Cornerstones offers a broad and balanced curriculum which is knowledge and skills based with a creative edge. This gives our staff access to over 80 themed projects mapped to the national curriculum which we then adapt to fit the needs of our children.

The Four Cornerstones of Learning provide the structure on which to build your curriculum. We call these Engage, Develop, Innovate, and Express. We believe this pedagogy reflects the best way children learn and is rooted in a variety of different educational approaches and research. Put simply, the four stages are as follows:

Engage – hook children in with a memorable experience.

Develop – allow children time to gather the skills and knowledge they need to develop a deep understanding.

Innovate – offer creative experiences that allow children to apply their skills, knowledge and understanding.

Express – provide the space and time for reflecting, evaluating, and celebrating learning.

Throughout the year parents are given the opportunity to attend an Express Exhibition for their child's year group.

Example of Cornerstone Topics

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Express Afternoon


  • Each year group has a termly set of spellings assigned to them following the age related expectations from the 2014 National Curriculum. The full set for the term can be accessed via the DB Primary class page.
  • Every week your child will have a spelling test on the Monday and new spellings are then assigned on the Wednesday.
  • The spelling test is recorded in the reading diary so you will be able to see which spellings were spelt correctly/ incorrectly.


Reading diaries/ letters

  • At St Thomas More we encourage all of our parents/carers to read with their child as much as possible. You will find in their reading diaries a weekly record sheet which allows you to record a comment based on your child's reading for that day. It is expected that you will read with your child every day or at least as much as possible to allow them to consolidate/improve or challenge their reading skills.
  • Each year group will also provide a reading letter which will outline the reading objectives that the teachers are focusing on for that half term. This will give you examples of questions you can ask your child when reading and allow you to support these skills at home.

What you can do when reading with a child of any age...

  • Set aside some time

Find somewhere quiet without any distractions - turn off the TV/radio/computer.

  • Ask your child to choose a book

Sharing books they have chosen shows you care what they think and that their opinion matters. This means they are more likely to engage with the book. If you do not have books at home, use the reading book provided by the school.

  • Sit close together

Encourage your child to hold the book themselves and/or turn the pages.

  • Point to the pictures

If there are illustrations, relate them to something your child knows. Ask them to describe the characters or situation or what will happen next. Encourage them to tell you the story by looking at the pictures.

  • Encourage your child to talk about the book

Talking about the characters and their dilemmas helps children understand relationships and is an excellent way for you to get to know each other or discuss difficult issues. Give your child plenty of time to respond. Ask them what will happen next, how a character might be feeling, or how the book makes them feel.

  • And lastly, above all - make it fun!

It doesn't matter how you read with a child, as long as you both enjoy the time together. Don't be afraid to use funny voices: children love this!