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 currently have 116 pupils in school, of which 10 of them are part time Nursery pupils. (20.05.22)
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) is 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
Pupil Premium Disadvantaged only overall stands at 1.7% for Thursby School and the national average is 12%
Our total Pupil Premium stands at 12.9%.
English as an additional language at Thursby School stands at 3.4%. The national average for schools is 33.9%.
Our curriculum is unique to our school and our children. All children receive a broad and knowledge-based, 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 when designing our curriculum:
Statement 1. To design a challenging curriculum which builds progressively upon acquired subject knowledge and develops skills and vocabulary understanding, which nurtures and develops curious minds, building on resilience and independence ensuring everyone becomes their own successful learners for life.
Statement 2. To enrich the learning of everyone with equal opportunities and access for all by continuing to develop and actively promote positive wellbeing and personal development
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. Our curriculum is designed using the EYFS Curriculum and National Curriculum (Years 1-6) as our central reference point.
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. We strengthen language and vocabulary development (Communication & Language) in line with the remainder of school, whilst also 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 (which are extended or reduced based on achievement of knowledge and skills) and are planned around an overall Topic/Theme. Each subject is organised through a progressive model of knowledge, skills and vocabulary to be taught towards specific end goals. Pre and post assessments/quizzes and daily immediate feedback and questioning helps school known when children have achieved the composite knowledge components required to know more and remember more.
Our curriculum end points are devised across each year group and key stage by breaking done the key indicators pupils need to learn before being secure in their knowledge and skills to move to their next stage. These are the building blocks we have in place to fulfil the end of key stage end points.
Literacy is a driver across our curriculum and high priority has been placed for reading across subjects. High quality Texts (refer to class curriculum maps on this website) are utilised to support wider reading and deepen knowledge.
Our curriculum covers all the subjects within the National Curriculum and therefore covers the full broad range available to children of Primary School age.
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. This happens only when it matches the knowledge and skills, we do not create activities to purely match any Topic/Theme. 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 and substantial knowledge successfully within a new context.
At Thursby we have included within our curriculum our local area, significant people and places for example to enrich the cultural capital for our children. We have included various areas such as: Carlisle Floods; Sir Thomas Bouch from Thursby, Hadrian's Wall and in 2022 each class will focus in the summer term on the Queen's Platinum Jubilee. We adapt our curriculum for seasonal advantage, for example: we ensure we teach children about plants in Spring and Summer terms and our Fieldwork is supported during the Summer term and early Autumn term when the weather is more promising.
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 towards their own milestones and are able to make continuous progress from their own starting point. 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. Quality first teaching remains paramount and pupils are supported with scaffolding, differentiation, visual representations, pre and post teaching support and resources to access learning and make progress from their starting point. Experienced and talented support staff follow our policy for 'best use of teaching assistants' and through the EEF recommendations.
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. Where we use a scheme we match and adapt it to our children's needs and use it as guidance as we continue to build and enhance our curriculum over time.
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 we use to support our implementation
In 2021-2022 we researched a new phonics scheme for across school. From January 2022 onwards staff have developed their knowledge of the Little Wandle Phonics scheme which begins in Reception upwards. We supplement support for struggling readers and those who need reinforcement and additional provision in Phonics keep-up sessions, where required, and through Lexia support. Key Stage 2 follows 'Spell To Excel' program for spellings.
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 into Key Stage 1 . This 8-10 week intervention is led by a Senior 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 had 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. Year 1 and 2 pupils meeting the criteria participate in Talk Boost intervention in Spring/Summer 1 2022 and progress measures are quantifiable.
* We follow Talk for Writing to develop our knowledge in English writing and use cold and hot write assessments to aid and track progress. Talk for Writing is taught from Early Years through to Year 6. New staff have been trained in September 2021.
*We use high quality texts across the curriculum and enhance knowledge by also focusing on Great Scientists, Great Artists and Diversity for example.
*In Maths we use White Rose Maths and supplement with TT Rockstars and Mathletics. We ensure consistency across school.
*We support our pupils Online Safety with RAG rated assessments to teach children the knowledge they specifically need matched to their gaps. Parents are supported through our monthly e-safety newsletter.
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 provide 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 which identifies the gaps in knowledge to be taught based on their pre-assessment 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 Toolkit 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 on this website.
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 the strong positive attitudes to learning and our values, we continuously promote high expectations. We make cross-curricular links between subjects where relevant by knowledge and expect the same high standards of work in all subjects.
We enhance our curriculum by having relevant visits and visitors including online remote visitors and face to face visitors and workshops such as Authors, Parliament session with MP Mark Jenkinson, Space and DT workshops and our local visitors. Last Summer term 2021 key stage 2 children enjoyed residential to Ratlingate scout camp and during Autumn term all children were able to enjoy Christmas visits.
Spring and Summer term 2022, we have face to face visits and visitors and Key Stage 2 have enjoyed their visits to Vindolana and Tullie House, whereas Early Years and Year 1 enjoyed their forest school day at Stockswood. Years 3 and 4 are visiting the Life Centre in July and we have secured Robinwood Activity Centre for a Year 5 and 6 residential in November. Our workshops to support our Design Technology (DT) cookery element are led by Phunky Foods external provider.
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.
For some pupils, removing barriers to learning is vital to access learning. We provide support for progress through using the Anna Freud wellbeing toolkit criteria 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 using a set criteria for provision.
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.