Assessment for Learning
Underpinning everything that we do at Thorley Hill Primary School is the belief that effective assessment, as part of on-going learning and teaching and with the active involvement of pupils, is the most powerful means of improving learning and raising standards.
Assessment for learning involves:
- the sharing of learning objectives/intentions and success criteria with pupils, and the development of these with the pupils;
- giving oral and written feedback to pupils based on these objectives/intentions, with the feedback relating directly to their learning in a way that they can understand and act upon;
- the use of questioning to help pupils express and discuss their ideas and their understanding;
- the nurturing of pupils as independent learners through the development of self-assessment and peer assessment.
Weaving these four elements together in all curriculum areas ensures that the most effective learning takes place and achievement is high. At Thorley Hill Primary School we encourage our pupils to be enthusiastic, committed learners who thrive on challenge and have the ability to learn and work both independently and collaboratively.
The school curriculum comprises all learning and other experiences that each school plans for its pupils. At Thorley Hill Primary School we provide a broad, balanced, enriched and challenging curriculum which is taught in ways appropriate to pupil’s ages and abilities. The planning by teachers takes account of Government requirements and the school’s own policies and schemes of work.
The revised Early Years Foundation Stage Framework is followed in the Foundation Stage. Since September 2014 Key Stage One and Key Stage Two have followed the New National Curriculum.
Our Curriculum 'Drivers'
At Thorley Hill Primary School we believe that a full spectrum curriculum is not complete until the school essentials have been established. These essentials are a powerful way of defining what is important to the school and will ‘drive’ our curriculum. The essentials of the curriculum at Thorley Hill Primary School have been identified as:
At Thorley Hill we want to broaden the horizons of our pupils. The concept of diversity encompasses acceptance and respect. It means understanding that each individual is unique, and recognizing our individual differences. These can be along the dimensions of race, ethnicity, gender, socio-economic status, age, physical abilities or religious belief. It is the exploration of these differences in a safe, positive, and nurturing environment. It is about understanding each other and moving beyond simple tolerance to embracing and celebrating the rich dimensions of diversity contained within each individual and within cultures.
At Thorely Hill we are passionate about providing a broad, cultural education for our pupils that encompases the various branches of creative activity, such as painting, music, literature, dance and drama. We believe that our pupils should be able to express themselves through the arts and build confidence for everyday life.
At Thorley Hill we see ourselves as a central part of the community of Bishop’s Stortford, of the UK as a whole and of the wider world. We aim to develop our pupils sense of belonging and of responsiblilty to the communities to which we belong.
At Thorley Hill we believe in creating individuals who show initiative and creativity, pupils who can solve problems, develop ideas, can communicate effectively and are adaptable.
From the moment pupils enter the school they are actively encouraged to recognise and develop their ‘learning muscles’. The development of ‘learning muscles’ is integrated into all curriculum areas. This ensures that our pupils are active learners, achieve well and become learners for life. In the Early Years Foundation Stage and Key Stage One our ‘learning muscles’ are linked to animals, birds or insects to engage the interest of our very youngest children. Click here to view the Learning Muscles of Thorley Hill Primary School.
Planning Around Themes
In the Early Years Foundation Stage the work is carefully planned around the interests of the children to ensure that they develop their skills progressively in an exciting, fun, creative way and achieve the highest standards possible.
In Key Stage One and Key Stage Two our curriculum is currently under review and will be ready for implentation in September 2018. At present each class explores a theme every term which links subjects together through meaningful contexts and develops skills progressively. The themes provide a variety of experiences for pupils to acquire, develop and apply a range of knowledge, skills and understanding from across the curriculum. These themes also meet and often exceed the requirements of the New National Curriculum. The themes explored by each year group can be found by clicking here. Subjects such as French, Religious Education, Personal, Social, Health Education and Computing may not show on the termly themes but are rigorously planned for and linked into the main themes where possible to ensure that pupils learning is ‘linked’ and relevant.
Detailed long term plans, which are also under review, have been created for each subject. These long term plans are used by teachers to develop both medium term (termly) and short term (weekly) plans. These plans are very detailed and are constantly adapted following formative and summative assessments that are regularly carried out by staff.
The teaching of phonics begins in the Early Years Foundation Stage and is guided by ‘Letters and Sounds’. Pupils are gradually introduced to initial sounds through modelling, repetition and playing games involving the sounds that are being focused upon. Carefully planned activities are set up to consolidate phonic learning. Once children reach Year One phonics is taught in phases with the pupils being split into smaller groups to ensure each child’s needs are met. Pupils across Year One and Two participate in a twenty minute phonics session each day, which allows for rigorous coverage of Phase Three to Phase Six phonics. Pupils in Year Three who would benefit from this phased approach continue to participate in daily sessions. At the end of Year One each child’s phonic knowledge is tested in a phonics screening test carried out on a one to one basis with the class teacher.
In The Early Years Foundation Stage children are gradually introduced to reading through modelling and sharing books. They are given an individual reading book when the teacher feels they are ready. Throughout the school books are put into a book banded system. Our ‘core’ scheme is Oxford Reading Tree, however other schemes are also used and fit within the book banded system. Key skills and techniques are modelled and taught throughout Key Stage One and Key Stage Two. Parents/carers are encouraged to share books, read to and listen to their child read at home on a daily basis. At Thorley Hill we aim to develop a love of reading for each and every child.
The teaching and learning of mathematics meets the requirements of the National Curriculum 2014 and is designed to give all pupils a consistent and smooth progression of learning across the school. It builds progressively on the content and methods established in the Early Years Foundation Stage.
At Thorley Hill Primary School we believe that whenever possible mathematics should be taught within real life contexts and with a problem solving approach to help build understanding. We also believe that it is vitally important that pupils are taught according to the stage at which they are working, moving them on as soon as they are secure in their understanding and demonstrating confidence in applying their skills.
We have developed a Calculation Policy that outlines the age – stage expectations as set out in the National Curriculum. Please click here to view it.
For further information on the curriculum at Thorley Hill Primary School, please contact the school office.