Parents’ Guide to the Year Ahead

September 2018- July 2019


As always, we aim to provide a rich and diverse curriculum this year which promotes a love of learning, equips pupils with core knowledge and skills and provides them with exciting opportunities to engage and inspire them to become lifelong learners. They include the following: -


Our Lunar Curriculum was developed and trialled a couple of years ago now but it is something we continue to tweak as necessary to ensure that our learners are getting the most enhanced curriculum possible where they can develop knowledge, understanding and skills across a vast range of subjects. It involves lots of cross-curricular working using exciting topics to engage our pupils and concludes with the pupils creating an end-product to present their learning. Within this curriculum, we focus on 6 core skills we would like the pupils to develop which they will use both in their secondary education and beyond; they are as follows: Independent enquirers, Creative thinkers, Reflective learners, Team workers, Self-managers and Effective participators and communicators. Before we break up for October half term, we will be holding a LUNAR skills day in which children will develop a greater understanding of why these skills are important to develop and how they can do that whilst in school. Please talk to your child throughout the year and ask what they’re learning in school.


We will continue to develop our 5-part lesson based on learning from Shanghai for Y5-6. Y1-Y4 will follow the Maths Mastery programme. In the early years, we will be continuing with our own early mastery programme which was designed with our Maths Hub and was a huge success when trialled two years ago. All the programmes mentioned are based on the three core principles of the National Curriculum 2014:  fluency, problem solving and reasoning. We encourage you, at home, to practise maths with your child on a regular basis- times tables are a great thing to concentrate on at home and will help to develop your child’s mental maths skills. There will be a number of family learning sessions you can attend this year focused on maths which will provide you with more information about our approach and how you can help to support your child at home- please look out for them on the newsletter.


This year we continue with our book-led approach in English and our focus on the reading and writing journey. Within reading, we are encouraging pupils to develop a pleasure for reading as this is a crucial part of reading but also developing technical accuracy by focussing on ensuring that our pupils understand what they have read, that they can discuss their reading and answer questions based upon the text.  We will be using our online Lexia programme in Y2-6 so that pupils can further develop their reading outside of school- pupils particularly enjoy this activity as it is designed to be fun with lots of games and activities. Within writing, we will be continuing with our book-led approach which provides the children with plenty of opportunities to write for different purposes. We will once again be focussing on our editing of writing focussing on our grammar and choice of vocabulary which lead to high-quality pieces of text.

A book fair will take place in school in October and we have a lunchtime reading club for pupils in different year groups each week- we also have a Lexia club so that pupils can access the programme in school. We will continue to have a whole school focus on spelling and will revisit key spellings from Y1-6 on a termly basis to measure progress. We will have a whole school focus on oracy in all lessons and try to weave as much speaking and listening into them as possible. Finally we are focussing this year on handwriting and correct letter formation- we want our pupils’ work to not only be of the highest quality but to be presented clearly and cursively- please encourage your child to practise their handwriting at home! We encourage you at home to practise reading with your child on a regular basis, not only will this increase their vocabulary and develop their understanding of texts- it will also help to inspire their writing!


The pupils will have the opportunity to lead and participate in worship both in school and in church, they will also have the opportunity to evaluate worship and take part in spontaneous prayer. Regular religious education sessions enable the pupils to develop children’s understanding of Christian and other world religions.


Children will be assessed during three assessment periods in the school year: autumn, spring and summer. After each assessment period, parents and carers will be invited into school to discuss their child’s progress and what their next steps in learning will be. These dates are always on the newsletter and you will receive a text message so that you can book your slot.


KS2 children will benefit from specialist Spanish teachers teaching them for 1 hour each week focusing on the development of speaking and listening skills- they also learn about Spanish culture and how it is similar but also different to English culture. Throughout our curriculum, children will develop their understanding of the life children lead across the world through focus days. We will invite visitors from other faiths into school to work with our children. Through our ’50 things you will do before you leave St Mary& St Thomas, children will have the opportunity to develop their social and cultural understanding. Please ask your child about what they have enjoyed taking part in so far.


Y5 will attend Crucial Crew learning about safety. KS1 & 2 pupils will have the opportunity to take part in cycling training. Y4, 5 & 6 will take part in SRE lessons. All pupils from R-Y6 will continue to work on the Forest Schools curriculum which will improve their understanding of the natural world. Y4 & 5 will take part in forest school camps. The health and wellbeing of our pupils is paramount and the staff and wellbeing team provide support and intervention through the curriculum and when necessary through targeted interventions. This year we are really pleased to announce that our Y5 pupils are involved with the mini Police programme which is designed to help youngster o become more responsible citizens by taking a more active role within the local community. In addition to this, the school will be working towards the RRSA Unicef Gold Award to help build on our work last year when we achieved the Bronze and Silver award. This award marks the school’s commitment to promoting the convention of the rights of a child. The focus for the Gold award will be to develop pupils’ understanding of global citizenship.


Our school Choir will continue to work together and perform in events. Brass band lessons will be available for Y4 and Y5 pupils for one hour each week. Y6 pupils who wish to carry on with Brass can do so at a lunchtime club. We will have a Production for KS2 children in the summer term. All pupils will have the opportunity to watch the pantomime at the Theatre Royal in addition to other theatre trips which will take place throughout the year. All pupils will take part in a Class Assembly and Y2 to Y6 children will lead a Church Worship. We will hold our annual ‘Arts Week’ in October and I am pleased to tell you the theme this year is linked to ‘Giant Dream Spectacular 2018’ which will involve the KS2 pupils going to visit the giants in real life. As always, we will hold an exhibition to showcase the pupils’ work so please look out for the date on the newsletter!


Our specialist PE & Sport coach will work with all our children to raise standards in this area. He works with several schools and organises tournaments between them throughout the year. In addition to this, we will hold an intra-school competition once a half term so that everyone can take part in sporting competitions. We are always providing more unusual sports such as fencing and lacrosse for our KS2 pupils so that they can develop their skills across a range of disciplines. A wide range of extra curricular activities linked to sport will be on offer throughout the year. Swimming lessons will take place for Y3 & 4 and a swimming club will target non-swimmers and more-able swimmers.


A wide variety of clubs will be available during this year which will change each half-term. Children who have not attended a club before will be targeted so that they can experience after-school opportunities.


Once again, we have lots of opportunities planned to work with our parents and carers. Each term, the Parents’ Forum will meet, discuss and look for ways we can continue to improve our school and the experiences for pupils and parents and carers. Please look on the school website for our family learning dates, our very popular parent insight mornings for Y3-6 and our autumn dates for parents to find out more about family worship, enterprise week and much more.


Each year the School and Governors write a School Improvement Plan. Within this plan are the areas that are going to be developed that year.  Below are the priorities we have set for development this year.

To improve pupil outcomes at the end of KS2, at both the expected standard and pupils working at greater depth within the expected standard, so that they are above the national average

To ensure that pupils make rapid progress with a particular focus on the disadvanatged pupils so that their outcomes are in line with other pupils (and any other priorities which are identified when ASP is released)

To continue to improve levels of attendance and punctuality so that whole school attendance is in line with the national average and the % of persistent absentees is below the national average

To continue to develop the whole school curriculum so that it promotes global citizenship and actively encourages pupils to think about life beyond ‘their doorstep’ (this will link to school applying for the Gold RRSA)

To redesign and implement a new relationship and sex education so that it reflects the changes of the PSHE Association and other national bodies

To implement changes to the way in which the school collect, process and store data so that the school is compliant with the 2018 changes to GDPR

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