maths are teacher assessed.
Our children will have developed their character, confidence and curiosity. Through encouragement they will have built knowledge, skills and Christian values will enable them to get ahead in education and life. They will know more, remember more, do more and enjoy more and deal with challenge courageously. They will have hope for themselves and others and 'live life to its fullest'.