Through the thematic curriculum, our children will leave County Bridge with a strong knowledge of the world in which they live (past and present) on a local, national and global scale, reinforced by purposeful and memorable enrichment opportunities. Children will develop a sense of pride in their local area, the rich heritage it provides and the part that their locality has played in worldwide events.
County Bridge values and core British values are interwoven throughout the curriculum. Children will develop their own moral compass and aspirations for life by understanding how these values have shaped the lives of key figures studied.
The thematic curriculum develops conceptual knowledge, skills and understanding in four curricular areas: history, geography, art and design & technology. Using the statutory guidance set out in the National Curriculum for these four subjects as a starting point, our unique curriculum has then been shaped to meet the needs of our children and develop their skills alongside local, national and global knowledge.
The curriculum has been designed to be progressive. It ensures the key skills and knowledge, for each of the four subjects, are revisited within each unit of work, throughout each year group and across the year groups in the school’s thematic curriculum.
In order to develop inquisitive learners, who are willing to challenge viewpoints and evidence respectfully, each unit is shaped around an enquiry question. All teaching and learning from Nursery to Year 6, is based around acquiring the knowledge, skills and understanding required for children to gain cumulatively sufficient knowledge in which to answer this question.
Children are provided with frequent opportunities to reflect on their learning and strengthen their understanding by making comparisons to previous thematic units studied.
Expectations at County Bridge are exceedingly high. All children, regardless of their background, gender, ethnicity or need, are expected to achieve, at the very least, the age-related level expectations. Teachers adapt resources and the support provided to ensure that this happens.
We believe that the content of the thematic curriculum must be taught alongside real-life experiences, which is why we heavily invest in providing enrichment opportunities to support children’s knowledge acquisition. Making learning memorable is a key aim of our curriculum and this supports children to embed the learning.
Six thematic units have been constructed for each year group, which generally focus upon a history or geography theme. Children are encouraged to question commonly held historical or geographical beliefs, understand how the past has shaped their lives today, and reach their own unique conclusions, forming opinions based on the learning that takes place. Whole class and individual reflection throughout each unit is key to this learning and development.
Within each curriculum area, objectives, focussed on knowledge and skills, have been produced for each year group for each of the four subjects. They have been sequenced so that the skills and the knowledge that children gain is progressive across each year group and also across the whole school. These objectives form the basis of any assessments, which in turn inform the planning.
Children in Early Years also engage in thematic learning opportunities through the curriculum areas of ‘understanding the world’ and ‘expressive arts and design’. Each unit is enquiry-led, beginning with a question. Throughout the half term, children are encouraged to reflect upon their learning by providing their thoughts and opinions on the question.
Themes are introduced though adult-led sessions. Activities are set up within the environment to provide children with opportunities to extend their thematic knowledge during child-initiated learning. Role-play and small world areas reflect the thematic learning.
Throughout each unit of work, children in Years 1 to 6 are provided with ‘Think-It Questions’. These questions are set towards the end of a lesson and allow children the opportunity to take their learning deeper by applying the knowledge and vocabulary that they have gained.
The thematic curriculum aims to engage all groups of learners. A high-priority is placed on lessons being active and children participating fully in activities. Children are given the chance to: work independently and collaboratively, investigate, ask questions, offer opinions and draw conclusions so that learning ‘sticks’.
Enrichment activities are also a high-priority within the curriculum in order for children to gain first-hand experiences and enhance their opportunities for learning. This approach to learning is key to our children making knowledge links and making sense of their learning, especially as they move through the school and into the wider world.
Our curriculum is heavily informed by our whole school values and core British values. By weaving these values into the curriculum, in particular by highlighting how these values have been implemented by successful figures from the past and current times, our children are provided with role models and they begin to understand how values help to shape future life choices.
Throughout the pandemic and periods of home learning, the thematic curriculum continues to be delivered in a range of ways. Tasks are set, through the use of Purple Mash or Google Classroom. Live video lessons or video tutorials support the delivery. Children continue to receive a broad and balanced curriculum.
From Year 1 through to Year 6, units of work are ready-produced, allowing teachers the time to research subject matter on a deeper level and focus on high quality delivery. As a result, the thematic lessons are taught well and children are able to link knowledge and skills across the year groups.
Children are regularly set ‘Knowledge Challenges’ which encourage them to compete against themselves and each other in recalling key facts that are drawn from the many topic areas that have been covered. We invite families to engage with their children in learning these facts and teachers then ensure this knowledge is utilised and referred to in lessons.
Classroom environments wholly support thematic learning. A vast range of books, resources and artefacts are used to support children’s acquisition of knowledge and understanding of the topic studied. Vocabulary development is a high priority in lessons and is also promoted through the use of wall displays and through vocabulary banks in children’s books.
Children leave County Bridge with a wealth of knowledge and understanding at their fingertips. Substantive concepts repeatedly featuring throughout the curriculum, in a range of different contexts, enable children to form knowledge links and make comparisons.
By delivering a curriculum: that is progressive, in terms of developing skills and knowledge acquisition; that gives children the opportunity to revisit and reflect upon prior units studied and that offers children memorable experiences, children at County Bridge are able to make links in their learning, embed the knowledge and make sense of what has been taught. This is demonstrated in their books and through the range of interactions during lessons.
Thematic Long Term Planning
THEMATIC Long Term Planning – Summary of Year 1 Units
THEMATIC Long Term Planning – Summary of Year 2 Units
THEMATIC Long Term Planning – Summary of Year 3 Units
THEMATIC Long Term Planning – Summary of Year 4 Units
THEMATIC Long Term Planning – Summary of Year 5 Units
THEMATIC Long Term Planning – Summary of Year 6 Units