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Subject Overviews

Thank you for your interest in our curriculum; we would love to give you more detail.  If you have any questions, please contact the school office at


At Thornborough, we understand that children who learn to speak, read and write fluently and confidently are at an advantage when continuing their education and further beyond into the workplace and community. We intend for our children to be effective communicators; attentive listeners; confident speakers; and grammatically accurate writers.

Our English curriculum offers a wide variety of opportunities to explore and practise both spoken and written language through Jane Considine's approach 'The Write Stuff'. The experience days and sentence stacking lessons provide pupils with the skills they require to successfully communicate their thoughts, ideas and emotions for a range of audiences and purposes. At the heart of this curriculum are high quality books and a range of stimuli, which have been selected by our leaders and teachers to inspire and engage children, whilst equipping them with the knowledge of the wider world.

At Thornborough, we ensure that all children see themselves as a writer.  We  follow ‘The Write Stuff’ from Reception through to Year 2.   The Write Stuff is the work of the teacher, author and education consultant Jane Considine.  It brings clarity to the mechanics of writing and provides clear systems through which to focus the writer’s attention. We have structured units of work into a long-term plan that links to our reading scheme.  We aspire to build children's love of reading and writing through the exposure of high quality fiction, non-fiction and poetry.

Each unit begins with a series of ‘sentence-stacking’ lessons that are used to develop pupils’ understanding of grammar, syntax and vocabulary. These provide a high level of cognitive support so that the complexity of learning at this stage is scaffolded for success. At appropriate times, ‘experience lessons’ are used to provide structured opportunities for vocabulary development, drama, experiential learning or research so that pupils’ understanding of the topic or fictional situation is deepened. Following this, a separate series of independent writing lessons takes pupils from the planning stage to the development of a final written piece.  Each lesson  follows a repeated pattern of ‘Initiate’, ‘Model’ and ‘Enable’ which makes use of the three zones of writing (BOOMTASTICS; FANTASTICS and GRAMMARISTICS) to provide a consistent whole school systematic approach to writing composition.

The FANASTICS are used to structure children’s ideas and BOOMTASTICS and GRAMMARISTICS are used to support children in using literary devices and aspects of grammar to enhance their writing. We focus on the language authors use and the way that sentences are structured, thinking about how they impact on the reader.

The Fantastics offer 9 lenses with which to structure ideas and target children’s thinking. This supports children in developing variety in their writing by focussing on the vocabulary used, initiating ideas, provoking thoughts and igniting imaginations.   

The Grammaristics focus on the importance of accurate grammar where tools are taught and used immediately to help children develop fascination around language so that they can manipulate and carefully structure words into sentences 

The Boomtastics focus on the art of writing, using a range of literary devices and techniques to make careful choices, playing with language to add flair to our writing and achieve various intentional impacts on our reader, painting vivid pictures through our word choices.


Mathematics plays a vital role in today’s world, so it is our job to create and deliver a curriculum which is inspiring, challenging, allows all children to develop resilience and provides them with the skills and knowledge to help them achieve their potential and to be able to function successfully in the community we live in.

Our curriculum is structured and delivered to enable children to:

  • Develop fluency of the key skills and knowledge specified in the National Curriculum.
  • Demonstrate a deep conceptual understanding of the areas taught.
  • Recall and apply skills and knowledge to solve a range of problems in various contexts effectively.
  • Reason mathematically to support an idea using appropriate mathematical language.
  • Have a sense of the size of a number and where it fits in the number system.
  • Calculate correctly and efficiently using both mental and written strategies.
  • Suggest suitable units of measure, make sensible estimates and measure accurately.
  • Create and analyse data.
  • Name and describe the properties of both 2D and 3D shape and explore position and movement.
  • Become inquisitive, independent learners that can question and achieve.

We intend to do this by:

  • Having a well structured, sequential and progressive curriculum, that allows children time to practise and apply skills and knowledge, so these key objectives become embedded.
  • Structuring learning so children are able to make connections between different aspects of maths so they remember more and avoid cognitive overload.
  • Having high expectations of all our pupils. Pupils who grasp concepts more rapidly are challenged through questioning and problem solving.
  • High quality first teaching. Adapting and modifying the lessons to match the needs of the children and using a concrete, pictorial and abstract approach.

Maths Curriculum Implementation
Organisation and structure
At Thornborough, children study a broad and balanced mathematical curriculum including elements of number, geometry, measures and statistics as outlined in the National Curriculum. The school follows the Mastery maths approach and the overviews and mid term plans are based on those created by The White Rose Hub. However, due to the timing of SATs, the need for new mathematical learning to be built upon solid foundations and for us to highlight connections we have adapted them slightly to meet the needs of our school and our children. We chose the White Rose overview as a significant amount of time is allocated to number. The ability to recall these key number facts and skills affect how successful the children are in many of the other areas of the curriculum and are important building blocks. Organising the curriculum in this way also allows children to practise and apply what they have been taught in different contexts. If the children are fluent and can recall key facts quickly and accurately it means children are also less likely to suffer from cognitive overload when faced with more complex problems.

Medium Term plans

These outline the learning objectives for each half term and where they will be revisited so children get the opportunity to revise and apply these skills in different contexts. It is important that connections with prior learning are highlighted so children don’t suffer from cognitive overload.

Our school's pedagogy

  •  We teach mathematics to the whole class and do not label children. Lessons are based on formative assessment. At the planning stage teachers consider the scaffolding that children may require if struggling and suitable challenge for those who may grasp the concept more rapidly.  
  • When introduced to a new concept, all children should have the opportunity to build competency in a topic by using the CPA approach. This approach helps children explore and demonstrate mathematical ideas, enrich their learning experience and deepen understanding. Together, these elements help cement knowledge so pupils truly understand what they’ve learnt.                                                                                                                                                                               

( CPA approach: Concrete resources-these are objects and manipulatives to help children understand and explain what they are doing. Pictorial resources-these are images which can be used to support understanding and help children visualise problems and develop reasoning. Abstract-with foundations securely embedded, children can move onto the abstract approach using numbers and symbols with confidence.

  • Teachers encourage children to respond to questions in full sentences, not just give the answer. This aids understanding and helps to embed the concept.
  • Repetition of the keyfacts, strategies, concepts and vocabulary are repeated throughout the lesson by children to ensure the essential information becomes secure.
  • Children will be exposed to conceptual variation to aid their understanding of a concept.

Conceptual variation is the practise of exposing students to carefully designed representations in order for them to discover and understand the essential features of a concept. The idea is to draw focus to the similarities and differences. Teachers might use 3 types of example. A standard representation (obvious/classic), a non standard representation (less expected and challenges students to think more deeply) and a non- concept representation (an example of what the concept is not). This can allow teachers to highlight common misconceptions.

  •  When planning teachers will have in mind procedural variation. How we proceed through a lesson, building knowledge and making connections to previous learning. When planning tasks teachers will also have in mind procedural variation which allows children to see patterns and make connections between questions.
  • Depth and understanding. All learners benefit from deepening their conceptual understanding. We believe pupils must be given time to fully understand, explore and apply ideas. The challenge comes from investigating the concept in new, alternative and more complex ways. This constant cycle of having to recall key knowledge and skills will ensure learning is retained. This overlearning will then lead to fluency.
  •  We have high expectations of all pupils. We believe our abilities are neither fixed or innate, but can be developed through practise, support, dedication and hard work. This encourages a love of learning and resilience that enables everyone to achieve.
  • Reasoning and problem solving is at the heart of our approach. Pupils are encouraged to identify, understand and apply relevant mathematical principles and make connections between different ideas. This builds the skills needed to tackle new problems, rather than simply repeating routines without grasping the principles. ( Eg True or false, Convince me, Spot the mistake etc)

Enriching the curriculum
Quality first teaching is the most important link to get children engaged and reaching their full potential. In addition to this, opportunities are planned for children to apply their maths skills across other subject areas. Eg. Measuring and recording results in science and directional language in geography. Getting visitors into school, taking part in competitions and taking part in National events such as The NSPCC Maths day all help children understand the
relevance of what they are learning in relation to the wider world.

Subject Knowledge
Subject knowledge is essential if the intentions of our curriculum are to be executed successfully so providing CPA is essential.

Formative assessment is on-going through marking, discussion and observations of pupils throughout the lesson. A lot of this is done during the ping pong sessions and within the lesson. The structure of our curriculum also allows us to see whether knowledge is secure as they get opportunities to apply skills in different contexts. E.g. When telling the time they need to be able to recall counting in 5’s. When calculating fractions they are applying multiplication and division skills taught earlier in the year. White Rose end of block assessments and end of term tests are used to check information is
being retained. Children’s progress is tracked and if any children are falling behind the class teacher and SLT will look at the most effective way to help close the gap.

PSHE and Relationships Education Policy

At Thornborough we hold this subject with very high regard and your child’s wellbeing is at the forefront of all we do.  PSHE education is a subject through which children and young people acquire the knowledge, understanding and skills they need to manage their lives, now and in the future. PSHE develops the qualities and attributes pupils need to thrive as individuals, family members and members of society.
PSHE is a standalone subject, however, it is embedded in our daily routines and in the other statutory subjects.  We also teach PSHE though assemblies, daily conversations, key moments in the calendar and when the unexpected happens in our world.  


Our Science curriculum aims to equip children with the foundations for understanding the world through a scientific lens. Pupils will be taught units of work that cover and go beyond the requirements of the National Curriculum in the specific disciplines of biology, chemistry and physics. Pupils encounter people who have made significant contributions to the field of science over time, understanding that science has been a quest for understanding for many years, and will continue to be so in the future. Pupils build a body of key foundational science knowledge as they work through the curriculum, asking questions and developing a sense of curiosity about the world around us.

Our Science curriculum gives children an introduction to fascinating content such as the inner workings of the human body, animals and the environments they live in, plants and their features, forces in nature, what lies beyond the visible and what lies beyond the planet we live on.

Pupils are encouraged to use the knowledge they learn in Science and apply it to investigations that test a theory or set out to answer a question. Importantly, substantive scientific knowledge is taught first, before pupils are asked to undertake enquiry. This helps them to fully understand the elements of the enquiry first, and to make informed observations about the processes they see. Gathering information, recording data, graphing data and interpreting findings are all essential skills that pupils will apply to new contexts as they work through the curriculum

Throughout the science curriculum, children are taught that scientific discoveries have been made since time began around the world. Children learn about their senses and reflect upon the challenges faced by Helen Keller who achieved a university degree despite being blind and deaf from her early childhood. Importantly in Science, over time, children learn about scientists and their search for the truth. They learn that the people who have contributed to science, are diverse and many voices make up the story of science.

Our science curriculum builds knowledge incrementally. Pupils have opportunities to secure and build on their knowledge and understanding as subject content is revisited at points throughout the curriculum. This helps children to master the knowledge and concepts whilst building up an extended specialist vocabulary. This incremental approach helps teachers to identify knowledge gaps and look back at previous content if they need to close gaps in knowledge or understanding.

Our curriculum enables children to understand the important role that science plays in the sustainability of life on earth. We want children following this curriculum to be equipped to go forth into their KS2 education with curiosity, passion and a desire for discovery

Art & Design

Our art curriculum is a knowledge rich curriculum. Knowledge, in the realm of art means knowledge not only of artists, designers, architects and their work, but of the artistic concepts that relate to their work shown in different types and styles of art, how these relate to each other in a historical context and how this affects the children’s own use of materials and development of skills. The curriculum is designed to enable children to learn by making connections between the work of artists, architects and designers (which they study critically) and their own work, which they evaluate and relate back to the works they have studied. This process is cyclical. For children following the curriculum, becoming informed about the subject discipline of art is a process that takes place alongside a growing love for the subject. Meaningful opportunities for self-expression and individual response are woven through the curriculum, giving children space to learn who they are as an artist.

Units of work in the curriculum focus on the different concepts in art and different types of art. In this context concepts in art means the different elements of art (line, shape, colour, tone, form, space, visual texture and tone), how an artist combines these elements and produces art in different styles, for example realistic or abstract art. Different types of art means the different media used to make art (e.g. sculpture, architecture or painting), different subject matter (e.g. portraits, landscapes or history painting) and different artistic movements, historical periods or geographical cultures.


Our approach to Design and technology aims to inspire pupils to be innovative and creative thinkers who have an appreciation for the product design cycle through ideation, creation, and evaluation. We want pupils to develop the confidence to take risks, through drafting design concepts, modelling, and testing and to be reflective learners who evaluate their work and the work of others. Through our scheme of work, we aim to build an awareness of the impact of design and technology on our lives and encourage pupils to become resourceful, enterprising citizens who will have the skills to contribute to future design advancements. Our Design and technology scheme of work enables pupils to meet the end of key stage attainment targets in the National curriculum and the aims also align with those in the National curriculum. Our EYFS units provide opportunities for pupils’ to work towards the Development matters statements and the Early Learning Goals, while laying the foundations for KS1.

The Design and technology National curriculum outlines the three main stages of the design process: design, make and evaluate. Each stage of the design process is underpinned by technical knowledge which encompasses the contextual, historical, and technical understanding required for each strand. Cooking and nutrition* has a separate section, with a focus on specific principles, skills and techniques in food, including where food comes from, diet and seasonality.

The National curriculum organises the Design and technology attainment targets under four subheadings:

Design, Make, Evaluate, and Technical knowledge.

We have taken these subheadings to be our Primary strands:

● Design

● Make

● Evaluate

● Technical knowledge

Cooking and nutrition is given a particular focus in the National curriculum and we have made this one of our key areas that pupils revisit throughout their time at Thornborough.

● Cooking and nutrition

● Mechanisms/ Mechanical systems

● Structures

● Textiles  

Each of our key areas follows the design process (design, make and evaluate) and has a particular theme and focus from the technical knowledge or cooking and nutrition section of the curriculum. Our teaching scheme is a spiral curriculum, with key areas revisited again and again with increasing complexity, allowing pupils to revisit and build on their previous learning.


Children at Thornborough are always on the go! Whether it's in their weekly PE or Dance lessons, at playtime building dens and running around, or on the bikes and scooters completing circuits ... the list goes on.  Healthy and active physical bodies support healthy and active minds.  Something we strongly encourage for all our children. 


Our history curriculum has been designed to be both knowledge-rich and coherently sequenced, while woven across a two-year rolling programme. Knowledge, in the realm of history, means not only substantive knowledge of historical events, dates and people in the past, but also knowledge of substantive concepts in history (such as ‘empire’, ‘monarchy’ and ‘civil war’), and disciplinary historical concepts (such as evidence, causation, significance and interpretation). Our history curriculum allows children to develop a chronologically secure knowledge and understanding of local, British and world history, with lays the foundations to build on at the Junior schools we feed into. The substantive knowledge taught in the curriculum has been carefully chosen and sequenced using a broadly chronological approach.

Units of work should not be viewed as a stand-alone topic, but as a chapter in the story of the history of Britain and the wider world. In this sense, the chronological approach provides a solid framework, anchoring each unit within a wider narrative. Understanding in history requires an understanding of causation. Children will be able to understand the causes of significant national and global events,  when they have some background knowledge of what happened before.

Knowledge of substantive concepts and disciplinary concepts have been interleaved across the curriculum, allowing children to encounter and apply these in different contexts. From year to year, unit to unit, lesson to lesson, the curriculum supports children in making connections and building upon prior substantive and disciplinary knowledge. For example, the children develop a secure understanding of ‘monarchy’ in Britain, which we know they build upon further in KS2.

Our history curriculum is balanced to enable children to look in some depth at local, national and world history, encouraging children to explore the connection between significant events and people and how they have influenced the modern world. 

The curriculum aims to help children understand how the past is constructed and contested. Children begin by learning about what a historian does, looking at basic sources and simplified perspectives to develop an appreciation and understanding of what it means to be a historian. As their substantive knowledge grows, children will be able to ask perceptive questions, analyse more sources, underpinning their ability to use their knowledge to develop perspective. Disciplinary concepts, such as continuity and change, cause and consequence and similarity, difference and significance, are explored in every unit, and children are supported to think outside of their current unit of work and apply these concepts across the curriculum.


Our Geography curriculum is knowledge rich. This means the knowledge children will gain has been carefully specified, ordered coherently and builds over time. As children work through our geography curriculum they will know more, understand more about the world around them. A good geographical understanding relies on firm foundations of knowledge and skills. The skills our curriculum develops, like the knowledge, are specified, ordered coherently and progress over time. This curriculum structure helps pupils to deepen their understanding of physical and human geographical processes, fostering curiosity and fascination for the world we live in.

Approaching primary geography with a knowledge rich focus means that the knowledge children will be taught has been identified, in each year group, in each unit and in each lesson. As children work through the curriculum they will know more and understand more about their local area, the UK, Europe and the World. This rigorous approach,  leaves nothing to chance, building geographical knowledge and understanding in a way that builds on children’s prior knowledge, allowing them to make meaningful connections and gain an understanding of how our world is connected.

Conceptual understanding is at the heart of our curriculum. Children will learn about key geographical concepts such as place, space, the environment and interconnection. Over time, working through an essential process of elaboration, children will add to their conceptual understanding with many examples of geographical knowledge in context. Children will become more skilled at answering questions such as; what is it like to live in this place? What are the challenges of this environment? How have people changed this landscape over time? Children will gain an understanding of what geographers do, what they look for and what they may say about a place.

Each year our geography curriculum begins with a ‘Spatial Sense’ unit that explicitly teaches geographical skills such as locating places on a map, positioning items on a map, using symbols in a key, interpreting scale, reading climate graphs, identifying locations using co-ordinates, interpreting population data, identifying elevation on relief maps and more. The spatial sense units for each year group are positioned at the beginning of the year to explicitly teach skills which will then be used in context throughout the rest of the year as children apply those skills to learn more about people, places and the environment.  

Every year children will study one unit of British geography. As with the rest of the geography curriculum, children’s knowledge and understanding of British geography builds incrementally from year to year.  In year two, children will study a unit of European geography that contrasts and lays the foundation for study of climate, trade, industry, landmarks, physical features and contrasting environments as  they progress through their junior years. Alongside their study of the UK and Europe, children will extend their knowledge beyond these regions to study world geography.

Our geography curriculum equips pupils with knowledge about diverse places, people and environments. We have seen that arming children with powerful knowledge about the world around them helps them to develop a love for the subject of geography, and also recognise their own role in becoming a responsible global citizen.


Our Computing Curriculum aims to instil a sense of enjoyment around using technology and to develop pupil's appreciation of it's capabilities  and the opportunities technology offers to create, manage, organise and collaborate. Tinkering with software and programs forms a part of the ethos of our approach as we seek to develop pupils' confidence when encountering new technology, which is a vital skill in the ever evolving and changing landscape of technology.

Through our curriculum, we intend not only for our pupils to be digitally competent, and have a range of transferable skills, at a suitable level for the future workplace, but also to be responsible online citizens.

Our Curriculum is designed with three strands, which run throughout:

  • Computer Science
  • Information technology
  • Digital literacy

These areas are revisited cyclically and we utilise Skills Showcase Units to provide pupils with the opportunity to learn and apply transferbale skills.

Teachers continually evaluate children’s learning through both formative and summative assessment opportunities. In each lesson, teachers ensure children are assessed against the learning objectives and planning is responsive to gaps and misconceptions. Each unit has a unit quiz to assess the retention of new knowledge and vocabulary.

The impact of our computing curriculum can clearly be seen in projects that children create as well as presentations created as digital content. Programs that children write code for are saved digitally and accessed by teachers to ensure achievement of learning objectives. Children have the opportunity to self-assess the content they have created, as well as peer-assess. In each year group, children use previously learned skills and apply them to new software and coding programs. Our pupils leave Springfield equipped with a range of knowledge and skills that enable them to succeed in their secondary education and be active participants in the digital world.


At Thornborough, we aspire to be musicians! Music is a universal language that embodies one of the highest forms of creativity. We want out children to develop a love of music and their talent as musicians, thus increasing their self-confidence, creativity and sense of achievement.

Our music curriculum enables our children develop their musical knowledge, understanding and ability. We want our children to enjoy their music lessons and embrace the musical opportunities they are presented with!

It is our intention, first and foremost, to help children to feel that they are musical, and to develop a life-long love of music. We focus on developing the initial skills, knowledge and understanding that children need in order to become confident performers, composers, and listeners. Our curriculum introduces children to music from all around the world and across generations, teaching children to respect and appreciate the music of all traditions and communities.

Children will develop the musical skills of singing, playing tuned and untuned instruments, improvising and composing music, and listening and responding to music. They develop an understanding of the history and cultural context of the music that they listen to and learn how music can be written down. Through music, our curriculum helps children develop transferable skills such as team-working, leadership, creative thinking, problem-solving, decision-making, and presentation and performance skills. These skills are vital to children’s development as learners and have a wider application in their general lives outside and beyond school.

Our music curriculum enables pupils to meet the end of key stage attainment targets outlined in the national curriculum and the aims of our music curriculum align with those in the national curriculum.

We take a holistic approach to music, in which the individual strands below are woven together to create engaging and enriching learning experiences:

  • Performing
  • Listening
  • Composing
  • The history of music
  • The inter-related dimensions of music

At Thornborough, we draw on the specialist skills of the Buckinghashire Music Trust as well as the Kapow Music Scheme. Each five-lesson unit combines these strands within a cross-curricular topic designed to capture pupils’ imagination and encourage them to explore music enthusiastically. Children will be taught how to sing fluently and expressively, and play tuned and untuned instruments accurately and with control. They will learn to recognise and name the interrelated dimensions of music – pitch, duration, tempo, timbre, structure, texture and dynamics – and use these expressively in their own improvisations and compositions.

We use a spiral curriculum model where previous skills and knowledge are returned to and built upon. Children progress in terms of tackling more complex tasks and doing more simple tasks better, as well as developing understanding and knowledge of the history of music, staff, and other musical notations, as well as the interrelated dimensions of music and more.

In each lesson, pupils will actively participate in musical activities drawn from a range of styles and traditions, developing their musical skills and their understanding of how music works. Lessons incorporate a range of teaching strategies from independent tasks, paired and group work as well as improvisation and teacher-led performances. Lessons are ‘hands-on’ and incorporate movement and dance elements, as well as making cross curricular links with other areas of learning.

The impact of our music curriculum can be constantly monitored through both formative and summative assessment opportunities. Each lesson includes guidance to support teachers in assessing pupils against the learning objectives and at the end of each unit there is often a performance element where teachers can make a summative assessment of pupils’ learning. Knowledge organisers for each unit support pupils by providing a highly visual record of the key learning from the unit, encouraging recall of practical skills, key knowledge and vocabulary.

Pupils should leave us equipped with a range of skills to enable them to succeed in their KS2 education and to be able to enjoy and appreciate music throughout their lives.

The expected impact is that children will:

  • Be confident performers, composers and listeners and will be able to express themselves musically at and beyond school.
  • Show an appreciation and respect for a wide range of musical styles from around the world and will understand how music is influenced by the wider cultural, social, and historical contexts in which it is developed.
  • Understand the ways in which music can be written down to support performing and composing activities.
  • Demonstrate and articulate an enthusiasm for music and be able to identify their own personal musical preferences.
  • Meet the end of key stage expectations outlined in the national curriculum for Music.



We take real pride in our Religious Education at Thornborough Infant School. Our structured programme helps children to gain a respect for others and an understanding of various views and beliefs. It works alongside our PSHE curriculum and personal development goals to help children develop a stronger sense of wellbeing, ethical standards and personal happiness. Our aim, during the children's time with us and beyond, is to grow children who contribute to and a build a more cohesive community.  

Contact Us

Thornborough Infant School, High Street, Thornborough, Bucks, MK18 2DF
01280 812219