A Child's Journey at St Thomas More
“Tell me about the experience my child will have as a member of St Thomas More Catholic Primary School”
We often refer to ourselves as ‘The St Thomas More Family’, our school is a place of care, kindness, support and happiness for all our children and adults. We achieve excellent academic results but what is even more important to us is that every child is known as an individual and cared for in the exact way they need.
All staff at St Thomas More Catholic Primary are trained in nurture, mindfulness, yoga and a trauma informed approach. The school has received a nurture accreditation from ‘Nurture UK’, Jody, our Pastoral Manager is a mental health first aider as well as being qualified to run parenting workshops by ‘Family Links’ and Mrs Ebdon, our Headteacher, is also a mental health first aider as well as a certified trauma informed practitioner. Because of this school wide layered approach, all of our children are surrounded by people who understand children developmentally and emotionally and this helps children to feel secure and happy, which is how every child needs to feel to be able to learn.
Getting Ready for September
All children are supported in transitions throughout school life. Before starting with us in Reception, children receive a visit at their nursery or pre-school from Jody, a Reception class teacher and sometimes Mrs Austin (our SENDCo). Children are then invited to attend a coffee morning in the hall as well as a story time in their classroom and a teddy bear’s picnic, all with their parents, before we have some stay and play sessions with their new friends! At the start of September all of our new Reception children also have a home visit from their class teacher to help them get ready for that important first day.
At the end of each academic year, the teachers work hard to get to know their new class and have lots of fun with them through transitional workshops so there aren’t any nerves before school returns in September!
Enjoying Our Learning
All the classes have a learning support assistant in their class every morning, working alongside their teacher to make sure that everyone gets the help with their learning that they need.
We like to make sure that children have all the physical skills they need for learning which is why all children in Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 have a ‘Clever Fingers’ session every day which helps develop and strengthen their fine motor skills – and if older children still need this, they have this every day too! During PE in Reception and Year 1, children participate in a unit of work based around BEAM, which helps children to strengthen their gross motor skills which are so important as well.
It’s vital that children are enthusiastic and motivated about their learning which is why we have designed our curriculum to be engaging and stimulating. We have woven lots of inspirational figures into our curriculum from different genders, ethnicities, fields of study and experiences so that all children can see the wide range of possibilities that their future can hold.
Our classrooms are filled with children working with partners, investigating problems, explaining their understanding, discussing their theories, challenging themselves and questioning their own learning - all directed by a qualified and enthusiastic teacher.
Keeping our Bodies and Minds Healthy
Children need to be physically active to maintain health and to be ready for learning. The children have regular work breaks to help keep them focused. The children love ‘walking the mile’, as often as they like, by following the painted route around the school.
All year groups get to go to Forest School throughout the year, our teachers are all training as ‘Muddy Puddle’ teachers so they can take more of the children’s learning outside into our beautiful school grounds. We are also introducing the OPAL approach for playtimes which encourages children to be more active, play more freely, interact with more children and develop excellent social and problem solving skills – as well as getting a bit muddy!
Needing a Little Help
Some children may need a little extra support academically at some point in their primary education and we have a wide range of interventions and ideas tailored to exactly what is needed. We have in-class early morning work sessions, different approaches and aids such as wobble cushions, visual timetables, work stations, ‘now and next’ boards and carefully adapted work - all focused on the areas your child needs. We have ELS (early literacy support) in Year 1 for a little boost, we have a bespoke programme that we’ve developed to support children with early reading and writing, mental maths groups to develop those crucial skills for mathematicians as well as dyslexia friendly support, social skills development and a whole lot more!
Extra Activities and Wider Understanding
We believe children need to have a wide understanding of the world around them and experience a wide range of opportunities so they know how to be a valuable member of society when the time comes and to have as many life skills as possible so they can make the best choices for themselves in the future. We run a large number of sporting and non-sporting clubs each year that are free of charge and run by our teachers – the choices change each year as we like our children to have a say in the clubs they would like to participate in – we’ve had golf, chess, art, choir, board games, basketball and gardening to name just a few.
We also believe it is important that children have a good understanding of the country we live in and our British values, which is why we have our School Council (the voice of their peers for things the children would like to see happening in the school), our Beacons (our faith leaders within each class) our Eco Warriors (who keep us on the right path to protect our environment and planet) as well as our House Captains and Sports Leaders who are all democratically elected.
Love and Care
Interacting with animals has been widely proven to be beneficial to humans. Such interactions have been shown to improve confidence, reduce stress and anxiety, improve social interactions, and increase feelings of self-worth as well as helping children to learn about empathy, respect and unconditional love. Animal interactions help children to develop and understand the life skills necessary for caring for animals which enhances their appreciation of the natural world around them and for all forms of life on earth. We have our in-school chickens, 1:1 therapy dog, Bella and our permanent in-school educational assistance dog, Willow, who the children love getting to see, interact with and take care of.
Some of our children may need a little extra care because of things that may have happened in their lives. Young carers, ELSA (emotional learning support assistant), nurture groups, play therapy, trauma informed work, dog therapy and time with Willow are all avenues that we have to provide the right kind of support for those who need it.
Parents are Important Too
We believe a strong parent-school relationship is of the utmost importance. We provide lots of opportunities throughout each year for parents to come in to gain an experience of their child’s life in school such as ‘Bring Your Parent to . . .’ sessions, subject specific workshops, fundraising team activities, open afternoons, inviting parents in to share their cultures, lives and workplace experiences and so much more.
Please get in touch with the office if there is anything else you would like to know.
We are looking forward to hearing from you,
For a snapshot of what we do, please follow these links:
Safeguarding - St Thomas More Primary School (st-thomasmore.medway.sch.uk)
Pupil Premium overview - St Thomas More Primary School (st-thomasmore.medway.sch.uk)
SEND overview - St Thomas More Primary School (st-thomasmore.medway.sch.uk)
Pastoral Care overview - St Thomas More Primary School (st-thomasmore.medway.sch.uk)