At Thorpedene we ensure that the current National Curriculum has been fully developed throughout the school, giving a breadth and depth of study within each individual year group. Our curriculum is broad and balanced, providing pupils with opportunities to link ideas together through termly themes
A broad and balanced curriculum promotes the spiritual, moral, cultural, mental and physical development of pupils and prepares pupils at the school for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of later life.
At our school we encourage the children to develop their own ideas and interests of what they would like to learn within the set themes and topics for each Year Group. In turn the teaching staff are encouraged to be as creative with the learning as possible. The curriculum is being developed to ensure cross curricular links throughout the subjects, particularly in English. Therefore the units are not taught as stand-alone lessons in English but as part of the topic-based approach with the foundation subjects.
Our curriculum is designed to ensure that the children are fully engaged in their learning throughout every day and that it has a positive effect on their motivation to succeed with their learning.
In Reception, we follow the Early Years Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage. This Framework sets out the requirement for learning and development in the Early Years and provides specific and prime areas of learning which we must cover in our curriculum. These areas are:
Personal, Social and Emotional Development
Communication and Language development
Understanding the World
Expressive Arts and Design
The structure of the day for KS1 includes daily phonics/spellings and English lessons with the weekly addition of a Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar (SPaG) lesson. For KS1, spellings are sent home weekly and assessed in class through the format of dictation. In Lower KS2, a ‘stand-alone’ lesson for spellings is delivered weekly and during this lesson they are tested for their accuracy. This is alongside a daily English lesson. In Upper Key Stage 2, the children have daily, hour long English lessons plus an additional weekly SPaG lesson and daily guided reading sessions.
All children have the opportunity to participate in a reading session and/or activity each day.
At Thorpedene we are continuing to raise the profile and focus on Reading across the school. A new school library and the introduction of the Accelerated Reading scheme are working both to develop reading skills further and promote the love of reading across the school.
The Penpals handwriting scheme is used across the school to support the teaching of a clear, joined, cursive handwriting style.
To support all stakeholders, we offer termly workshops on the core subjects to help parents, carers and children understand how they can support their children with their learning at home. This is well received by parents and carers as they have opportunities to work alongside their child, as well as ask individual questions.
The structure of each day for KS1 & KS2 includes a daily Maths lesson, plus a weekly mental maths / arithmetic lesson in Upper KS2.
In the Autumn term, the focus across the school is on number and the four operations. These are taught to ensure children know the basic skills required to use in problem solving and the wider Maths curriculum.
As with English, to support all stakeholders, we offer termly workshops on the core subjects to help parents, carers and children understand how they can support their children with their learning at home. This is well received by parents and carers as they have opportunities to work alongside their child as well as ask individual questions.
Science has been developed to use a cross curricular investigative approach across all year groups. A wide spectrum of Science is being taught throughout the year groups, and each class within the year provides their pupils with the same challenging opportunities.
Scientific method is taught through developing and evaluating explanations through experiments and modelling. The children learn to question and discuss science based issues that may affect their own lives, the direction of society and the future of the world.
Due to a two-year rolling program in the Science curriculum, teachers liaise effectively to ensure that appropriate variety of content and coverage is taught to all pupils and that skills and knowledge progress as the children move through the years.
Each year Science days are held, in liaison with Shoebury High School, to inspire and motivate pupils further with the relationships between Science lessons and the real world.
Computing across Thorpedene is taught via a bespoke scheme of work that tailors to the needs of our pupils whilst ensuring effective curriculum coverage and progression. Thorpedene is committed to building strong links with Maths, Science and Design Technology within Computing. Pupils will learn the principles of using information and computation safely. They will also be able to discover how digital systems work and develop an understanding of programming, enabling the children to put these skills into practical use whilst becoming digitally literate.
Digital Leaders are recruited from Years Four, Five and Six. They are responsible for finding and trialling apps for the IPads and to check that the laptops and IPads are all turned off and put away correctly at the end of each day. They write and deliver e-safety assemblies each year to the Upper School, detailing the dangers of giving away personal data, lying about your age to access particular web pages and agreeing to meet people you make contact with online: they remind the children about the SMART rules. These are:
Meeting up with someone can be dangerous
Accepting emails can be dangerous
Reliable – always check information you are given
For more information please visit http://www.childnet.com/resources/be-smart-on-the-internet
The Art curriculum is developed to equip each child with the knowledge and skill to experiment, invent and create their own works of art, craft and design. The creativity of each child, coupled with a developed awareness of the impact of design on everyday life, will broaden ideas of the wider world. Children’s learning in the Arts will enable them to discover how design has a cultural impact and its promotion of a sense of well-being.
Across the school we encourage children to look at different forms of Art. Each year children are selected to be involved with photography projects, learning how to capture moments on film and inspire them with a passion for alternative art forms.
Music is developed to inspire a love of music, increase self-confidence and develop a critical engagement to compose, listen and therefore debate their own preferences. The school also offers peripatetic lessons in guitar, piano and cello, weekly extra-curricular clubs including KS2 choir, KS1 Music as well as KS1 singing. As a school we promote musicality within the local community by participating in performances at the local church and residential homes. We also participate in Music festivals throughout the year.
Drama is becoming an established part of learning and creativity across the school. From role play situations and play in EYFS, to Pie Corbett’s ‘Talk 4 Writing’ in English and topic lessons across the school. Evidence is shown in books and on displays of Drama across the curriculum. Teachers also have recordings of children’s own compositions and performances. We also have an extra-curricular drama club to develop passion and interest further. As a school we have invested in the Now Press Play programme to support cross curricular learning linked with drama further. This is an audio resource that engages primary school children in a variety of curriculum themes through drama, emotion, imagination and movement. Using these headphones children can become immersed in sound, they become the main character in a story, meeting people, discovering places and solving problems making their educational adventure memorable and meaningful.
Design & Technology teaching is embedded into topic work across the school. Skills and methods for creating are taught to ensure there is a progression of skills through the school through ‘projects on the page’. Teachers aim to encourage imagination and creativity to inspire pupils to problem solve in a variety of contexts, relevant to their understanding of the world.
We aim to inspire children to succeed and excel in competitive sports or physically demanding activities throughout the curriculum. The P.E curriculum will encourage health and fitness throughout the school, promoting an inclusive scheme of work.
Thorpedene is proud to develop the core values of good sportsmanship, fairness and respect within the many clubs and competitions it is involved with. We have a wide range of Sports clubs available before school, during lunchtimes and after school for the children to engage in for fun and be part of the wide range of leagues, tournaments and competitions we enter.
To support fitness and focus in the children, all KS2 class participate in The Daily Mile, where children walk/jog/run continually for 15minutes as a class. This encourages physical activity in addition to their regular P.E sessions and promotes a sense of health and wellbeing for all pupils.
At Thorpedene, we employ a specialist Sports Leader to improve both the provision for the subject, and the CPD of teachers across the school.
Geography is delivered across the school with a cross-curricular approach; this ensures that key geographical elements are taught throughout topic work, at the same time allowing children to make progress in other areas of the curriculum.
In KS1 pupils develop their knowledge about the world, the United Kingdom and their local area, using maps, globes and atlases. They develop an understanding of basic subject-specific vocabulary relating to human and physical geography and begin to use geographical skills, including first-hand experiences e.g. local trips.
Local geography has been the focus of Lower Key Stage Two. The children have been able to confidently identify many geographical aspects of their local area. This knowledge has been further embedded during a number of local visits, arranged by the teachers, to key geographical landmarks.
Climates and biomes have been the focus of Upper Key Stage Two. This cross-curricular geography topic has enabled the children to research many areas of the world and write persuasive travel brochures about their chosen climate.
The teaching of History across all key stages in the school is undertaken through the topic based approach. We ensure that our History lessons will help pupils gain a good understanding of Britain’s past and that of the wider world. We aim to inspire pupils’ curiosity to know more about the past. Children are taught to develop their research and analysis skills as they progress through the school, learning to develop a critical eye to sources of information. Children are also encouraged to understand the difference between facts and opinions when researching.
Religious Education is taught across the school through lessons, visits to places of worship and assemblies. The school is affiliated to St. Augustine’s Church and, through this, is supported by our local diocese. We teach RE in accordance with the locally agreed syllabus for RE which is provided by Southend Local Authority. The RE syllabus reflects the fact that the religious traditions in Great Britain are in the main, Christian. However it also takes account of the teachings and practises of other major religions.
We aim to provide a curriculum that allows all pupils to explore, understand and express their own response to spiritual values, beliefs, awareness, high standards of personal behaviour, a positive caring attitude towards other people, an understanding of their social and cultural traditions and an appreciation of the diversity and richness of other cultures.
PSHCE is taught across the school through class discussions, speaking and listening activities, written reflections or circle times following the Jigsaw Programme. Jigsaw is a whole school approach that brings together Personal, Social, Health and Economic education, emotional literacy, social skills and spiritual development. Designed as a whole school approach, Jigsaw provides a comprehensive scheme of learning for all pupils. It supports teachers by providing a series of well-structured, progressive lessons and activities.
Each class has regular P4C (Philosophy for Children) discussion sessions, which are used to develop the children’s vocabulary and language for discussion and reflection.
Every class in the school has a ‘worry box’ which enables children to suggest topics for discussion or highlight individual needs that can be addressed by the class teacher or Inclusion team.
Class Assemblies are being held weekly within classrooms in both KS1 and KS2. Teachers also lead assemblies once a week which link to a current theme e.g. cultural events (Diwali, Remembrance Day, Guy Fawkes) or a discussion about feelings and emotions (anger, friendship and respect).
Friendship buddies are nominated from each class from Reception through to Year 6. These children will be supporting their peers on the playgrounds at playtimes and lunchtimes, modelling games and activities and helping children to develop and maintain friendships.
French is delivered by teachers across KS2 in a variety of ways depending on the age group and topic. We use the scheme Rigolo to support teaching and learning of the language. Rigolo takes children on a journey through France using lively interactions and engaging stories as well as games and songs. Displays in French can be found across KS1 and KS2, integrated with day to day experiences such as answering the register, singing songs and playing games in French.
Growth Mindset is an approach that encourages everybody to keep trying and to see mistakes as an important part of learning. All staff and children are developing their understanding of a growth mindset and how it can help when we are stuck or need help. We all have moments when a fixed mindset creeps in and it’s great that others can say, “You’re nearly there,” or “Keep going!” At Thorpedene we have a whole school focus on embedding a growth mindset through our curriculum.
This ethos is underpinned regularly in assemblies where we celebrate pupils who have demonstrated a growth mindset.
‘In a growth mindset students understand that their talents and abilities can be developed through effort, good teaching and persistence. They don’t necessarily think everyone’s the same or anyone can be Einstein, but they believe everyone can get smarter if they work at it.’ (Carol Dweck)