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 & Phonics
Our morning curriculum starts with handwriting. We believe that it is important for children to practice 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. Children practice their handwriting when they come in to school in the morning during registration.
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!
Reading is taught through daily '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.
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.
Children learn maths every day. 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, they then record their understanding in pictures and diagrams before recording them using mathematical notation. 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. Children also have a 'Maths Passport' which follows them through the school, setting appropriate targets encouraging them to learn and quickly recall number facts. Every time a child achieves their targets they are celebrated in assembly and awarded a certificate.
All the other subjects are taught through a topic based approach. Each phase follows a two year rolling programme and topics develop children's knowledge, skills and understanding in science, art, history, geography, design technology, music and PSHCE. Teachers use children's own curiosity as a starting point from which to launch the topic and plan activities which enthuse, engage and excite the children. Topics are enhanced by trips and visitors to the school and wherever possible we draw on the expertise of our parents and community.
RE, PE and French are taught as separate subjects. Through Religious Education children learn predominantly about the Christian faith and also the other major world faiths. We aim for children to participate in a minimum of two hours of PE a week and we teach French in Key Stage 2.
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.
Further information can be found on the Government website.