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Thomas Barnes Primary School Curriulum 



Our bespoke school curriculum is carefully designed to meet the needs of our pupils in our context.  Thomas Barnes is a small, rural primary school with just four mixed-aged classes.  Our children come from supportive homes where parents have high aspirations for their children’s education.  We provide a nurturing environment in an ideal location with a canal and woodland on our doorstep.  We want children to learn empathy with an understanding of diversity and be open-minded.  This is particularly important in our context, which is predominantly white British.

We aim to support our children in becoming resilient learners who are well-behaved and highly engaged in their learning. Our curriculum is designed to build knowledge and skills through a range of carefully sequenced learning experiences that result in children leaving us with as independent individuals, well-prepared for the new challenges of secondary education.  Our ambitious curriculum is designed to take full account of the legal requirements of the EYFS curriculum and the primary national curriculum.  We then build upon that core to provide our own unique curriculum.



Our curriculum has been reviewed over the 2020-2021 academic year and has been further adapted in preparation for the new EIF, September 2019 with the focus on knowledge, skills, progression and sequencing. We see these areas as the foundation of our curriculum on which we sit our topics and themes. 
As part of our review, topics have been broadened to provide opportunities for independence and greater creativity. Each topic is described as an adventure, which allows for independent learning and flexibility at individual child level. Each topic builds upon the prior learning of children and is carefully planned to ensure logical progression and repetition to consolidate learning. The children’s work is recorded in their Discovery book. This demonstrates the cross-curricular nature of the adventure. However, subject knowledge is highlighted in each lesson e.g. ‘Today we are historians…’ 

Every adventure is initiated with a novel which supports developing reading skills and enriching vocabulary.  Each adventure has a purpose, as the end point of each is a Showcase Afternoon, where parents and relatives are invited into school to share in their children’s achievements.  Each Showcase has a focus on developing children’s entrepreneurial skills and raises money to fund future topics.  For example, the Ancient Greek topic ended with a quiz for parents.  Parents paid to enter the quiz and for refreshments and children ran the entire event giving opportunities for public speaking; hospitality as well as applying their new knowledge by devising the quiz.  The teachers facilitate the events but do not lead them.  The impact of this approach to the school curriculum is that children are excited and enthused by their learning.  This is beginning to have a tangible impact on outcomes



Pupil-friendly ‘I can’ statements, linked to the NC, enable clear progression throughout the year, building on previous skills.  These statements are assessed through on-going formative assessment and summative assessments take place twice a year.



Our aim is for our children to leave us as independent and well-motivated learners who have a sense of responsibility and are developing into responsible young adults preparing for life in the 21st century.  Through an awareness of cultural capital, we want children to be respectful, tolerant individuals who are accepting of difference and are open to the diversity of the wider society.  Through sequential learning, retrieval of prior knowledge and skills and new learning opportunities, we will change their long term memory so that they remember more, know more and do more.


As a staff team, we have purposefully reflected upon and reviewed our curriculum to ensure we can offer the best possible all-round education and opportunities to our children.


At the heart of our school curriculum is the National Curriculum. Through the review process, we will ensure effective coverage of all National Curriculum objectives in all subjects. We understand that learning is effective when there has been a change in long-term memory and so will plan opportunities for children to encounter key concepts several times

We will begin by collaboratively creating detailed curriculum maps to set out a clear learning journey from when they join us in reception right up to Year 6. This means that in every unit of work in every subject in every year group there will be a progressive sequence of steps towards a clear end point.  This will empower teachers to plan effectively throughout the year with a secure understanding of where the children have come from and where they are going to next. Links in learning between year groups will be explicit.

Rigorous and meaningful, yet manageable, assessment will be used to track pupil progress and inform future planning. Opportunities will be provided for teachers to discuss and share this valuable information so that any gaps in learning can be identified and closed or that additional provision can be made for children who are exceeding.


Thomas Barnes is a truly unique school. As a staff team, we continue to pride ourselves on the pastoral care we offer to our pupils. Our curriculum will be thoughtfully designed to prepare our children for life in modern-day Britain. We are an inclusive school, who are committed to developing the whole child and place great importance on promoting well-being and equipping children with the strategies and skills they need to cope with the challenges of modern life. As our pupil intake is from predominantly white British backgrounds, we will ensure that opportunities to explore multi-culturalism and diversity are embedded within our curriculum and school life. 


Our unique surroundings provide exciting opportunities to learn outside of the classroom. We will continue to make the most of links with both the school and local communities for further enrichment. We remain incredibly proud of what we are able to positively give back to the community too.


At Thomas Barnes Primary School  we recognise that all pupils are entitled to a quality of provision that will enable them to achieve their potential. We believe in positive intervention, removing barriers to learning, raising expectations and levels of achievement and working in partnership with other agencies in order to provide a positive educational experience for all our pupils including those with a special educational need or disability.



Our goal is that by the time the children leave Thomas Barnes they will be confident and independent learners. They will have the creativity to be able to apply existing skills to new situations, a positive attitude to change and challenge and the reflectiveness to continually strive to be better. They will reflect happily on the memorable learning opportunities they had with us, the friendships they made here and the staff who helped them grow into the incredible people they have become.




Discover … our exciting new curriculum!

Discover … our new adventure!


At Thomas Barnes, we are enthusiastic about being curious, life-long learners. We provide a broad, rich, relevant and meaningful curriculum which, as a team, we are very proud of.


The launch of our new curriculum sees topics broadened and opportunities for independence and creativity heightened. Each adventure is built around the principle of greater learner involvement and ownership, with the aim of preparing them for life in the 21st Century. It requires children to think in depth and answer questions around a theme, whilst engaging in language rich texts. We aim to inspire and excite children in their learning whilst embedding core skills across the curriculum.


The adventure begins with a Launch Day intended to engage and excite children about their learning. We complete each journey with a Showcase Afternoon, where parents and relatives are invited into school to share in the children’s achievements. This provides real purpose to their learning and many of our Showcase Afternoons focus on developing their entrepreneurial skills ready for their future.



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.


We aim to provide a broad, balanced curriculum which is interesting and exciting, building on the children's enthusiasm for learning. Through our curriculum, we want to prepare children for the world they live in today. It is very important that the children are numerate and literate and able to access the next stage of their education without any barriers. We put a lot of emphasis on supporting the children to develop good skills in these areas and ensure that every child reaches their potential. However, we also believe that there are other important skills and attributes that the children need to develop to be successful and we believe that our curriculum provides them with the opportunities to do that.


We want children to be tolerant individuals who are accepting of difference and who do not see difference as something to be scared of. We want to develop their ability to listen to the views of others with respect before deciding for themselves. We want the children to be interested in the world around them, to be able to ask questions and to be inquisitive. They need to be able to work in teams to reach a common goal. In order to achieve all this we give the children a wide range of experiences through our curriculum and push them out of their 'comfort zones', helping them to become thoughtful, independent individuals.



Reading at Thomas Barnes

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