Curriculum

Curriculum development is at the heart of our development work at St Thomas More.  For many years we have developed a framework that focuses on identifying the key knowledge that students need in order to be successful and worked with staff to ensure this is delivered in an engaging way and assessment information is used to support progress.  

More recently we have updated our framework in line with the common language surrounding curriculum at present:  intent, implementation and impact.  Information on each of these can be found on the relevant tab. 

If you have any questions or queries regarding curriculum please contact Mrs J Turner via the school office.


Intent

The curriculum at St Thomas More is aligned closely to our principles and values as a Catholic school.  As such, we place pupils at the centre of our curriculum design, ensuring they have access to  all aspects of learning at each key stage ensuring equality of opportunity for all our pupils.  We have ambition for all our pupils and our curriculum structure, design and content reflects this.  

We have an overarching curriculum intent which focuses on the development of non cognitive academic behaviours which we refer to as ‘Learner Attributes’.  The development of these behaviours is central to our curriculum planning and the structures we have in place.  Our work in this area is based on research & has been part of the school’s philosophy for many years.   We acknowledge the findings from research that tells us that academic behaviours are malleable and have a strong direct and indirect impact on pupils’ progress.  We use Key Stage 3 as the foundation for building these non cognitive academic behaviours which then prepares pupils to apply them throughout Key Stage 4 & 5.

Our more specific curriculum intent within individual subject areas is rooted in the identification of the crucial learning that is required by set end points & learning is planned and sequenced in response to the identification of this and common misconceptions that arise. 

As a school we have an overarching framework linked to the organisation of our planned curriculum. This is a structure that has been in place for many years and supports the building and retention of knowledge across all subject areas.

The main aspects of our whole school curriculum organisation are:

Modular Approach & Curriculum Review Design

  • Our curriculum is structured into 3 modules across the academic year. This provides a structured approach for staff, pupils and parents and allows for learning to be consolidated at key points throughout the year, gradually securing learning in the long term memory.
  • At the end of each module there is a structured review process for both pupils and staff.
  • At a pupil level, there is a review of their ‘Learner Attributes’, where pupils reflect upon and set targets for the development of their academic behaviours. Pupils also review their progress within each curriculum area and set targets linked to subject specific learning.
  • At a staff level, there is a collaborative review of the taught curriculum & opportunity to plan any crucial learning, skills or concepts that need to be revisited for individual pupils and / or groups of pupils.   Staff utilise assessment information to focus on the key learning required to support further progress, not the analytics associated with this.

Curriculum Planning & Lesson Structure

We have a common approach to curriculum planning that ensures all subjects have identified the key concepts, crucial learning and common misconceptions. This then forms the basis of schemes of work. 

  • Individual subjects structure their long term planning around crucial learning that needs to be revisited at key points throughout their academic journey.  This is where end points are identified and schemes of work demonstrate how they build towards these. 
  • We have a common approach to spaced repetition and interleaved learning.  This is referred to within the school as ‘Make it Stick’ and is a feature of all curriculum planning.
  • Our lesson structure is a well established feature of St Thomas More and supports us to effectively engage pupils in deep thinking about the curriculum.
  • Our structure is based on five fluid stages of a cycle, with our ‘construct meaning’ phase providing opportunity for pupils to grapple with difficult concepts and actively engage with the subject content.

Curriculum Overviews

Each subject has a curriculum overview which outlines the long term plan for each subject, for each Key Stage and Year Group. These long term plans clearly identify the Key Concepts and Crucial learning that form the core of the curriculum for that subject. Plans are reviewed in line with our modular structure and are adapted, where necessary in light of any changes that are required. Departments use the long term plans as the basis for their schemes of work, where there are ongoing tweaks to the schemes of work to account for any misconceptions, and in response to assessment information, where pupils may need to revisit or deepen their understanding of particular key concepts. Teachers adapt the schemes of work on a lesson by lesson basis to suit the particular needs of each class, and for pupils within the class, including those with SEND.

Below you will find a link to curriculum overviews for each subject. 


Implementation

Our curriculum is translated into practice through the expert use of pedagogy and pedagogical content knowledge within the classroom to ensure that the planned curriculum results in pupils knowing more, understanding more and being able to do more, bye the key end points linked to our module structure and the overarching key stage structure. A key element of our curriculum implementation is about the ‘untaught’ element of the curriculum – centred around the routines, structures and strategies that support the classroom environment, the school climate and support the development of learner attributes to help ensure that pupils are equipped with the skills & support to help realise their potential.

Teaching & Learning

  • Staff are supported to implement the curriculum through good quality explanations, which are shaped and reshaped by assessment and effective questioning.
  • Staff design activities which activate hard thinking and scaffold learning, where required, to ensure pupils can effectively access our curriculum.
  • Teachers support pupils’ learning through a detailed and ongoing understanding of pupil needs. This supports teachers to develop adaptive practices, responding to the needs of learners. This is an ongoing process, but one which is reviewed more formally at key end points in the curriculum.
  • A key feature of our implementation of the curriculum is our approach to supporting pupils to ‘perform’ academically. Whether this is through supporting their literacy, such as their comprehension or understanding of Tier 2 & 3 vocabulary, or through developing effective recall and revision strategies. As part of this we use our ‘Make It Stick’ approach to develop pupils’ long term memory and fluency.

Remote & Blended Learning

  • Blended learning has become an integral part of how we now implement our curriculum, and our ‘Google Classrooms’ are a key part of our delivery model, both in the classroom and beyond. Sound teaching and learning principles underpin our approach to blended learning to help ensure that pupils have seamless and equitable access to education. 
  • Please use the links below to access our remote learning policy and guide for students and parents:

Developing learner Attributes

  • The development of non cognitive academic behaviours is an essential part of our curriculum implementation and a strong feature of our classroom climate. Which is underpinned by effective relationships, holding pupils to account and a curriculum approach that supports, teaches and develops learner attributes.
  • Our implementation centres around modelling learner attributes to pupils, linked to the establishment of the learning environment and having high and consistent expectations of all pupils.
  • Pupil centred review & target setting is part of review progress at key end points in the curriculum, which is supported by dialogue with the teacher.
  • Our systems and structures linked to homework, our daily routines, holding pupils to account and our attention to best conduct all serve to support pupils in their development.
  • The link below will provide you with an overview of our learner attributes and how they are reported on to parents:

Assessment & Reporting

Assessment provides the vital bridge between teaching & learning. Whilst formative assessment is ongoing throughout learning, our modular structure provides timely points for summative assessment that support the evaluation of pupil learning and the effectiveness of the curriculum implementation. As such, assessments are well designed and linked closely to the crucial learning that has been identified. Clear and regular assessment routines [whether formal or informal] not only support the teacher, but also ensure pupils have a good understanding of what they need to do to further secure their learning and build effective learner attributes to support them in achieving this.

Parents can expect to receive regular updates on their child’s learning, in line with our module structure. Module data reports are published via My Child at School and support communication by keeping parents up to date on their child’s academic progress, as well as their learner attributes. We also publish an annual academic report for parents and provide an opportunity for discussion with their child’s teacher. Further details of our reporting schedule can be found in the school calendar.


Impact

As a school we acknowledge that the impact of our curriculum is wider than examination results and can be seen in all aspects of our work.  We want our pupils to view their education holistically, and therefore take an holistic approach to evaluating the impact of our work on the various aspects of the curriculum.   We therefore use a range of strategies to evaluate the impact of our curriculum in line with our implementation framework.  In our intent we identify three key areas, we would expect to see the impact of our work as follows:

In terms of ensuring that pupils are at the heart of our curriculum, we would expect to see pupils who are happy and enjoying their learning experience. A well structured curriculum enables all pupils to access a broad and balanced curriculum, which responds to the local needs of our pupils. Ongoing review of the taught curriculum then ensures that we are adapting to the needs of our pupils and ensuring that they acquire the crucial learning set out at key milestones. Our Annual strategic review, based on our principles and linked to Year Group Profiles helps to ensure that the needs of pupils remains at the heart of the curriculum and the Key Performance Indicators and crucial learning are a central part of our modular review. Curriculum leaders review and revise the taught curriculum throughout the year. Overall success lies in our destination data, where our pupils are able to move effectively onto the next phase of their training, education or employment.

The second key area of our intent is the development of pupils’ academic behaviours, and much of this is demonstrated through the school day and year as pupils develop and apply these behaviours both in the classroom and in their independent study. The collection of Learner Attributes Data allows us to intervene with our pupils in a way that will influence their future progress in all subject areas. Pupils’ awareness and ability to verbalise their academic behaviours and make determined efforts to improve these are key indicators of the impact of our work, both in the classroom and in a pastoral setting.

The identification of the crucial learning that is required by set end points and that learning is planned in response to the identification of this and common misconceptions is the third key area of our intent. The impact of this can fundamentally be seen in the success of our learners. On a lesson by lesson basis, all pupils should be exposed to high quality and consistent teaching, reducing any element of teacher variation. Pupils who are secure in their crucial learning will have a strong platform for future progress and build on this throughout their school career. Regular reviews of the curriculum, alongside the use of robust assessment ensure that teaching is responsive to the effectiveness of the curriculum at all levels.

Quality Assurance & Self Evaluation

Our Quality Assurance processes are designed to evaluate how effectively and consistently  our curriculum is planned and implemented, to ensure it has the intended impact. When trying to understand the impact that practice across the school is having on the overall quality of education, we consider the key things that make a difference, the things that will have the greatest impact on pupils. Four overarching elements have been identified by research as central to improving effectiveness:

  • Learner Attributes: How are opportunities for developing learner attributes maximised?
  • Behaviour & Attitudes: How is a supportive atmosphere created?
  • Staff Knowledge & Understanding: How do staff demonstrate their understanding?
  • Classroom practice: How is hard thinking activated in the classroom?

All leaders play a central role in QA in their areas of responsibility and are supported by a calendar of activities that ensures a consistent picture is developed. Senior leaders work closely with the middle leaders to ensure the QA process is robust.  Additionally we utilise external expertise to provide an impartial picture, linked to our whole school Self evaluation process, along with other measures of impact, which  sit together to inform our Annual review, subsequent School Improvement Plan & Dept Improvement plans.


Supporting pupils with SEND

At St Thomas More Catholic School we believe that each pupil should be given equality of opportunity to achieve their full spiritual, academic and social potential by recognising the uniqueness of each individual and providing a rich and varied learning experience for all.

Each pupil, regardless of their ability, is entitled to a broad and balanced curriculum which is relevant to their needs. The curriculum offered aims to give all pupils a sense of achievement and thereby help them develop confidence and self – esteem. All pupils are encouraged to participate in the social and academic life of the school. We aim to provide educational experiences that take into account the individual needs of all the pupils and are appropriate to their level of ability.

Taken from our SEND policy

Some of the pupils in our school have a special educational need and/or disability (SEND) and require a Personalised Learning Pathway in order to access our curriculum.  This provision is managed by Mrs A White, our Special Educational Needs and/or Disabilities Coordinator (SENDCo).  If you would like to contact Mrs White to discuss your child, please do not hesitate to email: alwhite@stthomasmore.org.uk

Pupils with SEND at St Thomas More Catholic School are supported by a 4 step system

  1. Provision Mapping / One Page Profile: Through rigorous assessment and monitoring, some pupils will be identified as needing provision that is additional to or different from that which is provided at a Wave 1 Quality first inclusive teaching level. In consultation with parents and the pupil some more specific intervention will be planned and detailed on the class provision map. This will be reviewed on a termly basis and monitored by the Learning Support Department
  2. Graduated Approach: In consultation with the SENCO and parents, identified pupils will be placed on the SEND register and undertake a process of Asses, Plan, Do & Review in response to identified barriers to learning.  This is formally referred to as the Graduated Approach.  They will be provided with a Key Worker to monitor the outcomes and progress made. Any agreed ‘wave 2 and 3’ provision will also be detailed on the class provision map and evidence will be gathered. This will be reviewed in line with the SEND monitoring cycle. The pupil may at this stage be referred to an outside agency.
  3. EHCP: If appropriate intervention and support has taken place (including support from outside agencies) but there are still concerns about a pupil’s progress and/or attainment, the SENCO will consult with the curriculum/pastoral staff and parents to discuss the need to start the application process for an Education, Health and Care plan (EHCP). Evidence will be gathered, and an application made.

Intent (SEND)

Through our high quality planning, teaching and provision we pride ourselves on early identification and intervention for SEND to ensure that progress and opportunities are maximized.  This then enables all pupils to have access to a broad and balanced curriculum which is differentiated to enable pupils to understand the relevance and purpose of learning. 

Our end goal, for pupils with SEND, is to develop independence and life skills using a child-centered approach whilst maximising their potential as learners. 

Implementation (SEND)

At St Thomas More Catholic School, every teacher is a teacher of SEND. As such, inclusion is a thread that runs through every area of the school enhanced by collaboration between senior leaders, teachers, support staff, external agencies, parents and most importantly, the child.

Pupils with SEND will:

  • Be included in all aspects of the school day. 
  • Be provided with quality first teaching, differentiated to their needs. 
  • Be respected and their contributions valued and acknowledged. 
  • Be allocated a designated Key Worker.

Pupils with SEND may:

  • Have specific 1:1 or small group intervention to support their Numeracy and/or Literacy.
  • Benefit from reduced class size as part of our support provision
  • Take part in social and emotional support interventions.
  • Work alongside external agencies such as an Educational Psychologist, Speech and Language Therapist, Occupational Therapist, HINT (High Incidence Needs Team) or LINT (Low Incidence Needs Team)

Impact (SEND)

As a result pupils at St Thomas More Catholic School feel happy, safe and respected.

  • Behaviour at St Thomas More Catholic School is exemplary and diversity is celebrated. 
  • Pupils demonstrate high levels of engagement in activities, developing their speaking, listening and social skills. 
  • Pupils with SEND make good progress from their starting points due to the use of resources and intervention which meets the needs of the pupils. 
  • On leaving St Thomas More Catholic School, pupils with SEND have developed good independence and life skills, and feel prepared for the next stage in their education.

Intervention & Catch-up

A key element of our strategy for supporting learners is by gathering an accurate and up to date profile of the needs of our pupils. In order to do this, we explore the pupils’ needs from a number of angles.

  • Social & emotional needs: Considering the wider needs of pupils including their social, emotional & general wellbeing issues
  • Academic performance needs: Considering the overarching skills, strategies and techniques pupils need to be successful learners
  • Curriculum needs: Considering how the curriculum needs to be adapted to continue to ensure quality first teaching.

As part of this diagnosis we gather evidence from a range of sources including pupil voice & feedback from our pastoral staff, staff surveys of pupil needs, and data analysis on pupils’ engagement & quality of work. This wealth of information sits alongside academic assessment to provide a broad evidence base from which to devise our approaches to intervention and catch up.

Recent Posts

1

2

3

4

5

6

Cookie Alert

We use cookies on this site to improve your user experience.

Search

Skip to content