Curriculum

Curriculum

The curriculum is all the planned activities that we organise in order to promote learning, personal growth and development.  It includes not only the formal requirements of the National Curriculum, but also the range of topic based activities that the school organises in order to enrich the experience of the children. St Thomas Leesfield’s curriculum also includes high expectations and consideration for personal, social, spiritual and moral learning. 

Please click on the link to view our latest Curriculum Offer

Click to Download Leesfield Curriculum Offer September 2021 [pdf 3MB] Click to Download

The National Curriculum

Children in primary schools pass through three different age groups which are known as “key stages”. These key stages relate to what children should be learning at various stages of their school life:

Foundation Stage - Children 4 – 5 yrs of age Reception.

Key Stage 1 - Children 5 – 7 yrs of age - Years 1 and 2.

Key Stage 2 - Children 7 – 11 yrs of age - Years 3, 4, 5 and 6.

At each of the three stages, children will be following programmes of study laid down by the Department for Education and Skills known as the National Curriculum.

English, Maths and Science remain very important and are considered the core subjects in both primary and secondary education. The National Curriculum sets out in some detail what must be taught in each of these subjects, and they will take up a substantial part of your child’s learning week. Alongside these are the familiar foundation subjects: Art, Computing, Design & Technology, Foreign Languages (age 7+ only), Geography, History, Music, and Physical Education. For these foundation subjects, the details in the curriculum are significantly briefer: schools have much more flexibility regarding what they cover in these subjects.

Much of the publicity about the changes to the curriculum has focussed on ‘higher expectations’ in various subjects, and it is certainly the case that in some areas the content of the new primary curriculum is significantly more demanding than in the past. For example, in mathematics there is now much greater focus on the skills of arithmetic and also on working with fractions. In science, a new unit of work on evolution is introduced for Year 6; work which would have previously been studied in secondary school. In English lessons there will now be more attention paid to the study of grammar and spelling; an area which was far less notable in previous curricula.

Click to Download The National Curriculum Framework [pdf 2MB] Click to Download
Click to Download Parents Complete Guide to the National Curriculum [pdf 788KB] Click to Download

Curriculum at St Thomas'

We are very proud of our Leesfield curriculum as it provides memorable experiences as well as real-life learning through our varied and interesting topics. They are normally two-week topics (Reception and Year 1’s can be slightly longer as 3-week topics) and are designed to enhance and enrich the attitude, skills and knowledge (ASK) of all our children. Our school has worked hard to devise an innovative curriculum to ensure that all our learners can make great progress with their learning in all subjects.

We follow the Foundation Stage Curriculum in Reception and the National Curriculum (2014) for Years 1– 6. We follow the age-related expectations/non-negotiables for each year group and we call these ‘Basic Busters’ or BBs. Reading, writing and oracy are taught in-line with National Curriculum requirements and through our topics. Maths also follows age-related non-negotiables and skills are taught in daily maths lessons as well as through topics. Deeper thinking/Greater Depth activities and challenges are also incorporated into daily lessons to encourage children to improve their problem solving skills and increase independent learning acquisition. Science is taught through the three strands of biology, physics and chemistry but is also topic-related. Again, we follow the age-related expectations for science as outlined in the National Curriculum. All the foundation subjects are also taught through topics (please see Long Term Plans for each class below) and we know that they are engaging, motivational as well as practical to suit all learning styles. Each topic is introduced through the ‘Sticky Learning Objectives’ and these are key learning outcomes relating to the topic/subject and these are usually six or nine depending on the age group.  We also, at the start of a topic, assess prior learning (what the children already know) and revisit earlier ‘Sticky Learning Objectives’ for assessment purposes. Carefully planned lessons are then taught to include very specific ‘Sticky Learning’ (what the children must know about the topic/subject) objectives as well as ensuring that the children’s own questions are answered and addressed. At the end of each topic, the ‘Sticky Learning Mats’ are then completed by the children so that they then can demonstrate their newly gained skills and knowledge. Where possible, children are given first-hand experiences to enhance their learning through educational visits or visitors / workshops in school.

Curriculum Intent 2021-22

Our ambitious curriculum centres around the National Curriculum requirements (2014) together with all the planned activities that we organise in order to promote learning, personal growth and development. We have a highly motivational, inclusive curriculum for every child. We continue to teach using an inspiring topic-based curriculum inclusive of enriching and varied activities that the school organises to improve the learning experience of our children. St Thomas’ Leesfield curriculum also includes high expectations and consideration for personal, social, spiritual, moral and cultural learning, as well as dedicated topics relating to British Values and Relationship & Sexual Health Education. We aim to have a pupil-led coherent curriculum linked to the National Curriculum to engage every child to ‘want’ a wealth of learning that will enable them to be successful. E.g. We are developing our pupil-led individual Research Topic (Reception – Y6) which will give every child the opportunity to research and produce work around a chosen topic, which will be facilitated by our staff. In the EYFS, the ‘Development Matters’ statements alongside the Early Years curriculum is followed and implemented for all seven areas of learning. The EYFS curriculum is also a topic-based curriculum planned around weekly quality texts to enhance the children’s experiences of books. By planning both quality teacher-led activities and independent learning opportunities through continuous and enhanced provision, children have the best opportunities to achieve the Early Learning Goals (ELGs) by the end of the Foundation Stage. Our curriculum design enables all children to develop significant knowledge and skills (sticky learning) within each year group and build upon their prior learning to give them a broad and balanced curriculum from EYFS to Year 6.

Curriculum implementation - Why that? Why then?

In order to implement our creative curriculum, we have carefully considered how it is delivered and this is via regular, short, subject-based topics over the 38/39 weeks of the school year. Recent pedagogical research (E.D. Hirsch – What Every Year … Child Needs to Know) driven by the Senior Leadership Team and further research from the Class Teachers/Subject Leaders has helped us to adapt, refine and improve our teaching and assessment of the significant knowledge (Sticky Learning) in every subject area. In addition to this, key vocabulary has been identified, through the ‘Word Aware Programme’, for each year group and topic. Greater focus will be placed on children learning this age-appropriate vocabulary so that the Sticky Learning is embedded and progression can be clearly identified. Training, inset days and staff meetings over several years have helped us to further improve our curriculum. We have continued to update and adapt our teaching to include all the National Curriculum requirements (2014) for Reading, Writing, Maths and Science. We have fully implemented the Non –Negotiable Curriculum in every class from Year 1 to Year 6. The curriculum statements are assessed into ‘Emerging’, ‘Expected’ and ‘Exceeding’ on our inhouse Tracking Grids on a termly basis and this data informs the summative assessments to plan next steps for our children to achieve in preparation for summative assessments in Summer term. Reception will follow the Early Learning Goals from each individual child’s starting point (Dovestone Learning Development – DLP - baseline assessment) in Reception against the Development Matters Statement and Early Learning Goals. Each class follows their long-term plans that include all the National Curriculum requirements. The Subject Leader has responsibility to ensure the curriculum design of their subject and carefully considers what is taught, what do we want the children to learn, why that and why then? These challenging questions for the Subject Leaders guarantees appropriate coverage, progression and the acquisition of significant knowledge (Sticky Learning). Subject Leaders use a ‘proforma’ which clearly sets out the significant learning for each topic/subject area for each year group (Y1- Y6). Furthermore, our curriculum is broad and balanced and carefully considers the attitudes, skills and knowledge (ASK) that the children will learn. The Subject Leaders continue to concentrate on ensuring that the long, medium and short-term plans have the coverage and skills needed over a child’s seven years with us and that the assessment procedures are robust, therefore, the impact of our curriculum results in improved attainment and progress where our children are ‘Learning for Life’ and can retain knowledge and skills long-term. Governors meet termly regarding the curriculum and always challenge, question and celebrate where needed

Curriculum Impact

At St Thomas’ Leesfield, our children have a love of learning! We know the positive impact of our Curriculum via our ‘Pupil Chats’ and quality learning throughout school. Our individual progress and attainment data illustrates the positive impact that we desire. We know that our broad and balanced curriculum helps prepare our children for life beyond the school day, we always consider their next steps in order for them to achieve and become well-rounded citizens. Our assessment of Sticky Learning and the age-related Non-Negotiables is robust and enables the children to know and remember important knowledge and skills and to appreciate the links in learning. Annual Reception-Y6 long-term plans are found within this Curriculum Offer and are available on request or via our website.

Our Curriculum

To learn more about how each subject is taught at St Thomas', please use the picture links below.

Click on the image above to view our Early Years curriculum page.

Click on the image above to view our Phonics page.

Click on the image above to view our English curriculum page.

Click on the image above to view our Maths curriculum page.

Click on the image above to view our Science curriculum page.

Click on the image above to view our History curriculum page.

Click on the image above to view our Geography curriculum page.

Click on the image above to view our Religious Education curriculum page.

Click on the image above to view our MFL - French curriculum page.

Click on the image above to view our Art and Design curriculum page.

Click on the image above to view our Computing curriculum page.

Click on the image above to view our Music curriculum page.

Click on the image above to view our Physical Education curriculum page.

Click on the image above to view our RSHE curriculum page.

Click on the image above to view our British Values curriculum page.

Click on the image above to view our Design Technology curriculum page.

Key Stage Assessments - The national curriculum is organised into blocks of years called ‘key stages’ (KS). At the end of each key stage, the teacher will formally assess your child’s performance.

Further Information

Further information is available on your child/s Year Group Pages about these assessments.  Please use the links below.

Year 1 - Phonics Screening Check

KS1 Year 2 - SATs

Year 4 - Multiplication Tables Test

KS2 Year 6 - SATs