Home Page St John's CE Thornham Primary School Love 2 Learn N Love 1 Another
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Implementation- Our curriculum and what we offer our children- What we do and how we do it!


Our school currently has four classes- Explorers is Reception and Year 1, Discoverers is Year 2 and Year 3, Inventors Year 4 and Year 5 and Adventurers is Year 6. Teaching and learning of Maths, reading, writing and French is taught to the year group whilst foundation subjects along with Science and PSHCE/ RHE is based on a two year rolling programme which ensures the children’s learning is progressive and they continue to develop specific subject knowledge and skills.


By ensuring we think about what we learn, who we are when we are learning, how we act when we learn and who we are in the world, we build happy, resilient, successful, good citizens and lifelong learners.


What we learn?

Building on from learning and outcomes in EYFS we embrace the programmes of study set out in all subject areas of the National Curriculum and have developed progression grids which support learning in all areas of the curriculum. Teachers assess children’s learning daily and termly assessments enable staff to make judgements to monitor if children are on track to meet or exceed the end of year National expectations. Discussions with senior leaders enable gaps in learning to be identified and specific interventions planned to meet this need and ensure progress is made.  


In reading our younger children start to learn to read though our Read Write Inc. Phonics Scheme. The book areas in each classroom have Golden Text’s which have been chosen from five different text types- Archaic Language, Non- Linear Time Sequence, Complexity of the Narrator, Complexity of the Plot and Resistant Texts. These books are used by teachers as class reading text and dedicated time each week is given to reading together. The weekly chosen text is also used for whole class reading comprehension/discussion time once a week. Daily guided reading ensures children read to an adult, continue to develop vocabulary, fluency and expression as well as comprehension skills.   Children visit our own school library each week and choose their own book to read for pleasure, as well as accessing a progressive reading scheme to help them with reading at home. Learners need the space and time to make choices about books, and to discover authors and texts they might not get chance to look at outside of school. Teachers ensure children are reading books that challenge them, and create exciting reading areas around the school. Teachers assess reading using 2Eskimos reading assessment each term which gives an accurate reading age and clarity to the book band each child should be reading within.


In writing we use quality texts as a starting point to teaching different genres of writing which engage our children. We ensure our children have a purpose to their writing and follow a specific process of writing which supports both teaching and learning. Grammar is taught in writing lessons but also specific grammar teaching and spelling helps us build up competency. Children are expected to learn a set of 10 spellings each week at home too. We assess using writing assessment progression grids and moderate across year groups as well as with 3 other schools in our cluster.  We work hard on handwriting and presentation, and edit our work carefully to improve it. We celebrate writing across the school and each classroom has a ‘Hall of Fame’ display.


In Maths we use the White Rose Hub mastery schemes of work for progression and assess termly using the maths tests. We have a Visual Calculation Policy which identifies (for each year group) which methods should be taught and when for both written and metal maths calculations. We use Times Tables Rock Stars to support the rapid recall of times tables facts which can also be accessed at home. Problem Solving is a focus for lessons on Fridays.


In our rapidly evolving world, science is a vital part of our curriculum intention. Science stimulates and excites children’s curiosity about phenomena and events in the world around them. It also satisfies their curiosity with knowledge. Science links direct practical experience with ideas, it can engage learners at many levels. Children learn to question and discuss science-based issues that may affect their own lives, the direction of society and the future of the world. Each half term a question is posed to each class which they use their science skills and research techniques to answer. The children are assessed on their abilities to work scientifically


In Religious Education we use the Diocesan approved scheme of work ‘Questful RE supported by the scheme Understanding Christianity.’  We aim for our children to leave school with a coherent understanding of Christian belief and practice through the exploration of the significant theological concepts within Christianity. We explore and compare different faiths to develop their wider religious, theological and cultural literacy. We seek to support teachers in developing their own knowledge and understanding of Christianity theology to be able to teach with confidence. Collective Worship takes place every day with the Lighthouse Crew planning and leading worship every Wednesday, a praise assembly on a Friday and further focus on celebrations/festivals from all faiths, the stories Jesus told us, Global Issues, our school values and British Values throughout the week . Children are encouraged to take opportunities to express their faith through the GIFT Group and The Lighthouse Crew and have access to reflection and prayer spaces around school.


We plan foundation subjects using progressive skills, which show what children should be learning in each year group in each subject.  We have created threshold concepts which new knowledge can be attached to in order to create a specific subject schema.  The threshold concepts or big ideas are revisited over time to enable children to revise learning and increase their understanding. Progression in each subject area is measured in milestones, milestones are the goals which our children are aiming for once they have developed a strong subject schema. This learning is monitored at the end of each academic year to ensure children are on track to meet the milestones at the end of year1/2, 3/4 and 5/6.


Our curriculum encourages children to develop independent thinking skills and questioning.  In our Foundation subjects, French, PSHCE/RHE, geography, history, art, design and technology, PE and computing we have chosen the subject content based on National and global studies as well as local studies to ensure that our children have a sound knowledge and understanding of the local area in which they live.


In History we ensure we teach our children about the significant events in history around the world alongside researching the local hamlets of Slattocks, Thornham, Tandle Hill and Stakehill, the Rochdale canal and Lock 51, The Ghost Village- Water grove in Wardle, The Industrial Revolution in Rochdale and History of the Co-op on Toad Lane. In geography we encourage our children to be curious about the world whilst gaining 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. Our additional focus on our local farming culture and the interesting local landmarks including Tandle Hill, Thornham Parish War Memorial along with comparing our village with the local town of Rochdale and the City of Manchester enable our children to understanding the area in which they live. Across history, art and design and technology we look at significant people and have added additional studies about local significant people. In music we ensure our children learn about different types of music. We want them to understand how music plays an important part in history and experience music and songs from different eras, countries and cultures. Our French curriculum focuses on developing oracy, Literacy and Intercultural Understanding to enable our children to express their ideas and thoughts in another language, and to understand and respond to its speakers.


PSHCE and SMSC is taught throughout our curriculum areas alongside specific teaching in our Heartsmart lessons which focus on the ‘5 High Five’ rules. Our children have the opportunity to discuss and reflect on what is happening in the world around them which develops their knowledge, skills and attributes they need to keep themselves healthy and safe, and prepared for life and work. Physical Education is vital in developing children’s health and fitness. Opportunities to compete in sport and other activities build character and help to embed values such as fairness and respect with a key focus on developing team work and team spirit. Through involvement in physical sports and activities children learn to move in different ways, control their bodies and develop coordination. Additional sports and physical activities during break times ensures they continue to be active and healthy.


We are a Forest School with Wednesdays dedicated to every child developing confidence and self-esteem through hands-on learning experiences in our Forest School and outdoor areas. We have two trained Forest School staff who promote a learner centred approach, encourage children to take supported risks in a safe environment, develop relationship, promoting and fostering resilient, confident, independent and creative learners.


Our teachers also plan a wide variety of educational visits including: residential, school trips and visitors to school enhance/support this learning. Theme days/weeks are also planned to further develop learning together as w whole school, including, Science week, Art and RE week, History Day, Sports week and World Book Days. Sports enhancements enable our children to represent succeed and excel in competitive sport and other physically demanding activities with children from across the borough.


(For more detailed curriculum information about each subject area please look on the curriculum area of our website- Three I’s, knowledge webs and progression grids can be found there)



Alongside our pre-planned curriculum are enhancements. These enhancements provide additional opportunities for children from families who may not be able to offer new experiences for their children. Activities which strengthen links with our local church community and with the local village of Castleton allow our children to feel part of a wider community, taking responsibility for their local area whilst performing and displaying their range of talents in local events. Further academic opportunities deepen children’s understanding and allow them to pursue additional interests, whilst exposing them to additional creative arts, culture including theatre, music and museums which allow children and adults to feel surprise, re-discover, and expand their view of the world together. Examples include: providing a range of enrichment and extra-curricular activities; half termly charitable work; arranging educational visits and speakers of different cultures, faith and experiences to share about their way of life; promoting and protecting emotional well-being and mental health; offering pupil leadership opportunities including Year 1 and 5 Buddies, Year 6 ambassadors, digital leaders, Lighthouse Crew, GIFT Group and Playground Leaders: providing ‘wow’ opportunities and experiences which spark interest and awe and wonder as well as raising aspirations for their future .


How we act when we learn?

Our pupils are encouraged to develop a growth mind set approach from the earliest opportunities in school, so that they are resilient learners, who recognise that their effort is key to their success. They understand that they can improve through hard work, the use of effective strategies, and help from others when needed. They are not afraid to make mistakes and learn from them.


Our pupils understand the importance of wellbeing and good mental health and its impact on their learning. They know who to speak to if they need support and that looking after their mental health is as important as looking after their physical health. They know about the ‘5 High Five’ rules and understand the importance of each one – Don’t Forget to Let Love In, Too Much Selfie Isn’t Healthy, Don’t Rub It-In Rub It Out, Fake Is a Mistake and No Way Through Isn’t True.


When teachers design learning opportunities, they look for ways for children to develop good learning behaviours. We use the Characteristics of Effective Learning from EYFS through to Year 6 to ensure our children understand that they can learn from their environment, experiences and activities. This language modelled by staff supports children understanding that learning is a process that we have to work hard at.


Who we are when we learn?

We empower our pupils to be engaged and creative lifelong learners who can contribute to the wider society.  Our children are encouraged to live out our school motto and values both in school and at home and understand that these values are what make you a good person. Our school ethos statement, written by our community is at the heart of our school and the work we do.


Our St. John’s family nurtures a culture of Christian love and respect for each other and the world around us. Through togetherness, patience and compassion is encouraged. By providing creative experiences and challenge for all learners, children grow in resilience, learn to persevere and develop belief in themselves and build hopes and dreams for their future.


Our school believes in and celebrates the uniqueness of every child which is encouraged through every aspect of school life. This is developed in partnership with parents/carers, St. John’s Church and the wider community. We all follow our school moto ‘Love to Learn and Love One Another’ which inspires us to be the best we can be academically, spiritually and socially. We recognise the multi-cultural, multi faith and ever-changing nature of the United Kingdom and promote and uphold the key ‘British Values’. We are all St. Johns- the small school with a big heart.




Be on time, school starts at five to nine! Make sure you follow us on Twitter or look at the gallery and Whole School Learning sections of the website under the children's tab to find out about school life at St. John's.