At Thorley Hill Primary School we are committed to providing an education for all of our pupils that will ensure that they are successful and confident members of the community and have an embedded life-long love of learning
What we want pupils to learn:
- To recognises and make positive changes to their learning in maths
- To share the same vision and culture
- To help children feel positive and confident about maths
- To have good subject knowledge and understanding of the mathematical skills
- To engage fully with mathematical reasoning and problem-solving demands
Children are given opportunities to develop their understanding of a range of skills and discuss how their maths skills and understanding is used across the curriculum. At Thorley Hill individuality within maths celebrated and children become more resilient and self -reflective as they engage in discussions and receive feedback. Children are encouraged to take risks and experiment and then reflect on their own learning, sharing with learning partners.
Mastery Maths allows all pupils to be engaged, inspired and challenged throughout the whole lesson, by applying their knowledge into a range of questions.
Explore, practice, apply, challenge and reasoning develops a progression of skills and knowledge in all areas, allowing them to use these skills in a number of ways confidential.
Mastery Maths approach – all children beginning at the same level and develop at their own pace, this take ownership and challenge to their learning.
In lessons, Review, Revisit and Remember is used to use their long term memory and vocabulary modelled throughout the lesson, connecting with cross curriculum subjects.
Mastery Maths takes the children on their own journey and embeds the key skills they will need to gain confidence and remain fully engaged.
Questions throughout the lesson are used to assess and gain understanding – questions are adapted for different abilities throughout the lesson.
Children are challenged through pin pong – this develops knowledge and misconceptions. Think and Share.
We want pupils to:
- Develop strong phonological knowledge and apply this to become independent readers.
- read widely, with fluency and confidence.
- develop a love of books and explore a range of genres.
- apply a range of skills to both decode and understand the books they read
- participate in discussion across the curriculum
- actively widen their vocabulary
- become confident writers across a range of genres.
- Demonstrate an age appropriate understanding of the grammar, punctuation and spelling used in their writing.
Phonics and early reading
- Essential letters and sounds sessions take place daily in Year R, Year 1 and Autumn Term of Year 2. Nursery explore initial letter sounds and environmental sounds.
- Pick ups and interventions take place when identified from assessment data
- Half termly assessments track progress
- Wall friezes support pupil learning during independent writing.
- Phonics books closely match phonic knowledge and children read the book multiple times to build fluency and comprehension
We have a bespoke reading programme at Thorley Hill which allows children in Years 1-6 to build their written comprehension skills by developing:
- Point evidence and analyse (Key Stage 2)
Year 1 begin to implement this and by Year 2 children are completing the full ‘reading week’ each half term.
Each class from Years R-6 completes a carousel of activities including
- Reading with the teacher (approx. 1:6)
- Word detectives
- Non-fiction activity
- Reciprocal reading (KS2) Reading for pleasure (KS1).
In Reception, the activities are focused on building fine motor strength (e.g. playdough) and independent writing skills. The class LSA complete a targeted activity with children daily in the Autumn Term and targeted interventions as the year progresses.
Structure – children read to an agreed point and re-read the portion of text if there is time to deepen their understanding. The teacher provides individualised support as well as teaching sessions to meet the reading curriculum objectives. The reading curriculum was updated in September 2022.
Reading for pleasure
All children (YN – Y6) can borrow books from their class libraries to take home. Reading for pleasure is actively encouraged throughout the year through theme events such as book week etc..
At Thorley Hill we have a bespoke writing programme for all stages. All classes from YR to Y6 have key texts which they read as a class and base their learning on. These cover a range of genres and are selected to ensure there is diversity in both author and characters. Teachers have the autonomy to change books as long as the variety of texts is not compromised. Spelling and Grammar are taught within this programme.
Nursery – supported to form letters in their names and to mark make to describe their pictures. They also develop oral storytelling traditions using helicopter stories to develop the complexity of their story structures.
Reception – Talk for writing is used alongside the phonics booklet. Children learn to retell well-known stories using story maps (imitate) make small changes to these stories (innovate) and to write their own stories (invent).
Year 1 and Year 2 Follow a one week writing programme.
Year 3 gradually introduce aspects of the two-week KS2 writing programme
Years 3-6 follow a 2 week writing programme.
What we want pupils to learn:
- To be curious
- To independently recognise and make positive changes to their learning in science
- To share the same vision and culture
- To help all children feel positive and confident about science
- To have good subject knowledge and understanding
- To have the capability to design their own experiments to answer scientific questions
- To demonstrate the key experimental skills in science, planning, data gathering and evaluation
- To be aware of the development of the curriculum strands vertically and horizontally through their school progression.
Children are given opportunities to develop their knowledge and understanding of a range of scientific topics. In parallel, children learn the scientific working skills they need to design, perform and evaluate experiments. The curriculum is heavily experiment based and offers multiple opportunities for child initiated / lead learning.
At Thorley Hill our Review - Revisit – Remember policy means that learning is constantly and consistently reinforced. We follow a science scheme which means that our curriculum delivery is consistent across and within year groups, whilst flexible enough to allow adaptation for inclusion of all. Children are encouraged to listen to feedback and reflect on their own learning, sharing with learning partners.
Our science curriculum is based on the Pzaz scheme of work. and covers all aspects of the National Curriculum from reception to year 6. This scheme was chosen as it has been created by subject experts and based on the latest pedagogical research, however we have applied it to our school and developmental stage of learning. It provides an innovative progression framework where content (concepts, knowledge, skills and objectives) have been organised into interconnected stands within and between year groups.
In lessons, Review, Revisit and Remember is used to encourage and enhance long term memory and retrieval. Vocabulary is clarified and modelled throughout the lesson, connecting with cross curriculum subjects where possible.
The curriculum aims to equip young people with the knowledge, skills and understanding they need to thrive in the digital world of today and the future. The curriculum can be broken down into 3 strands:, Scientific knowledge and conceptual understanding, nature, processes and methods of science and the uses and implications of science with the aims of the curriculum reflecting this distinction.
The national curriculum for computing aims to ensure all pupils:
- develop scientific knowledge and conceptual understanding through the specific disciplines of biology, chemistry and physics
- develop understanding of the nature, processes and methods of science through different types of science enquiries that help them to answer scientific questions about the world around them
- are equipped with the scientific knowledge required to understand the uses and implications of science, today and for the future
At Thorley Hill, we want pupils to:
- Enjoy learning about History and be curious about the past
- Develop the confidence to think critically, ask questions and be able to explain and analyse historical evidence
- Recognise the importance of History and how the past has influenced the present
- Have an awareness of significant events and individuals in British and global history
- Develop empathy for others and have the opportunity to see how we can learn from past mistakes
- Build their understanding of chronology, making connections over periods of time
- Have the skills to carry out their own historical enquiries
- Understand how historians study the past
Through our scheme of work, we aim to build an awareness of significant events and individuals in global, British and local history and recognise how things have changed over time. History will support children to appreciate the complexity of people’s lives, the diversity of societies and the relationships between different groups. Studying History allows children to appreciate the many reasons why people may behave in the way they do, supporting children to develop empathy for others while providing an opportunity to learn from mankind’s past mistakes. Our History scheme aims to support pupils in building their understanding of chronology in each year group, making connections over periods of time and developing a chronologically-secure knowledge of History
In order to prepare pupils for their future learning in History, our scheme aims to introduce them to key substantive concepts including power, invasion, settlement and migration, empire, civilisation, religion, trade, achievements of humankind, society and culture.
History is taught in half termly blocks in KS2, alternating with Geography
We use the Kapow scheme of work to support with planning and progression of knowledge and historical skills.
Some focus texts in English are themed to match the History topic to immerse the children in the era
Artefacts and quality secondary resources used to enhance teaching
Visits and visitors used to bring History to life for the children
Each six-lesson unit has a focus on chronology to allow children to explore the place in time of the period they are studying and make comparisons in other parts of the world. Children will develop their awareness of the past in Key stage 1 and will know where people and events fit chronologically. This will support children in building a ‘mental timeline’ they can refer to throughout their learning in Key stage 2 and identifying connections, contrasts and trends over time. Our timeline supports children in developing this chronological awareness.
Units are organised around an enquiry-based question and children are encouraged to follow the enquiry cycle (Question, Investigate, Interpret, Evaluate and conclude, Communicate) when answering historical questions.
Over the course of the scheme, children develop their understanding of the following key disciplinary concepts:
• Change and continuity.
• Cause and consequence.
• Similarities and differences.
• Historical significance.
• Historical interpretations.
• Sources of evidence.
These concepts will be encountered in different contexts during the study of local, British and world history. Accordingly, children will have varied opportunities to learn how historians use these skills to analyse the past and make judgements. They will confidently develop and use their own historical skill set. Children will create their own historical enquiries to study using sources and the skills they have developed.
Substantive concepts such as power, trade, invasion and settlement, are introduced in Key stage 1, clearly identified in Lower key stage 2 and revisited in Upper key stage 2 (see Progression of skills and knowledge) allowing knowledge of these key concepts to grow. These concepts are returned to in different contexts, meaning that pupils begin to develop an understanding of these abstract themes which are crucial to their future learning in History.
Our history work follows the spiral curriculum model where previous skills and knowledge are returned to and built upon. For example, children progress by developing their knowledge and understanding of substantive and disciplinary concepts by experiencing them in a range of historical contexts and periods.
Geography is a rich and diverse subject that gives children the opportunity to learn about diverse places, people, resources, environments and the effect of mankind. It inspires a curiosity and fascination about the world from an early age and fosters enthusiasm and a passion for learning. Geography is, by nature, an investigative subject, which develops an understanding of concepts, knowledge and skills.
Whilst the importance of geographical knowledge is recognised, we also wish to enable children to become lifelong geographers who have the skills and attitudes to continue to appreciate the world around them.
Throughout the Geography curriculum children will learn the Earth’s key physical and human processes. They will deepen their understanding of the interaction between physical and human processes and how this affects landscapes and environments. Many contemporary challenges – climate change, food security, energy choices – cannot be understood without a geographical perspective.
Within each academic year, children will study a number of geography topics (see curriculum overviews). Each topic is carefully planned to allow pupils to accumulate knowledge, building on their learning from previous topics and years so that pupils develop a deep understanding of the 'big concepts' in Geography. These are:
- Investigate place
- Investigate patterns
- Communicate geographically
- Have a sense of the world and their place within it.
We use Oddizzi to support with the planning of geography to ensure that key knowledge and skills is progressive and enables links to made within and between topics.
The computing curriculum will:
- Contribute to children’s personal development in creativity and computational thinking
- Promote independence in skills development enabling them to become active participants in a digital world
- Encourage the use of technology to express themselves safely, respectfully and responsibly
- Use technology as a tool for learning and development
Children are given opportunities to develop their understanding and application of a range of skills across the curriculum. At Thorley Hill, individuality and preferences within computing are celebrated and children become more resilient and self-reflective as they work through the curriculum, engage in discussions and receive feedback from peers and adults.
Our computing curriculum is based on the ‘Teach Computing’ Curriculum and covers all aspects of the National Curriculum. This scheme was chosen as it has been created by subject experts and based on the latest pedagogical research, however we have applied it to our community and developmental stage of learning. It provides an innovative progression framework where computing content (concepts, knowledge, skills and objectives) has been organised into interconnected networks called learning graphs.
In lessons, Review Revisit and Remember is used to encourage and enhance long term memory and retrieval. Vocabulary is clarified and modelled throughout the lesson, connecting with cross curriculum subjects where possible.
The curriculum aims to equip young people with the knowledge, skills and understanding they need to thrive in the digital world of today and the future. The curriculum can be broken down into 3 strands: computer science, information technology and digital literacy, with the aims of the curriculum reflecting this distinction.
The national curriculum for computing aims to ensure all pupils:
- Can understand and apply the fundamental principles and concepts of computer science, including abstraction, logic, algorithms and data representation (Computer science)
- Can analyse problems in computational terms, and have repeated practical experience of writing computer programs in order to solve such problems (Computer science)
- Can evaluate and apply information technology, including new or unfamiliar technologies, analytically to solve problems (Information technology)
- Are responsible, competent, confident and creative users of information and communication technology. (Digital literacy)
To help with our implementation of the computing curriculum we have a variety of hardware available to all teachers, including:
- A class set of iPads
- 15 Chromebooks
'What is the purpose of art?”. Thorley Hill creates opportunities for pupils to explore many different aspects of making, helping pupils understand the ways art connects us with our past, helps us embrace the present, and empowers us to shape our future.
By exploring why art is relevant to all our lives, we aim to make certain that pupils feel entitled to develop their creativity, and understand their place in the world as creative, confident beings. We want children in our school to:
- Know about relevant artists, designers, craft makers, architects.
- Experiment, invent and create
- Think critically and creatively
- Be able to express themselves
- Have cultural understanding
- Know the various disciplines of art
- Become confident in future professions and success in economy, to our culture
- Produce creative work, explore ideas and record experiences
- Generate and develop own ideas in a variety of ways
Above all else, leave us being confident and self-assured artists.
- Access art used to support our curriculum and our learning journeys.
- Long term plan enables staff to select a discipline that may link to another subject area and making links in learning
- All staff feel able to use the activities and approaches within the Access Art Curriculum.
- Staff CPD to support the curriculum and sketchbook work, building staff understanding and confidence.
- Children have sketch books that are unique to them that show the progression of skills taught across a pathway before these are applied in a final piece.
- In lessons vocabulary is introduced through front of sketchbook vocabulary lists, techniques are modelled through small steps, children are given opportunities to experiment and be creative with techniques from the journey.
- To give children opportunity to develop the sporting skills and character attributes through participating in sporting competitions through the Sports Partnership.
- Ensure The Sports Leaders are fully acquainted with updated information and availability of resources
- Ensure all taught PE lessons are of high quality.
- Ensure adequate resources are available that allow the delivery of outstanding PE lessons that lead to high pupil attainment.
- As part of encouraging the children to lead healthy and active lives, giving children the chance to take part in a range of different physical activities while in school, with the aim being that children will then find ‘their activity’ to continue to take part in outside of school.
- Maintain the number of pupils participating in competitive sport, Ensure competition is accessible to all pupils, External clubs offered with a variety across the year groups.
- All children to participate in level 1 competitions
To offer engaging PE lessons – through subject knowledge from key teachers.
- Each class takes part in 2 hours of PE a week.
- Our curriculum is varied and enables children to gain skills in a wide range of sports and activities
- We differentiate lessons, using equipment to ensure that all pupils can access lessons.
- Enrichment days are used to raise the profile of many sporting activities e.g. mini marathon, Essex Outdoors, Cricket days and Rugby.
- All pupils from Years 3 - 6 have a half term of swimming yearly at Grange Paddocks.
- We take part in a range of competitions e.g. football, gymnastics and netball.
- Buy into The Sports Partnership – platinum member. Engaging all pupils in virtual competitions throughout the academic year.
- We have a wide range of extra-curricular clubs - running both before and after school (over 20 a run a week - many of them linked to sports).
- Introduction of ‘sports ambassadors’ in Years 1 – 5 (Year 6 will still have sports leaders) to embed and highlight good learning behaviours for PE/Sports
- We have inspiring speakers to talk to the children at an assembly, or individual sessions with classes.
- We make links with the Boys High school – sixth form sport science children who come and support our pupils with developing their sporting skills. .
- We take part in Level 2 competitions for both KS1 and KS2 through attending events within the Birchwood Sports Partnership.
- Pupils are taught regularly timetabled PSHE / RSE lessons by a member of Thorley Hill staff with whom the pupils are familiar with.
- The Curriculum is split into 6 themes and is taught as a spiral curriculum so topics are re-visited in more depth to match the maturity of the pupils.
- Lessons are adapted to meet the needs of each individual class /pupil and to deal with issues as they arise.
- Lessons are delivered in a way that ensures pupils feel safe and encourages participation by using a variety of teaching approaches with opportunities to develop critical thinking and relationship skills.
- Assemblies, themed days, visits, and visitors are used to support the teaching and are not used in place of it. Show racism the red card /Children’s Mental Health Week/Walk to School Week/Watford FC Positive Minds workshops/Dogs Trust workshops/Anti-bullying Week/Odd Sock Day/Enterprise Week/fund raising events/charity events/interaction with members of the local community/clubs/extra-curricular activities such as Essex Outdoors and team building/School Council/Thursday Thunk – high order thinking questions/visiting speakers and professionals /visits to places of interest/residentials and themed days.
- Each week we have a celebration assembly, which rewards children with an Achievers certificate for hard work, progress and having the right attitude to learn. House Points are counted and displayed during these assemblies.
- We work in partnership with parents informing them about what their children are learning and when required, providing guidance towards resources that can be used at home.
- Parents and children were consulted about our RSE curriculum, their views have been incorporated into the current curriculum. (2020). Parents meeting held annually to discuss our RSE curriculum offered to Y4/Y5/Y6.
- Distancing techniques are used; stories, scenarios or case studies using fictional characters and storylines to stimulate discussions whilst ‘de-personalising’ discussions.
- Using ‘parent/family/adult at home instead of ‘mum and dad’ helps to recognise the wide range of family set ups in modern Britain.
- Ensuring lessons include scenarios, photos of people who reflect the diversity of society; different ethnicities, faiths, genders, sexualities, disabilities, and that, where appropriate these challenge typical stereotypes.
Classroom ethos understood by all: not asking personal questions/creating a safe and secure learning environment/anonymous question box for sensitive questions.
What we want the children to learn:
Using a planned sequence of lessons, we aim to ensure that children practise and build on the above skills through a theme-based curriculum. They learn how to express their ideas and thoughts in French and interact and communicate with others both in speech and in writing. The scheme includes opportunities to listen to native speakers which supports both children and teachers.
In Years 3 and 4, the children acquire basic skills and understanding of French with a strong emphasis placed on developing their speaking and listening skills. These are embedded and further developed in years 5 and 6, alongside greater confidence in reading and writing, gradually progressing to more complex language concepts and greater independence.
What we want pupils to learn:
- To recognise and make positive changes to their learning in RE
- To help children feel positive and confident about RE
- To develop a good subject knowledge and understanding of different faiths and wordviews
- To engage with positivity and respect for other people’s views, religions and beliefs
- To build on knowledge of different religions and belief systems taught throughout the school
- To be aware of similarities and differences between religions
- To build a wider view and understanding of our school and locality’s religions and belief systems
Children are given opportunities to engage in an enquiry approach, so they can develop their understanding and appreciation for a range of different religions, beliefs and cultures. This will aid them in discussing and appreciating the similarities and differences of local, national and global worldviews in a positive, respectful and understanding way, across the curriculum.
At Thorley Hill individuality within RE is celebrated and children become more resilient and self -reflective as they engage in discussions and receive feedback. Children are encouraged to listen, with respect, to different worldviews and then reflect on their own learning, sharing with learning partners.
In lessons, Review, Revisit and Remember is encouraged, to help children use their long term memory and vocabulary modelled throughout the RE curriculum, helping to make connections between faiths.
Questions throughout the lesson are used to assess and gain understanding – questions are adapted for different abilities throughout the lesson.
Artefacts are used as a source of enrichment, to aid children’s understanding of different religions and help to answer questions.
NATRE Spirited Arts Competition (Summer Term) is used as a project to enhance children’s experience of RE through creativity.
RE worldviews are taught through a range of discussion, creativity, artefacts, cooking, cross curricular writing opportunities, pupil research and local speakers.
Religions are discussed with a ‘worldview’ – giving examples of ‘lived’ experiences of different religions, not limited views of how people follow different faiths and belief systems.
We encourage curiosity about different religions in an open, respectful and safe environment.
We utilise opportunities for our school community to enrich learning by coming into classes to share their experiences.
Each year group should have 1 religious education enrichment visit each year
For children to experience a range of genres and of music
experience singing and playing a range of instruments.
have opportunities to join choral and ensemble groups while they are at Thorley Hill.
Develop their understanding of music, including the use of appropriate musical vocabulary.
Have opportunities to play and perform music and also to experience live music.
For music to be accessible to all children.
Music as part of the curriculum
- Music is taught In Years 1- 6 as 40 minute lessons per week. Sometimes these are blocked into double lessons.
- A peripatetic teacher delivers whole class clarinet lessons to the children in Year 4 using charanga and music express. The class teacher in Year 3 teaches whole class recorder lessons using Charanga.
- Children learn and develop skills in singing, playing musical instruments, composing, improvising and also develop key musicality skills such as rhythm and pulse.
- Reception and Nursery access music as part of their continuous provision. There is a music zone in the Nursery and one in the Early Years Garden.
- Children in Year 1-6 participate in a weekly singing assembly. Class teachers also attend and model participating in the sessions.
Music beyond the curriculum
- Children in Years 4-6 are able to join the school choir (re-established in Autumn 2021). The choir performs carols around the tree, at the Spring Music concert and at the Summer Fayre. The choir also performed at the Herts Music Service Gala at the Royal Albert Hall this year.
- All children in Years 1-6 participate in a weekly singing assembly where we learn songs for special events (such as Harvest Festival and Christmas Carols) and also to develop different singing techniques.
- From Autumn 2023 children will also be offered the opportunity to join a free musical ensemble group which will involve creating their own compositions using musical technology.
- In Spring 2023 we began working with irock who help children to build their self-esteem through playing popular songs as part of a band (electric guitar, drums, keyboard and vocals)
- Peripatetic teachers deliver lessons in piano, the clarinet, flute, drums and guitar.
- A Spring concert was organised in 2023 where all the children who study musical instruments in school, some children who study externally to school as well as the choir, were invited to perform to parents. The peripatetic teachers for piano, whole class clarinet and the flute, were also present.
- Children participated in the Bishops Stortford Music Festival this year.
- Termly assemblies allow children to perform together as a class.
- Children have the opportunity to participate in termly performances and annual class assemblies
Design and Technology
Our intention - through DT teaching - is to provide children with a real-life context for learning. As an inspiring and practical subject, we intend to prepare children to deal with an ever-changing technological world, encouraging them to become creative and resourceful problem solvers, working both independently and as members of a team. We teach them to be inspired by real world opportunities and relevant problems, identifying needs and developing a range of ideas and solutions in a variety of contexts.
By researching past and present technologies and applying knowledge learnt across other areas of the curriculum, children build their confidence, resilience, practical and analytical skills. Furthermore, they learn to overcome challenges and improve designs and products, all the while finding motivation and meaning for their learning.
Children learn skills in product research, disassembling and building products, making prototypes, testing, designing and evaluating.
Food technology is a focus of our DT curriculum. It is our intent that DT is taught in all year groups in either discreet or cross-curricular projects. By the time children reach Year 6, they would have had experience of food tech, textiles, design and construction. They will be on the way to becoming risk takers and innovators and will have used a range of tools, resources and materials, including the use of IT, to create effectively constructed and aesthetically pleasing results. This, along with a strong focus on the importance of evaluation, allows children to adapt and improve their work, providing them with not only a sense of achievement but a strong foundation for the next step of their learning and a key skill for life.
The Design Technology teaching follows the National Curriculum design, make and evaluate cycle.
Through this they acquire a broad range of technical knowledge and vocabulary whilst also drawing on disciplines such as Mathematics, Science, Engineering, Computing and Art.
Each of these elements should be given equal weight and taught to a high standard. Evidence of each of these strategies should be found in books/folders and photographs and should show clear progression across the Key Stages.
Rooted in real-life, relevant contexts, children design products with a purpose and an intended user of the products in mind. They use research and develop design criteria to inform the design of innovative, functional, appealing and fit-for-purpose products. Planning should be through appropriate formats i.e. annotated sketches, patterns/templates, communicating ideas verbally and prototypes/’mock-ups’. In some cases, designs will be computer aided.
Whilst making, children will be given a wide range of tools, materials and components including textiles, construction equipment and ingredients. They build and apply a repertoire of knowledge, understanding and skills (ie. cutting, shaping, joining and finishing) in order to make high-quality prototypes and products for a range of users.
Children learn to critique, evaluate and test their ideas and products as well as the work of others. They investigate and analyse a range of existing products to understand how individuals and key events have shaped design and technology globally. In addition, they learn to evaluate their work against their own design criteria and consider the views of others in order to improve their work.