Parents & Carers’ guide to the year ahead

September 2019- July 2020


‘Staff share leaders’ enthusiasm, ambition and unwavering commitment to pupils and their families. Pupils thrive in a culture where the school motto of ‘Believe, Achieve, Shine’ weaves through every aspect of the school.’

 Ofsted, February 2019

 This guide to the year ahead is designed to give parents and carers an insight into what the school will be focussing on this academic year and what our key priorities are, which form part of our school improvement plan. After an extremely successful year gaining many awards including our outstanding Ofsted Judgement in February 2019, we continue to develop our teaching and learning approaches and plan exciting things for our children to experience ensuring that we give them the best possible start to their education. 


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 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. We will be continuing it this year and will continue our focus on our ‘Personal, Learning and Thinking Skills’ which 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. Please talk to your child throughout the year and ask what they’re learning in school and what skills they have been using. There will also be opportunities throughout the year to come into school and find out what your child has been learning and about the different methods and strategies that we use to teach your children through termly stay and play and parent insight mornings. Please look at your weekly newsletter for more information.


Within early years, our pupils follow a mastery-based curriculum which was written by our very own Maths Hub North West Three. This ensures that our pupils are developing fluency, reasoning mathematically and problem solving (three aims of the maths national curriculum) all whilst making connections which leads to deeper and more meaningful learning. During termly stay and play sessions, you will have the opportunity to look at how we have ensured that pupils have lots of opportunities to practise their maths skills within the provision.

Y1-Y5 follow the Maths Mastery programme which has been developed by Ark Academy and is rolled out nationally. Again, this framework is a great tool to ensure that the three aims of the national curriculum are met. Our highly skilled teachers ensure that the plans and activities are matched to pupil needs which leads to excellent outcomes. There will also be a big focus on times tables as at the end of the academic year Y4 will sit the national times tables test. Please make sure your child is accessing TT rockstars at home and that you are giving your child plenty of opportunities to practise their times tables- journey to and from school are a great time to do this!

Y6 are, like Reception, working on a mastery-based curriculum which has been developed by Maths Hub North West Three.


This year our continued focus in English is around the reading and writing process. Last year, Mrs Smith completed a course which was designed to help raise attainment in children’s writing by developing our own (teachers) writing skills. As part of the course, Mrs Smith attended Arvon writing retreat which has been visited by some very famous authors. She learned lots from the course and is putting into practice for the pupils. Staff have been trained to think about the most important components of writing such as process, language choices etc and how best to communicate these to the children. We have also spent time thinking about writing for pleasure and how children should be developing their own style and so as a result of this, we have introduced #freewritefriday. During the week, we will be putting into practice our new skills but Friday is a chance for pupils to apply their skills using their own ideas and most importantly to learn that writing is fun. Please ask your child about this and what they have been writing about in #freewritefriday.

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 Y1-6 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.

 A Scholastic book fair will take place in school in October. The children will have the opportunity to look at different books and buy one should they wish. This will be in April. We will also be celebrating National Poetry day and World Book day later on in the year.

 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.

 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!


Church services have been temporarily postponed. Children will continue to have worship in class. Tthey 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. Parent interviews will be held online until further notice. If you are unable to access our online platform, an alternative will be offered.


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. KS2 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. Forest school sleepover will not go ahead due to the current restrictions. 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.


Our school Choir will resume as soon as Government guidelines indicate that it is safe. 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.


Our specialist PE & Sport coach will work with all our children to raise standards in this area. Our school is following Government guidelines regarding sports competitions and swimming lessons, which will take place when local restrictions allow..


After s chool clubs have been temporarily postponed (this does not affect wraparound provision).


We aim to resume our normal schedule for parents as soon as current restrictions allow.


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 key priorities we have set for development this year.

  • Build further on our effective quality of education for English to improve pupils’ achievement in reading, so that: 

a)    all pupils make strong progress in relation to their prior attainment and capabilities 

b)    by the end of KS1, the proportions attaining the expected standard and greater depth are at least in line with national averages 

c)     by the end of KS2, the proportions attaining the expected standard and greater depth are above national averages 

  • Build further on our effective quality of education for English to improve pupils’ achievement in writing, so that: 

a)    all make strong progress in relation to their prior attainment and capabilities 

b)    by the end of KS1, the proportions attaining the expected standard and greater depth are at least in line with national averages 

c)     by the end of KS2, the proportions attaining the expected standard and greater depth are above national averages 

  • To redesign and implement a new relationship and sex education curriculum
  • To continue to improve attendance and punctuality so that whole school attendance is at least in line with the national average and the % of persistent absence is below the national average 


If you would like anymore information about the year ahead, do not hesitate to contact your child’s teacher.

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