Curriculum Intent

The curriculum at Thomas Jones follows the 2014 National Curriculum and other statutory and non-statutory guidelines but is unique to our school and our community. It is tailored to provide academic rigour, unique opportunities and to motivate and excite our pupils. Although Ofsted, visiting HMI and officers from the local authority have validated it as being Outstanding, we are always developing what we offer, seeking to improve the educational provision for our children.

The Thomas Jones curriculum has been designed to enable every child to develop knowledge and skills across a breadth of subjects.  Our curriculum priority is to open doors to future successes, be that in the arts, science, sports, as a writer or mathematician. At its heart, our curriculum is awe-inspiring, exciting, cohesive, sequenced, progressive and ambitious and provides a balance of knowledge and skills. Our Thomas Jones ‘curriculum essentials’, the values and principles which underpin our offer, are set out below. Our curriculum promotes the spiritual, moral, social, cultural, mental and physical development of children as part of society, preparing them for opportunities, responsibilities and experiences later in life.

In the core subjects of English, mathematics and science there is a relentless focus on teaching the fundamentals and it is our aim that no child will leave Thomas Jones without these core skills in place. This is reflected in our national test results. Alongside this is a desire to develop a love of reading in our pupils by giving them the opportunity to study great literature and to reflect on the themes inherent in these works. In mathematics, pupils learn not just to be numerate, but also to apply their knowledge of key mathematical concepts across a range of problem-solving situations. In science, our pupils leave for secondary school with a detailed knowledge of the inter-related disciplines of biology, chemistry and physics and a strong understanding of the nature, processes and methods of science, developed through practical activity.

Some subjects, such as mathematics, science, music, PE, RE and French, are taught discretely. Others are taught both explicitly and through our integrated curriculum. At Thomas Jones, this integrated curriculum is driven mainly by history and geography and is organised into broad topic areas that are distributed and balanced throughout a child’s school career. Other subjects are integrated wherever valid yet are also taught explicitly to ensure that all objectives are met and the progression of knowledge and skills is safeguarded. This approach combines the rigour of a subject-specific approach with the flexible nature of a topic-based curriculum, ensuring pupils make meaningful links across different areas of knowledge. By its nature, English is taught both explicitly and through the integrated curriculum.

Our integrated curriculum also affords opportunities to promote children’s spiritual, moral, social and cultural development (SMSC) with specific topics planned such as ‘My World, Your World’ and ‘Planet Earth’. With a topic structure affording more immersive learning experiences and trips across London and further afield, we also ensure the development of children’s knowledge and cultural capital affording them a foundation to succeed in all areas of life.

At Thomas Jones we have decided to amalgamate our Relationships, Health and PSHE curriculum under the umbrella topic ‘Personal Development’. These subjects are designed to equip children with the knowledge to make informed decisions about their own wellbeing, health and relationships as well as preparing them for a successful adult life. Our Personal Development curriculum affords opportunities to further develop children’s SMSC development, specifically promotes Fundamental British Values and actively implements our Prevent Duty. For Year 5 and Year 6 pupils, Sex Education is also taught by their class teacher and the school nurse. This part of the curriculum has been influenced by consultation with staff, governors, pupils and families.

Our curriculum is always supplemented by real-life experiences such as trips out or invited visitors into school. We also use immersive experiences to further enhance the children’s learning. This enables children to become ‘culturally literate’ and gives them a point of reference for future learning as well as ensuring that any knowledge deficit is tackled. Subjects are specifically taught through broad topic areas as we recognise the importance of teaching children to distinguish between the skills needed in each subject. As a result, children are regularly referred to as ‘scientists’, ‘geographers’ and ‘artists’, for example, during lessons.

Subjects are connected between year groups and there are systems in place to ensure that teachers know what learning in each subject has come before and after their year group. The learning environment is prioritised to enrich learning and assist children’s retention of knowledge through the use of timelines, maps, key vocabulary and visuals where possible. Explicit teaching of language and vocabulary is prioritised with extremely high expectations from a young age. Vocabulary is re-visited across their time at Thomas Jones in order to consolidate and therefore be ‘owned’ by the children.

Our curriculum is built towards clear end points whether at the end of a unit, year group or key stage. Way points pinpoint the specific knowledge and skills along the way and are the stepping stones within the learning journey. We ensure all children have developed a competency in all subjects by the time they leave Thomas Jones, with some children having an expertise in a given subject/area. We acknowledge that every child is different and we aim to develop each one to reach their potential and be able to face the challenges that lie ahead of them.

September 2021