School Improvement Plans 2017-18

We want our School to the very best that it can be for every child and family and staff member.

Our Mission Statement says it all…

God’s love is at the heart of our Catholic School family.

We show this in our respect, kindness and love for others and by treating other people as we wish to be treated ourselves.

We will encourage everyone to be the best that we can be.

Our aims are…

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 who are the best that they can be.

To develop high quality learning that enables every child to flourish, to discover their talents and be lifelong learners.

To establish a teaching and learning environment that encourages everyone to enjoy, to achieve, to be inclusive, to be healthy, and to stay safe.

To nurture a strong partnership between home and school.

To have respect and understanding for our school, our community and our world, helping our children to become responsible citizens and good role models.

and our Shared Vision is that:

Every child at St Thomas of Canterbury is special and will achieve their full potential academically, socially, spiritually and emotionally through the provision of a loving community and rich and varied learning opportunities and the highest quality teaching and learning.

Every staff member at St Thomas of Canterbury will feel valued and enabled to provide the opportunities that we want for our children and to do so as part of a loving community which has the highest expectations of and for all.

Every Governor at St Thomas of Canterbury will feel valued and enabled to act as a critical friend to the School and to be accountable for the School’s strategy.  They will play a visible role supporting all children, their parents and staff at School and in the wider community, to provide the best environment possible for learning and spiritual growth.

We are always looking to improve and our current Improvement priorities for 2017-18 are:

Raising the bar in learning:

Continuing the design and implementation of a creative mastery curriculum across the School centred around the habits of learning of a St Thomas Learner (making S=P+A+C+E for learning)

The focus is on ensuring that our Curriculum is as creative as it can be, centred around the habits and skills which are central to making S=P+A+C+E for learning. We are involving parents in our learning with increased opportunities to be in school and to learn more about the ways the children are taught across the curriculum subjects. Look out for the Parent workshops!

Raising the bar in learning:

Improve outcomes in writing across the curriculum and across all year groups

The quality of our children’s writing is excellent and their results in the statutory Tests around Spelling, grammar and punctuation are also excellent and exceed national and Surrey outcomes. However, in following the National guidelines for assessing writing with integrity our results are not reflecting this. Consequently we are working very hard to ensure that every piece of writing in our school is the very best it can be. You can see examples of our wonderful writing on the Writing Wall of Fame whenever you visit the School.

Closing the gaps in learning:

Ensure the best possible outcomes for all children – including those with SEND, Disadvantaged children, those with English as an additional language, Summer born children and those who are high attainers from end of EYFS/KS1, with a focus on mindfulness and mental wellbeing

We want the very best for EVERY child in our school and so this remains a constant area for school Improvement. We made huge steps last year in establishing the best possible systems and approaches for all the different needs of the children in our various pupil groups and this will continue on this year with new interventions and opportunities for all of our children.

We are also very much focused on improving the outcomes in phonics and Key Stage 1 generally and also in writing across the School. We know that our children’s writing is excellent but we need to help them to ensure that they are meeting the current high expectations throughout the School.

If you have thoughts on how our School can improve (in any area) then please do share them with Mr Lewin!

How did we do against our Improvement priorities for 2016-17?

  1. Raising the bar in learning: Developing effective Life-long learning habits as St Thomas’ Learners. The focus of this is “Making S=P+A+C+E for our learning”… an understanding that success in learning comes from a combination of Perseverance, positive Attitude, Confidence and Effort. We worked hard to introduce the concept of the St Thomas Learner and the crucial habits of mind for learning that make up our S=P+A+C+E concept: Success in learning coming from Perseverance, a positive, can-do Attitude (or Growth mindset), Confidence in ourselves and what we can achieve and Effort. We feel that we were really successful in this and our children agree. For 2017-18 we have added S=P+A+C+E learning skills to help us all in our approach to learning.
  2. Raising the bar in learning: Developing more effective teaching methods in maths (and beyond) through a mastery approach. This is about teaching maths using some of the methods and strategies that we are learning from the successes of maths teaching and learning in Shanghai and Singapore. We are working closely with the Surrey Plus Maths Hub in the development of this teaching strategy. Mastery in maths has been introduced with the development of a new teaching approach for maths across the school. Our maths data shows that there has been a positive impact and the children’s questionnaires show that they enjoy the new approach too! To supplement the changes we have also introduced Headteacher Times Tables’ Challenges which occur regularly through the year with hundreds of Gold Awards for children who have learnt their tables!
  3. Closing the gaps in learning: Continuing to develop our SEND provision so that all of our children including in particular our SEND, EAL, disadvantaged and most able groups of children achieve their full potential and that all our children are challenged in their learning. We are focusing on all the different groups of learners in our School to ensure that we are meeting their needs and allowing them the best opportunities to flourish and achieve in all areas of the curriculum and as young people in a changing world. Our focus on closing the gaps for all of our children continues. Our new systems and procedures are now embedded and we believe that the children and their parents are benefiting from our new joined up approach with our Inclusion Team now well established.
  4. Increasing the opportunities for learning: Developing our buildings and grounds to ensure that we are able to provide the widest and richest opportunities for learning. Funds are limited but working sensibly and with the cooperation and support of our wonderful School community, we are looking to make the most of our building spaces and grounds to provide the opportunity for whole class learning outdoors across the curriculum whilst making best use of our buildings. There have been very obvious gains in this area of school Improvement with a wonderful new library and reading areas as well as a new shared teaching area for Year 2. Outside we have developed a beautiful Prayer Garden, a sensory garden, science garden, quiet games area and story reading circle. We couldn’t have done this without our whole school family getting involved and helping in so many ways – thank you all! Whilst not a key Improvement priority for 2017-18, we have a continuing programme of improvements for our school buildings and grounds. Watch this space!