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 in 2021-2022 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 into lessons of varying lengths, varying blocks of time and are planned around a Topic/Theme. where possible. 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. We use the Autism Education Trust (AET) framework to support small step progress for pupils with Autism where relevant to need of the child. Where needed we follow the pre-key stage framework for individuals to support progress towards the expected outcomes for their year group.
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 supports individual CPD, developing knowledge organisers, knowledge strips, progression maps, quizzes and other formative assessment which school values to show progress. School values staff professional development and staff have access to external courses available. Internal CPD is used effectively led by knowledgeable and skilled staff who are experts in their field and train staff in-house matched to our Thursby context of need.
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 (Tier 3 vocab) and use visual images to support this. As staff have high expectations of all children, there is no ceiling of vocabulary or subject knowledge taught. We support vocabulary via a 3 tiered approach.
Programmes and Schemes we use to support our implementation
* In 2021-2022 we are researching with a view to trialling a new phonics scheme from Early Years to Year 2. This forms an action on our whole school development plan. We are maintaining following the Letters and Sounds currently as we trial new schemes identified by DFE as our Phonics is consistently taught in school and pupils results remain above national.
Spell to Excel is taught in Key Stage 2 to progress our spellings. We supplement support for struggling readers and those who need reinforcement and additional provision in Phonics through Lexia and Bounce-Back Phonics. Reception children participated in the 'Early Talk Boost' programme through the Cumbria WELL project (Western Excellence in Learning and Leadership) 2020/21 and the school will broaden this out as part of our implementation plan in to Key Stage 1. This 8-10 week intervention is led by a Teaching Assistant and pupils participate if they match the entry criteria and supports disadvantaged pupils to close the gap and raise standards. As pupils at the end of 2020/21 internal outcomes showed Early Years have recognised speech, language and communication needs (SLCN) which have continued into key stage 1 during Covid19 school closures; Thursby School focuses on developing SLCN alongside fine and gross motor skills; both of which support developing writing knowledge and skills across school.
* We follow Talk for Writing to develop our knowledge in English writing and use cold and hot write assessments to aid and track progress . New staff have been trained in September 2021.
*We use White Rose Maths programme to support our development in Maths and supplement through TT Rockstars
*In PSHE we use the SCARF scheme which also encompasses SRE and British Values. Our British Values is supported through Picture News which has a weekly current discussion question to focus on
*In RE we follow the RE Discovery scheme (from October 2021)
*Our Music follows the Charanga scheme of work
*Our Computing curriculum follows the Purple Mash scheme of work
*We support our pupils Online Safety through the E-Aware programme
We use schemes to support progress and retention of knowledge in line with the National Curriculum as these allow for further depth of knowledge and skills to be taught to ensure we provide a broad and deep curriculum for our pupils.
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. Formative Assessment plays a vital role in identifying learning gaps through quality first teaching approaches (Evidenced based-The Great Teaching Tookit 2021 and Education Endownment Foundation) We review the impact of adaptations to our curriculum planning and look at all groups eg SEND/Disadvantaged/EAL to ensure these suit all pupils.
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, Thursby village hall and churches. Through SMSC, we identify our strengths and areas to support our community and use the 7 sustainable global learning goals to support SMSC across the curriculum. 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. These are reviewed with governors on a termly basis.
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 from a trained Teaching Assistant supported through the Cumbria WELL project.
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 including those of protected characteristics.