Our school curriculum is created with our school vision at its heart, ‘Developing the whole child as created by God.’ For this reason, we take a holistic approach to educating and nurturing every child.
Our inclusive curriculum is based around our Christian values. Everything that we teach enables our children to reflect upon and implement our agreed values:
We have planned our curriculum with the intention of promoting high quality learning and the personal development of all our children. Our curriculum provides opportunities for children to develop as independent, resilient and confident learners and encourages high aspirations for the future.
Our aim is to deliver a curriculum that challenges, excites and inspires children to achieve their best. Subject leaders communicate effectively with year group teams to ensure that learning in all subjects is carefully sequenced so that new knowledge and skills build upon what has been taught and understood previously (The spiral curriculum). We recognise that children will be at different stages of their learning journey and teachers ensure that curriculum planning is tailored to individual needs. Some children will have additional requirements and will have an individual curriculum designed for this purpose.
At St Mary’s C of E (Aided) Primary school, we provide a broad and balanced curriculum.
Our core subjects of English and Maths are vital to ensure that children can access a wide range of learning experiences in all areas. This is why we ensure that every child is supported to make excellent progress in these areas. We also recognise RE as a core subject and as a Church of England school our daily acts of worship interweave with the learning in this subject to promote a Christian foundation with a growing understanding and respect of other cultures and religions.
Please see the information further down the page regarding how English and Maths are taught at our school. Further down the page, you will find examples of long-term maps and Individual subject policies that were written in January 2020.
Enrichment of the curriculum is a priority for St Mary’s C of E (Aided) Primary school as we believe that our children will flourish if the provision on offer ignites passion for and interest in the world beyond the school gate. For this reason, we have a strong commitment to hands on learning wherever possible.
Enrichment, responsibility and personal development
To achieve our vision of building lifelong learners with high aspirations, we invite experts and role models into the school, and deepen knowledge, skills and engagement across the curriculum with visits to places of interest. We encourage children to enter competitions and take part in competitive and collaborative events through our community learning programme. To encourage hope for the future, we nurture children to be courageous advocates for change or improvement through class debates, acts of worship and charity events.
It is important to our school community that our children understand the balance between rights and responsibility and to this end we encourage children to take on roles of responsibility and through our zones of regulation, personal development and wellbeing programmes we encourage self-regulation and resilience for life. Because our belief is that children have responsibility to themselves and each other, through our acts of worship and Christian vision and values we aim to provide children with a moral compass for life. We believe that excellent academic progress is less than effective if not accompanied by an ability to be a good friend, to demonstrate integrity and to be tolerant and respectful to all who we meet in life.
Empowering through a holistic approach
At St Mary’s we are great believers that a holistic approach to education is an effective one. Some children need additional nurture programmes to be in a good place to learn. To achieve this, we work in partnership with our nurture support team from St Mary’s Church to provide additional and timetabled support sessions.
At St Mary’s C of E (Aided) Primary school, we recognise the importance of regular assessment and review opportunities to reflect on the impact of our provision on all groups of children. Assessment is carried out through means of formative and summative assessments.
Formative assessments include on the spot observations through lessons and this may take the form of discussions with individuals and groups, self-assessment and peer assessments. Feedback by teachers both verbal and written forms an integral approach within this system.
Summative assessments which take place approximately every 13 weeks, take the form of standardised assessments and teacher assessments, culminating in a grade which allows us to judge individual and cohort achievement. Tracking systems are used to evaluate progress and inform next steps in teaching and learning.
Where assessments show the impact of teaching or provision to be less than it should be, the Senior Leadership team will review the curriculum and make necessary amendments.
Subject leaders alongside the leadership team carry out regular monitoring of subjects through book trawls, conversations with staff and lesson observations to inform evaluation processes and inform CPD processes for staff.
We believe that excellent teaching of the curriculum can only be achieved if teachers receive ongoing, high quality professional development and to this end we are great advocates of sharing expertise amongst staff and utilising coaching sessions to share effective practice.
The voice of the child is paramount in curriculum development at St. Mary’s as we recognise the need for learning and experiences to be meaningful, thought provoking, ambitious and engaging and it is only the children who can confirm if this vision is being achieved. A key role of the school council is therefore to seek opinions and feedback findings. Parents are also invited to comment on the school curriculum through questionnaires, parent consultation meetings and through comment slips.
We measure the impact of our curriculum on personal development through our SIAMS evaluation schedule and involve Governors, staff, parents and children in the process.
How we teach Maths at St Mary's
Years 1 to 5 largely follow the White Rose Hub (WRH) plans to deliver the maths curriculum. (The planning overview, and small steps of learning taught in each year, can be found within the curriculum area of this website).
Year 6 teachers ensure that the whole curriculum has been covered to date, and plan accordingly to meet the needs of the children in preparation for the secondary curriculum.
Formative assessment is ongoing and ensures that the lessons planned are appropriate to teach the next steps in learning. Teachers are skilled in assessing progress through the lesson by means of observation and questioning and by viewing independent work.
Interim assessments check if the children have understood a unit of teaching. This can be through the assessment of specific targets.
Summative assessments are carried out termly to check how much content has been understood and where the gaps are for individuals. The results are analysed to track the progress of individuals, or groups over time. This allows the school to implement interventions for individuals or groups. Year 3, 4 and 5 sit NFER papers, Year 2 and Year 6 sit past SATs papers and Year 1 use WRH assessments.
Teachers use a mastery approach to deliver the mathematics curriculum. This means that most children are taught in same year classes regardless of ability. Teachers use questioning techniques and a variety of problem-solving activities to deepen understanding. Practical equipment, such as Dienes, Place Value counters & Cuisenaire are used to demonstrate concepts and support visual learners.
Drawing models such as bar models, whole Part/ part models, number lines and Place Value Charts, also help to reinforce understanding. Differentiation to match all abilities is achieved through the amount of support given, the equipment used, and the variety of questions and challenges given.
Every child is given access to “Mathletics” which is an on-line learning tool. Teachers set work to be completed by a given date.
Every child is given access to “TT Rock Stars” which is a website allowing children to practise their multiplication tables through a competitive element.
Paper homework is given weekly.
Additional Maths Information
Subject leader – Carolyn Townsend
Specialist teacher – Gill Bray
Together Mrs Townsend and Mrs Bray support the staff to ensure the teaching of maths is consistent across the school. They attend termly meetings held at CNS with maths representatives from across the Primary partnership of schools, sharing expertise and developing a consistent approach in teaching, to ensure a smooth transition to the secondary curriculum.
Y6 are offered the opportunity to attend a free breakfast maths club – “Numbers on Toast”, to prepare for their SATs papers. In addition, the Headteacher gives additional lessons to Year 6 children in terms 3 to 5.
Mrs Bray takes a team of high achieving children to Blessed George Napier school each year to take part in their Primary Maths Challenge day.
Any questions about the maths curriculum can be e mailed to the subject leader via the school office or an appointment can be offered upon request.
How we teach English at St Mary's
How we teach Reading at St Mary's
Year 1 follow the Read Write Inc (RWI) programme using phonics to learn how to read. Once children are able to access texts independently (Years 2-6), reading is taught in what is referred to as “Whole Class Guided Reading”. Teachers use high-quality texts, and base lessons around VIPERS (vocabulary, inference, predication, explanation, retrieval, and summaries.) Teachers ensure that a range of genres are covered each term.
Every week, the children in FS and KS1 take home a RWI book -bag book that is linked to the RWI book that they are reading in school. They also take home a book from the coloured book boxes: these link to the RWI level that they are on and can be changed as often as needed. Children can also choose a book from the school library to read for pleasure.
In KS2, if children are still following the phonics RWI programme, they will take home a corresponding level of book. All KS2 children can choose a book from their own class book corners and a book from the school library to take home.
Formative assessment is ongoing. Teachers are skilled in assessing progress during lessons through questioning and by viewing independent tasks. Teachers highlight reading objectives using The Alison Philipson progression in reading skills’ sheets.
Summative assessments are carried out termly, and results can be used to track the progress of all children. These help teachers plan the next sequence of lessons. Years 3,4 and 5 sit NFER reading papers; Years 2 and 6 sit past SATs’ papers; and Year 1 use “Rising Stars” reading tests.
All children are expected to read at home daily. They are given a school reading diary, which should be filled in each time they have read. Year 6 pupils will at times be given practice SATs’ papers, or comprehension exercises to complete at home.
How we teach writing at St Mary’s
Years 1-6 use a text -based planning approach. High quality texts are used as stimuli for children’s writing. The texts chosen for each year group are appropriate but challenging. The whole school writing overview ensures that a range of genres of writing are covered during each key phase. Teachers plan a Learning Journey based on one key text per term. The Learning journey is split into 3 parts. The first part is called “stimulate and generate” where the children become familiar with the text, characters, and language that the author uses. This part ends with a “site of application” write, where children use a previously taught genre to write in a new context. The second part is known as “capture, sift and sort”. Here, children examine a model text and are taught skills, grammar and punctuation that will help them write in the chosen genre. The final part is called “create, refine and edit.” Children spend time planning, creating and editing their own piece of writing. Teachers emphasise the purpose, audience, and form for each Learning Journey.
Additionally, Years 2-6 follow the “Get Spelling” programme. This uses videos and workbooks and ensures the progress of spelling skills and knowledge. Year 1’s spelling curriculum is linked to RWI.
Handwriting is taught throughout the school using the “Letter Join” programme.
Formative assessment is ongoing and ensures that the lessons planned are appropriate to each stage in learning. Teachers are skilled in assessing progress during lessons. This could be done through questioning, observing, or marking independent written work.
Teachers keep track of writing objectives achieved by children by using The Alison Philipson writing progression of skills assessment grids when marking independent pieces of writing. Additionally, teachers moderate pieces of writing together to agree on levels and inform planning and next steps for learning.
Years 3,4 and 5 sit NFER SPAG (Spelling, Grammar and Punctuation) tests three times a year. Years 2 and 6 sit past SATs’ papers. Year 1 use “Rising Stars” SPAG test.
All children are given spelling to learn, which are tested once a week.
Year 6 children have a SPAG homework book, with activities set for revision purposes.
Subject leader - Sarah Hollander
Any questions relating to the reading and writing curriculum can be emailed to the subject leader via the school office.
Every child in the school has a library session in our well equipped and modern library facility. Children are welcome to select books weekly from this provision which is supervised by our School Librarian, Lisa Harrison.
HOW TO FIND OUT MORE ABOUT THE CURRICULUM IN OUR SCHOOL
Here at St Mary's we have an exciting and varied curriculum that feeds a child's curiosity and prepares him or her with a skills base that prepares them for life. If you would like to know more about our curriculum, please contact Anne Strick, Senior Administrator in order to obtain examples of medium term and weekly plans.
The school is always open to visits so that the public or interested parents can come and see the school in action. In addition, the school holds an annual Open Morning at the end of September where members of the public can come and see lessons in action.