Learning

Curriculum

Our Vision for learning

At St Thomas of Canterbury Catholic Primary School we aim to deliver a twenty first century education that will enable each and every one of our children to become successful and life-long learners. Our curriculum is delivered within the context of our Catholic community. We foster a cross-curricular and holistic approach to learning that is exciting, relevant and challenging. ‘Curriculum’ is defined as all the learning experiences that the children have, both planned and unplanned to promote learning and personal, spiritual and moral development.

These four strands define our vision for the curriculum. We want all members of our school community to be:

1.    Confident and Successful learners
2.    Responsible Role Models
3.    Make a Positive Contribution
4.    Safe and Healthy

(Follow this link to our page all about British Values at St Thomas’)

St Thomas’ Learners

We have a very real focus on how to learn and the attitudes that can help make us all successful lifelong learners. This comes through the St Thomas Learner who makes S=P+A+C+E for their learning. We believe that Success in learning comes from a combination of Perseverance, a really positive, can-do, Attitude, Confidence and Effort. For more ideas of how to help your child with making S=P+A+C+E for their learning read Mr Lewin’s weekly blog in the newsletter – you can read a collection of the St Thomas Learner blogs for learning here.

Our MISSION STATEMENT defines our values as a Catholic community. This statement underpins our approach to curriculum policy:

God’s love is at the heart of our Catholic School Community. We show this in our respect, kindness and love for others and by treating other people as we wish to be treated ourselves. We encourage everyone in our school family to do the best they can.

All members of our school community have been involved in the discussion and composition of both our Mission Statement and also aims of our curriculum:

  • To guide our children to grow in the love of God and build relationships that will enable them to make a positive contribution to the school and society.
  • To develop an exciting, challenging and creative curriculum that produces confident and successful learners.
  • To establish a teaching and learning environment that encourages everyone to enjoy, to achieve, to be healthy, and to stay safe.
  • To nurture a strong partnership between home and school through effective collaboration and communication.
  • To enable our children to become responsible citizens and good role models.
  • To work cooperatively with our wider community, to reach out to individuals and to encourage understanding and fairness

The Children have devised a poster which explains how these aims translate into practice in our school community:

A Mastery Curriculum

The Mastery-learning model forms the basis of our approach to our curriculum. The National Curriculum is a mastery curriculum and we try to reflect this in all we do.

This means spending greater time going into depth about a subject as opposed to racing through the things that all children should know. Previously, racing through content as levelled objectives in the old curriculum, lead to some children having gaps in subject knowledge because the concept they had just learned was either too big or learned too quickly. As a primary school, it is our duty to ensure that all of our children have an absolutely solid, concrete understanding of subject knowledge and skills as well as being emotionally resilient for secondary school.

We take learning at a steadier and deeper pace, ensuring that no child is left behind, as well as providing deeper and richer experiences for children who are above the national expectation for their age. We focus on all children achieving what is expected of their age group and not going beyond this but going deeper. Evidence shows that children need to be able to understand a concept, apply it in a range of situations and then be creative to really understand it. Simply going beyond their age group does not guarantee they understand something, it just means they have heard it.

At our school no child will be taught content from the year group above them, they will spend time becoming true masters of content; applying and being creative with new knowledge and skills in multiple ways.

In short, this means:

  • Teach less, learn more: less teacher talk but more focussed discussion and intelligent practice following a coherent learning journey
  • No child left behind: all children are enabled to keep up every day.
  • Space and time to experience and apply, with all children entitled to additional support to ensure they do not fall behind or to go deeper
  • Understanding real life applications wherever possible to make learning relevant and not abstract; nothing should be taught without a purpose.

This means that we are continuing to:

  • Teach all children in class, together, most of the time (with some specific and proven interventions carrying on outside of the classroom when necessary to help close pre-existing gaps in the children’s knowledge and understanding)
  • Give lots of verbal feedback on the children’s learning during lessons with work in books often self-marked and corrected
  • Spend longer on one idea
  • Giving children who need it, additional support over shorter, more intense periods (pre-teach and same-day interventions)

Our current Mastery curriculum – which has been specifically developed by our teachers for our children has been formulated over the past two years. In our maths we have based our approach on the NCETM’s (National Centre for Excellence in the Teaching of Mathematics) research into primary mathematics teaching in East Asian jurisdictions, especially Shanghai, and on the experience of English Primary schools, such as ourselves, involved in the China-England mathematics education research project. We are an active participant in the Surrey Plus Maths Hub.

Curriculum newsletters

Each term we publish Curriculum newsletters for each year group explaining the areas that will covered in class by your children over the course of the term as well as other year group news. The newsletters for each year group and term this year can be found by following this link

Information on each Curriculum area

Please follow the links to see more about our curriculum in each subject area:

Curriculum policies

(Subject policies can be read on the subject pages)