Ethos and Values

It is impossible to contemplate Thomas Jones without first considering the school’s ethos and values. Pupils are overtly proud of the school, as is evident in their desire to talk at length regarding its many facets. Pupils’ self-esteem is palpable, perhaps most tellingly in their capacity to interact in a lucid and bold fashion with visitors.

There exists a powerful learning culture. It is common to hear pupils animatedly share their aspirations. ‘My wish is to one day attend a first-rate university’ is an ambition held by many. Pupils are committed to learning, as demonstrated by the remarkable 97% attendance and the fact that so few are ever late arriving. Ultimately though, it is only through interacting with pupils, including the Nursery that one can fully grasp the frisson of positivity that exists.

What pupils learn at Thomas Jones, they learn because of how they are taught, not in spite of it. Anything less than deft, reflective and insightful teaching will be insufficient if every pupil is to achieve. Oracy is integral. Pupils are, at every opportunity, encouraged to use Standard English. Staff model pronunciation and teach children how to enunciate. Our pupils’ capacity to mentally handle grammar has a positive impact upon how they write. Exposed to a rich and varied vocabulary, they embrace this with gusto. Older pupils command an impressive subject specific lexicon. It is common to hear Year 6 referring to genre, analogy, retribution and redemption, the language that reflects their learning. Pupils are taught works of literature by Keats, Larkin, Wilde and Blake. In 2021, Theseus and the Minotaur and Romeo and Juliet were studied. Dickens’s Oliver Twist and A Christmas Carol are perennial favourites, alongside Tennyson’s Charge of the Light Brigade.

The diverse curriculum reflects our desire to operate with autonomy. We have, in recent years, invested significant sums in the arts, sport and the purchase and replenishing of quality books. Nothing is compromised. Published schemes are avoided. Pupils are frequently referred to as ‘scholars’. Homework is absolute and the exacting standards in regard to this are respected by pupils and their families.

Phonics teaching is robust (please see Ofsted publication Reading by Six, in which Thomas Jones appears) and is executed with aplomb. The staff team are committed to this initiative. There is no scepticism.