Our Curriculum

Our Philosophy:

At St Thomas, we believe that primary school should be a safe and wonderful place where children want to be, and learning takes place both in and out of the classroom. Learning should be through a mixture of exploration, discovery, creativity and a variety of sensory and kinaesthetic experiences which encourage learners to want to explore more in a journey of lifelong learning.  They will learn the English and Maths skills needed for life and learning and to progress in their education. Children will learn to shape their futures and develop their unique capacities and skills. They will be encouraged to be curious and use thinking skills to innovate, be creative and problem solve. They will develop the first understandings of employment and entrepreneurship. A primary education should set up learners for life, with the knowledge and skills to be well-rounded individuals, emotionally and physically healthy, with an appreciation for and a generosity towards people, the world and the universe around them.


At St Thomas we have a fully sequenced and connected curriculum that spans from Nursery to Year 6 that builds towards a clear end-point which helps children to know more, remember more, and do more.  It enables children to build knowledge and understanding over time, while offering rich, broad, balanced and engaging content, which is ambitious for all.

It is a systematically designed curriculum that enables us to achieve the triangulation of a well-sequenced curriculum, well-structured and consistent teaching, and meaningful assessment approaches.


We want our children to develop a vast array of knowledge and skills, which they have the ability to transfer across different subjects within the curriculum.  With diverse families and different levels of socio-economic status, the staff at St Thomas ensure enrichment is at the heart of the curriculum we teach.  Enrichment is woven into the very fabric of our planning, teaching and assessment process in each and every subject. Our children come to school with different life experiences, which impacts on their vocabulary, reasoning and understanding throughout all key stages.  We intend to provide a range of experiences to improve learning outside the classroom and to create links between learning and fun for our children.


We want the learning gained from experiences to be invaluable as to how our children develop understanding about the world in which we live and how it can help learning inside the classroom become more tangible. We want to prepare all our children for the next stages in their educational careers as well as allow them to develop their aspirations for adult life.


Our curriculum has four structural tiers. Each tier builds on the previous to create interconnected layers. These interconnected layers provide a robust framework that ensures connectivity across the curriculum. The tiers of the curriculum structure are set out in the diagram below, and explained in the following paragraphs.


Tier 1: Big Ideas (global aims)


The curriculum is led by 10 central Big Ideas. These Big Ideas are the overarching aims of the curriculum

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Tier 2: Subjects (aspects and concepts)


We use the terms ‘aspects’ and ‘concepts’. An aspect is a particular part or feature of a subject, and a concept is an abstract idea within a subject.


In the curriculum structure, each Big Idea is directly connected to the curriculum subjects, which have the relevant aspects or concepts through which the Big Idea can be delivered. For example, in geography, the Big Idea of Humankind is connected to and delivered through the geographical aspects of Settlements and land use and Human features and landmarks. In history, the Big Idea of Humankind is connected to and delivered through the historical aspects and concepts of Everyday life, Hierarchy and power, and Civilisations.

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The diagram below shows how the Big Idea of Humankind is linked to each subject via its aspects and concepts.

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Tier 3: Programmes of study (national curriculum coverage)

To ensure coverage of the national curriculum, each subject aspect or concept is then matched to the relevant programmes of study. Across the curriculum, there is full coverage of the programmes of study for art and design, design and technology, geography, history and science.


The diagram below shows an example of how Tier 2 leads into Tier 3

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Tier 4: Progression framework (knowledge and skills statements)


In Tier 4, programmes of study, aspects and concepts are broken down into smaller component parts or ‘chunks’ to form a cohesive progression framework. The progression framework runs from Nursery to Year 6 and includes knowledge and skills that children need to know and be able to do in order to make progress through the curriculum.

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Structure: (Implementation)

Our curriculum is built on The Four Cornerstones of Learning – Engage, Develop, Innovate and Express. These are four distinct stages that actively promote children’s learning and thinking

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The Four Cornerstones of Learning link explicitly to pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural (SMSC) development.


The focus for teaching and planning in each Cornerstone is as follows.



  1. hooks learners in with a memorable experience

  2.  set the scene and provide the context

  3.  ask questions to provoke thought and interest

  4. use interesting starting points to spark children’s curiosity


  1. teach knowledge to provide depth of understanding

  2. demonstrate new skills and allow time for consolidation

  1. provide creative opportunities for making and doing

  2. deliver reading, writing and talk across the curriculum


  1.  provide imaginative scenarios for creative thinking

  2. enable and assess the application of previously learned skills

  1. encourage enterprise and independent thinking

  2. work in groups and independently to solve problems


  1.  encourage reflective talk by asking questions

  1. provide opportunities for shared evaluation

  2.  celebrate success

  3. identify next steps for learning

Memorable Experience

Each Knowledge Rich Project (KRP) begins with a memorable experience that stimulates children’s curiosity and prepares them for a new theme. A memorable experience often involves an educational visit out of school or a visitor coming into school to share their expertise with the children.

Cultural Capital At St Thomas

At St Thomas Primary Academy we view ‘cultural capital’ as the characteristics, knowledge and skills that promote social mobility, both now and in the future.  We ensure that children are exposed to a wide range of experiences that will develop their cultural capital and give them an advantage in later life.


The impact and measure of this is to ensure children not only acquire the appropriate age related knowledge linked to the curriculum but also skills which equip them to progress from their starting points.  In shaping our curriculum this way, progress can be measured and evidenced for all children, regardless of their starting points or specific needs.

We teach our children to ensure we alter their long term memories and we define progress as knowing and remembering more. 


Teachers and staff work hard to plan a broad and balanced curriculum which is expertly delivered to ensure a child’s entire school experience enables them to develop a deep body of knowledge and skills which will see them through to further study, work and a successful adult life in whatever they choose.  We pride ourselves on not just pushing our children through a SATs driven curriculum, where their creativity is stifled and well-being is compromised. 


When our children leave us, as well as being ready for a KS3 curriculum, they have a wealth of transferrable skills which have been developed throughout their time at primary school in an inclusive and nurturing environment.  We are proud that once the children from St Thomas CE (vc) Primary School have left, they are ready to make a positive contribution to society;  have been supported through their transition; have been exposed to rich vocabulary and have high aspirations and self-belief all through the teaching of this broad and balanced curriculum.

Long Term Overviews

These documents give an overview of the curriculum for each year group across the year.

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Whole School Curriculum Overview 2022-2023


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Year 1 LTP

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Year 2 LTP

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Year 3 LTP

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Year 4 LTP

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Year 5 LTP

Year 6 LTP

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Relevant Documents

Our Curriculum Subjects









EY Outdoor Learning


Outdoor Learning