An engaging Creative Curriculum on the Isle of Sheppey
Thistle Hill Academy follows a thematic creative curriculum as a way of achieving the outcomes set by the national curriculum for History, Geography, Art, Music, DT, Building Learning Power, The Fundamental British Values and Social, Moral, Cultural and Spiritual Developments.
We become the explorers! artists! writers! inventors! scientists!
We believe the core purpose of education is to develop character (the skills and dispositions to be lifelong learners) and further social justice. Our curriculum aims to:
Our curriculum is built using a multi-disciplinary approach, where links are made across subject domains, including high quality texts for reading and writing opportunities to consolidate and build knowledge, which can be applied to differing subject areas.
The continuous provision and classroom exploration approach to learning allows for purposeful overlearning, children leading their own learning and the opportunity to revisit key themes throughout their primary experience. The curriculum puts high value on the locality of the schools and the county of Kent, bringing together the interesting and intriguing history with its wondrous geographical features. There is a theme of architecture, human impact, personal responses and the part our localities played in a vast history are key focus areas for study.
The social, moral, cultural and spiritual aspects of learning are carefully woven through the wider themes of the curriculum. It challenges all children to reach a level of well informed, critical and creative thinking through the purposeful use of an array of technology and skills. By doing so, our children will have the character required to be resourceful and resilient people, building reciprocal relationships with others, whilst reflecting on how to live and learn happily. It is a curriculum, which ultimately, gets children desperate to learn and prepared for the future that awaits them, ready to act for the better of our world and its inhabitants.
You can find out more about our curriculum in the tabs below.
To get an even better understanding of why and how we design, plan, teach and assess the curriculum, please read our Creative Curriculum Policy.
Our vision in the Early Years is based on the fact that children in the early years are curious and excited therefore it is important we create learning experiences and environments that tap into that natural curiosity and excitement. This includes not only supporting emerging skills in the specific areas of literacy, maths, UTW and Expressive arts but also most importantly, the 21st century skills of critical thinking, collaboration, communication, creativity, technology literacy, and social-emotional development. Children need to begin to develop the early foundational skills that will help them reason, think creatively , and work collaboratively in the next stage of their education and future life.
The key drivers in achieving this are an enabling curriculum, an enabling environment inside and outside , the characteristics of effective learning and positive relationships .
An enabling environment
The pedagogical model in early years enables all children to make progress in their learning , with the right help .All children promptly receive any extra help they need, so they can progress well in their learning. To achieve this there are a mixture of approaches to teaching and learning where children learn through play with adults observing and scaffolding , through guided learning and through direct teaching.
Play based learning is an essential part of the pedagogy as it is how young children learn best . Through play children, at this age , develop personal , social and cognitive skills . We recognise that the characteristics of effective learning are central to developing young children’s self-regulation and executive function when involved in play based learning .
The role of the adult is to help young children learn, through adult-child interactions during ‘child- initiated play’, responding to children’s interests and careful planning of the ‘enabling environment’ in the continuous provision.
Continuous provision supports children’s learning and development across all seven areas and fosters the characteristics of effective learning. It allows children to be active and independent learners .The outdoor environment offers opportunities for children to do things in different ways and on different scales when indoors . Playing outside gives children first-hand contact with the weather, seasons and the natural world , and outdoor environments offer children freedom to explore, use their senses , and be physically active and curious.
We recognise that children enter early years settings with different experiences and starting points and the intent of the curriculum design is to level the playing field through closing the experience and vocabulary gap by the end of reception . The emphasis on the Prime Areas are particularly crucial and time sensitive in the early years, and their foundational nature in relation to all later learning, including the importance of communication and language skills as a basis for literacy, and in turn the importance of literacy in children’s long-term attainment and social and cultural development . The development of children’s spoken language and vocabulary underpins all seven areas of learning delivering a rich diet of literacy experiences.
Digital Literacy has been identified as an important competence for Foundation aged children due to the growing significance of digital technology in the 21st century and its implications for early learning and development. The use of Technology is integrated into the curriculum to enhance learning opportunities and experiences around the local community, the wider world and the natural world . As part of the enabling environment children learn to use technology that is developmentally appropriate and contains educational content to enhance personalised learning , digital skills , creativity , information gathering, independence , engagement and awe and wonder .
Please see our EYFS policies below:
Early Years Policy
Rewards for reading give children the sense of achievement and success. We encourage our Children to read as much as possible.
Each night a child should read to an adult and it must be noted in the Home Reading Diary (as evidence) for the child to receive two stickers (immediate reward). If a child reads on their own they receive one sticker (immediate reward). If a child reads on their own and with an adult they could receive three stickers.
Once a child has filled up a bookmark of stickers, they can select a book from a wide range on offer, which they can keep. This is completely free!
We take responsibility as teachers for the teaching of reading and pledge to support parents in encouraging children to read at home without judgment. We ensure that all children in the class have quality teaching time with the class teacher every week. We recognise the importance of a reading culture for children and ensure those opportunities are provided in school.
We aim to foster children who are enthusiastic, fluent and responsive readers who can learn and gain pleasure from the written word. We aim to provide pupils with opportunities to interrelate, consolidate and reinforce these skills within a broad and balanced curriculum.
At the forefront of our reading curriculum is our ‘reading for pleasure’ agenda, where we strive to provide experiences that encourage children to be intrinsically motivated to read, through ensuring they experience the rewards that reading practices bring. We commit to using research to support our practice, ensuring our teaching of reading is up to date and our teachers are fully trained and part of the training process, taking part in action research projects and being proactive in advancing their own practice.
Our broad and balanced curriculum ensures that teaching of reading is tailored to the children, with a clear understanding of the skills needed to be a successful reader and how these develop during each term and year. Teachers are clear of the barriers to learning to read and are forensic in identifying these in individual pupils and groups and they use a range of strategies to overcome these, including careful deployment of skilled adults. They also recognise the importance of ‘reading miles’ and plenty of opportunity for children to read independently is incorporated into the daily class timetable.
When teaching reading, teachers focus on the two dimensions: Word Reading and Comprehension (both listening and reading). As stated in the 2014 National Curriculum, it is essential that teaching focuses on developing pupils’ competence in both dimensions; different kinds of teaching are needed for each. Teachers recognise that skilled word reading involves both the speedy working out of the pronunciation of unfamiliar printed words (decoding) and the speedy recognition of familiar printed words. Underpinning both is the understanding that the letters on the page represent the sounds in spoken words.
Phonics is taught from Reception using Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised which is a systematic and synthetic phonics programme, validated by the DfE. The progression of Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised ensures children build on their growing knowledge of the alphabetic code, in order to master phonics to read and spell. Application of phonics is encouraged in a range of contexts and across the curriculum.
Teachers recognise that good comprehension draws from linguistic knowledge (in particular of vocabulary and grammar) and on knowledge of the world. Comprehension skills develop through pupils’ experience of high-quality discussion with the teacher, clear teacher modelling of effective comprehension strategies, as well as from reading and discussing a range of stories, poems and non-fiction.
All pupils must be encouraged to read widely across both fiction and non-fiction to develop their knowledge of themselves and the world in which they live, to establish an appreciation and love of reading, and to gain knowledge across the curriculum. Reading widely and often increases pupils’ vocabulary because they encounter words they would rarely hear or use in everyday speech. Reading also feeds pupils’ imagination and opens up a treasure-house of wonder and joy for curious young minds (2014 National Curriculum).
Environments that encourage a reading for pleasure culture is promoted throughout our academies and prescribed reading spaces such as libraries and book areas are well stocked and up to date with books that are class appropriate (in age, difficulty, interests or topics etc). Children are given ample opportunity to spend time in these spaces, allowing them to choose and discuss the books that they are selecting and reading.
Children are given the opportunity to borrow books from the library:
- One book may be chosen by the class teacher in collaboration with the child,and this book goes home to read with an adult. These books are banded according to ‘Book Bands’ and reading levels.
- A second book is selected by the child also. The library book remains in the class so children always have the opportunity to read throughout the school day.
- Home Reading Diaries are given to each child to record what they have read each night and an adult signature should be recorded in the diary every time as evidence the child has read to an adult.
- All books are registered using ‘Micro Junior Librarian’ to record books borrowed by each child and as evidence of the books read.
We ensure we pay close attention to the following aspects of reading:
- Word recognition
- Using strategies when reading texts
- Language, reading comprehension and enjoyment
To find out more about Reading in the Primary English curriculum click the link below
Speaking and listening
At The Stour Academy Trust, speaking and listening is a core part of our curriculum, supporting learning in all areas. Discussion between pupils is encouraged throughout all lessons to share ideas and deepen understanding. Ambitious vocabulary is modelled by members of staff so pupils have examples on which to model their own communication. We have high expectations of listening skills which are carefully developed in their school time, frequently checking that children are fully understanding and processing every situation.
Developing children’s writing is a priority in our trust, with our Creative Curriculum being key in captivating our pupil’s attention and motivating them to write. At the start of the week, a hook is always given, creating a context for the children to write and igniting their imagination. This cross curricular approach also means that our children are fully immersed in a topic and able to draw upon learning from lessons outside of writing time. Children apply progressively more complex skills from their year group’s National Curriculum objectives in a range of genres and write for a variety of purposes, ensuring that they are publishing their work termly.
Handwriting is an important focus in the 2014 curriculum and children begin to write in a cursive, joined up style in Early Years. We have a daily focused handwriting session where children are discretely taught letter formations and apply this in writing words and dictated sentences focusing on spelling, punctuation and grammar.
EGPS (English grammar, punctuation and spelling) is taught throughout English lessons and other areas of the curriculum when children are writing. A weekly focus is planned for in grammar and punctuation but previous skills are consistently revisited, building up the bank of National Curriculum expectations. Spelling is taught through the No Nonsense Spelling series, using the revisit, teach, practise, apply format, with Reception, Year 1 and 2 also doing Super Spell, a high frequency word learning programme.
Parental involvement is incredibly important in literacy learning and there are several ways you can support your child at home including:
- Reading to your child
- Listening to your child read and asking questions about what they have read.
- Playing spelling games with your child
- Encouraging writing for different purposes e.g. postcards, diaries etc
- Talking to your children about different experiences they have will also help broaden their vocabulary.
Click the links below to view the progression in English across the year groups.
You can view our English Policies below:
Click the link below to find out more about the English national curriculum
Mathematics is a life skill. It is an essential element of communication, widely used in society, both in everyday situations and in the world of work. “A high-quality mathematics education therefore provides a foundation for understanding the world, the ability to reason mathematically, an appreciation of the beauty and power of mathematics, and a sense of enjoyment and curiosity about the subject” (National Curriculum 2014).
By the time children leave our Trust, all children will be fluent, be able to reason and problem solve. Our maths curriculum follows elements of Mastery teaching. At the centre of our maths vision is the belief that all children have the potential to succeed, and learning should be accessible to all within an inclusive approach, technology will be used to enhance this. We will begin our maths topics throughout the year with a review of the previous year’s ‘Ready to Progress’ objectives. We believe that all children, where possible, should have access to the same curriculum content and should deepen their conceptual understanding by tackling challenging and varied problems.
- In EYFS pupils experience mathematics daily, through teacher directed and adult initiated tasks and child-initiated play. Opportunities for mathematics should be developed through daily routines and all areas of learning.
- In Year 1, a continuous provision approach to mathematical learning will be taken. This will include a mix of adult (directed and initiated) and child led approaches. Measurement and geometry will also be incorporated through the routine and enhanced provision. Measures will also be integrated as applications of number criteria.
- A daily mathematics lesson is taught in Year 2, through a challenge time approach and in KS2 a daily mathematics lesson is also taught at various points in the day. Arithmetic sessions may take place in the afternoons.
- Children in KS2 will practice their times tables, using Times Table Rock Star (TTRS) outside of the maths lesson at least 3x a week and for homework. They will self-manage when they access TTRS within the school day, as long as this is achieved over the week.
- Problem solving and reasoning activities will take place regularly, enhanced by the use of technology. Including: immersive reader to make problems accessible to all, Collaboration Space, Flip Grid, Whiteboard video (a demonstration of your knowledge using screen record, manipulatives etc), audio.
- MineCraft can be used in KS2, where appropriate to support children’s mathematics learning.
- Pupils are taught within their classrooms and the outside areas. Mathematics Collaboration spaces are available in each classroom, which includes, group whiteboards, manipulatives, flexible seating and technology. This will ensure resources are accessible and children can independently choose which one are appropriate to use.
- The skills acquired in the maths lesson are applied across the curriculum.
- A CPA approach is utilised in all year groups, all classes have access to a range of mathematical manipulatives to support learning and understanding. A CPA calculation policy is followed by all year groups.
Teachers will use the Trust’s Long-Term planning which is based on the White Rose Maths resources. Mathematical topics will be taught in blocks so that children can master each mathematical concept and apply it across a range of contexts.
Year 1 will have an adapted long-term plan to enable the continuous provision approach to learning to take place. The adult directed teaching will mainly focus on number and fractions. Maths concepts will be rehearsed and practiced by the children when engaged in the continuous/ enhanced provision and through daily routines.
‘Ready to progress’ objectives from the previous year group will be assessed prior to moving onto the current year group objective. This will be achieved through formative assessment throughout the lesson and possibly the use of White Rose assessments. The DfE document “Teaching Mathematics in Primary Schools” https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/teaching-mathematics-in-primary-schools will support this process, as it identifies priority areas of the primary maths National Curriculum that form the essential building blocks necessary for pupils to progress smoothly from Year 1 to Year 6. For each of these areas, the document also identifies what it calls ‘ready-to-progress criteria’ which are the concepts children need to master before they progress to the next year group. NCETM progression grids may also to be used to support at this stage of planning.
Assessment takes place at three connected levels: short-term, medium-term and long-term. These assessments are used to inform teaching in a continuous cycle of planning, teaching and assessment.
Teachers will assess children’s understanding, achievement and progress in mathematics using daily assessments, these are based on observations, questioning, quizzes and the marking and evaluation of work.
Teachers will make use of diagnostic questioning at different stages of pupil’s learning, including prior to a unit beginning to identify misconceptions, during a unit of work to check these have been addressed and at the end.
Anchor tasks may also be utilised to enable teachers to observe children’s responses and to prompt further exploration with questioning.
Maths Intervention programmes
Before thinking about maths catch up and/or intervention, what will be taken into account first and foremost is children’s mathematical well-being for future learning, including:
- building young children’s confidence,
- their willingness to have a go,
- their mathematical self-esteem and enjoyment; and
- establishing firm relationships with the adults in school and with their families
The Leuven scale may be used for any children who we are concerned about.
The school operates a flexible approach to intervention programmes based on weaknesses identified in termly pupil progress meetings and through ongoing data analysis by the senior leadership and maths teams. Teachers use guided groups led by themselves and teaching assistants to tackle children’s misconceptions in maths.
Pre-teaching and assigning competence is used with those children who are on the cusp or experiencing a degree of maths anxiety at least 3 times a week.
A structured early maths intervention will be used in EYFS, Years 1 and 2. This is called Becoming 1st Class @ Number and 1st Class @ Number. The impact of this intervention will be tracked using the Sandwell assessments.
Number talks are used across the school- either as a maths starter, within the maths lesson or a few times a week outside the maths lesson with a small group of children. This may be used as a maths intervention as well, for example, a group of girls to boost confidence.
Maths games are utilised across the school in order to enable children to investigate and play with numbers, develop their own understanding and resilience without any pressure.
We encourage parents to support their children in developing their basic Mathematical skills; particularly to support their fluency and mental ability. This can be achieved in a number of different ways:
- Counting basic objects within the home environment
- Telling the time at home
- Using money in real life situations
- Helping weigh materials on scales
- Learning times tables and number bonds to 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100.
When supporting your child with their homework, it is most beneficial if you continue using the methods which are used in class; this avoids any confusion. Click below to find our Calculation Policy, which outlines how we teach key concepts in all year groups which you can also use to help support your child’s learning at home.
Click the link below for a guide for supporting your child with their mathematics
Long Term Plans
Programme of Study
Click the link below to find out more about the Primary Mathematics curriculum
Our science curriculum has been transformed into a 21st Century teaching and learning practice incorporating collaboration, skilled communication, knowledge constructions, self-regulation and real-world problem-solving using technology to enhance the teaching and learning whilst using a digital exercise book for pupils. With the use of video and audio capabilities children will be able to review and critical question scientific thinking and how we can improve the world around us with scientific thinking and get a deeper understanding.
All pupils should be taught essential aspects of the knowledge, methods and uses of science. Through building up a body of key foundational scientific knowledge, concepts and scientific skills, they should be encouraged to recognise the power of rational explanation and develop a sense of excitement and curiosity about natural phenomena.
Our Science curriculum has been carefully researched and designed for progression and depth of learning, learning across contexts, which are working scientifically through enquiry-based questioning. This has been meticulously planned for within each science topic by reading the Long Term Plan. There are 11 key components, which underpin our Science Curriculum as a whole:
- Learning and Remembering – We have designed the Science curriculum with a model of Learning and Remembering in mind. This means, scientific knowledge of concepts and working scientifically are meaningfully repeated with the aim to secure these in longer-term memory and developed further each time they are revisited and built upon.
- Progression – The progression of the concepts and processes within each topic have been mapped out and integrated into the Long Term Plan from EYFS all the way through to Y6.
- Challenge and Mastery – Lessons planned to be challenging, increasing in the level of challenge over time, applied within a range of contexts to reach a level of mastery through exploration and research.
- Scientific Vocabulary, Language and Concepts – We teach a scientific concept but build on scientific knowledge in a different context, frequently, so children have the best chance to link and fully learn new vocabulary and related knowledge.
- Cross-Curricular Topics– Maths, Computing and other creative curriculum subjects help bring knowledge and skills to a topic and to do so in depth: a topic viewed through the multiple lenses from which the selected subject disciplines can provide.
- Sequence of Topics for Progression and Depth – Each topic has been carefully sequenced so that scientific knowledge is revisited, built on, linked and progress in complexity. Each topic builds from the previous learning, helping children to secure a strong body of knowledge by the end of each year, which is then built upon the following year. A topic has earnt its place, as the learning involved is essential for making deeper sense of the next using small scientific steps. This ensures learning is always revisited, linking, building, deepening and never lost.
- Blooms Taxonomy of Thinking– Our Science curriculum does not only demand all children to remember and understand knowledge but how to think and use this knowledge in various ways through our Big Questions. We have designed scientific topics so children have to apply knowledge skilfully, analyse it, evaluate it and think scientifically with it in order to develop understanding through our Big Questions and small scientific steps.
- Key scientific concepts and scientific skills.-. We teach children the process of being a scientific thinker. This means, children are faced with a problem (Big Question) to develop their thinking and the science knowledge is broken down into small steps. The 5 key scientific stages of Aim (Exploration), Methods (Development), Diagram (Presentation), Results (Performance) and Conclusions (Evaluation). Throughout these 5 stages, we plan sufficient time to be curious, show enjoyment and interest, ask and answer questions, explore, build on previous knowledge, make links across contexts, reason, develop, refine, rehearse, embed and demonstrate learning, building to a final response to develop positive attitudes to science which encourage collaborative learning and perseverance. As part of this process, we plan experiences, which inspire our children to respond meaningfully, taking ownership of how to do this.
- 21st Century Learning Skills – Not just teaching subject content, but key values to prepare children for life, along with characteristics of effective learning. This is planned into the scientific texts and the challenging tasks, questions and issues embedded within each topic, becoming more sophisticated over time.
- Rich and Varied Experiences – Our children do not always come to school with the wealth of experiences required to fully understand our world. It is through our curriculum where we ensure every child does have these experiences as part of a well-planned sequence of lessons in skilled communication and opportunities in real world problem solving.
- Adaptable – Adapted to the needs of all the children, the local community and to our ever-changing wider world. Our curriculum will develop pupils’ awareness of how science influences and affects our everyday lives and therefore the relevance of their learning. This means we actively seek to review our curriculum in order to meet the needs of our children and their world today and of the world tomorrow. There will be opportunities to allow children’s understanding of jobs that use scientific skills, using well-known scientists across the world, visitors and inspirational ambassadors.
In short, it is a curriculum sequenced for remembering and mastery, designed to inspire genuine learners and develop learning in depth, enabling all children to make meaningful links across scientific contexts to better understand and engage with the self, the content, the world and life. It challenges all children to reach a level of well-informed, critical and scientific thinking. A curriculum, which ultimately, gets children desperate to learn and prepared for the future that awaits them.
Science is taught with an emphasis on the pupils engaging in scientific enquiry using our small steps and big questions to develop their understanding of scientific concepts and skills. Teachers ensure that some of the children’s ideas are used as a basis for enquiry and challenged through deeper thinking.
To view what your child will be learning, view our long term plan for 2020-21 below:
To find out more about the Science curriculum click the link below
Geography is how we as humans behave that shapes the very world, we live in. Therefore, human geography makes up the heart and soul of our geography curriculum. We strive to make them aware of the moral, social, cultural dilemmas within their locality, the world and amongst its diverse range of inhabitants. Our curriculum enables a personal response to the local and global issues of our world, a response, which we hope drive children to act and be the champions of a fair and flourishing future. To do this, we aim to nurture compassionate and skilled problem solvers, working collaboratively and creatively. Map work and fieldwork skills are rooted in real world experiences and an abundance of problem-solving opportunities, taking advantage of all the rich physical and human geography that our local areas provide. Kent is abundant with geography waiting to be discovered by our children and used as a foundation to compare and make sense of places throughout the globe. It is through understanding Kent that our children can better connect to the wider world, respect it, embrace it and help shape it.
Subject End Points
- Locational Knowledge: Secure in key locational knowledge of the UK and the world
- Maps and Navigation: To read, make and use a range of maps, developing a secure mental model of our world. To navigate using locational and directional language.
- Physical feature and processes: Understanding of the formation of Earth’s physical features and common processes (e.g. coasts, weather, tectonic activity, water cycle, erosion).
- Human Geography: Understanding of the human geography of different places and people, including themselves (e.g., population, settlement, migration, diversity, farming, trade, pollution)
- Place knowledge: Know about places in Kent, London, and places in Europe, North and South America – find relationships and interpret knowledge of these places
- Geographical skills and Fieldwork: know how to effectively collect, measure, and observe their environment both collaboratively and individually.
Progression of learning from EYFS to Year 6:
History unlocks the secrets of the past and leads into a world of powerful stories about the wonders and horrors of humankind. Through history, children will understand how the past threads together and has shaped lives and places throughout time to the present day, gaining a coherent understanding of Britain’s past and that of the wider world. Children will be inspired by the innovation and courage of a diverse range of others and learn from difficulties to do better as citizens of the world. This takes children beyond their own experience to broaden minds and inspire their curiosity to know more about the past. Here they become detectives of time, sifting through their knowledge and a range of sources, discovering and connecting clues that the past reveals. It equips children to regularly address and devise historically valid questions to seek answers and fuel their hunger for learning. This will enhance their love and appreciation of the footsteps of history that surround them.
Subject End points
- Chronological knowledge and understanding: To have a coherent understanding of how the past fits together and the sequence of significant periods, people, places, events and changes.
- Significant events, changes and ways of life in local, British and world history: To have a range and depth of knowledge, vocabulary and understanding of past events, people, places and changes
- Interpretation of sources: To understand how knowledge of the past is made up from a range of sources and evaluate their usefulness.
- Historical Enquiry: To be able to address and sometimes derive historically valid questions and thoughtful responses.
Progression of learning from EYFS to Year 6:
Design and technology is an inspiring, practical subject, that uses creativity and imagination. Pupil’s design and make products that solve real and relevant problems within a variety of contexts, considering their own and others’ needs, wants and values. They acquire a broad range of subject knowledge and draw on disciplines such as mathematics, science, engineering, computing, and art. Pupils learn how to take risks, becoming resourceful, innovative, enterprising, and capable citizens. Through a variety of creative and practical activities, pupils should be taught the knowledge, understanding and skills needed to engage in an iterative process of designing and making. Here, children will be developed as collaborative and resourceful learners. They should work in a range of relevant contexts linked to improving the local area where possible. As part of their work with food, pupils should be taught how to cook and apply the principles of nutrition and healthy eating.
Subject End Points
- Design: Design, develop and communicate innovative and purposeful products which solve a range of problems, considering their own and others’ needs, wants and values
- Make: Use a wide range of tools to perform tasks accurately and use a wide range of materials to make innovative products fit for purpose
- Technical Knowledge: Develop and apply their understanding of structures, mechanisms, systems and computing to make innovative products fit for purpose
- Evaluate: Evaluate and improve ideas and products critically, understanding how events and individuals in design and technology have helped shape the world and the impact their own ideas could make
- Cooking and Nutrition: Understand and apply the principles of nutrition and learn how to cook
Progression of learning from EYFS to Year 6:
It is through the arts where children express and understand themselves – a gateway into a world of emotion, imagination, and self-reflection. We want children empowered with the language needed to engage with art and learn from a diverse range of artists so children can view life through the eyes of many and deepen their perspectives of what is possible. Art and design both reflects and shapes our history and contributes to the culture, creativity, and wealth of our nation. Here then, we empower children with the cultural capital needed to make sense of the world they will inhabit. We want children to take risks in art and muster the confidence to experiment and explore a wide pallet of possibilities.
Subject End Points:
- Ideas: To generate and develop ideas to produce creative works
- Techniques: Master artistic techniques for drawing, painting, sculpting and digital media
- Evaluate: Evaluate and analyse creative works, using the language of art
- Artists: Knowledge and appreciation of great artists, cultural and historical movements.
Progression of learning from EYFS to Year 6:
The national curriculum for computing aims to ensure that all pupils:
- can understand and apply the fundamental principles and concepts of computer science, including abstraction, logic, algorithms and data representation
- can analyse problems in computational terms, and have repeated practical experience of writing computer programs in order to solve such problems
- can evaluate and apply information technology, including new or unfamiliar technologies, analytically to solve problems
- are responsible, competent, confident and creative users of information and communication technology.
Children are encouraged to communicate ideas and information in a variety of forms using equipment and computer software to enhance their learning. While all classrooms in the school are equipped with a desktop computer connected to the internet and a smartboard, the staff and children also use a range of technology like laptops, digital cameras, iPads and other IT devices throughout the school.
The Computing Curriculum can be divided into three inter-related strands:
- Computer Science
- Information Technology
- Digital Literacy
Pupils need to understand what algorithms are – this is the basis of what they need to know in order to write computer programs. Each programming language has its own vocabulary and grammar but they all follow the same type of logic. It is possible and beneficial to learn computer science away from computers or other digital devices. Role play and kinaesthetic activities can help pupils develop logical reasoning.
Pupils need to be able to write algorithms and programs. They also need to be able to find mistakes (bugs) and fix them. When children write programs they will learn that there are often different ways of getting the right outcome, and they need to be able to evaluate the programs to decide which is the most efficient.
The computer science strand also requires knowledge of networks and how searches are performed.
Most of it this will be covered by using technology to support other subject areas though it may be necessary to teach some discrete skills. Students should understand that technology is everywhere, be able to identify the technology they encounter and have a basic understanding of how it works. This will link to work on programming and algorithms.
Appropriate activities include word processing, creating images, taking and using photographs and video, creating music and animations, using and creating databases, producing websites and contributing to blogs. As well as creation of digital materials pupils should have experience of manipulating and editing their own work and resources from elsewhere. They need to know how to use the tools available but also to have an element of digital literacy – awareness of audience and good design principles. Pupils should experience a range of different applications and software, initially the teacher will select the programs they use but over time pupils should be encouraged to make decisions themselves.
Pupils also need to know how to store and organise their files so that it can easily be found again. They need an understanding of the devices they can use including: hard drive, USB sticks, school network server, and the cloud storage on the internet.
Children need to be able to use technology safely. They need to keep their personal information private and treat other people with respect. If something
goes wrong or they see something they don’t like they should know what to do and where to go for help. As children get older they need to know about how to use technology responsibly. As well as thinking about how their online behaviour affects others they need to be aware of legal and ethical responsibilities, including respecting copyright and intellectual property rights, keeping passwords and personal data secure and observing terms and conditions for online services. They need to understand the main risks relating to:
Content – being exposed to illegal, inappropriate or harmful material
Contact – being subjected to harmful online interaction with other users
Conduct – online behaviour that increases the likelihood of, or causes, harm
You can view our Long Term Plan for Computing below
Resources you can use at home
Your child has access to Purple Mash, a whole world of fun and exciting learning opportunities in one safe place. Purple Mash is a comprehensive suite of online learning tools and content, designed to be used by Primary aged children in the classroom and at home.
Find out more here: https://2simple.com/parents
What should you do first? To begin with, it’s a good idea to log in to Purple Mash with your child. We suggest the following:
- Familiarising yourself with the menu icons.
- Looking at any set tasks that have been given to your child (2Dos)
- Finding out about Class Blogs and Display Boards accessible via the Sharing Icon
- Exploring the grammar, maths and spelling activities which match to the National Curriculum
- Play one of many fun, educational collaborative games such as 2Race
- Delve into the Science area and find out about all the areas of Science it covers
- Investigate the Topics area to support securing their knowledge of the wider curriculum
- Tour the Computing area trying out some of the tools such as 2Code, 2Go and Logo
- Get creative in the Tools section, from making an animation to building a printable 3D model
- Learn through play in Mini Mash (For children aged 3 to 5).
During some of our lessons we may also make use of a computer program called Scratch; this program enables pupils to develop knowledge, understanding and skills in computer programming. It is a programming language where children can create interactive programs such as stories, games, and animation. As children create with Scratch, they learn to think creatively, work collaboratively and reason systematically. Scratch is designed and maintained by the well-established and respected Massachusetts Institute of Technology: MIT in the USA.
The program is available to anyone as a free download and can be found at the following address: http://scratch.mit.edu/scratch_1.4/
Scratch provides a structured and open-ended means to develop computer programming skills across all abilities.
We follow the Kent Agreed Syllabus for non-church schools. You can find an overview of the scheme of work for all years below:
Kent has always been an important geographical gateway for the United Kingdom. This has created a richness and diversity of faith that results in a vibrant and dynamic community. Kent’s unique position also presents exciting opportunities for its citizens to explore faith and culture in the wider world community. Our Religious Education teaching follows an active and creative response to this tradition and diversity in Kent. It seeks to develop in our young people, the skills and processes which will enable them to engage with their own world views and those of others.
The school places a strong emphasis on compassion, respect, friendship and truth as values that help create and sustain the ethos of our school.
We aim to:
- Promote personal respect for pupils’ own world views and those of others
- Deepen understanding of their own and other people’s beliefs and opinions
- Foster an enquiring and open mind
- Encourage the confidence to ask ultimate questions
- Develop the skills of listening, communicating and empathising
Find out more about the Primary RE curriculum here:
We feel that it is essential for our children to have knowledge and some understanding of foreign languages. During their time in KS2, your child will have the opportunity to study Spanish in regular weekly language lessons.
The focus of study in Spanish will be on practical communication. The teaching will provide an appropriate balance of spoken and written language.
In the younger classes, we introduce children to a variety of modern foreign languages through games and fun activities.
Find an overview of what we study in Spanish below:
Click the link below to find out more information about the MFL curriculum.
Our school aims for each child to:
- develop their fundamental skills
- enhance their skills so that they can excel at a wide range of sports
- engage in a range of competitive and engaging activities, allowing them to develop tactical awareness and a healthy competitive nature
- lead an active and healthy lifestyle
- find enjoyment and engagement in physical activity
- work collaboratively and develop a fair-play nature through refereeing and leading sessions with their peers.
To see an overview of the areas that we cover in PE and what your child will be learning about term by term, please view the document below:
To find out more about the national curriculum for Physical Education, click here.
As part of our on-going commitment to your children’s well-being, we follow a PSHE curriculum.
We use the Islington Primary Scheme of work for PSHE education, “You, Me, PSHE.” (updated 2020)
This is a programme of study clearly showing where statutory health and relationships are covered and highlighted relationships and sex education (RSE) lessons. It provides a clear and progressive PSHE curriculum with 7 strands:
You can find out more about PSHE below:
You can read our Health, Relationships and Sex Education Policy below:
Music flows through the fabric of our lives and our school, compelling us to move, feel and think in ways other mediums do not. It speaks to all when words can fail. Our music curriculum inspires pupils to develop a love of music and discover their talent as musicians. It is adapted from Music Express, building a foundation of listening, singing, movement and playful exploration and manipulation of sounds. At the heart of it, is exploration and composition, as it’s here where creativity and collaboration flourish, with children taking ownership and leading the music making process for a range of purposes and audiences. It is planned in a sequence where knowledge of pitch, duration, dynamics, tempo, timbre, texture, structure and notation are built upon across the school, leading to confident music makers. Musical events are embraced so children can experience music beyond their classroom and hone their performance skills, taking part in music workshops, performing to the wider community or in live concerts such as Young Voices as the O2 in London. The sheer joy of music making can feed the soul of our school community, enriching each child and adult, further nourishing their social, cultural, emotional and spiritual growth.
Subject End Points
- Sing: Perform in solo and ensemble contexts, using their voices with increasing accuracy, fluency, control and expression
- Listen: Listen with attention, detail and with increasing aural memory, evaluating and appreciating a wide range of high-quality music made by themselves and from a diversity of traditions, times and people.
- Composition: Create music for a range of purposes and audiences, exploring, organising and manipulating interrelated dimensions of music, embracing a collaborative and creative process
- Instrumental Performance: Play and perform in solo and ensemble contexts, playing musical instruments with increasing accuracy, fluency, control and expression.
Long Term Plan
We promote independent learning, allowing children to develop as life-long learners. Using BLP, we are empowering children to consider how they learn best by providing them with a range of strategies
Building Learning Power consists of four learning muscles: RESILIENCE, RECIPROCITY, REFLECTIVENESS and RESOURCEFULNESS.
To begin with, we will be focusing on resilience and exploring the various strands: managing distractions, perseverance, absorption and noticing, teaching children strategies to use to help them become better learners. During each lesson, one of these strands of learning will be developed in addition to the skills and knowledge of the subject being taught.
Each class has their own learning hero, someone who is an inspiration or of interest to the children. This allows them to identify with this learning hero and see how they have used their learning muscles to overcome any difficulties faced. This is followed by assemblies in which the children are nominated for displaying these learning depositions.
Here are some statements the children have made about how resilience has helped them with their learning:
‘It has helped my learning as I can now manage my distractions and stay focused.’
‘My learning has improved because I try until I succeed’
‘It has helped me overcome challenges because I don’t give up’
‘I now persevere with my learning’
How can you help at home?
Here is a link for the BLP website:
Our school council works hard to make changes and improvements to Thistle Hill and the way we do things. They listen carefully to the children in their classes, look around for anything that they feel could be done differently within our school and make suggestions about what to do. They work closely with the Senior Leadership Team and the Headteacher to make Thistle Hill the best it can be!
Our school council is made up of representatives from our KS2 classes, 2 representatives for each class. The School Council meet regularly and are very involved in the decision making about all aspects of school life. Our School Council are very busy as they also lead the way in making Thistle Hill a more environmentally friendly place: they hold the additional responsibility of the ECO Committee.
Some of their recent projects;
- Created a pupil voice school development plan.
- Reviewed and created an online safety policy to support the children in being safe online, whilst engaging in our 21st century curriculum.
- Promoted the importance of anti-bullying week and hosted a competition for KS2 children allows them to be part of our new anti-bulling policy.
- Shifted the children’s and teacher’s mindset with regards to recycling and they have provided each class with the necessary equipment to become more eco-friendly.
- Taken part in the new DS Smith’s ‘young recyclers’ project.
- Continued to develop our Science Secret Garden as a way to create a ‘wilder Kent’ resulting in Thistle Hill successfully receiving a Wilder Kent Award.
- Plants 10 Apples trees to allow us to produce our own fruit whilst providing more habitats for wild animals.
- Create Road Safety Posters for our School Car Park to ensure all children are safe.
- Create a new child protection policy, which has been shared with all classes.
Some of their ideas for future projects;
- Promoting and participating in National Number Day February 2022
- Planting a further 12 trees in and around our school grounds.
- Teaming up with Miss Smith (DHT) to promote good attendance.
- Planning and delivering a range of assemblies throughout the academic year to send key messages to the whole school.
- Planning and organising a Summer Fete.