At Thackley we believe that our broad and balanced curriculum provides children with the skills, knowledge and understanding they need to develop into well-rounded, informed individuals. We have a clear plan of what children should know by the end of each unit and organise engaging tasks to help them learn and remember this knowledge. We want our children to build on existing learning in order to help them know more and remember more. We share this information with parents through our knowledge organisers and the information in our knowledge showcases on the website.
Our school aims: Skills for Life; High Standards in Everything We Do and Happy Memories are woven through our curriculum.
Teachers plan the knowledge requirement for each subject in meticulous detail under the whole school guidance of the subject leader. We make sure that the children know the skill that they are learning and how this skill supports other skills within the curriculum. Our knowledge for each unit is sent home in knowledge organisers and this forms part of our home learning for the term. Children are quizzed on these knowledge organisers at the start of each session in our ‘low stakes’ quizzes. We know that children will struggle to retrieve some of the facts that they have previously learnt. Once this testing has been done the children are given time to go back over this learning to find the facts they have forgotten. Relearning these facts allows them to be placed back into their long term memory through their working memory; this should help them to be retrieved the next time they are needed. Regular revision of these facts and testing of the knowledge organisers is key to the children being able to retrieve the information.
Our children enjoy their curriculum. They have a thirst for knowledge and ask for quizzes on what they have learnt. We are keen to share our learning with others and build on our previous knowledge.
In Reception, the focus is on recognising letters and the sounds they make. Children learn to blend sounds together to read words as well as learning ‘tricky words’ which need to be recognised by sight. Once children can recognise the majority of letters and can blend simple words, they will be introduced to Reading Scheme books which they will bring home. At Thackley we use a combination of reading schemes. These include Oxford Reading Tree, Floppy’s Phonics, PM Starters, Bug Club and Phonics Bug. These give a variety of fiction and non–fiction books to develop children’s reading range.
It is important to remember that children learn to read at different rates. Once they finish the reading scheme, we encourage them to become ‘free readers’ and choose their own books.
To help your child at home
Read with your child every day – little and often is the best way to learn
Make it enjoyable – if your child is not in the mood, try again later
Rhyming books or stories with repetition are great fun and your child can join in too
Be a role model – it’s important to let your child see you and other family members reading
Play with letters: make them out of dough, bricks, or buy some magnetic letters and stick them on the fridge
Play I-spy when you go out – use the sound the letter makes, rather than its name
Children in Reception and Key Stage 1 follow the synthetic phonics approach, using the ‘Letters and Sounds’ programme. It’s an approach to teaching phonics in which individual letters or letter sounds are blended to form groups of letters or sounds, and those groups are then blended to form complete words.
Our daily phonics sessions in Reception are fun, involving lots of speaking, listening and games. The emphasis is on children’s active participation. They learn to use their phonic knowledge for reading and writing activities and in their independent play. Daily Phonics lessons continue in all Year groups after Reception, incorporating spelling patterns etc.
At Thackley Primary, we use many of the games from ‘Phonics Play‘ to support our delivery of the synthetic phonics programme called Letters and Sounds. We also use online videos and iPad apps such as those produced by Mr Thorne.
Letters and Sounds is divided into six phases, with each phase building on the skills and knowledge of previous learning. There are no big leaps in learning. Children have time to practise and rapidly expand their ability to read and spell words. They are also taught to read and spell ‘tricky words’ – words with spellings that are unusual or that children have not yet been taught. These include the words ‘to’, ‘was’, ‘said’ and ‘the’ – you can’t really break the sounds down for such words so it’s better to just ‘recognise’ them.
Phase One will begin in nursery. This phase paves the way for the systematic learning of phonics. During this phase especially, we plan activities that will help children to listen attentively to sounds around them, such as the sounds of their toys and to sounds in spoken language. We teach a wide range of nursery rhymes and songs and read good books to and with the children. This helps to increase the number of words they know – their vocabulary – and helps them talk confidently about books. The children also learn to identify rhyme and alliteration.
High Frequency Words
Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1 children have to learn to read, write and spell a considerable number of High Frequency Words. The teaching of the high frequency words is linked to the teaching of phonics. We would greatly appreciate parental support with the learning of these words.
At Thackley Primary School we believe that writing is a life skill and key to independent learning. We provide an abundance of different opportunities for children to write throughout school, from ‘Have a Go Books’ in Reception to writing for different audiences and purposes in KS2. Cross–curricular links are used wherever possible to develop children’s writing skills, particularly in topic work and in science books. We also recognise the importance of grammar in writing and ensure our children are taught all aspects needed to lead a fully functional life in our society today.
We believe that spelling has a direct effect upon progress in all other areas of the curriculum and is crucial to developing a child’s confidence, motivation and self esteem. We provide children with a range of spelling strategies throughout school which cater for different learning styles. Early spelling is taught through phonic work in the Early Years Foundation and Key Stage 1. As children move from Key Stage 1 to Key Stage 2, the emphasis shifts from the teaching of phonics to more focussed teaching of spelling strategies, conventions and rules to build upon the children’s established phonic knowledge.
We believe that most children should be able to achieve an efficient legible style of handwriting. We also recognise that handwriting is a skill that needs to be taught. The teaching is largely whole class based and is direct and systematic. Children are encouraged to develop and maintain a good posture and pencil grip. From Reception onwards they are taught to write using the school’s preferred style and this is shared with parents and carers.
Mathematics is important in everyday life and equips children with the tools needed to understand the world around them. The mathematics teaching in our school is geared towards enabling children to develop positive and enthusiastic approaches to mathematics as well as enabling each child to develop within their capabilities. We teach a range of mental strategies as well as formal and informal written calculations. We also promote cooperative learning, problem solving and investigative work so children can use and apply what they have learnt in real life contexts.
Science develops children’s interest in events going on around them. It links practical experiences with ideas and fosters in children a quest for further knowledge and understanding. Our aim is to teach science in ways that are imaginative, purposeful, well managed and enjoyable, making links between science and other subjects.
Thackley Primary School firmly believes that the teaching of Computing should be at the heart of the curriculum, as we aim to equip all learners with the experiences and skills for life which Computing provides in a rapidly changing technological world.
Through high standards, our learners will be confident and independent in their use of IT equipment to solve problems across the curriculum. We hope to enable them to create programmes and systems of their own, and to find, explore, analyse, exchange and present information in an effective and memorable way. Topics covered include: using programmable toys to hunt for treasure, testing games to explore how computers work, and creating video performances to develop presentation skills present,
We have invested in a range of classroom based and mobile technologies so that the children are able to use their skills in varied and creative ways both within school and in the wider community. Through the use of the class blog sites we engage and encourage children to reach a wide audience and become confident and excited about developing and sharing their writing.
At Thackley Primary School we believe that learning about e-Safety is a vital life skill. Empowering children at an early age with the knowledge to safeguard themselves and their personal information is something that we believe needs to be nurtured throughout school to see them into adult life. All Key Stage 1 and 2 children cover an e-Safety unit of work during the first half term. This enables them to work safely and with curiosity and confidence throughout the school year
The teaching methods we employ vary according to the age, ability and experience of the children and the concept being taught. Music is taught discreetly in lessons where children learn to play a musical instrument and work on the skills of composing, organising and performing. These sessions are delivered by Music Services. In Early Years and Year 1, Music is taught creatively by forging links to our wider curriculum and topic areas. Throughout the year there are many events for the children to share their musical talents with both parents and the wider community including Harvest festival, Christmas performances and the year six leavers performance.