Find out more about our curriculum by:
Clicking on the link above,
Reading the Policy below
Contacting us at school (on 01530 230250)
At Thornton, learning is seen as the acquisition of knowledge, skills, attitudes and understanding. To be effective it must be enjoyable and based on co-operation and respect.
Learning is achieved through a wide range of teaching routines, strategies and activities.
This Teaching & Learning Policy is strongly supported by all other school policies and schemes of work. It is realised through effective working partnerships between staff, pupils, parents and governors.
The aims of this policy are:
Ø To demonstrate a commitment to high quality teaching
Ø To promote high standards of achievement through effective and enjoyable teaching and learning
Ø To underpin all other policy statements
To enable these aims to be met we need -
An Effective School Learning Environment, where:
Ø The physical environment of the classrooms and other areas provide a comfortable temperature with adequate ventilation and lighting;
Ø Children have access to drinking water and are well nourished;
Ø Classrooms and other areas are carefully effectively planned and managed;
Ø Resources are organised in order that pupils can make choices whilst learning;
Ø Displays stimulate, enhance, assist and celebrate teaching and learning;
Ø Our whole school, including the external environment, is seen as a place for learning and is resourced and treated as such;
Ø Our policies and teaching strategies support pupils taking part in decisions relating to school resources (this is done on an individual, class and School Council level);
Ø Our whole ethos of our school demonstrates our commitment to high standards of achievement and progress;
Ø There is a positive, assertive approach to pupils’ behaviour;
Ø Our pupils understand that adults who work with them should be treated with equal respect.
Appropriate behaviour is a priority and is insisted upon at all times. Our pupils are taught to be polite and to display good manners. They are also taught to care for their school, its wider community and the people around them.
Self-confidence and self-esteem are important. Praise is given for politeness and for good or improved behaviour. Good relationships are seen as essential in establishing this ethos which aims to promote high self esteem in all pupils.
Our understanding of how pupils learn
We believe pupils learn in various ways. They can be visual, auditory or kinaesthetic learners. It is therefore important that pupils are offered a range of learning situations which encompass all approaches.
Our understanding of Effective Teaching
It is our understanding that effective teaching is exhibited when -
Ø Children are enjoying the learning experience;
Ø Learning is at the heart of all high quality teaching;
Ø The teacher has good subject knowledge;
Ø The teacher plans, explains & delivers clear learning objectives;
Ø The teacher uses methods/organisation which enable all pupils to learn effectively (including target setting);
Ø The teacher challenges and inspires pupils;
Ø The teacher has a clear understanding of the progression of skills in all subject areas;
Ø The teacher uses time and resources (which include support staff) effectively to maximise learning;
Ø The teacher uses assessments to help pupils learn;
Ø The teacher understands how to achieve an effective classroom climate to raise achievement and learning;
Ø The teacher uses homework to reinforce school learning;
Ø Promotes equal opportunities regardless of gender, race & ability;
Ø The children are able to show independence, creativity and perseverance;
Ø Children have a clear understanding of the next steps in their learning.
Our objectives are to
Ø plan, teach, assess, deliver & monitor a curriculum that reflects the expectations of the National curriculum as an entitlement for all children regardless of age, gender & race;
Ø enable all pupils to work in an atmosphere that is exciting, stimulating and challenging in order for them to develop into independent learners;
Ø provide the children with a wide range of opportunities, resources & teaching styles to promote knowledge, skills and understanding;
Ø actively promote the principle that all pupils should be encouraged to become independent learners. They will be taught to collect and use information from a wide variety of sources and make sensible choices in all aspects of their learning;
Ø make our curriculum broad (including before and after school opportunities), so that children are given a wide view of the world about them;
Ø make it balanced, so that they are offered appropriate amounts of time depending on the importance of the subjects they are studying;
Ø make it coherent, so that the children can make connections between subjects, where they overlap and interconnect;
Ø make it differentiated, so that children of different abilities are taught areas of the curriculum at their level, and are not prevented from making progress;
Ø give continuity and progression, so that children move smoothly from one stage to the next, at their pace and level of understanding;
Ø deliver a curriculum relevant to current life, so that a meaningful context for learning is experienced.
Our Teaching and learning is organised into three stages
- The Foundation Stage
- Key Stage 1
- Key Stage 2
Vertical grouping is often necessary with the current numbers and budget.
When this occurs we aim to:
Ø manage the vertical grouping process to ensure that no cohort misses significant aspects of subject areas;
Ø ensure that the curriculum is planned in such a way that the scheme of work results in all year groups receiving a balance throughout each subject;
Ø ensure that differentiation within the short term planning results in all pupils working at a level appropriate to their prior knowledge & understanding as well as their ability.
The figures below exclude registration, morning break and the daily collective act of worship.
Foundation Stage & Key Stage 1 - 23 hours 45 mins of teaching
Key Stage 2 – 24 hours 10 mins.
Our curriculum includes
Ø The Early Years Foundation Stage Areas of Development
Personal, Social and Emotional Development, Communication and Language, Personal Development, English, Mathematics, Understanding the World, Expressive Arts and Design
Ø Core Subjects -English, Mathematics, Science and Computing
Ø We also teach History, Geography, Design & Technology, Music, Art, Physical Education and Religious Education, PSHE (including Sex & Relationships and Drugs Education) and Citizenship within our curriculum.
All core curriculum areas have separate policy statements and related schemes of work. Policies are presented to the Governors for approval, and both policies and schemes of work are reviewed regularly by school staff to make necessary amendments.
This is done in three stages in every area of the curriculum.
Plans focus on Learning Objectives. These objectives are shared with the children and are clearly written on the whiteboards at the start of each lesson.
There is a standard planning format throughout the school:
Long Term Planning - skeleton schemes of work developed around half termly ‘Topics’;
· Medium Term Planning – Subject leaders use the New National Curriculum Programmes of Study (objectives) to ensure coverage in their subject. They then ensure that the half termly planning covers the range of objectives appropriately;
· Short Term Planning - weekly planning which is made up of: in depth English and Maths Planner; non-core subjects.
English and Mathematics are taught as separate subjects:
English - this includes reading, writing, handwriting, the study of our language and literature, spelling, punctuation, grammar and speaking and listening. As described in the National Curriculum, the overarching aim for English at Thornton is to promote high standards of language and English by equipping pupils with a strong command of the spoken and written word, and to develop their love of literature through widespread reading for enjoyment. Pupils are taught to:
§ read easily, fluently and with good understanding
§ develop the habit of reading widely and often, for both pleasure and information
§ acquire a wide vocabulary, an understanding of grammar and knowledge of linguistic conventions for reading, writing and spoken language
§ appreciate our rich and varied literary heritage
§ write clearly, accurately and coherently, adapting their language and style in and for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences
§ use discussion in order to learn; they should be able to elaborate and explain clearly their understanding and ideas
§ are competent in the arts of speaking and listening, making formal presentations, demonstrating to others and participating in debate.
All children have a weekly opportunity for extended writing (Big Write). Speaking listening and performing opportunities are provided for all pupils throughout the curriculum, in school performances and in assemblies.
All classes have daily guided reading time. There are opportunities also for small groups of readers to share a book and for adults to work with individual pupils.
Daily Phonics are taught discretely up to Year 3 (and beyond for children on the SEN record). Differentiated spelling, punctuation and grammar is taught from Y1 upwards.
The School Council and Ambassadors schemes also help pupils to develop their speaking and listening skills.
Mathematics – including number, measurement, shape and space, handling data, algebra, and using and applying mathematics. Our school covers all aspects of Mathematics in the New National Curriculum through a range of strategies including the objectives in the school’s medium term Mathematics planning. We aim to ensure that all pupils:
§ become fluent in the fundamentals of mathematics, including through varied and frequent practice with increasingly complex problems over time, so that pupils develop conceptual understanding and the ability to recall and apply knowledge rapidly and accurately.
§ reason mathematically by following a line of enquiry, conjecturing relationships and generalisations, and developing an argument, justification or proof using mathematical language
§ can solve problems by applying their mathematics to a variety of routine and non-routine problems with increasing sophistication, including breaking down problems into a series of simpler steps and persevering in seeking solutions.
Science – includes:
§ developing scientific knowledge and conceptual understanding through the specific disciplines of biology, chemistry and physics
§ developing understanding of the nature, processes and methods of science through different types of science enquiries that help pupils to answer scientific questions about the world around them
§ equipping pupils with the scientific knowledge required to understand the uses and implications of science, today and for the future.
§ life and living processes (humans, animals, nature, evolution), materials and their properties (exploring materials like wood, plastic, metal, studying the earth, chemical changes), physical processes (forces, energy, light and sound, electricity and magnetism, the Earth in space), and scientific investigation. Science is usually taught as a separate subject. There is a balance of practical and theory work throughout the school. Pupils are taught to ask questions and investigate & test hypotheses.
§ Key players in scientific discovery
Computing - includes computer work in logical reasoning, designing and writing programs, algorithms, word processing, data collection and handling, programming and controlling machines, using the internet and studying the uses of computers in our world. Computing has two distinct aspects: the skills needed to understand and operate computers and other technology; and the practice of using computers and other technology to support children’s learning across all the subjects of the curriculum. So, when children have learned one of the computer skills, they may practice it in an English or History lesson. In this way, Computing is integrated into all aspects of the curriculum. Computing is also the use of other technologies which can be used to communicate in a variety of ways (i.e. sound recording, video etc)
Religious Education - this is broadly Christian in content, but includes other religions represented in our society together with customs and rituals and religious people. Our school bases its Scheme of work on the Leicestershire Agreed Syllabus.
The whole school studies aspects of the Christian religion every year.
Collective Worship – Our school has daily Acts of collective worship during assembly time. If parents wish to withdraw their child from Collective worship and/or Religious Education lessons, we need a request in writing. Children who are withdrawn will be given alternative work to do, in an area close to the classroom, where they can be supervised.
Our collective worship is built around our weekly assembly themes, linked to our daily ‘Thought for the Day’.
Assemblies – Assemblies are arranged as follows:
Monday – KS1/KS2 alternately PHSE assemblies
Tuesday – Classroom assembly
Wednesday – Whole School singing
Thursday – Classroom Assembly
Friday – Whole School Celebration Assembly.
The Head teacher and teaching staff take these assemblies on a rota basis. All teaching staff (teachers & TAs) come into our Friday Celebration assembly.
Music - includes listening, appreciating and appraising, composing and performing. Pupils are taught to sing and play musically with increasing confidence and control. They develop an understanding of musical composition, organising and manipulating ideas within musical structures and reproducing sounds as part of an aural memory.
In addition to the regular music teaching and experiences offered in class, some children can learn to play a musical instrument. They are taught by a variety of peripatetic teachers sourced by the Music Subject Leader. A charge is made for this service. For further details please contact our school office.
Singing lessons for all children take place weekly and all children have the opportunity to express themselves vocally at school performances and carol services.
Physical Education – In KS1, Pupils are taught to develop core movement, become increasingly competent and confident and access a broad range of opportunities to extend their agility, balance and co-ordination, individually and with others in gymnastics, games (individually and in teams) dance and athletics. We develop their ability to engage in competitive (both against self and against others) and co-operative physical activities, in a range of increasingly challenging situations. In KS2, pupils continue to implement and develop a broader range of skills, learning how to use them in different ways and to link them to make actions and sequences of movement (including swimming, and outdoor and adventurous activities).
Swimming - we offer swimming to some key stage 2 classes , to help them achieve the requirements (25 metres with a recognised stroke) in the National Curriculum for PE. As we have no swimming pool on site, we use the pool at Hind Leys School in Shepshed; and parents are asked to contribute to the costs of pool hire and instructors.
Pupils are taught to communicate, collaborate and compete with each other. We are determined to help them to develop an understanding of how to succeed in different activities and sports and learn how to evaluate and recognise their own success.
PE is usually taught as a separate subject although opportunities for cross curricular links are incorporated when possible/necessary e.g. PE and Science, Music and History.
Pupils are taught a range of appropriate skills in their PE lessons, which will equip them to explore a variety of sports. Children are often keen to extend a particular interest or skill, and we pride ourselves on the extensive range of further sporting opportunities for pupils. We are very grateful to other adults who assist us in providing additional sports experiences for our pupils.
Throughout the year, there are many and varied opportunities for children to represent the school in Inter-School competition. We aim to enter every event possible and to invite as broad a range of pupils as possible to take part.
We have a cross-curricular approach in our planning of learning opportunities for pupils. As such, all of the subjects above and particularly the subjects which are planned around our half termly topics and taught as linked subjects.
Design Technology - includes designing; planning and making, testing (evaluating) and modifying, use of tools, safety, and studying the uses of technology in our world. Pupils develop their skills and learn the safe use of tools and equipment by undertaking a range of practical tasks, such as making products, maintenance or cooking. Pupils are taught about the major components of a balanced diet and how ingredients can be combined to prepare healthy meals. They are taught basic cooking techniques and how to cook a variety of savoury dishes. We place a big emphasis on food in school and are working through the ‘Food for Life Partnership’ awards.
Geography - includes studies of places, physical geography, human geography, and environmental geography. Pupils develop their knowledge about the world, the United Kingdom and North Charnwood. As they work their way through the school, the children extend their knowledge and understanding beyond Thornton and the United Kingdom to include Europe, North and South America. This includes the location and characteristics of a range of the world’s most significant human and physical features.
History - includes studies of different periods in our history (including that of Thornton), to gain knowledge and understanding, the history of other cultures, to assist in interpreting history, and the study of old things, to understand the use of historical sources. Pupils begin to develop an awareness of the past and the ways in which it is similar to and different from the present. They are taught to understand the key features of a range of different events and historical periods. Pupils learn key dates, events and significant individuals. They are taught about the ancient civilisations of Greece and Rome and the essential chronology of Britain’s history. We begin to help pupils to understand that history takes many forms, including cultural, economic, military, political, religious and social history.
Art and Design - includes the study of many different art and craft techniques, working in different media, famous artists and their work. Pupils are taught to develop their techniques, including their control and their use of materials, with experimentation and an increasing awareness of different kinds of art, craft and design.
Languages (from Y3 upwards) – includes an appropriate balance of spoken and written language and lays the foundations for further foreign language teaching at Key Stage 3. We enable pupils to understand and communicate ideas, facts and feelings in speech and writing, focused on familiar and routine matters, using their knowledge of phonology, grammatical structures and vocabulary.
Personal, Social and Health Education (PSHE)
The school's policy is to deliver PSHE both through the main curriculum subjects and through a separate scheme of work. See the PSHE Policy for details of how we link Sex & Relationships Education, Drugs Education, Our Assembly Themes and SEAL (Social and Emotional Aspects of Learning) to ensure a thorough coverage of PSHE objectives.
All education for health begins in the home. The school sees its task to support and promote the patterns and practices that promote healthy living. Work related to health is undertaken in a variety of subjects e.g. Healthy Eating in Science, and relationships in Drama. Safety education is implicit in most subjects, but particularly emphasised in P.E, Technology and Science. Teachers also teach weekly discrete SEAL lessons.
Sex and Relationships Education is offered to children in Years 5 and 6 as part of a programme of Health Education. The teaching of Sex Education is covered by this course, and also as part of the Science curriculum. It is governed by a policy (copies of which are available from school on request). Parents have the right to withdraw their children from the Sex and Relationships Education course, but not from the Science curriculum lessons.
Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural education, and Education for Citizenship - during the year a wide range of themes are covered each week with a spiritual, moral, social, cultural or citizenship focus. Children are also given many experiences in school, which extend their understanding and development in these areas. Many of these experiences are developed through our Assembly Themes and ‘Thought for the Day’.
All teachers have to take account of assessing children’s progress in a systematic way; and planning appropriate work for any children in their classes who have Special Education Needs.
We plan visits relating to the curriculum areas for classes. They are used to stimulate interest and to consolidate and extend learning. Each class is likely to make at least three visits each academic year, lasting either a half-day or full day.
In both Key Stages, children will be offered the opportunity to join a residential visit usually lasting up to five days.
We also invite people/specialists into school to work with children on specific topics.
Within all curriculum areas, groups are often organised by ability to make it possible for the children to work at a suitable pace; sometimes friendship groups are arranged, to promote co-operative work.
There will be a mixture of individual work, small group teaching, and whole class teaching - teachers will choose the most appropriate way of delivering each aspect of the curriculum. The children will be expected to work in many different ways - writing, speaking, doing practical activities, finding out information, discussing, and reading. Explanation, observation, assessment, constructive criticism and above all, support and encouragement, are the means used to help the children to achieve.
All children are taught to develop their understanding of learning by using ‘Talk Partners’ at regular intervals in all lessons.
Whenever possible, our teaching staff deliver the curriculum to reflect the different learning styles of our pupils.
Classroom Support (Teaching Assistants and Learning Support Assistants)
Learning Support Assistants are deployed to meet the learning needs of individuals and groups – the allocation of this time should be based around a ‘provision map’ of pupils’ needs. The aim of our use of support staff is to maximise the impact upon learning.
All curriculum areas have a teacher who is responsible for monitoring teaching and learning.
Summative & Formative Assessment
Assessment and the tracking of progress are the key elements in ensuring appropriate provision for pupils in teachers’ planning. Our in depth Assessment Policy details the rationale and procedures behind assessment at this school and has been updated in line with the removal of National Curriculum levels and the move towards the Symphony Assessment System.
Records are kept on many aspects of each child’s education and development, e.g. test results, curriculum progress, medical conditions, particular achievements. Parents have the right of access to view the information held about their son/daughter. This can be done by arranging an appointment through the school office if you wish to see your child's records.
Home /School Partnership
We actively promote parents working in partnership. Parents are formally invited into school each term to meet with the class teacher in order to be kept informed of their child’s progress. The school encourages parents to talk with staff, including the Head, at any time if they need clarification or support on any matter relating to their son’s/daughter’s education. We also use home-school diaries to aid communication between home and school.
Special Educational Needs
Some children will have specific needs related to their education. They may learn more slowly than most of their class. Teachers in this school will always attempt to give work to children which is appropriate to their learning capability; stretching children who learn quickly, and supporting children who need extra time or help. The basic skills of reading, writing and number work are our priority, especially for children who need extra help.
In all cases, teachers will inform parents if they have a concern about a child’s lack of progress, and discuss the situation with them. This will be conducted through agreed school systems. It may be that the child will be placed on our Special Educational Needs record and work to a ‘School Support Stage’ Plan (see below). We will always endeavour to maintain excellent communication with parents.
All schools must follow procedures from the New Code of Practice for the Education of Children with Special Educational Needs (2014). The Code of Practice advocates a graduated response to meeting pupils’ needs at an appropriate level.
Learning Support for Able and Less Able Pupils
We recognise that all pupils are individuals and have their own needs. Some pupils require support in addition to that provided for everyone. Their needs may arise from, exceptional ability, physical or sensory difficulties specific learning difficulties.
When concerns are first highlighted teachers complete a ‘Cause for Concern’ form which is forwarded to the Inclusion Leader and the SENCo – advice and support will be returned to the teacher. In time it may be necessary to take some additional or different action to enable the pupil to learn more effectively.
At this point the pupil may be placed on the SEN record at School Support Stage. Strategies and targets at an appropriate level are then agreed and listed on an Support Plan
In a very small minority of cases, children demonstrate such significant difficulties that an EHC Plan (Education, Health and Care Plan) is made – if pupils have complex needs across all three areas. This process involves the Educational Psychologist and the Local Authority.
When possible, we provide from the school budget, a small amount of additional teaching time for selected children. Extra support is used for one to one teaching or small group work as well as support work within the class. Learning Support Assistants also contribute to this support structure. We are linked with an Educational Psychologist who visits our school for consultation, pupil assessment and to advise staff.
During Key Stage 1 and 2 SATs (and other tests, if appropriate) we will also provide reader support to eligible children (in Mathematics; as it is not a test of the pupil’s reading ability). This ensures that an English difficulty does not prevent children from demonstrating their true Maths knowledge and understanding.
The Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator liaises with parents, teachers and support agencies when planning how to address individual pupils’ needs. Parents who have any concerns about their child’s progress in school should, in the first instance, discuss them with the class teacher, who will monitor the situation and involve others as necessary.
Charging and Remissions (see also the Charging and Remissions Policy)
There are certain items that cannot be met from the school budget. The school will ask for parental contributions towards the transport for swimming and for educational visits. We will also make a small charge to cover the cost of ingredients for cooking and, in some circumstances, materials for arts and crafts, and technology. In certain circumstances, part or all of these charges can be waived. The school policy on charging and remissions is available from the office on request.
Complaints about the curriculum
If anyone wishes to make a complaint under Section 23 of the Education Reform Act, copies of the local arrangements procedure to be followed should be requested from the Head teacher.
Complaints about particular aspects of the school should be directed to the Head teacher and, if necessary, the Chair of the Governing Body.
At Thornton Primary School, we actively seek to encourage equity and equality through our teaching. As such, we seek to advance the equality of opportunity between people who share any of the following characteristics:
· religion or belief;
· sexual orientation;
· gender reassignment;
· pregnancy or maternity.
The use of stereotypes under any of the above headings will always be challenged.
Our school is an inclusive school. We aim to make all pupils feel included in all our activities. We try to make all our teaching fully inclusive. We recognise the entitlement of all pupils to a balanced, broadly-based curriculum. We have systems in place for early identification of barriers to their learning and participation so that they can engage in school activities with all other pupils. We acknowledge the need for high expectations and suitable targets for all children.
Monitoring and Evaluation
Our school is committed to improving the quality of teaching whenever it can, so it is essential that teaching and learning are evaluated. The necessary action following this monitoring then informs the School Improvement Plan and the Staff Development Programme.