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Thorley Hill Primary School

Our Curriculum

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 Curriculum

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. 

Our curriculum is designed to:

  •  Be ambitious, to value the integrity of each subject discipline and provide rich learning experiences. 
  • To develop pupils' knowledge, understanding and skills sequentially through a learning journey that is progressive and promotes high levels of achievement.
  • To be reflective of our local context and responsive to current national and international events and issues.
  • To provide rich learning experiences that engage, enthuse and raise aspirations.
  • To support pupils become successful learners prepared for the next stage of their education and lives.

In the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS), pupils follow the EYFS Framework which includes seven areas of learning:

  • Communication and language
  • Physical development
  • Personal, social and emotional development
  • Literacy
  • Mathematics
  • Understanding the world
  • Expressive arts and design

In the EYFS, learning is carefully planned around the interests of the children to ensure that they acquire knowledge quickly and develop their understanding rapidly in a wide range of different areas.

At Thorley Hill the Early Years curriculum has been designed by the school staff to meet the needs of the children at the school.  The learning is carefully planned for and linked to the Key Stage One curriculum to ensure clear progress and a seamless transition.

In Key Stage One and Two, pupils follow the national curriculum. The subjects are:

  • English
  • Mathematics 
  • Science
  • Computing
  • Design and technology
  • History
  • Geography
  • Art and design
  • Music
  • Physical education
  • Religious education
  • Personal, social, health and economic education
  • Foreign language (Key Stage Two only)

Click here to view the learning journey for each of the subjects at our school.

In Key Stage One and Key Stage Two detailed subject based plans are in place.  These plans are carefully structured across each year group building upon skills and knowledge progressively.  The detailed subject plans are used to structure learning each term.  Where possible work is planned around general themes to ensure meaningful connections are made.

Click here to view the termly outline for each year group. 

Throughout the school we also follow the Digital Literacy and Citizenship Curriculum by SWGFL.  Click here to view this 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: Children working

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.

The Arts
At Thorley Hill we are passionate about providing a broad, cultural education for our pupils that encompasses 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 responsibility 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.

Learners For Life 

 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 Primary School.   

When the children enter Year 2, we begin to further develop their understanding of how they learn by introducing some executive functions, or 'How To' skills.  As they progress to Year 3, further 'How To' skills are focused upon. Click here to view our 'How To' skills.  We aim to ensure that our children can actively monitor, adapt and direct their learning as they approach different tasks.                                                                                                             


The teaching of phonics begins in the Early Years Foundation Stage and follows the validated phonics scheme 'Essential Letters and Sounds'.  Children in Nursery begin learning phonics through songs, rhymes, stories and games to develop their phonological awareness.

In Reception, children begin learning specific letters and how to blend and segment these to read and spell.  The children develop their learning through the different phases, introducing digraphs and trigraphs as they progress through the 'Essential Letters and Sounds' programme, which runs throughout Reception and Year One.  The children are taught as a whole class with specific differentiation to ensure that everyone keeps up with the learning.  The programme fully prepares children with the skills they need to complete the 'Phonics Screening Check' at the end of Year One.  Children that may need specific support with phonics in Year Two receive further intervention as required.

If you would like to support your child with their phonics at home here are some videos demonstrating how the sounds are pronounced.

Phase 2 sounds are taught in reception

Phase 3 sounds are taught in reception

Phase 5 sounds are introduced in Reception and embedded in Year 1. 

For more information about how you can support your child please visit the Oxford Owl website


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.   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.