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Curriculum Overview

English

Our curriculum content follows the National Curriculum, enhanced with creativity and challenge. We place great emphasis on oracy and grammar.

We instil a culture and enjoyment of reading, basing our programmes on established and highly regarded phonics schemes and using high quality texts in class. We believe that reading forms the bedrock of learning, providing children with the skills to work independently and to work things out for themselves.

We teach and highlight the importance of grammar, as this enhances pupils’ command of language. We also focus greatly on the development of public speaking skills: show and tell; learning and reciting poems by heart; public speaking competitions.

Maths and Problem Solving

We consider it pivotal for our pupils to learn mathematical facts and processes and to develop the fundamental skills and strategies of arithmetic. We work hard to make these skills habitual with regular daily practice, so that pupils can concentrate on high-level problem solving.

We use hands on equipment to teach and reinforce concepts and incorporate Maths into the learning environment as much as possible, particularly in the Early Years. We use and reinforce Mathematical vocabulary and incorporate problem solving and investigative Maths into lessons as much as possible. We maximise the use of ICT with programmes such as Purple Mash [AAL1] to support teaching both in the classroom and at home.

Science

We believe that children need to develop an understanding of the workings of the world around them, so that they may connect with and respect their environment and living things. We want them to understand the complexity and fragility of nature, and that their own wellbeing is connected to that of the world around them.

Through a broad Science curriculum they will develop the fundamental skills of hypothesizing on the basis of evidence, of testing theories, of presenting data in a variety of ways and handling and using instruments and equipment effectively. Pupils study science through gardening, field trips, experiments, art projects and conservation projects.

Spoken language and discussions enable children to develop scientific vocabulary and to communicate their understanding of scientifc concepts.

Themed Topics

Themed Topics incorporate History, Geography, ICT and Philosophy.

Every half term pupils learn about a topic, building increasing levels of independent thinking and group work. The project also develops pupils’ creativity by highlighting connections between different spheres of learning and exploring different modes of engaging with a topic, as well as by giving the space for personal enquiry.

As for all our programmes, the nurture of oracy via the focus on public presentations is be an important element, as well as developing skills important for group work.

Religious Education

RE is provided in the form of individual trips to places of worship throughout the year, to enable pupils to learn about their religious heritage. We hold assemblies focused on religious practices, festivities and celebrations. We incorporate Philosophy for Children into our curriculum which allows children to challenge ideas, question assumptions and expand their creative thinking capacity.

Art and Design

We follow the National Curriculum in Art, linking it across other areas of learning, particularly Themed Topics Our pupils will be encouraged to explore their creativity through a wide range of media including drawing, painting, collage, sculpture, basic model design and building.

Modern Foreign Languages and Mandarin Chinese

At Thomson House, we believe in educating outward-looking children, able to engage confidently and openly with the outside world. For this reason, we teach modern foreign languages right from Reception. The children in EYFS and KS1 learn Italian with a specialist language teacher. Italian is a very phonetic language and therefore supports the children’s learning of phonics in English too.

From KS2 (Y3) the children will be introduced to Spanish, another Latin based language, spoken throughout the world. Their learning will be oral and largely based around songs, rhymes and games.

From Year 4, they will all begin a Mandarin course which will lead to a certification within two years. The course has been developed, prepared and delivered by Dragons in Europe, the leading provider of Mandarin teaching in the UK. It is highly interactive, engaging and accessible, immersing children in Chinese culture.

Music

‘Music has the power of forming the character and should therefore be introduced in the education of the young.' Aristotle

We offer at least two hours of music per week within the core curriculum with our teaching delivered by a music specialist. Our pupils develop music appreciation and the ability to express themselves through singing, movement, playing percussion instruments and listening.

Children are given the opportunity to have piano lessons from Yr1. In Yr2 we link up with the Richmond Music Trust's Wider Opportunities Programme for violin and cello. Further individual instrumental lessons become available as the children go up through the school.

Music is pivotal in promoting our ethos of public performance: there are plenty of opportunities to perform at assemblies, Harvest Festival, Carol and Easter Services, Summer Concert and various productions. As the school grows we look forward to instrumental recitals and musicals.

Physical Education

The PE and Sport programme at Thomson House is more than a curriculum that develops the physical skills of pupils. Our aim is to instil a passion for wellbeing as well as to develop courage, natural optimism, resilience, confidence and drive. We focus on the development and practice of motor skills, coordination, fitness, but we also dedicate time to reflection, helping pupils to develop emotional competencies such as patience and perseverance.

We dedicate at least three hours a week to sports and PE through the curriculum, as well as lunchtime sporting activities. We believe that when pupils experience the physical capacity for self-improvement this will strengthen the key message of the power of effort across the whole curriculum.