At Thornaby Church of England School our vision statement ‘Walking and Learning in faith in the footsteps of Jesus’ together with our core Christian values of love, perseverance, hope and forgiveness form the basis of the whole curriculum, both explicit and implicit that we offer the children in our care. We believe that our children need to feel safe and loved in order for them to thrive and learn. We achieve this through our distinctive Christian ethos and the support and care our staff all provide for every child and their family.
We believe the development and internalisation of these four core values of love, perseverance, hope and forgiveness are vital for our children’s future. In the uncertainty of the next century they will need to be able to demonstrate and live out these values throughout their entire lives in order to develop as British and Global citizens who will have a positive impact on society as a whole and in the community in which they live. We aim to prepare our children for that future.
We aim to give children experiences of the world around them through these values, enriching their vocabulary and understanding. Our curriculum is about engagement of pupils in their learning, developing their knowledge, skills and understanding, and putting these into practice.
Our intent is that our curriculum meets the needs of our pupils ensuring that they have a love of learning and are ready for the next stage in their education. We believe that an effective curriculum offers knowledge, skills, understanding and progression. Our curriculum is designed with these principles in mind: it is personalised, reflecting the background and experience of our pupils; it is outward facing, setting learning in global contexts wherever possible; it celebrates diversity to emphasise unity; it is rooted in authenticity and context so that learning is relevant.
We use Cornerstones themed curriculum as a basis for learning which focuses on the four elements of Engage, Develop, Innovate, Express. This provides the children with the experiences/opportunities /WOWs that make them inquisitive learners who think critically and creatively. They take an active part in their education. They do. They think. They remember. They take pride in what they have done. It matters to them and to us. It makes a difference.
We ensure our children feel valued and respect difference. They are tolerant. They develop empathy and are well mannered. They are compassionate and know what it means to be part of a community. They build resilience and can maintain relationships.
We define curriculum as the totality of a child’s experience at Thornaby Church of England Primary School ensuring that they are secondary school ready. This includes not only what but also how the child learns.
All stakeholders are part of the development of the curriculum design. To ensure curriculum quality we have addressed the following:
• Developing sequential learning where pupils know more and can do more
• Local context and filling the gaps from pupils’ backgrounds
• Focus on subject disciplines even when topics are taught
• Considering depth and breadth and curriculum content
• Seeing the curriculum as the progression model
• Having a clear purpose for assessment
• A mastery approach, particularly within mathematics
• Listening to the pupil voice
• Reviewing and evaluating curriculum design
• Clear curriculum leadership and ownership
At Thornaby Church of England Primary School, we design a curriculum which is ambitious for all children. We recognise that not only is each child an individual but also each class and each member of staff have unique interests, skills and talents. Our curriculum is designed flexibly to meet the needs of these groups.
Knowledge underpins and enables the application of skill. We strive for children to learn skills alongside knowledge, ensuring that both explicitly are developed. At Thornaby Church of England Primary School we see knowledge and skills as intertwined. The curriculum is about how we can ensure that pupils can achieve both knowledge and skill. We do this by having an emphasis on cross-curricular teaching. We believe that this is important for making the curriculum relevant and meaningful to pupils and for putting knowledge into context.
We believe it is our responsibility to develop the literacy and numeracy skills for all our pupils. Using the Early Years Foundation Stage Strategy and National Curriculum as a basis, age-appropriate progression in knowledge and skills for each core and foundation subject has been identified. This has been mapped out to ensure coverage of identified knowledge and appropriate skills is secured across KS1 and KS2. We carefully select the sequence of when, what and how knowledge is taught and subject leaders work actively to review this aspect regularly.
Two year cycle
We have developed a two year rolling programme based on Cornerstones themes that incorporates knowledge and skills in a progressive and sequential way. As such the curriculum content is grouped into a series of units. Each unit begins with ‘Engage’ -a WOW or experience – designed to engage the children and frame the learning journey through to identified outcomes.
During the learning journey, a range of objectives in several curriculum subjects are addressed. This content is sequenced through the ‘develop’ stage to ensure that components of knowledge lead to conceptual learning. This analysis is supported by strong subject knowledge from staff and aims for both depth of learning and breadth of coverage. Opportunities to practise knowledge and skills through ‘innovate’ are built into the curriculum to secure deep understanding of each discipline. The curriculum planning ensures a layering of knowledge and concepts so that all pupils can make progress. At the culmination of each project ‘express’ allows children to embed and share their knowledge and skills. The length of each project depends upon the identified learning and outcomes.