At St Thomas à Becket, our teaching is rooted in our Christian values. We nurture each other to become friendly, honest, forgiving, thankful and persevering individuals who have respect for one another. Our aim is to provide our children with an engaging, exciting and empowering curriculum that equips them for today and tomorrow.
Our curriculum is designed to recognise children’s prior learning, provide first hand learning experiences, allow the children to develop interpersonal skills, build resilience and flourish as creative, independent and reflective thinkers.
Every child is recognised as a unique individual and we celebrate and welcome differences within our school community. Our learners gain knowledge and skills with a vision to prepare them for life in all its fullness. We offer a wide range of enrichment opportunities to engage and deepen learning; we believe that childhood should be a joyous and purposeful time in our lives, where, like the mustard seed, there are no limits.
We want our children to leave our school with a sense of belonging and the confidence and skills needed to be ambitious lifelong learners.
The Curriculum and our Christian Values
We use our core Christian Values of Friendship, Forgiveness, Respect, Truth, Thankfulness and Perseverance to promote positive attitudes to learning throughout the curriculum. The following document shows how our values relate to each area of our curriculum. This reflects the values and skills needed to promote responsibility for learning and future success so all can flourish.
We have developed a rolling programme of topics to ensure that all aspects of the National Curriculum are covered and meet the requirements of our mixed-age classes. These have been carefully crafted to give teachers the flexibility to combine subjects together in a cross-curricular and meaningful way to make teaching and learning fun, vibrant and challenging.
A progression of skills has been identified within each subject. Topics have been selected to enable children to develop these skills within each subject area as they progress though the school; staff identify which skills to focus on for each curriculum area at appropriate levels for the children in their class.
Each term teachers produce a curriculum map which is published on the class pages on our website. These maps provide more detail of what the children will be learning and some of the planned activities.
At St Thomas à Becket, we are dedicated to encouraging all children to be passionate about reading and writing. We are determined that ALL children will become highly competent readers and writers by the end of their time with us. It is our intention to immerse pupils in the wonders of quality texts to instill a love for reading, a passion for discovery and a confidence to explore their imagination.
During their time at St Thomas à Becket, all children will be exposed to a high-quality education in English. Pupils will learn to speak and write fluently so that they can communicate their ideas and emotions to others and, through their reading and listening, others can communicate with them.
The English curriculum is built on the principle that skills are the product of fluency of knowledge in specific areas. Relevant knowledge is a necessary precursor to the development of skills.
In EYFS and Key Stage One, phonics is taught using the systematic synthetic phonics programme Letters and Sounds. We provide a multi-sensory, active and participatory learning experience which excites and motivates the children as they learn to read. By the end of their Reception year, our children will have engaged in daily phonics lessons covering Phases 2, 3 and 4. They will then move on to Phase 5 Phonics in Year 1, before revisiting Phase 5 and moving into Phase 6 in Year 2. Staff assess children’s segmenting and blending skills termly, as well as their ability to decode the necessary phonemes in each phase. As a result of this, any children who are not making expected progress are swiftly identified and able to receive a short daily booster session to close any gaps in their phoneme knowledge. Our phonics teaching is supported at home with the Collins Big Cat fully decodable reading books. These books allow all children to practice the graphemes in a step by step progression which reflects the sequence of sounds taught in school. Children are encouraged to apply their phonic knowledge across the curriculum, including throughout the 7 areas of learning in the EYFS. This may be through adult-led tasks, independent work or continuous provision.
At St Thomas à Becket Primary School, we strongly believe that reading is a key life-skill that underpins learning. Reading develops and broadens children’s language skills and vocabulary, and is key to achieving success across the curriculum. Here at St Thomas à Becket, we encourage children to develop a love of reading and we provide varied opportunities for children to enjoy reading for pleasure as well as for learning. Enabling our children to become fluent and confident readers is very important to us and whilst children are here, we ensure that they have opportunities to experience reading a wide variety of text types from a wide range of authors.
Children develop reading skills through a whole class reading approach. We use VIPERS to focus on the comprehension aspect of reading: Vocabulary, Inference, Prediction, Explanation, Retrieval, Sequencing (KS1) or Summarising (KS2).
Progression of Reading:
We provide opportunities for children to write for a variety of purposes including: instructions, stories, poetry, explanations and even letters to Santa! Through use of Talk 4 Writing, The Write Stuff and Literacy Shed Plus, children learn to plan, draft, edit and present their work. Letter formation is taught from Nursery and we encourage children to write neatly, in a legible style using cursive script.
EYFS and KS1
In Skylark Class, we use Pie Corbett’s Talk 4 Writing as a tool for teaching English. This follows a three-week cycle in which children imitate a text, innovate a text and then invent their own text:
- Imitate – learn and retell texts following creation of text map so that children have a bank of tales they know by heart.
- Innovate – adapting a known story or text in order to create a new one based on the imitated text.
- Invent – drawing upon the range of stories and texts learned to create something new.
Talk 4 Writing consists of book talk, writer talk, learning and remembering texts. Through use of text maps, painting, drawing, teacher modelling of the story/text, discussion, drama, role play, retelling, memory tricks and games. This approach allows children to internalise language patterns, build blocks of narrative, internalise the flow and pattern of sentences and vocabulary, and then to reuse them as an independent writer. Alongside Talk 4 Writing, we follow the Letters and Sounds programme. Children are taught each of the phases and learn how the different phase sounds are applied in order to spell different words.
In Chough and Kestrel classes, we use The Write Stuff approach and Literacy Shed Plus writing plans. The Write Stuff is based on two guiding principles; teaching sequences that slide between experience days and sentence stacking lessons. With modelling at the heart of them, the sentence stacking lessons are broken into bite-sized chunks and taught under the structural framework of The Writing Rainbow. Teachers prepare children for writing by modelling the ideas, grammar or techniques of writing. We use Literacy Shed Plus to allow for more opportunities for independent writing linked to texts or short films.
We passionately believe that mathematics should be fun and rewarding for all children. As such we endeavour to make our work in mathematics engaging for all learners.
We start every day with arithmetic maths sessions. For twenty minutes we focus on a number of EdShed arithmetic questions to reinforce and consolidate the arithmetic skills that have been previously taught. We believe that this plays an important role in the children becoming fluent in the fundamentals of mathematics and develops the children’s ability to recall and apply knowledge rapidly and accurately.
Our curriculum is mapped by the White Rose scheme of work. We focus on a progression from concrete resources, to pictorial representations and finally into the numerical abstract to aid our children’s conceptual understanding. As a result, we are seeing a growth in confidence in all our learners, especially in areas of problem solving and reasoning.
In Chough Class, we learn our times tables so that we can recall them quickly by the end of year 4.
Maths National Curriculum:
The Christian ethos is very strong and very valued in our school. We mark the church’s liturgical year by celebrations such as the Christmas nativity play, pancake races and celebrating harvest. In RE, Christianity is the main religion studied with an alternative religion studied and compared to Christianity each year. Other faiths studied are Judaism, Hinduism, Sikhism, Buddhism and Islam. Our programme of study covers a range of religious questions, knowledge based learning and is often linked to art and craft, drama or ICT.
Progression of skills by subject:
The full primary National Curriculum is available on the following link: