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Our Curriculum

At St. Mary's we offer a curriculum that is balanced and broadly based. We promote the spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of pupils as well as providing opportunities for them to develop their physical skills. In addition we aim to prepare our pupils for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of later life.

Handwriting

We believe that it is important for children to develop their handwriting at primary school so that when they leave us they are able to form their letters properly and consistently and use a fluently joined style. We teach children to write using cursive script. Children in Early Years and Year 1 are taught pre-cursive writing where letters include 'feeder-leaders' or 'zooms and flicks'. This enables children to join up more easily when they are ready and this, in turn, aids children with their fluency and spelling as they progress through the school. For further information please have a look at our pencil gripletter formation and Handwriting Policy documents. 

Phonics

In Key Stage 1 and Early Years the children are taught phonics every day. We use 'Read, Write, Inc.' which is a rigorous approach to teaching early reading and writing. It is a lively, pacey and interactive programme and the children (and teachers) love it! Learning to read and write at St. Mary's really is good fun! For more information about Read, Write, Inc including how you can help your child at home click here.

Reading

Reading is taught across the schoolthrough 'Guided Reading' lessons as well as through other subjects. We use a variety of reading schemes to support children in their reading as well as giving children access to wide variety of books in 'The Den' - our newly refurbished and extensive school library. The school recognises that whilst learning discrete reading skills is vital, children also need to engender a love of books and reading. The school builds time for children to read during the school day and promotes reading at home. Every teacher in the school is an advocate for reading and the school celebrates reading through events, book groups and book recommendations. Parents are encouraged to extend the culture of reading into the home and are offered support in helping their children to read from a young age. For information on some of the books teachers use please click here.

StMPS Reading Key Objectives

Writing

Writing is taught across the curriculum at St. Mary's. We teach the children to write in a variety of contexts and for different purposes and we make links to the children's topic work. Books are central to the teaching of writing and children immerse themselves in high quality texts and stories, exploring them, retelling them and acting them out and then using them as a basis to write independently. The teachers use principles from 'Talk for Writing' and 'The Power of Reading' to develop approaches to teaching the English curriculum that are creative, engaging and develop a love of literacy.

StMPS Writing Key Objectives

Maths

Children learn maths every day; in discrete maths lessons as well as across the curriculum. Teachers plan sequences of lessons which take into account concrete, abstract and pictorial representation of concepts in order to fully understand them. Children are encouraged to use a 'hands on' approach initially by moving objects to represent problems (concrete materials), they then record their understanding in pictures and diagrams (pictorial recording) before recording them using mathematical notation (abstract recording). Children are also given opportunities to solve problems in different contexts and to reason mathematically, making simple generalisations using mathematical language and searching for solutions by trying out ideas of their own. At St. Mary's we use a 'Do it', 'Secure it', 'Deepen it' approach to teaching. This enables children to develop a specific skill, knowledge or understanding of a mathematical process or concept and then apply it in different contexts. We also focus on teaching and reinforcing number fluency and confidence through daily teaching of arithmetic skills. 

StMPS Maths Key Objectives

RE

As a Church of England School, RE is seen as a highly valued academic subject that enables understanding of how religion and beliefs affect our lives. At the heart of RE teaching in our school is the teaching of Christianity and pupils also learn about other faiths and world views. Teachers plan units of work using the Gloucestershire Agreed Syllabus for RE and the 'Understanding Christianity' resources. For further information about 'Understanding Christianity' click here.

Computing

Children in Early years and Key Stage 1 are taught the principles of information and computation, how digital systems work and how to put this knowledge to use through programming. Computing at St. Mary's increases children's digital literacy so that children can use, express themselves and develop their ideas, through information and communication technology. We have a suite of iPads and laptops as well as other digital resources which children use in their classrooms as part of their computing lessons but also across the curriculum. 

PSHE

PSHE is the part of the curriculum where children learn about personal, social, health and economic education, emotional literacy, social skills and spiritual development. Through PSHE we aim to help children know and value who they really are and how they relate to other people in an ever changing world. At St. Mary's we have recently introduced the 'Jigsaw' approach to teaching PSHE. For more information please click here

Science

The national curriculum for science sets out the programmes of study for Key Stage 1 and 2. At St. Mary's children in Key Stage 1 learn how to work scientifically by asking questions, observing, performing simple tests, idenitifying and classifying and using observations to answer questions and record information and findings. They learn about plants, animals, everyday materials, seasonal changes and living things and their habitats.

In Key Stage 2 children also learn to work scientifically developing scientific enquiry, setting up and carrying out fair tests, making systematic and careful observations, measuring and recording information in a variety of ways, using scienitfic language and scientific resources and using results to draw conclusions and present findings. Children in Key Stage 2 learn about plants, animals, rocks, light, forces and magnets, living things and their habitats, staes of matter, sound, electricity, earth and space and forces. In Year 6 pupils also learn about evolution. For further infomation on the topics taught in each Key Stage please click EYFSKS1KS2.

 History and Geography Topics

Children are taught history and geography in KS1 and KS2 through a topic based approach. Please click here for our current curriculum overviews to see which topics are taught across the Key Stages. 

 Art and Design Technology

Children at St. Mary's are provided with opportunities to produce creative work, explore ideas and become proficient in drawing, painting, sculpture and other techniques. They are encouraged to analyse and evaluate their work and learn about different artists through their art lessons. Children are encouraged to use a a range of materials creatively to design and make different pieces and to develop a wide range of art and design techniques. 

In Design and technology lessons children learn to design, make and evaluate products using a variety of tools and equipment. They are encouraged to use different components and materials in doing so and to use and explore different mechanisms. 

PE

Children at St. Mary's are given every opportunity to participate in a wide range of physical activities. We recognise the importance of children having regular exercise and being physically active for sustained periods of time. When the weather allows. children are encouraged to walk or run a mile around the school field. Children are taught by class teachers and a qualified sports coach in weekly lessons. In Early Years and Key Stage 1 they learn to master basic movements including running, jumping, throwing and catching as well as developing balance, agility and co-ordination. They participate in team games and perform dances. 

In Key Stage 2 pupils develop a broader range of skills playing competitive games and developing their techniques. Children also participate in outdoor and adventurous activities as well as dance. 

Children are taught swimming at Westonbirt swimming pool by experienced and qualified coaches.

Languages

Children at St. Mary's experience different languages through topic work and special events. Children in KS2 are taught French. They are encouraged to listen and show understanding by joining in and responding, they learn French songs and engage in simple conversation in French. 

Music

At St. Mary's we use the Charanga Music Scheme to teach music across the school. Children are encouraged to perform, listen to, review and evaluate music and to learn to sing. Children are given many opportunities to perform through concerts, events and performances to parents both in school and at community events. We work closely with our local secondary school to enhance the music curriculum at St. Mary's. 

Themed Weeks

Over the course of the year we build in four weeks when the whole school participates in a 'themed week'. During these weeks children follow a different timetable and maths and English skills are taught through other curriculum areas. We focus on one or two curriculum subjects for example science, art and design, music and well being. During the week the chidlren focus on specific projects which allow them to explore subjects in depth. 

Subject Days

Occasionally the school will have a subject focus day such as a maths day when children will come to school dressed up and participate in different activities with groups of children across their Key Stage. These days are great fun and provide children with a variety of exciting and enjoyable experiences whilst enriching the curriculum. 

Assessment

We use two methods of assessing children at St. Mary's: Formative assessment and Summative assessment. 

Formative assessment is what the teachers are doing all the time when they are teaching the children. Teaching staff constantly make judgements about how well the children are acquiring knowledge, skills and understanding through observing them in their work and play, through carefully planned and constructed questioning and through marking or going through their work with them. These judgements inform what the teachers will teach the children next depending on how well the children are progressing and developing. 

We also test the children at different points during the year using published tests as well as teacher devised tests. These tests give a score and tell us how well a child is doing compared to other children and how well they may do in end of Key Stage tests. At St. Mary's we use the following tests:

  • BASE Test (CEM) Reception baseline assessment
  • NGRT (Reading Test)
  • NGST (Spelling Test)
  • CATS (Cognitive Abilities Test Year 3 and Year 5)
  • GL Assessment Progress Tests in Maths and English (Y1, 3, 4 and 5)

In addition the children sit the statutory Phonics Screening Check in Year 1 and SATS tests at the end of KS1 (Y2) and KS2 (Y6).

If parents wish to discuss the results of any tests they should make an appointment to do so with the class teacher or Mrs Woolley. 

Further information 

Periodically we hold information evenings for parents where we share information about how we teach and how children learn. Please see below for links to resources from these sessions.

 

Year 2 and Year 6 SATS

Children in Year 2 and Year 6 take part in end of key stage national curriculum tests (SATS) in May.

They are not qualifications and don't affect the children's future options in school.  The results of these tests are used to ensure schools are teaching pupils the essential knowledge and skills required by the National Curriculum.

There were changes to the tests in 2016 for both Year 2 and Year 6 pupils.  This is because the tests are now based on the new National Curriculum, which we have been teaching since September 2014.

For further information pleaes view the SATS presentation given by Mrs Woolley at the parents meeting on the 14th April 2016. 

Further information can be found on the Government website.

 

 

 

 

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