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About Our Curriculum

Curriculum Rationale

 

At St. Mary’s, every child has access to a rich, broad and balanced curriculum which focuses on their development as a whole person to enable them to reach their full potential.  Our vision is that this high quality education will enable the children to develop as happy, confident and articulate individuals who will love learning throughout their lives.  At the heart of our curriculum is the encouragement of children ‘to be the best that they can be’ and, through living out our St. Mary’s Christian Values (respect, friendship, trust, perseverance, wisdom and hope), to be ‘Super Learners’.  Every child is nurtured as a unique individual and learning is personalised to support and challenge children who have access to a range of educational experiences whatever their starting points or circumstance.  Furthermore, children are provided with individualised feedback and response tasks to swiftly move their learning forward.  We place value on the uniqueness of individuals and support children in recognising their talents and the special qualities others possess.  Our curriculum encourages children to be outward-looking, having an awareness of big questions and big issues which affect others locally, nationally and globally, and providing them with the skills and opportunities to make a difference as courageous advocates and global citizens in our diverse world.  Fundamental British Values are an integral part of the curriculum, supporting the children to become positive members of society.  A strong emphasis is placed on spiritual, moral, social and cultural development and mental health and well-being.  Time and spaces provided for reflection are valued and immersive learning environments help to bring learning to life, both inside the classroom and outside.  Opportunities are carefully planned and provided to improve children’s cultural capital.  Our curriculum is designed to ensure the rounded development of the whole child through academic achievements and personal and spiritual development.  This is further enhanced by a varied range of extra-curricular opportunities as well as theme days and weeks.

 

Religious Education is a core subject and high quality RE is central to our broad and balanced curriculum, linking with the school’s Christian values and SMSC development.  This contributes to pupils’ development as whole people and spiritual beings.  Children’s well-being (with an awareness of positive physical and mental health) is valued highly with a strong Personal, Social, Health and Economic curriculum and Physical Education curriculum.  There is a focus on English and Maths skills (including reading for pleasure, which is key to the curriculum) to complement and support learning in other subjects.  The strong phonics focus in EYFS and Key Stage 1 and emphasis on Mathematical fluency enable children to possess the knowledge and skills to access the broad curriculum.  Our whole ethos and drive for the curriculum is about children achieving academic standards and making strong progress in the core subjects and across the wider curriculum and the development of the whole person.  Success is nurtured in every child to prepare them for learning throughout their lives.  The ‘Enhanced Curriculum’ in Years 5 and 6 focuses on knowledge and skills for life.  The rounded curriculum we provide is broad in every sense and is rich and exciting, shaped by our Christian vision and values.

 

Our inclusive curriculum is about enabling children to develop the qualities and character traits required for effective learning in the long term through our ‘Super Learner’ approach, providing them with the skills and aptitude to face and address challenges with perseverance.  We educate for wisdom, resilience, hope, aspiration, self-belief, open-mindedness and respect for others and our world.  The well-resourced curriculum is carefully planned to include relevant content to meet the needs of the children in our school and locality and our community whilst meeting the needs of the children as individuals. 

 

Children’s curiosity is enhanced through an enquiry-based approach and provides them with an extensive understanding of the rapidly changing world around them.  The sequencing of content is planned to ensure progression in concepts and skills and deep and secure understanding of them, with links to prior learning made explicit for children.  Children have opportunities to explore and engage in learning and to embed and extend their learning in a variety of ways to suit different learning styles.  They are encouraged to identify age-related success criteria and to improve their work (with opportunities provided for children to self-evaluate and peer-assess work).  English and Maths skills are applied across a range of subjects and our curriculum is organised around key themes, with class novels linking to these.  We focus on providing opportunities for children to master key concepts and skills and to develop a deep and secure understanding of them in order to develop as independent and reflective life-long learners.  Our thematic approach is highly engaging for children and enables them to make rich and meaningful connections between different areas and to apply their knowledge and skills to a range of contexts.  However, there is still an emphasis on the uniqueness of each academic subject and (although linked thematically and through applied knowledge and skills) subjects are taught discretely.  We have taken the Early Years Foundation Stage requirements, National Curriculum for Key Stages 1 and 2 and Locally Agreed Syllabus for RE (alongside Understanding Christianity resources) and enriched them to provide the broad range of educational opportunities in which we nurture success.

Organisation of Classes
There are three stages to primary school education:


Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS): 4– 5 years old, infants in their first year at this
school, Foundation Stage is sometimes known as ‘Reception’.
Key Stage 1 (KS1): 5-7 years old, infants, Year 1 and Year 2
Key Stage 2: (KS2):7-11 years old, juniors, Year 3 to Year 6


At St Mary’s there are two mixed ability classes in each year. In all situations, classes will be
organised to ensure the most effective use of the school’s resources in meeting the needs of the children and will be given careful consideration. Children are organised into classes which enable them to learn most effectively. In some circumstances, this means that children are grouped according to ability for certain subjects (usually maths and English), but this varies from year to year and is a decision made by the school based on continuing assessments.


For the majority of time children are taught by their class teacher, however for some of the time they will be taught either by another teacher or a Higher Level Teaching Assistant, in order to meet the legal requirement for all teachers to undertake Planning, Preparation and Assessment (PPA) time. There are a number of Higher Level Teaching assistants at St Mary’s.
 

The School Curriculum
St Mary’s provides a broad, balanced and relevant curriculum with due regard to the
ability of every child. Our expectations are high and at all times pupils are encouraged
and expected to produce their best efforts.


The school has been awarded the Basic Skills Quality Mark for its approach to the basic
skills of reading, writing and mathematics. We firmly believe in the development of the
key skills of literacy and numeracy and a significant amount of time is spent on learning these, not only in English and maths lessons but across all subjects. Parents are expected to support the school in teaching children to read by overseeing their child practise each day.


As St Mary’s is a Church of England school religious education is given relevant prominence. Religious education is taught in accordance with the local Agreed Syllabus for Religious Education. At St Mary’s children’s religious education is considered as a core subject. It is taught weekly and our curriculum is designed to be continuous and progressive in the development of spiritual understanding within a
Christian context.


The children are supported in their questions about faith and learn to value those whose
commitments and ways of life differ from their own. The curriculum for RE also includes studies of major world faiths. In accordance with the law the school will make arrangements for parents to exercise the statutory right of withdrawal of their children from religious education.


History, geography, computing, design and technology, art and design, music, physical education,
personal, social and health education and a variety of cross-curricular themes make up the rest of the school curriculum and are taught separately or as part of carefully constructed ‘theme work’. Children also learn French, starting with simple words and phrases in key stage 1 and building up to conversations in key stage 2.


To ensure the individual learning needs and styles of all children are met, the curriculum is delivered in a huge variety of ways using a range of multi-sensory experiences. We want to inspire children to learn and some methods may be very different to those you experienced yourself at school. We are more than happy to talk to you about the way we teach – just contact the school and ask to speak to your child’s teacher.


Educational visits form a key part of the curriculum.

 

Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS)

The first year of schooling is extremely important. Our foundation stage area is large and well resourced with an irresistible outdoor area which has a large safety surface. Details of the EYFS curriculum and organisation are contained in our Foundation Stage Booklet. The school follows the statutory EYFS curriculum. 

 

Phonics is the main way that reading is taught at St Mary's in Foundation Stage and KS1. 'Jolly Phonics' and 'Letters and Sounds' resources are used to provide a structured phonics program.

 

Our reading  scheme is the Oxford Reading Tree.

 

Please find below more information on specific subject curriculum.

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