“At St. Mary's they make good progress in all areas of learning due to good teaching and high quality provision developed by the dedicated staff team.”
Ofsted Inspection 2013
The Learning Journey at St. Mary's
The school curriculum is the sum total of experiences provided at St. Mary’s Catholic Primary School. We have a whole school approach to planning, assessment, recording and reporting to ensure consistency and continuity throughout the school. The subjects we teach have also been organised to ensure progression.
The curriculum is delivered through a variety of teaching and learning styles to ensure that the learning experience is motivating and challenging. In this way each child has the experience of working independently and co-cooperatively in a variety of situations and is given the opportunity to reach their fullest potential.
As a Catholic school, Religious Education at St. Mary’s Primary School forms an integral part of our overall curriculum, in addition to being a subject taught in its own right. In essence it is at the core of all we do and what we are about.
The subjects detailed below give you a whole school overview of the curriculum areas that are delivered throughout your child’s schooling. Each Class Teacher provides a curriculum newsletter to provide you with more detail about the content of the teaching and learning. You are welcome to talk to your child’s class teacher if you wish to receive further information about the curriculum we are delivering.
“Teachers have high expectations and plan enjoyable
and stimulating activities."
Ofsted Inspection 2013
Religious Education and Worship
“Children demonstrate a good attitude to learning and they co-operate well when working in pairs and larger groups.”
Diocesan Inspection 2012
St. Mary's Catholic Primary School places great emphasis on establishing a caring community of faith in which each individual can receive and live the Gospel message and learn to love God and consider and care for others as they care for themselves.
The pupils follow a Catholic religious education programme called “Come and See”. In addition to this there are daily acts of collective worship, regular masses and children’s liturgies. Children of other faiths feel happy to take part in a range of prayerful activities and forms of worship. Children take a very active part in Mass. There are also opportunities for class assemblies throughout the year. Parents and friends are always invited.
In association with their own parish, the children are prepared for the sacraments of Reconciliation and First Holy Communion in Year 3. Parents are expected to attend parish based meetings and preparation masses to show their commitment to supporting the development of their children’s faith. The school co-operates closely with the local parishes and the clergy make regular visits to the school. In addition, we employ a school chaplain who ensures the integration of faith within the school, being available to the children and supporting Godly play.
As part of our teaching we also encourage the pupils to show respect and understanding for those who practice other faiths and beliefs. This demonstrated with visits to other places of worship, such as the local synagogue, as well as visits by individuals practising other faith denominations.*
Literacy forms the core of learning and embraces the development of spoken English, reading, listening skills and writing. The children are taught in accordance with the National Literacy Strategy which ensures that reading and writing are taught in a structured way on a daily basis.
Being able to read is the most important skill a student will learn. Reading has far reaching implications for lifelong confidence and well-being. At St. Mary's we aim for the children to become fluent, independent and comprehending readers who truly enjoy their experience with books. We are aware that learning to read is challenging for some of our pupils and as a result have introduced Read, Write Inc. a synthetic phonic programme that provides a systematic approach to teaching reading, writing and spelling in Key Stage 1.
We have a structured reading scheme which develops children's decoding and comprehension skills in a progressive way. All children are provided with a book from this scheme which is changed weekly if it has been read competently. Reading is encouraged through individual sessions with adults, reciprocal group reading and whole class texts. As a school we also ask that parents play an active role in the development of their child's reading by listening to them frequently, this is rewarded through our weekly reading raffle. Each child has a Reading Record Book and we ask that parents record details and comments on the reading that has taken place at home. Hearing your child read is beneficial throughout their primary education, not just for the first few years.
We have a good selection of books in the school library which offer all children the opportunity to read a range of lively and appropriately challenging materials with fluency, accuracy, understanding and enjoyment.
The development of writing is equally valued within the school. From Year 1 on-wards children are taught the principles of spelling, Punctuation and Grammar (SPAG) to provide the technical foundation of their writing. This is then applied through a variety of genres to develop a broader knowledge of styles and features. In addition, St Mary's have recently adopted the Kinetic Letters Programme. This is a daily dedicated time to promote handwriting by ensuring all pupils write clearly, accurately and coherently.
Skills taught within literacy are reinforced and consolidated throughout all curriculum subjects.
Mathematical skills are taught in a structured way on a daily basis. We aim to cater for the individual needs and abilities of each child by providing them with the necessary knowledge, skills and understanding so that they may confidently come to terms with the mathematical needs of the future.
Pupils are helped to develop skills and knowledge with the emphasis on: mental calculations, especially in the early stages; a positive attitude towards mathematics as an interesting and attractive subject in which the children will gain success and pleasure. It is our aim to support children in becoming fluent in the fundamentals of mathematics, through varied and frequent practice with increasingly complex problems over time. The children are encouraged to solve problems by applying their mathematics to a variety of routine and non-routine problems on a regular basis in different contexts. It is importance for pupils to develop the ability to think logically, clearly and to work systematically. At St Mary's we feel it is important to involve parents by providing differentiated homework when appropriate.
At St Mary's Catholic Primary School Science is about developing childrens idea's and ways of working that enable them to make sense of the world in which they live through investigation and using applying process skills.
We teach Science mainly through units of work and cross-curricular links placing a great emphasis on practical hands-on experience. Children are taught the skills of observation, measuring, predicting, hypothesising, experimenting, communicating and interpreting through a variety of scientific explorations. All work is approached through topics at each Key Stage and where possible links are made with other aspects of the curriculum. Throughout their time at St Mary's children will regularly build on their knowledge across the four main areas of science:
1. Scientific enquiry, which is taught through contexts taken from;
2. Life processes and Living things
3. Materials and their properties
4. Physical processes
Fun and relevant experiences allows pupils to plan their own investigations, in order to become familiar with the principles and procedures of scientific experiments.
The Connected Curriculum is a structured framework of topics that provide the overarching themes for each terms work. Primarily it covers the subjects of History, Geography, Art and Design Technology, however when appropriate links can be made with other subjects they will be included. In Art pupils are encouraged to develop their creative, imaginative and practical skills through a balanced programme of activities, using a variety of techniques, tools and materials. The work of different artist and craftsmen is introduced and explored.
Working with a range of materials including textiles and food, the children research and develop design ideas. They learn to work accurately, using the appropriate tools and techniques, measuring and marking out, cutting, assembling and finishing.
Likewise our Geography topics develop childrens understanding of contrasting locations, climate of the world and the environment in which people live.This encompasses the immediate environment and the local area for younger pupils and extends to look beyond the familiar locality, helping children to gain some understanding of the world around them.
Our History topics seek to fire pupil's curiosity about history and an understanding of how the past influences the present. Our aim is to give children a sense of time, order of events and knowledge of famous people and historical episodes.
We provide opportunities to develop childrens understanding of history starting from their own personal experience of the past. As they progress through the school they gain a greater knowledge and understanding of chronology and history development through developing skills of analysis and interpretation.
The topics covered by each year group can be accessed in their individual pages. Opportunities to bring the curriculum to life will be sought wherever practical. Throughout all topics, visitors and trips out are considered very important to help enthuse pupils and provide a motivating platform for learning. Examples include;
- Residential Trip to Walsingham
- Theatre Trips
- Visits to local Residential Homes
- Cathedral/Church Visits
- Walks to the local shops/parks
- Museum Visits
St Mary's Catholic Primary School aims to ensure that all our pupils can understand and apply the fundamental principles and concepts of computer science, including abstraction, logic, algorithms and data representation. They are encouraged to analyse problems in computational terms, and have repeated practical experience of writing computer programs in order to solve such problems. It is our ultimate aim to enable children to be responsible, confident and creative users of information and communication technology. We achieve this be delivering the Switched On Computing Scheme of work.
Music is delivered on a weekly basis to all classes by a specialist music teacher.
We seek to develop both appreciation and creativity in the children’s experience with music in the school. We have a choir who represent the school at various events during the year. The school is able to offer violin tuition for pupils in Key Stage 2, through Northamptonshire Music and Performing Arts (NMPAT) through a progressive and interactive programme of study learning to play instruments.
Personal, Social and Health Education (PSHE) and Citizenship
We believe that children should be encouraged to behave responsibly, to work and play co-cooperatively and have a respect for the people around them and the world in which we live. We want the pupils to lead confident and independent lives. Pupils are taught a range of concepts to promote their knowledge and understanding of what is acceptable and not acceptable within society, through a variety of topics.
The school holds a regular 'STARS' assembly to celebrate Spiritual, Trustful, Aspirational, Respectful and Supportive behaviour.
Pupils are encouraged to take part in a wide range of activities that contribute to the wider school community preparing them for the responsibilities of citizenship. We have a School Council, which meet every two weeks and they regularly discuss and co-ordinate events and activities which contribute to the development of the school, such as:
- Fund raising for specific school equipment requested by the children
- Development of our listening code
- Organisation of friendship week
At St. Mary’s we aim to encourage physical activity and a healthy lifestyle as well as a sense of motivation, fair play, following rules and working as a team.
We offer physical activity through a varied programme of PE. This encompasses games, athletic skills, gymnastics and dance. Children in Years 3 and 4 also participate in swimming. Each year we compete in sporting events against other schools in the county these have included football, basketball, netball, rounders, gymnastics and indoor athletics.
We want all children to experience achievement, satisfaction and enjoyment from Physical Education. The school strives to celebrate the pupils’ achievements through an annual sports day.
In July 2016 St Mary's achieved the bronze School Sports Award.
There is a formal programme of sex and relationship education at St. Mary's Catholic Primary School. The content of the programme adheres to the teaching of the Catholic Church and the requirements of the National Curriculum. Parents are kept informed and the policy is regularly reviewed. Materials used are shown to parents before the course begins.
Parents have the right to withdraw their children from Sex Education lessons except those which form part of the National Curriculum science requirements.
The children learn about human and animal life processes and life cycles. We encourage an awareness of the need to care and respect our own bodies and seek to develop positive attitudes towards themselves and other people as a foundation for healthy future relationships.
“Lessons are well planned and there is a good balance of pupils
working on their own, with partners and in groups.”
Ofsted Inspection 2013
*Parents have the right to withdraw their children from Religious Education lessons and collective worship if they wish to do so.