LEARNING THE GTPS WAY
Whilst, of course, we place high importance on academic achievement we know that well rounded learners are developed through access to a range of much wider experiences such as social, sporting, artistic and cultural.
We feel strongly that understanding emotional development and promoting positive mental health is key part of our role. All children and families, at some point, face challenges and through our well-developed approach to pastoral care we are ready to listen and support whether through class teacher and teaching assistant support or via our in house family support team.
Curriculum Intent, Implement and impact statements for more details
We have designed our curriculum as we believe in mastery, meaning that we want all children to have a secure understanding of year group specific key threads, skills and knowledge. Our curriculum clearly identifies these and the sequence by which they should be introduced, revisited and developed.
Our intent is for children to become lifelong learners. At Great Totham our Learner @ Statements identify the attributes we believe a lifelong learner needs.
At Great Totham we use the EYFS Curriculum, National Curriculum, ExploRE, (the Essex agreed RE syllabus) and British values as the basis for our coherently planned curriculum. In addition, we adapt our curriculum to meet the changing needs of our children, selecting appropriate themes and additional opportunities.
Our approach to teaching is centred upon our understanding of brain development and awareness of working memory. In addition, we are a Trauma Perceptive Practice (TPP) aware school that believes in compassion, hope and connection – relationships are key for all.
Our curriculum is delivered through a combination of topics and discrete subjects. Developed from our subject specific overviews, our medium term plans identify the key prior knowledge that forms the foundation for new learning. These documents are constantly under review as year teams make adaptations for specific cohorts needs.
We refer to our plans as spirals which build upon new knowledge while revisiting and applying prior learning (the ‘bubbling pot’ analogy). Some of the strategies we use in lessons include scaffolding, modelling, chunking, fluency development through consolidation, as we work with children on their journey from novice to expert learners.
Assessment is used to adapt plans and form an overall picture of children’s progress and attainment against our mastery statements (core) and key knowledge (foundation). Assessment data is used to track individuals, groups and cohorts as part of our data cycle that informs future curriculum developments, planned interventions and resource deployment.
Impact - How do we know our curriculum meets our intent?
The intended impact of our curriculum is that children leave us as confident, rounded learners with the skills and attributes to continue to be successful on their learning journey.
Some of the ways in which we evidence this are:
National tests show that attainment both as individual subjects and combined are above national standards
Internal summative assessment shows the majority of children achieve age related expectations as they move through the school
Children with SEND make good progress against their individual targets
Our internal monitoring (books, pupil interviews etc.) shows children are making good progress across the whole curriculum
Visitors to our school often compliment the behaviour and attitude of our children
We receive many positive comments about our children during and following off site visits
Our excellent sports provision has been recognised by achieving the Gold School Games Kite Mark for the last two years
Our tracking shows the majority of children participate in our extra-curricular provision
Our children enjoy their learning and sharing their achievements
Feedback from the many secondary schools our children move on to is that they join them very well prepared and easily identified as ‘Totham’ learners
At Great Totham, our reading curriculum is designed so that each child becomes an enthusiastic reader with the necessary skills to tackle any text. Children are taught strategies including phonic skills, word recognition and the use of pictures and contextual clues to develop comprehension skills and increase independence in reading for enjoyment.
Strand 1: Skills and Fluency
We develop children’s reading skills through a systematic approach to synthetic phonics. The schemes we use are Letters and Sounds and Jolly Phonics.
In Reception, parents and children are introduced to practice books. This entails a set of books for the week, two for home and one in school. Throughout the week children will be reading and re-reading these books to gain confidence, fluency and understanding.
Our practice books are primarily from Oxford Reading Tree but the scheme is supplemented with a variety of texts to provide a rich range of fiction, non-fiction and poetry. These books are grouped in stages of increasing difficulty which match the phases of phonological development.
As the children’s skills develop and their practice books become longer, the organisation of this system adapts e.g. books kept for two weeks. Once children reach Yellow Band they no longer have a practice book.
In year 2 whole class reading lessons are taught and then in KS2 Guided Reading is introduced. The texts studied are chosen to help the children develop their stamina, vocabulary and comprehension skills. In addition, books are selected to ensure children are introduced to a diverse range of authors and genre, with supplementary texts used to enrich their understanding.
Strand 2: Reading for Pleasure
We want all children, irrespective of their reading ability, to love and enjoy books.
Starting from Reception, all children are encouraged to read for pleasure. Alongside their practice books they choose additional reading material which could be from the school or public library, book corner or books from home. These books could be for sharing, reading by an adult or independently both at home and in school.
Our curriculum includes dedicated browsing times and extended reading sessions to develop stamina. There is an expectation that all children will be read to by adults in school, this means many children get the opportunity to enjoy text at a higher level than they could access independently. We have developed a recommended list for each year group to support this. The list is intended to ensure our children continue to experience a diverse range of high quality text.
At Great Totham Primary School we have developed our own detailed curriculum for English and Maths. Based on the National Curriculum these documents provide staff with the detail required to build on the children’s existing knowledge and experiences when planning.
Our approach to learning can be encapsulated in our school motto ‘Enjoy, Respect, Achieve’.
This means our whole curriculum and school experience focus upon providing our children with the widest range of learning opportunities aimed at developing the whole child. Our Learner @ statements underpin every learning opportunity as we believe these skills enable children to be successful learners for life.
Our foundation subject overviews, also developed from the National Curriculum, summarise how the wider curriculum is organised across year groups. Teaching staff work with Subject Teams each year to consider the balance and make adjustments to schemes of work as cohort needs change and new developments are introduced into topics.
Each term, Year Teams provide parents with an explanation of that terms topics and curriculum content.
The school motto ‘Enjoy, Respect, Achieve’ encapsulates the values that drive the school community. Implicit within this are the following rights and these form the basis for the school behaviour policy:
The right to be safe
The right to fair treatment
The right to be heard
The right to be treated with respect
The right to be able to learn without unnecessary interruption or disruption
Our behaviour code is reviewed regularly with all members of the school community, children are involved with agreeing and maintaining high expectations in the school and classroom.
High standards in behaviour depend upon the examples set by all who work in the school. All members of the school community have a contribution to make and we work hard to provide a positive working environment.
Our statement of Behaviour Principles and Behaviour and Anti-bullying Policy can be found here.
The DfE published guidelines in 2014 for schools to “promote the fundamental British values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs.” DfE, November 2014.
At Great Totham Primary School, we meet the requirements of the Education Act 2002 (section 78) by promoting the Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural (SMSC) development of our pupils through various means. Through SMSC provision we actively promote British Values.
Whilst our curriculum is always responsive to individual, group and cohort needs, the following points illustrate a few examples of the typical ways in which British values are promoted at Great Totham:
• Classroom Displays
• Circle Time Discussions
• Life Skills Lessons
• Age Appropriate, Topical Discussion & Debate
• Whole School, Key Stage or Class Assemblies
• School Council, including Elections
• House Captains
• Real Life Choices
• Child-Shaped Class Rules
• Consultation with Pupils on Important Documents
• Monitor Roles & Responsibilities
All schools have a duty to publish their Equality Objectives and make available quantitative equality information.
To meet the requirements and best communicate this information to our local community we have made available our Single Equality Scheme that includes our current actions plans (see policy page for more full document).
Summary of Equality Objectives:
To ensure that our children continue to learn about and respect different religions in our world and understand the difference between them
To narrow the academic gap between identifiable groups
The school disabled parking space is clearly signed and located in the school car park. Any visitors with access needs please contact the school office prior to your visit.
At Great Totham we offer a wide range of sporting opportunities for the children both within the curriculum and as additional activities. The many after school clubs we run play an important role in providing children with the chance to refine skills, follow specific interests and take part in competitive events.