This section of our website is focused on our Curriculum and provides an overview of the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) Framework and the Curriculum offer for children in Years 1 to 6. The Curriculum is all the planned activities that the school organises in order to promote learning, personal growth and development. All classes use a mixture of teaching styles and techniques during the week in a variety of groupings – whole class, ability groups, mixed ability groups, paired working. Children are taught daily lessons of English/Literacy and Mathematics/Numeracy where the level of work is tailored to individual ability.
The teaching of English is strength of Our Lady & St Thomas and we are proud of the progress which all children make in developing communication skills, reading and writing skills throughout school. At Our Lady and St Thomas Primary School we use a synthetic phonics programme ‘Read Write Inc.’ Read Write Inc. is a method of learning centered around letter sounds and phonics. Children from EYFS to Y2 are taught English utilising Read Write Inc.; this is supplemented by a discrete writing skills lesson each week and a discrete grammar session. The teaching is delivered by class teachers and four teaching assistants. This ensures that pupil’s individual needs are met and maximises pupil progress and attainment. Pupils who fall behind benefit from 10 minute catch up sessions to consolidate their learning. We consider that reading opens the door to learning. A child who reads a lot will become a good reader. A good reader will be able to read more challenging material. A child who reads challenging material is a child who will learn. The more a child learns, the more he or she will want to find out. Using Read Write, the children learn to read effortlessly so that they can put all their energy into comprehending what they read. It also allows them to spell effortlessly so that they can put all their energy into composing what they write.
When using Read Write to read the children will:
• Learn 44 sounds and the corresponding letter/letter groups using simple picture prompts.
• Learn to read words using Fred Talk
• Read lively stories featuring words they have learned to sound out
• Show that they comprehend the stories by answering questions
When using Read Write to write the children will:
• Learn to write the letters/letter groups which represent 44 sounds
• Learn to write words by saying the sounds in Fred Talk
• Write simple sentences
• Compose stories based on picture strips
• Compose a range of stories based on writing frames
Read Write Inc. is carefully tracked to ensure and if for some reason children are not acquiring the range of skills further interventions are planned.
The assessment of children’s phonic knowledge at the end of Year 1 is a statutory requirement. We report children’s attainment to parents at the end of Y1. In 2016 83% of our pupils achieved the required score. Pupils who do not pass the test are provided with a range of engaging materials to reinforce their learning at home and provided with additional support in Year 2 to ensure they pass the phonics resit at the end of Year 2.
Reading is a priority in our school, pupils in EYFS benefit from shared reading as soon as they start school and the school has a well-established reward system for reading. Pupils who require additional support are provided with Buddy Readers, are a focus reader in their class and may be provided with additional support by our Better Reading Champion. This emphasis ensures that pupils develop reading skills rapidly which in turn impacts on pupils progress and attainment.
The school uses a wide range of reading material to engage our pupils believing that by doing this pupils will engage and enjoy the variety offered by our scheme books. The schemes we use include; Dandelion Launchers, Read Write Inc., New Reading 360, Oxford Reading Tree, Story World, Heinemann, New Way and Longman. This list is not exclusive; once pupils have a reading age of 12 years they move to independent readers; in this way we foster a love of reading. The school produces a reading leaflet which provides an overview of how reading is taught and helpful tips for parents to support home reading.
Foundation Stage – Reception Children
At Our Lady and St Thomas we are proud of the start we give to all children in Foundation Stage. Our class has Year One pupils in it; this does not hinder our EYFS children accessing an environment that develops “the whole child”. Each area of development is closely and often seamlessly intertwined to enable children to learn and develop following a curriculum enriched by play based activities.
The Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum has three “prime” areas of learning;
Personal, Social and Emotional development
Language for Communication and Thinking
Four “specific” areas;
Literacy Reading and Writing
Mathematics Number and Shape and Space
Understanding of the World
Expressive Arts and Design.
In the Parents Meeting Section of our website the Induction Power point explains these areas in greater detail.
Broad developmental bands indicating likely stages of development and behaviours in each of these areas form the basis of our planning for learning and children’s progress and attainment is monitored in relation to these developmental bands. All activities and experiences are designed and planned to meet individual needs and interests.
Read Write Inc., shared reading and opportunities for writing form the basis of the English curriculum. Quality play experiences form the basis of the curriculum. Reception children are encouraged to initiate and develop their own ideas, working with other children and adults in a variety of contexts both indoors and in the outdoor classroom. In addition we use our School garden and grounds to enable children to use the natural environment to explore, learn and grow, as well as enhancing self-esteem, confidence, independence and personal well-being.
We have a carefully structured induction programme to settle children into our school and we work closely with parents and families to form a partnership around each child to work together to ensure each child reaches their fullest potential.
Reception children contribute to whole school life in many different ways, including performances, joining older children for Collective Worship and special celebration times, visiting other classes and sharing their work with others.
Year 1 to Year 6 Curriculum
A broad and balanced curriculum is planned and taught in a happy and stimulating environment in accordance with the National Curriculum requirements. Independent and collaborative skills are encouraged in all year groups and computing is readily used and embedded across the whole curriculum. It is a priority of the school to ensure that the basic skills of reading, writing, communication and maths are taught not only as discrete subjects but in as many other subjects as possible through a cross-curricular enquiry based approach. The curriculum we offer is designed to meet the needs of all our pupils. It is rich, varied, creative and imaginative and meets the needs of individual learners exceedingly well. Our creative curriculum has provided the opportunity for a topic based approach for our foundation subjects. Our outdoor curriculum provides adventurous learning opportunities for pupils that impact on pupil attainment.
This approach we feel has inspired and engaged all our children in their learning, enabling all our children to enjoy and achieve to their fullest potential. Our curriculum is broad and balanced, providing pupils with their full entitlement and is customised to meet the changing needs of individuals and groups. PE, SEAL, Music, RE, and French are all taught discretely outside of the Creative curriculum to ensure depth and rigour. Our PE curriculum is a real strength and children have the opportunity to develop wide ranging skills and compete in intra and inter school and County Competitions.
As a Catholic School Religious Education is central to the education we provide for our pupils. We base our teaching upon the ‘Come and See’ scheme. We place great importance on providing opportunities for everyone within the school community to continue their personal Faith journey. Our Collective Worship programme Nurturing Human Wholeness deepens our pupils understanding of spiritual, moral, social and cultural development. Over the course of the school year pupils;
• are encouraged to be reflective about their own and others’ beliefs
• develop an understanding about themselves and others in the world
• recognise the difference between right and wrong and the importance of tolerance and respect for everyone
• understand the consequences of their behaviour and actions, and appreciate the viewpoints of others
• are supported in, developing a respect for the civil and criminal law of England
• develop their social skills to embrace pupils from different religions, ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds
During the school year there are many opportunities for the children to take part in school worship through assemblies, Mass and other celebrations.
The Governors are required to remind parents of their right to withdraw pupils from religious worship and education. However parents are also reminded that the school exists to give a Catholic/Christian education to its pupils and therefore parents are expected to be in sympathy with the aims and objectives of the school. It should be noted that parents who choose to exercise their right of withdrawal are responsible for the supervision of their children during these periods of withdrawal.
The children receive the Sacraments of Reconciliation and Holy Eucharist during Year Three. We believe in the importance of a Home and Parish partnership in the preparation of the children for these important Sacraments. The children receive the Sacraments with their own family and the Parish community.
Education in Personal Relationships
We consider that sex education should be taught within the context of personal relationships and that it should also be linked to Religious Education, because it is concerned with the person as a whole. Through Science, R.E., P.S.H.E. (Personal, Social and Health Education) and Citizenship, our aim is to make the children aware of the changes which take place both emotionally and physically as they mature. We aim to do this in a caring and supportive atmosphere, linking this knowledge to an understanding of God’s plan for our growth and personal relationship with Him.
Special Educational Needs & Disabilities (SEND)
All pupils follow the National Curriculum at a level and a pace that is appropriate to their abilities. Our philosophy places SEND children at the heart of personalised learning and our curriculum is tailored to meet individual pupils needs.
At times and when it is felt appropriate, modifications to the curriculum may be implemented. To successfully match pupil ability to the curriculum Our Lady & St Thomas RCVA Primary School remain committed to:
• A range of teaching and learning styles
• Differentiated learning materials
• Access to ICT and Technology
• Additional in class support
• Additional out of class support
• Many Enrichment and Enjoyment opportunities to stimulate and motivate learning
• Flexible groupings – including small group support work
• An innovative and supportive curriculum
• The appropriate use of rewards and sanctions
• A broad range of extra-curricular activities, including homework club, one to one support and booster/extension sessions
• Assessment procedures that emphasise pupils’ strengths and achievements
• Applications during national testing at Key Stage 2 to obtain access arrangements as appropriate
Class pages provide further information on the topics to be covered during the school year and share pupils’ work.
Further detail on the curriculum for each year group is shared to the right of this document. Please note as our classes are mixed age range coverage of the curriculum will be slightly different. Alternatively please follow the link below:
If you have not got access to the internet, you are welcome to view this site in school with a member of staff or please request a paper copy of any curriculum documents .