VIDEO: School focus: St Thomas of Canterbury School and St Wilfrids Primary

0
Have your say

World class schools are being created at St Thomas of Canterbury and St Wilfrid's primaries - with children ready for the world at the heart.

The two schools work closely together, have the same executive headteacher and are underpinned by four core values of faith, aspiration, effort and respect.

Amelie, Luci, Maia  and Kirsten watch yeast develop after adding sugar as part of a science workshop

Amelie, Luci, Maia and Kirsten watch yeast develop after adding sugar as part of a science workshop

Subject leaders work closely, staff share best practices and the curriculum has been jointly developed to ensure that both sets of pupils are ready of the real world when they finish in year six.

The schools have widened their curriculum and values, so instead of just focusing and promoting the British values which schools are required, they have broadened them and created global values.

Delia Evans, head of school at St Wilfrid's in Millhouses, said maths, English and other fundamental subjects are covered at the school - but work has also been done to ensure children have the skills needed for the outside world.

"We have done a lot of work on the wider curriculum," she said.

Skipping is a big pastime at lunch break for India, Aoife and Sophia

Skipping is a big pastime at lunch break for India, Aoife and Sophia

"For English and maths and the 'basics' we feel we do that really well and it is really important that the children have these basic skills and every child has an entitlement to that.

"We have tried to think really hard about the world and the type of world our pupils are going into, how different it is and what skills they will need.

"We have been able to look critically and be really creative.

"There is more focus now on the global world. It's about pupils being able to problem solve, them being able to collaborate and have discussions.

Francis, Tawonga and  Mary work on their latest project together at St Wilfrid's

Francis, Tawonga and Mary work on their latest project together at St Wilfrid's

"It's about looking at our communities and looking at what we can do for them."

Liam Colclough, head of school at St Thomas of Canterbury, in Chancet Wood, said global values have been adapted at both school.

"We didn't want a curriculum just promoting British values, which is what schools have to focus on, we wanted it to be global values," he said.

"It's focuses on things such as equality and inequality, justice and injustice and creating a curriculum that exposes pupils to that and makes them want to challenge it.

Youngsters at St Thomas of Canterbury make collages in class

Youngsters at St Thomas of Canterbury make collages in class

"It's early days for it at the schools but the potential is incredible."

Each year group, across both schools, has learning based around the same question each term.

Year five pupils are doing work around 'can technology save the world?

Mrs Evans said: "They are going to be designing an app to promote environmental awareness and environmental change.

"A global conscience aspect goes into every topic. Each topic has a purpose and an outcome at the end and so the year five pupils will have an app which they can show to parents."

Children will focus on the arts during the summer term.

Sophie demonstrates her skipping skills

Sophie demonstrates her skipping skills

She added: "We'll be thinking about how that has changed and how it is much more digital and linking it to the global conscience and how it can be used to send out the right messages."

A link has also been developed with Sheffield Hallam University which will see art students working with pupils and worked exhibited outside of the schools.

"We try and raise the profile every time in terms of visitors," said Mr Colclough.

"For example, we've had science week last week and we've had a lot of women with a background in science give up their time to come in a talk to children.

"About 80 per cent of the visitors for science week were women and that's great to see from the children's point of view.

"Every class has had a talk from a visitor and we had a showcase assembly about what they had learnt."

Pupils experience two quiet different parts to their school day - which ensure the core subjects are focused on but also allow teachers to be creative.

Mr Colclough said: "The morning is quite prescriptive and there is lots of consistency with focus on the fundamental skills including English and maths.

"In the afternoon it is more softer skills and teachers can be a lot more creative."

Teachers at the school, especially subject leaders in early years, maths and English constantly share ideas and best practice.

A joint inset day is planned and a teaching and learning conference which will involve subject leaders presenting to both schools about how they have developed their subject.

Mrs Evans said: "The teachers have worked together across the two schools coming up with ideas and planning.

"They like the freedom to do what they want, within a framework.

"We looked at the National Curriculum and then we have enhanced that with the global values.

"We allow teachers to interpret and adapt it in their own ways."

Walking around both schools it is clear how much the children enjoy being there.

One children said the only problem with St Wilfrid's Primary is that she has to go home at the end of the day.

"The children at both schools are wonderful. They are confident, funny and enthusiastic," she Mrs Evans.

"When we were first talking about developing our curriculum, we started with how we wanted our children to leave our school and how we could make them ready for the world.

"There is a lot of focus on them being good citizens with good morals."

Mr Colclough added: "Our parents are really supportive too and they know we are trying to make the schools world class and they support us with that."

A support group for parents with children with special educational needs and disabilities is held every half-term by the schools' special educational needs coordinators and regularly has guest speakers.

Young pupils make collages at St Thomas of Canterbury School

Young pupils make collages at St Thomas of Canterbury School

Young pupils make collages at St Thomas of Canterbury School

Young pupils make collages at St Thomas of Canterbury School

Year five pupils Aaron, Benedict and Alishba are developing new apps

Year five pupils Aaron, Benedict and Alishba are developing new apps

Some of the youngest pupils at St Thomas of Canterbury School is class

Some of the youngest pupils at St Thomas of Canterbury School is class

Pupils make collages

Pupils make collages