Our curriculum is designed to provide a broad and balanced education that meets the needs of all children. It provides opportunities for children to develop as independent, confident and successful learners, with high aspirations now and for their future.
We encourage our children to engage and express their ideas in a variety of creative forms. We believe in providing them with opportunities to be imaginative, to use experiences and observations to make connections in their learning and appreciate that learning can be accomplished in different forms.
The richness of our local area is at the centre of our curriculum. Our four houses have locally significant names; Maryon Wilson, Royal Observatory, Thames Barrier and Cutty Sark. We aim to enhance and enrich our children’s understanding of their local and wider environment by providing opportunities for learning within and beyond the classroom. Our curriculum celebrates diversity and utilises the cultural wealth of the community while supporting the children’s spiritual, moral, social and cultural development, ensuring that children are well prepared for life in modern Britain. We seek to develop an attitude of care and respect, where children understand how actions and decisions impact upon the world. Thorntree children are all part of a global community. Our aim is to help the children to gain a sense of place and understand that they play a part in its future. We provide opportunities for them to explore similarities and differences between communities and how they fit into the wider world.
We aim to nurture confident, independent children who are able to make responsible, healthy choices and have the ability to show empathy and compassion towards others. Our curriculum provides opportunities for children to learn to respect and appreciate the diversity of an ever changing society. Children are encouraged to be empathetic and appreciate that collaboration includes listening.
At Thorntree we want learning to be fun and actively promote pupils’ exploration of knowledge and skills. Children are encouraged to be inquisitive and resilient learners who are prepared to take risks and question outcomes; they are engaged in active learning that gives them opportunities to tackle activities and problems in imaginative ways that enable them to develop solutions and outcomes for themselves. Children are actively encouraged to formulate questions, gather information and summarise possibilities. They can apply, analyse and evaluate their learning to ensure a real depth of knowledge is gained.
Our curriculum incorporates the statutory requirements of the National Curriculum 2014. Subjects are taught discretely so that children understand from a young age what they are learning and develop a fascination for individual subjects as they grow. The Thorntree curriculum has been carefully planned to ensure content is sequenced and, within each subject, key themes provide a learning journey that progresses through the school, building on prior learning and laying foundations for the future. In order for children to remember, and therefore really learn, what is taught we aim to teach fewer things in greater depth. Within each unit the curriculum is planned so that key knowledge and skills are specified.
Although subjects are taught discretely each half term there is an overarching ‘topic’, taken from the science, history or geography curriculum. Learning within the art, design and technology curriculum is planned through the topic, for example children in year 5 studying Ancient Greece in history will learn art skills when sculpting a clay pot.
Through the implementation of our curriculum we provide our pupils with memorable experiences, diverse and rich opportunities such as visiting actors in the role of Samuel Pepys who bring history to life, visits to the many museums and places of interest in Greenwich and central London and themed dress up days at school from which they can learn and develop a range of transferable skills.
The local community, its heritage and traditions are frequently used to enrich children’s learning experiences. We have strong links with St.Thomas’ Church and St. Luke’s Church and both are used to support our curriculum and as spaces for our children to perform. The museums at Greenwich are used to enhance our history curriculum around topics such as The Tudors and migration. The Thames barrier, Greenwich ecology centre and Royal observatory are just a few of the great local resources we use to support the science and geography curriculum.
The outdoor area and local environment are considered an opportunity for active learning for all our children. Key Stage 2 use Maryon Wilson Park for the Daily Mile and we make use of our valley situation and proximity to the River Thames and its barrier to support geographical fieldwork across the school. We have an extensive on site woodland area which our younger pupils use for Forest School. Both this and our pond area are used to support learning in science across all year groups. We have a tiered field where there is a wooden trim trail, two playgrounds complete with brightly coloured markings which encourage games and competition, and a sports court to accommodate basketball, football and cricket. We want as many of our pupils as possible to use sustainable ways to travel to school and have two cycle shelters to support this.
Music and performance have a high profile at Thorntree School and each year group receives a weekly music lesson taught by a music specialist teacher. In addition, instrument tuition is provided at no cost, with Year 3 learning recorder, Year 4 the ukulele and Year 5 keyboard. Children in Year 6 are invited to Rock Band and we have a Key Stage 2 Choir. In addition, there are lots of opportunities, such as Christmas Nativity Plays, Carol Concerts and assemblies to parents, for our children to sing and perform in school and in the wider community at events such as the Young Voices Concert at the O2 Arena.
A varied timetable for extra-curricular activities is offered by the school, with clubs that extend the range of children’s experiences, held during lunch times and after school. The clubs on offer enrich our school curriculum and provide our children with the opportunity to develop further skills and interests.
The school takes pride in providing a highly inclusive environment, where learners demonstrate high levels of enjoyment in their education and most make very good progress in most subjects and areas of learning. Children at all levels are helped to achieve their potential. Those who are most able are challenged and supported through being offered tasks which provide opportunities for greater depth and those who struggle are encouraged and given targeted support to embed skills, to develop at their own pace or simply to learn in a style that best suits their individual needs.
Subject leaders play an important part in the success of the curriculum by leading a regular programme of monitoring, evaluation and review and the celebration of good practice contributes to the ongoing commitment to evolve and improve further. All subject leaders are given training and the opportunity to keep developing their own subject knowledge, skills and understanding, so they can support curriculum development and their colleagues throughout the school.
Our curriculum design ensures that the needs of individuals and small groups of children can be met within the environment of high quality teaching, supported by targeted, proven interventions where appropriate.
Enjoyment of the curriculum promotes achievement, confidence and good behaviour. Children feel safe to try new things. High quality visits and visitors to the school provide a wealth of cultural capital to all pupils, enhance the curriculum and provide opportunities to make links across the wider curriculum and help develop each child as a whole.
Children have opportunities to share their learning with each other, their parents and the wider school community through school-based and external exhibitions, performances, competitions and events involving other schools. Developing their independence and motivation as learners and their sense of responsibility as future citizens is at the heart of all our teaching and learning.