“What we nurture today, flourishes tomorrow.”
Being an inclusive school, we believe that all children have the right to a broad and balanced curriculum. Here at St. Mary’s, the school curriculum is underpinned by the Christian values that run through our everyday school life. The curriculum is the means by which the school achieves its objective of educating children in the knowledge, skills and understanding that will give them the best start in their next stage of education. It also includes what is sometimes referred to as the 'hidden curriculum' – what the children learn from the general ethos and culture of our school, and the way that they are treated and expected to behave towards one another. We want children to grow into confident, responsible people who can work and co-operate with others whilst at the same time achieving their full potential in becoming positive, valuable citizens to society and the outside world.
We value the breadth and depth of our curriculum. We aim to foster creativity in our children and to help them become independent learners, with an ability to solve a wide range of problems and to ask searching questions about the world around them.
Our strong team of professionals is led and managed by the Senior Leadership Team and supported by the Governing Body. In Pre-school and Reception, the curriculum is taught using the goals from the Early Years Foundation Stage. From Year 1 onwards, the 2014 National Curriculum is taught, using a wealth of different schemes, resources and strategies.
These are the main values of our school, upon which we have based our curriculum:
- We value a thirst for knowledge and a love of learning
- We value that every child is unique and has a right to an inclusive curriculum
- We listen to the views of individual children and encourage them to listen to those around them
- We promote respect for diverse cultures, backgrounds and religions
- We value the spiritual and moral development of each person, as well as their intellectual and physical growth
- We value the importance of each person in our community and we organise our curriculum to promote inclusion, co-operation and understanding among all members of our community
- We value the rights enjoyed by each person in our society
- We treat every child with dignity, fairness and honesty
- We provide equal opportunities for all our pupils and ensure that we meet all statutory requirements regarding inclusion
- We value the needs of all our children
- We value our environment and we want to teach our children the importance of taking care of our world, not only for ourselves, but also for future generations.
Aims and Objectives
The aims of the St. Mary’s curriculum are:-
- To enable all children to learn and develop their skills to the best of their ability
- To promote a positive attitude towards learning, so that children enjoy coming to school
- To provide a happy environment in which children can acquire a solid basis for lifelong learning
- To teach children the skills of literacy and numeracy across the curriculum
- To enable children to be innovative, to use deep thinking and problem-solving skills, and to be independent learners
- To develop children’s skills of teamwork and the ability to work in collaboration with others
- To enable children to understand and appreciate the arts, and give them opportunities to develop their own artistic and creative abilities
- To teach children about the developing world, including how their environment and society have changed over time
- To appreciate the natural world and their local natural environment and feel a part of this, including Forest Schools and outdoor education
- To help children understand Britain's cultural heritage and understand and appreciate British Values
- To enable children to appreciate and understand the importance of scientific and technological discoveries and development
- To give children an awareness and experience of speaking and understanding other languages than English
- To teach children computing skills and to apply these skills across the curriculum to support their learning and to know how to stay safe online
- To teach children how to live healthy lifestyles, both physically and mentally
- To appreciate and value the contribution made by all ethnic groups in our multi-cultural society
- To enable children to be positive citizens, contributing to the society in which they live
- To fulfil all the requirements of the National Curriculum and the locally agreed syllabus for religious education
- To teach children to have an awareness of their own spiritual development, and to distinguish right from wrong
- To help children understand the importance of truth and fairness, so that they grow up committed to equal opportunities for all
- To enable children to have respect for themselves and high self-esteem, and to live and work co-operatively with other
- To instil a ‘growth mindset’ mentality in our pupils and encourage them to have a go at anything and not to be discouraged by the thought of ‘getting it wrong’
- To teach children an awareness and understanding of different relationships in the world around them
- To teach pupils respect for their own bodies and to help them manage growth, development and change for themselves and those around them
- To understand and challenge discrimination and prejudice in society and to promote equal opportunities.
- What we are providing (thinking about the demographic, our vision and Christian values)
- Our philosophy of teaching (including principles based on the ‘fruit of the Spirit’ )
- Ensuring inclusion of the necessary skills and knowledge and what children should know/be able to do at the end of each stage of their learning
- How well we are preparing our children for secondary education
- How well we are preparing our children for life in the world around them
- What makes us unique
- How we will build on year-on-year progress
- What non-statutory elements we will include
- How our curriculum will reflect national policy (e.g. British values) and current issues (e.g. Coronavirus)
- How we cater for disadvantaged and minority groups.
When thinking about the delivery of our curriculum we consider these points:-
- Coverage and challenge (an ambitious curriculum)
- The clear processes needed to teach reading
- Revisiting skills to show mastery
- The encouragement and promotion of a growth mindset
- Memory schemes, e.g. mnemonics
- Adequate support for all learners and abilities, i.e. differentiation
- To what extent children value and enjoy their learning
- An upward trajectory, i.e. progression of knowledge and skills
- Sequencing and how children see that learning fits together and follows on (the bigger picture)
- How our teaching builds on prior knowledge
- How cross-curricular links are made, particularly to further develop literacy and numeracy skills
- The expertise of staff, including skills and continuing professional development and training
- Resources in terms of time and equipment
- Wider learning beyond National Curriculum statutory requirements
- Opportunities for including and promoting social skills, e.g. teamwork etc.
When considering our curriculum’s impact, the following questions are reflected on:-
- How well are children learning the content outlined in the curriculum?
- What types of formative and summative assessment are used?
- What impact does our assessment system have on the curriculum?
- How do we know that our curriculum is having an effect across all children, including those who are disadvantaged or have low attainment on entry?
- Do children have a feeling of self-worth and a sense of success?
- Are children displaying attributes/attitudes that link to our Christian values?
- Do our children leave the school with the skills and confidence to tackle the challenges of secondary school and life in the world around them?
Our Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Co-ordinator ensures that all children who have physical or other difficulties are given the best support possible and that any other children who have extra needs of any kind are identified quickly and supported appropriately. We also employ a pastoral support assistant who can provide advice and comfort for children and their parents when a little extra support is needed; the pastoral support assistant is also one of our four designated safeguarding officers in school.
The school has its own rigorous self-evaluation procedures which include the analysis of pupil progress and achievement. An annual School Development Plan, written in consultation with the Governing Body, identifies objectives for improvement relating to self-evaluation and is tracked throughout the year by the school’s leadership team and a designated committee of governors.
Homework is seen as a vital link to the lessons we teach in school; it is used to support and consolidate the work done in class and is set weekly in most classes.
Teaching in the early years is often imaginative and captures children’s interest. Activities are carefully planned to enable children to practise their growing reading, writing and number skills while they work with adults and in their play. (Ofsted: March 2017)