Our Curriculum Overview 2021-2022
Curriculum Statement summary and overview
All children are inspired to be life-long learners and as such become successful global citizens through embracing challenges in a meaningful and inspiring curriculum, where our curriculum drivers develop active learning which may also be outdoors, individual resilience leading to independence and use of own initiative and thereby being empowered to make a positive contribution to the community.
Our vision is:
‘Everyone is inspired to be life-long learners and to achieve our own version of success.’
Our school aims confirm our commitment to developing the whole child and as such ensure equal opportunities for everyone to access, high priority for developing and enhancing resilience and confidence in everyone which in turn supports deeper engagement, motivation and curious minds to recognise the value and impact everyone has on becoming successful life-long learners. Our school values lay the foundation of school life at Thursby: Respect, Responsibility, Resilience, Teamwork and Positivity.
Thursby School is situated on the outskirts of Carlisle, in the village of Thursby. We benefit from beautiful surroundings, wide open field and wild-area with views of local farming animals from the class rooms. Each class room (except the new classroom) has its own private outdoor area to utilise. Our current number on roll (NOR) has below national average for Special Educational Needs and for Free School Meals.
Special Educational Needs
Free School Meals (FSM)
National Statistics Data 24.06.21
All children receive a broad and knowledge based on a progressive curriculum, underpinned by our curriculum drivers of Independence, use of the environment (active learning) and resilience, which are designed to support everyone to be life-long learners regardless of their starting point alongside our school values.
Our 2 key statements
Statement 1. To design a challenging curriculum which builds progressively upon acquired subject knowledge and vocabulary understanding, which nurtures and develops curious minds and builds on resilience and independence ensuring everyone becomes their own successful learners
Statement 2. To enrich the learning of everyone with equal opportunities and access for all by continuing to develop and actively promote positive wellbeing
Our Curriculum follows The National Curriculum 2014 and is designed across school in a sequential and progressive way, so that all children build their knowledge and understanding towards the end of Key Stage outcomes. Progression begins from Early Years through to the end of Year 6.
We follow the Early Years framework (2021) and use ‘Birth To 5’ non-statutory guidance for supporting progress of our Nursery and Reception pupils and to guide professional judgements. The 17 Early Learning Goals are used as a checkpoint for the end of the Reception year. We use ‘observational checkpoints’ to identify strengths and gap analysis for pupils in order to identify those with some difficulties and act on these. Our main focus is ensuring we strengthen language and vocabulary development (Communication & Language) whilst adapting provision to match children’s interests and offering an enabling learning environment. Our Early Years curriculum is matched to our Thursby context and Early Learning Goals support the National Curriculum transition from end of Reception to Year 1.
All subjects within The National Curriculum 2014 are taught. These are organised in to lessons of varying lengths, varying blocks of time and are planned around a Topic/Theme. Each subject is organised through a progressive model of knowledge, skills and vocabulary to be taught towards specific end goals. Teachers use ongoing assessments of varying types to formulate next steps of learning. Using an overall Topic/Theme allows linkage of other subject areas to develop and apply skills and knowledge to help it make sense for the children and thereby remembering more knowledge. We pay high importance to ensure sufficient and specific focus is given to the individual subjects and the subject knowledge of each individual subject is paramount as without such knowledge children will not be able to apply the disciplinary knowledge successfully within a new context.
Learning is revisited and built on over time thereby developing knowledge to a deeper level.
Our learning supports our Character Education and this review document is available on our school website.
Having high expectations of all children including SEND and Disadvantaged, to achieve whilst being aware that some children need to focus on small progressive steps to build and consolidate knowledge and skills, we use clear and specific steps (known as Pebbles) towards their own milestone and are able to make continuous progress from their own starting point. (Pebbles Curriculum by Chris Quigley). We use the graduated approach for SEND progress and our pupil premium pupils are monitored via termly pupil progress meetings.
Teachers have been supported with curriculum development through Alex Bedford’s wider curriculum CPD sessions with continued access to CUSP website from Alex Bedford’s Unity Research Schools which support individual CPD, developing knowledge organisers, knowledge strips, progression maps, whole class marking and formative assessment.
All learning starts with what the children already know to assess long term memory of knowledge and then scaffold to support those to recall previous learning. All staff model explicitly the subject-specific vocabulary and use visual images to support this. As staff have high expectations of all children, staff there is no ceiling of vocabulary or subject knowledge taught. We support vocabulary via a 3 tiered approach.
In Early Years we implement the revised curriculum (2021) through the use of key workers to support individual strengths, interests and identify developments to support progress, child-led, adult-led, small groups, whole class learning alongside exploring and learning through play.
Knowledge Organisers and knowledge strips are used across school and different subjects to providing the specific knowledge necessary for children to understand new contexts and deepen progress through ‘knowing more, remembering more’. They do not reduce the content of a subject to a specific page, they are used to support, consolidate and prompt key information. We give priority to enabling children to hear and use new vocabulary correctly in context so they develop understanding of new concepts when further explored.
We provide challenge by setting challenging end goals for children. Long term challenge is assessed over time and not specific to one particular lesson. Repetition of knowledge and recalling of key facts is used to support retention of the content identified and use this towards the specific outcomes. This may happen as a quiz, a question and answer session on the way out to or in from a break time for example, or through feedback and any relevant formal formative assessments which identifies gaps in subject/content knowledge, as we expect children to recall specific knowledge and ensure and monitor all children have remembered this.
We give all children opportunities for promoting learning through active learning, outdoor learning activities and use of practical activities. As a key curriculum driver we implement learning through an active environment, where curious minds recognise the impact they can have as global citizens. We support our local community and have secure links with our Parish Council and churches. Through SMSC, we identify our strengths and areas to support our community. We review our SMSC school development, this can be viewed in school.
We support long term working memory through spacing and weaving and linking subjects and drivers. Our clear expectations for outstanding behaviour and excellent attendance alongside our values continuously promote high expectations. We make cross-curricular links between subjects and expect the same high standards of work in all subjects. We enhance our curriculum through having relevant visits and visitors.
Children are supported with accessing the curriculum and having equal opportunities to access through extra curricular clubs, school visits and visitors alongside our active and our outdoor lessons. We use pupil voice to review our provision and pupils needs.
For some pupils, removing barriers to learning is vital to access learning. We provide support for progress through using the Anna Freud wellbeing toolkit and analysing strengths and areas to enquiry about which lead to simple resolutions or being part of a nurture support programme. From 2021 we also offer a specialism of ELSA programme.
All of our pupils have access to additional provision, through our skilled Teaching Assistant provision across school. Pupils are identified for support at all ability levels, though some may have targeted intervention support, others are supported flexibly in class. Our disadvantaged pupils receive a tiered approach to provision following the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) published guidance. Our three main focus areas include: Quality Teaching, Targeted additional support and wider strategies in school.
Ensuring all our pupils have equal opportunities we promote equality and diversity in various ways across school life. Our After school club attendance is analysed termly, to monitor and encourage attendance of all groups for example.
We place high priority to learning to read at an early age.
Our children start to appreciate the rich world Reading brings from entering our Nursery and Reception unit within school.
Phonics Check in Year 1
The Government introduced a Year 1 'Phonics Screening Check' to ascertain children's attainment in reading phonetically by the end of Year 1. This check consists of 40 words children need to read, of which 20 of them are known words and 20 of them are classed as 'nonsense' words that would need to be sounded out by the child.
The check is set at what's called 'Phase 5' expectations of ability.
The pass mark has remained over the years at 34/ 40 accurate. Those children who do not reach 34 marks will be re-tested at the end of Year 2 to see how far they have progressed. Children requiring continuation of phonics beyond Year 2 will have additional sessions within class in key stage 2.
The test takes place in June and is invigilated by Governors/Senior Teachers. The results of the Phonics Screening check will be included in the annual end of Year 1 report to parents.
It is very important that the check is not seen as a 'test' and that children are not seen as 'failing' if they do not meet the pass mark.
Across school we value the importance of vocabulary and accuracy of spellings. We follow as a minimum the Government's spelling list of the National Curriculum from Year 1 to Year 6.
In Key Stage 2 (Years 3-6) we have implemented the Spell to Excel spelling program which supports developing accuracy and understanding of spelling based on pupils' needs. It also assesses their knowledge in order to support teacher's planning and teaching of spelling moving forward.
If you have any questions regarding the curriculum we teach please contact the school directly.