The 2002 Education Act requires schools to provide a broad and balanced curriculum which promotes the spiritual, moral, cultural, mental and physical development of pupils, and prepares them for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of later life.
Our school follows the National Curriculum. Within our whole-school curriculum there are individual subject disciplines that are taught both through discrete subjects and cross-curricular themes depending on which is more appropriate. The same consideration, in terms of intent, implementation and impact, has been given to each individual subject as to the curriculum as a whole.
National Curriculum core subjects are:-
- Religious Education
National Curriculum Foundation Subjects are:-
- Art and design
- Design and Technology
- Physical Education
- Modern Foreign Language at KS2
St Thomas More Roman Catholic Voluntary Aided Primary Schools we believe that a quality English curriculum should develop children’s love of reading, writing and discussion.
We have created a curriculum that encourages them to become enthusiastic and engaged with English. We have worked hard to provide our children with rich and varied learning opportunities that help them to become confident and enthusiastic learners. We want our children to have a positive attitude towards communication and to be able to independently express their emotions and their ideas.
Through our English Curriculum, we strive to teach the children how important their reading, writing, speaking and listening skills will be in the real world.
We encourage all pupils to confidently communicate their knowledge, ideas and emotions through their writing. We want pupils to acquire a wide vocabulary, a solid understanding of grammar and to be able to spell new words; effectively applying the spelling patterns and rules they learn throughout their time in primary school.
We want them to write clearly, accurately and coherently, adapting their language and style in and for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences. We believe that all pupils should be encouraged to take pride in the presentation of their writing, in part by developing a good, joined, handwriting style by the time they move to secondary school.
We believe that all good writers refine and edit their writing over time, so we want children to develop independence in being able to identify their own areas for improvement in all pieces of writing, editing their work effectively during and after the writing process.
We understand the importance of parents and carers in supporting their children to develop both grammar, spelling and composition skills, and so we want to encourage a home-school partnership which enables parents and carers to understand how to enhance the skills being taught in school.
At St Thomas More we have adopted a mastery approach for the teaching of mathematics. We believe in promoting sustained and deepened understanding by employing a variety of mastery strategies, with teaching for conceptual understanding at the heart of everything we do. We aim to create independent mathematicians who are well equipped to apply their learning to the wider world.
Teaching for maths mastery allows us to teach the National Curriculum to a high standard. With this, all pupils are encouraged by the belief that by working hard at maths, they can succeed. The National Curriculum for maths is broken down by class teachers into longer blocks of learning which allows full coverage and depth of its content. Each block of learning contains smaller steps which are taught through whole-class interactive teaching, where the focus is on all pupils working together on the same lesson content at the same time. This ensures all can master the curriculum’s content before moving to the next part of the curriculum sequence, allowing no pupil to be left behind.
St Thomas More R.C. School exists as part of the mission of The Parish of the Durham Martyrs to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ to the people of Durham. It is a voluntary aided primary school for children from 4 to 11 years, whose parents wish them to be educated in a specifically Roman Catholic Foundation.
Religious Education cannot be confined to set times in the week.
The school sets out to create an atmosphere in which religion is provided not only as a means of knowing and believing, but also as a matter of living and doing. The National Religious Education Programme approved by the Bishops of England and Wales ‘Come and See’ is in use throughout the school.
The parish and school offer the opportunity for children to take part in the Sacraments of Reconciliation and Holy Communion. Parents are expected to join in the preparations and will be invited to join the programme when their child is in Year 4.
From Reception onwards science activities are introduced. Tasks are designed to develop the skills of observing, communicating, recording, classifying, predicting, investigating, estimating and measuring.
Subjects covered in Science include:
- Experimental and Investigative Science – Planning work, obtaining evidence, considering evidence.
- Life Processes and Living Things – Animals, humans and plants – similarities and differences – feeding, breathing, movement and behaviour – environmental aspects.
- Materials and their Properties – Natural and man-made materials – similarities and differences – grouping and classifying – uses – changes which arise from heating, cooling and weathering.
- Physical Processes – Electricity and magnetism – Forces and Motion – Light and Sound.
The foundation subjects are taught through a variety of topics. Computing skills are taught and opportunities to practice these skills are integrated throughout the curriculum.
The intent of History in our school is to ensure that our pupils to have a coherent knowledge and understanding of Britain’s past and that of the wider world. We want our learners to develop a deep sense of life-long historical knowledge enabled by skills that they use for the rest of their lives. We encourage children to
develop a context for their growing sense of identity and a chronological framework for their knowledge of significant events and people. We encourage children to use a high-level of historical vocabulary relevant to the topic that they are studying and to have a concrete understanding of key historical terms.
At St Thomas More, we believe a high-quality geography education should inspire in pupils a curiosity and fascination about the world and its people that will remain with them for the rest of their lives. Teaching should equip pupils with knowledge about diverse places, people, resources and natural and human environments,
together with a deep understanding of the Earth’s key physical and human processes. As pupils progress, their growing knowledge about the world should help them to deepen their understanding of the interaction between physical and human processes, and of the formation and use of landscapes and environments. Geographical knowledge, understanding and skills provide the frameworks and approaches that explain how the
Earth’s features at different scales are shaped, interconnected and change over time.
St Thomas More has extensive playing fields, with two football pitches and a playground suitable for netball. Indoors there is a hall with a variety of good quality equipment. Each class has at least two hours of PE per week during which they cover gymnastics, dance, athletics and games as required by the National Curriculum. In order that the children get the most out of these activities it is essential that they come to school with the necessary equipment.
Swimming is offered up to level 8 of the LA awards scheme. In addition to regular P. E. lessons children have the opportunities to take part in various other sporting events organised by the Durham City School Sports Partnership.
Find out more about the required equipment for PE in our School Uniform section of our website.
Art and Design
We believe that Art and Design is essential for all children to participate in, in this rapidly changing world.
Art and design should engage, inspire and challenge all pupils, equipping them with the knowledge and skills to experiment, invent and create their own works of art, craft and design.
Art and Design at St Thomas More enhances the children’s understanding and enjoyment of the world around them through art. Children are able to develop their creativity and imagination through a range of artistic experiences. The
children are introduced to a range of artists and encouraged to explore the art created by others in order to develop their appreciation of different art forms from across the ages and develop their own ideas and artistic preferences.
The ability to control materials, tools and techniques will enable children to foster an enjoyment and appreciation of the arts- drawing, painting, printing, textiles and sculpture. Art is used as a hook for learning, use and creation of colour, shape, line, and texture and the principles of pattern and repetition in the visual environment.
At St Thomas More we encourage children to explore a range of techniques such as –
printing, collage, drawing, painting and sculpture through a variety of media
Design and Technology
We believe that design and technology helps to prepare children for the on-going innovations and developments in our world. Children are encouraged to become problem solvers, combining practical skills with a design
process to solve real problems. Using design and technology children can develop a critical understanding of its impact on the world around them.
At St Thomas More we have a varied curriculum which meets the needs of all pupils and provides opportunities for all children to develop as confident, independent learners. Our aims for design and technology are that children will develop imaginative thinking and will learn to talk about what they like and dislike when designing and making. Children will be encouraged to select appropriate tools and techniques for making a product, whilst following safe procedures. We will further children’s enjoyment, satisfaction and purpose in designing and making.
Children will be taught to understand and apply the principles of nutrition and learn how to cook. We encourage our learners to design, make, evaluate and use technological knowledge. We also develop the children’s knowledge in cooking and nutrition and the products we create are always of quality as we consider prototypes, mechanics, materials, components, systems, through careful planning.
Learning a foreign language is a necessary part of being a member of a multi-cultural society and provides an
opening to other cultures. A high-quality languages education should foster children’s curiosity and deepen
their understanding of the world. The teaching should enable children to express their ideas and thoughts in
another language and to understand and respond to its speakers, both in speech and in writing.
The core modern foreign language taught at St Thomas More is French. Our planning is covers all the components of the Programme of Study. It is the intention that all children in KS2 will access first quality teaching of French by their class teacher in order to adequately prepare them for KS3. Language teaching should provide the foundation for learning further languages, equipping children to study and work in other countries.
At St Thomas More, we believe that a quality music curriculum should engage and inspire our children to develop a love of music, and offer them the opportunity to become musicians.
Our intention is that children gain a firm understanding of what music is through listening, singing, playing, evaluating, analysing, and composing across a wide variety of historical periods, styles, traditions, and musical genres. Our objective is to develop a curiosity for the subject, as well as an understanding and acceptance of the validity and importance of all types of music, and an unbiased respect for the role that music may wish to be expressed in any person’s life.
We are committed to ensuring children understand the value and importance of music in the wider community , and are able to use their musical skills, knowledge, and experiences to involve themselves in music, in a variety of different contexts.
The intent of our computing curriculum is to prepare our pupils for life in the twenty-first century by teaching them to use technology safely, responsibly, confidentially, skilfully, and efficiently. We want to ensure that our pupils are equipped with the knowledge of how to keep themselves and other safe whilst accessing the internet and how to identify risks online. We intend to teach our pupils to become digitally literal by developing their computing skills to utilise information technology by confidently inputting, editing, analysing, and presenting data and information. We want to inspire computer scientists of the future by teaching our children to become creative and resilient critical thinkers and problem solvers who can create, edit, and debug algorithms and programmes.
Relationship and Health Education (RHE)
Relationship and Health Education is part of the mission of Catholic schools to educate the whole person. It is carried out as part of holistic education which seeks to form, as well as inform, young people in preparation for adult life.
RHE is firmly embedded in the PSHE framework as it is concerned with nurturing human wholeness and integral to the physical, spiritual, emotional, moral, social and intellectual development of pupils. It is centred on Christ’s vision of being human as good news and is positive and prudent, showing the potential for development, while enabling the dangers and risks involved to be understood and appreciated.
All RHE is in accordance with the Church’s moral teaching. It emphasises the central importance of
marriage and the family whilst acknowledging that all pupils have a fundamental right to have their life respected whatever household they come from. It also prepares pupils for life in modern Britain.