Curriculum

At St Mary’s we have developed a bespoke curriculum using the National Curriculum 2014 and the EYFS Foundation Stage Development Matters documents, in order to address the needs of the community and meet our aspirations for our children.  Where-ever possible, links are made across distinct subjects in the belief that children learn best when logical connections are made between different aspects of their work.   However, because subject leaders have planned clear knowledge and skills progression across the school, this thematic approach is not to the detriment of subject specific knowledge, skills and characteristics.

We are currently undertaking a comprehensive review of our curriculum in order to ensure it is the best it can possibly be for our children.  As part of that review, teachers have already identified specific subject characteristics (which we aspire to enable all children to hold); and subject leaders are ensuring that the expected knowledge requirements for successful study are clearly defined in “Knowledge Organisers”.

We have also given careful consideration to what we want children to “take with them” in the widest sense when they leave us in Year 6; and have grouped these holistic ideas into three “Curriculum Drivers” of Curiosity, Citizenship and Enterprise. These drivers should be explicit through our learning activities and you will see them highlighted on year group termly overviews. You can read our definitions of curiosity, citizenship and enterprise on an information leaflet in the download table below.

In addition to the National Curriculum and Religious Education, we also seek to plan in further opportunities to experience and develop knowledge relevant to our local needs.  An example of this would be our annual focus on “Healthy Choices” and a focus on experiencing the arts first hand.

We believe passionately in giving the children ownership of their learning. We support our children in becoming ‘aspirational’ – encouraging them to aim higher than they believed was possible – in order to make the most of their learning opportunities.  We explicitly teach and encourage good learning behaviours.

As a school with a Church Foundation, we also have a whole school approach to our core values which are rooted within the Christian traditions.  These shape our termly Collective Worship themes, but also provide a focus for children and adults across the term as we seek to develop our spiritual and moral awareness and understanding.

Yearly overviews are published in the table below.  More detailed curriculum outlines are sent home each term and can be found on your child’s class pages. Parents/carers are welcome to speak to the Headteacher, class teachers or subject leaders if they would like more detailed information.

English is taught through the Pie Corbett “Talk for Writing” approach which we believe has demonstrably improved fluency and vocabulary.  If you want to learn more about this approach, the best person to explain it is Pie himself!  His website clearly explains the three phases of imitation, innovation and invention(independent application); and is well worth a visit.  Pre-school also embrace story telling; and a collaborative project in 2013 saw us winning an “Outstanding Practice” award for Early Years.

From September 2019, phonics will be taught using the Sounds-Write programme.

Children are given purely phonically decodable books initially to build confidence in their reading; but this is swiftly complemented by our coloured band scheme, so that your child can select freely from a range of books (both from published schemes and real books) at an appropriate level for shared reading at home.  These books are not fully decodable and so your child will not be able to read every word independently.  We run events for parents on “Supporting Reading at Home” so that you are aware of the differences between books, and so you can support your child’s reading development effectively.  To foster a love of reading, we also encourage children to select books from our carefully curated Literature Spine – completing a Reading Quest each year.

Shared Reading, Whole Class Guided and Group Guided Reading sessions are also used across the school, led by Teachers and Teaching Assistants.  These use texts that are more challenging and are focused on the teaching of specific skills.

We use the White Rose Maths Hubs resources to support our learning in maths. These help our teachers to deliver maths using a concrete-pictorial-abstract process, to ensure the children develop good mathematical understanding, using concrete resources and pictures (e.g. part-whole and bar models), before applying this to abstract calculations.

We also enable children to have real life experiences of using their mathematical skills, for example children in Lions and Otters regularly organise and run the school fruit tuck shop.

Understanding Christianity

In Religious Education, we use a resource called ‘Understanding Christianity’, which enables pupils to know about and understand Christianity as a living world faith, by exploring core theological concepts.

Children learn about the ‘big story’, which takes them through the core concepts of God, Creation, Fall, People of God, Incarnation, Gospel, Salvation and the Kingdom of God.

To launch the use of this resource, each class from EYFS to Year 6 took a concept, and basing their work on the original artwork by Emma Yarlett, produced a class image to best display this concept, often incorporating aspects from our local community. The finished pieces were stunning and are on show in school.

Outdoor Learning

Mrs Munro is our fully qualified Forest School Leader.  During the year each class has a six week Forest School block of learning in our dedicated Outdoor Learning Area.  The owners of Parish’s House also allow us to use their fabulous gardens and adventure trail.