Our Curriculum Overview 2022-2023
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 version of success.’
Our school aims to confirm our commitment to developing the whole child and as such ensure equal opportunities for everyone to access, a 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 111 pupils in school, of which 7 of them are part-time Nursery pupils. (07.09.22)
We benefit from beautiful surroundings, wide-open fields and wild areas with views of local farming animals from the classrooms. Each classroom (except the new classroom) has a private outdoor area to utilise. Our current number on roll (NOR) is below the national average for Special Educational Needs and Free School Meals.
Special Educational Needs
Overall school SEND- 9.0% (Below National Average)
Free School Meals (FSM)
National Statistics Data 09.06.22
National Average (All schools)
9.5% (excludes Nursery)
Pupil Premium Disadvantaged only overall stands at 1.9% for Thursby School and the national average is 12%
Our total Pupil Premium stands at 13.3%. (Reception to Year 6)
English as an additional language at Thursby School stands at 3.4%. The national average for schools is 19.9%.
34.8% in primary schools are from an ethnic minority group of which Thursby School is currently 3%
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 lifelong 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 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 the school sequentially and progressively so that all children build their knowledge and understanding towards the end of Key Stage outcomes. The progression begins from the 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 the 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 to identify those with some difficulties and act on these. We strengthen language and vocabulary development (Communication & Language) in line with the remainder of the school, whilst also adapting provisions 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 the 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 the school know when children have achieved the composite knowledge components required to know more and remember more.
Our curriculum endpoints 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 key stage endpoints.
Literacy is a driver across our curriculum and high priority has been placed on 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 the 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 remember 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 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. 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 milestones and can make continuous progress from their 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 the needs 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 the 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 across the 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 the 'Spelling Shed' program for spelling from September 2022.
Reception children participated in the 'Early Talk Boost' programme through the Cumbria WELL project (Western Excellence in Learning and Leadership) 2020/21 and school broadened this out as part of our implementation plan into Key Stage 1 . This 8-10 week intervention was led by a Senior Teaching Assistant and pupils participated 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 the school. Year 1 and 2 pupils meeting the criteria participated in Talk Boost intervention in Spring/Summer 1 2022 and progress measures are quantifiable. This will be repeated in 2022/23 in Sprin g and Summer terms.
* 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.
*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 the school.
*We support our pupil's Online Safety with RAG rated assessments to teach children the knowledge they specifically need to be 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, and interests and identify developments to support progress with a balance of: child-led, adult-led, small groups, and whole-class learning alongside exploring and learning through play. We focus on the prime areas of learning when children start in Early Years and embed the three characteristics of learning across the curriculum and across the year, which are progressive.
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 an understanding of new concepts when further explored.
We provide challenges 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 recall 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 identify 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 Endowment 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 the 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. With 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. These are planned throughout the year and offer enhanced learning of knowledge and skills taught within subjects. Autumn term 2022 Years 5 and 6 pupils will participate in their active residential at Robinwood Activity Centre in Alston. .
Children are supported with accessing the curriculum and having equal opportunities to access through extracurricular 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 2022 we will be training g a new Senior Teaching Assistant in the specialism of ELSA programme supported through the Cumbria WELL project using set criteria for provision. This provides specific Emotional Literacy Support for pupil development.
All of our pupils have access to additional provisions, through our skilled Teaching Assistant provision across the 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.