Art and Design
I am an artist.
You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.
Maya Angelou, author, poet, civil rights activist
At St Thomas à Becket, we believe in fostering an open-ended exploration of creativity. We want it to stimulate imagination and creativity and involve children in a range of visual, tactile and sensory experiences, which enable them to communicate what they see, think and feel through the use of the elements of colour, texture, form and pattern. At St Thomas à Becket, Art and Design promotes careful observation and an appreciation of the world around us. We believe the role of the teacher is to introduce key skills, materials and ideas to the pupils in such a way that each pupil can then explore his or her own creativity. By creating a safe and nurturing environment, pupils are encouraged to take creative risks and to learn from the journey, rather than head towards a pre-defined end result. Children explore ideas and meanings through studying the work of artists and designers. Through learning about the roles and functions of art, they can explore the impact it has had on contemporary life and on different periods and cultures.
I am a digital citizen.
Computational Thinking is everyday life.
At St Thomas à Becket, our computing curriculum will enable children to embrace and utilise new technology in a socially responsible and safe way. We want our pupils to have the knowledge and skills to operate in the 21st century workplace and to know the career opportunities that will be open to them. Not only do we want them to be digitally literate and competent users of technology but also to develop creativity, resilience and problem-solving skills as ‘computational thinkers’. We want our pupils to realise their role as members of a wider global community and as responsible digital citizens.
Design and Technology
I am a design technologist.
“Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.”
Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple, Inc.
At St Thomas à Becket, we value Design Technology. Design and technology is an inspiring, rigorous and practical subject. Using creativity and imagination, pupils design and make products that solve real and relevant problems within a variety of contexts, considering their own and others’ needs, wants and values. They acquire a broad range of subject knowledge and draw on disciplines such as mathematics, science, engineering, computing and art. Pupils learn how to take risks, becoming resourceful, innovative, enterprising and capable citizens. Through the evaluation of past and present design and technology, they develop a critical understanding of its impact on daily life and the wider world. High-quality design and technology education makes an essential contribution to the creativity, culture, wealth and well-being of the nation.
English - Reading
I am a reader.
The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you will go.
At St Thomas à Becket, we celebrate and promote reading across the school. We see it as one of the integral foundations in a child’s learning, allowing them to access a world of literature and positively impacting their life chances. Additionally, we value reading for pleasure as an invaluable tool for experiencing worlds outside our own and improving mental wellbeing. Through exposing children to a variety of high-quality texts throughout the school, we endeavour to enable them to become lifelong readers. We also recognise the power of books as a source of language, which we intend for our children to absorb to positively influence their writing. Through our teaching of reading, our children become inquisitive and thoughtful readers who can ask questions about what they read and share their joy of texts with others.
- Kestrel Class Reading Spine
- Chough Class Reading Spine
- Skylark Class Reading Spine
- St Tom's Poetry Spine
- Reading Milestones
- Speaking and Listening Milestones
- English National Curriculum
English - Writing
I am a writer.
You can make anything by writing.
At St Thomas à Becket, our writing curriculum is dedicated to encouraging all children to become passionate, highly competent writers by the end of their time with us. We place a high value on talk right from the first days of a child’s journey in EYFS; immersing them in a wealth of vocabulary through quality interactions so that they can speak and communicate their ideas articulately. This then leads to the ability to express their thoughts, ideas and emotions through writing. As the children move through our school, they learn the conventions of writing through a robust spelling, punctuation and grammar curriculum. This knowledge empowers them to improve the quality of their writing and manipulate their language confidently and powerfully, with the genre, purpose and audience in mind. High quality texts, short films and poems are woven into our writing curriculum throughout the school, motivating our children to become inspired by the texts they read and demonstrate a passion for writing.
I play and I learn.
"Play is the highest form of research."
At St Thomas à Becket, our Early Years Curriculum aims to lay a secure foundation for future academic success, rooted in a thirst for knowledge and a love of learning. We intend for our children to move into Year One as happy, confident, resilient, and skillful communicators with an innate curiosity about the world around them. However, we know that to be able to do this, children must feel safe and secure in our setting. Therefore, it is of primary importance to us to build positive relationships with our children right from the beginning of their time with us. It is our goal that children come to school each day filled with hope and joy as each new day brings a wealth of possibilities and opportunities for them to take risks, ask questions, make mistakes, share their feelings and grow. We aim to build on the wealth of knowledge and skills children already have when they join us and to work in collaboration with parents and carers to encourage independent, enthusiastic learners who thrive and reach their full potential throughout their educational journey.
- EYFS Curriculum Overview
- Continuous Provision Skills Progression
- EYFS Framework
- Communication and language
- Physical development
- Personal, social and emotional development
- Understanding the world
- Expressive arts and design
- Vocabulary spine
I am a linguist.
To learn a language is to have one more window from which to look at the world.
The intent is that all pupils will develop a genuine interest and positive curiosity about foreign languages, finding them enjoyable and stimulating. Learning a second language will also offer pupils the opportunity to explore relationships between language and identity, develop a deeper understanding of other cultures and the world around them with a better awareness of self, others and cultural differences. The intention is that they will be working towards becoming life-long language learners.
I am a geographer.
"Geography underpins a lifelong “conversation” about the earth as the home of humankind."
At St Thomas à Becket School, we want our geography curriculum to inspire in pupils a curiosity and fascination about the world and its people that will remain with them for the rest of their lives. We want to equip pupils with knowledge about diverse places, people, resources and natural and human environments, together with a deep understanding of the Earth’s key physical and human processes. As our pupils progress, their growing knowledge about the world will help them to deepen their understanding of the interaction between physical and human processes, and of the formation and use of landscapes and environments. Geographical knowledge, understanding and skills provide the frameworks and approaches that explain how the Earth’s features are shaped, interconnected and change over time.
I am a historian.
“A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots.”
At St Thomas a Becket Primary School, we have shaped our history curriculum to inspire a curiosity within our children to discover more about the past and the past’s legacies in the present. Our sequential approach to learning over the three milestones ensures that children have a clear framework for organising their understanding of the past chronologically. We aim to provide our children with a rich and diverse history curriculum, which, equips them with a coherent knowledge and understanding about Britain’s past and that of the wider world. We want to inspire children to think like historians, to work with evidence, argue for their own conclusions, and learn to distinguish between historical facts and the way people interpret them. We want our pupils to understand 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.
I am a mathematician.
"Without mathematics, there’s nothing you can do. Everything around you is mathematics. Everything around you is numbers."
Shakuntala Devi, Indian writer and mental calculator
At St Thomas a Becket, our Mathematics curriculum introduces children to concepts, skills and thinking strategies that are essential in everyday life and support learning across the curriculum. It helps children make sense of the numbers, patterns and shapes they see in the world around them, offers ways of handling data in an increasingly digital world and makes a crucial contribution to their development as ambitious learners. We want our children to be confident to look for patterns, use logical reasoning, suggest solutions and be resilient in trying out different approaches to problems. We want to equip them with mathematical communication skills, to be confident to explore and explain their ideas using symbols, diagrams and spoken and written language. Through a mastery approach to teaching maths, we want our maths curriculum to stimulate curiosity, foster creativity and equip children with the skills they need to flourish at secondary school and beyond.
I am a musician.
“Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and life to everything.”
At St Thomas à Becket Primary School, we believe children deserve a broad and ambitious music curriculum which is both rich in skills and knowledge. We hope to foster a life-long love of music within every child by encouraging them to not only listen and respond to a diverse range of music styles and genres but to find their voices and become singers, performers and composers too.
As children progress through the school, they will increasingly understand and explore how music is created and communicated through the interrelated dimensions of music: pitch, duration, dynamics, tempo, timbre, texture and structure.
We will help them build the foundations for a lifelong appreciation of, and participation in, the power of making music.
Phonics and Early Reading
I am a reader.
The journey of a lifetime starts with the turning of a page.
Essential Letters and Sounds (ELS) is our chosen Phonics programme. The aim of ELS is ‘Getting all children to read well, quickly’. It teaches children to read by identifying the phonemes (the smallest unit of sound) and graphemes (the written version of the sound) within words and using these to read words.
Children begin learning Phonics at the very beginning of Reception and it is explicitly taught every day during a dedicated slot on the timetable. Children are given the knowledge and the skills to then apply this independently.
Throughout the day, children will use their growing Phonics knowledge to support them in other areas of the curriculum and will have many opportunities to practise their reading. This includes reading 1:1 with a member of staff, with a partner during paired reading and as a class.
Children continue daily Phonics lessons in Year 1 and further through the school to ensure all children become confident, fluent readers.
We follow the ELS progression and sequence. This allows our children to practise their existing phonic knowledge whilst building their understanding of the ‘code’ of our language GPCs (Grapheme Phoneme Correspondence). As a result, our children can tackle any unfamiliar words that they might discover.
Children experience the joy of books and language whilst rapidly acquiring the skills they need to become fluent independent readers and writers. ELS teaches relevant, useful and ambitious vocabulary to support each child’s journey to becoming fluent and independent readers.
We begin by teaching the single letter sounds before moving to diagraphs ‘sh’ (two letters spelling one sound), trigraphs ‘igh’ (three letters spelling one sound) and quadgraphs ‘eigh’ (four letters spelling one sound).
We teach children to:
- Decode (read) by identifying each sound within a word and blending them together to read fluently
- Encode (write) by segmenting each sound to write words accurately.
The structure of ELS lessons allows children to know what is coming next, what they need to do, and how to achieve success. This makes it easier for children to learn the GPCs we are teaching (the alphabetic code) and how to apply this when reading.
ELS is designed on the principle that children should ‘keep up’ rather than ‘catch up’. Since interventions are delivered within the lesson by the teacher, any child who is struggling with the new knowledge can be immediately targeted with appropriate support. Where further support is required, 1:1 interventions are used where needed. These interventions are short, specific and effective.
Supporting Reading at Home:
- Children will only read books that are entirely decodable, this means that they should be able to read these books as they already know the code contained within the book.
- We only use pure sounds when decoding words (no ‘uh’ after the sound)
- We want children to practise reading their book at least 4 times across the week working on these skills:
Decode – sounding out and blending to read the word.
Fluency – reading words with less obvious decoding.
Expression – using intonation and expression to bring the text to life!
We must use pure sounds when we are pronouncing the sounds and supporting children in reading words. If we mispronounce these sounds, we will make reading harder for our children. Please watch the videos below for how to accurately pronounce these sounds.
More support for parents and carers can be found here:
St Tom’s Essential Letters and Sounds Phonics and Early Reading Curriculum:
- Essential Letters and Sounds Phonics and Early Reading Assessment Milestones
- Essential Letters and Sounds Phonics and Early Reading Weekly Progression Document
- Essential Letters and Sounds Phonics and Early Reading Curriculum Journey
I am an athlete.
“The difference between the possible and the impossible is determination.”
At St Thomas à Becket Primary, we value Physical Education. A high-quality physical education curriculum inspires all pupils to succeed and excel in competitive sport and other physically-demanding activities. It should provide opportunities for pupils to become physically confident in a way which supports their health and fitness. Opportunities to compete in sport and other activities build character and help to embed values such as fairness and respect.
PSHE and RSE
I am me.
“You are braver than you believe and stronger than you seem and smarter than you think.”
Christopher Robin to Winnie the Pooh
Our school’s approach to relationships and sex education (RSE) and health education (PSHE) follows that of the Church of England Education Office in that it seeks to be faith-sensitive and inclusive. It is underpinned by the key Biblical passage:
“I have come in order that you might have life – life in all its fullness” (John 10:10)
In St Thomas à Becket CEVA Primary School, we aim to treat everyone with dignity as all people are made in the image of God and are loved equally by God. We believe that all pupils have a right to an education which enables them to flourish and which is set in a learning community where differences of lifestyle and opinion (within that which is permissible under UK law) are treated with dignity and respect; where bullying of all kinds is eliminated; and where they are free to be themselves and fulfil their potential without fear.
As part of our emphasis on the well-being and care of all pupils, our school seeks to ensure that the RSHE curriculum protects, informs and nurtures them. We aim to prepare pupils to cope with the physical and emotional challenges of growing up and in doing so, our RSHE curriculum clearly differentiates between factual teaching (biology, medicine, the law, marriage, different types of families and the composition of society) and moral teaching about relationships and values, recognising that the distinction can be easily blurred and that there needs to be discernment about the manner in which this is taught. We teach RSHE within a moral (but not moralistic) framework.
PSHE and RSE in St Thomas à Becket School is about what constitutes wellbeing and loving care for ourselves (physical and mental health education), how we show loving care for others (relationships education) and, when at an appropriate age and stage in life, how we show loving care to those we choose to be intimate with (sex education). Pupils will consider how to ensure that they treat themselves and others, at all times and in all contexts, with dignity and respect.
- PSHE & RSE Curriculum Journey
- PSHE & RSE Milestones
- PSHE & RSE National Curriculum
- PSHE & RSE Policy
I am a theologist.
Belief is truth held in the mind; faith is a fire in the heart.
Joseph Fort Newton
In Religious Education, we use an approach that enables learners to understand what drives people of faith to live the way they do. This builds each child’s ‘religious literacy’ helping them understand the nature of religion and belief in the world in which they live. Pupils then have the opportunity to learn from this religious belief e.g. reconciliation, and put this into practice in their own lives. In all learning and life experiences, we aim to fulfil our school vision of enabling everyone to flourish. We promote an environment where all children feel known, accepted and valued as individuals. In addition to learning about religions and worldviews, RE offers pupils the chance to develop spiritually, morally, socially and culturally and to reflect on their own beliefs, being able to be discerning about the many attitudes and opinions they will encounter.
Our aims for all the children in RE are:
To provoke challenging questions about the ultimate meaning of life, beliefs about God, the nature of reality and morality.
To develop pupils’ knowledge and understanding of Christianity, other principal world religions, religious traditions and world-views, which offer answers to ultimate questions.
To encourage pupils to develop their sense of identity and belonging, in order to flourish within communities, as responsible citizens in society and global communities.
To teach pupils to develop respect for others and their beliefs and helps to challenge prejudice.
To prompt pupils to consider their responsibilities to themselves and to others, and to explore how they might contribute to their communities and to wider society encouraging empathy, generosity and compassion.
I am a scientist.
"Impossible only means that you haven’t found the solution yet."
At St Thomas à Becket, we value Science. A high-quality science education provides the foundations for understanding the world through the specific disciplines of biology, chemistry and physics. Science has changed our lives and is vital to the world’s future prosperity, and all pupils should be taught essential aspects of the knowledge, methods, processes and uses of science. Through building up a body of key foundational knowledge and concepts, pupils should be encouraged to recognise the power of rational explanation and develop a sense of excitement and curiosity about natural phenomena. They should be encouraged to understand how science can be used to explain what is occurring, predict how things will behave, and analyse causes.