Our Curriculum

Curriculum Design
At Thackley Primary School, we design our curriculum to meet the needs of our children. It is constantly evolving to develop the skills needed for our pupils to become successful learners and empower them to achieve success in the future. Our school aims: Skills for Life; High Standards in Everything We Do and Happy Memories are the main driving force behind how we design and deliver our curriculum.
Reading
The easiest way to help your child with reading is to read with them each day. Children should be encouraged to read aloud and read on their own, but being read to is really important too, so don’t overlook the bedtime story!

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
 
 
Teaching of Phonics
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.

Writing
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.

Spelling
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.

Handwriting
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.

Maths
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
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.

Computing
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

Music
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.

Creative Curriculum
At Thackley Primary School, we deliver a creative curriculum which is driven by a topic. These are chosen to capture the interests of our children and include subjects like; Superheroes, Dragons, The Seaside, Castles and many more exciting themes. Topics are often launched through a hook or a book which engages the children in their learning. Skills based learning is developed by linking subjects such as history, geography, art, design technology and music to the topic the children are studying. This allows children to make purposeful links in their learning. We also use every opportunity to make links through reading, writing, maths, science and ICT. PE and RE are often taught as discreet subjects to allow coverage of the main objectives and skills needed to be taught in each year group.