We teach the National Curriculum using a creative, skills-based approach. We use termly over-arching themes for the whole school, with teachers and children choosing specific topic areas and subject content appropriate for their age-group. Whilst our teaching is knowledge-based, children also build up their skills within the topic areas covered. Each termly topic starts with a whole school launch event and ends with a whole school exit event. We link as many subject areas into the termly topics as possible, where meaningful links can be made. English, mathematics and Religious Education (RE) are generally taught separately, although cross-curricular links are made where appropriate. Our curriculum progression documents can be downloaded below.
Being a Catholic school, the teaching of R.E is given a high priority. Home, school and parish work together. The spirit of the school’s mission statement affirms this with its emphasis on a Catholic community; a welcoming and all inclusive family, valuing the role and contribution of each member. Our commitment to this means that R.E is a vital, central part of our curriculum. It consists of our pupils experiencing the faith of the church in lessons, in worship and in relationships within the school.
Children are taught to communicate orally and in writing from Foundation stage onwards. English is broken down into 4 areas: Phonics and reading, Spelling, Grammar and punctuation and writing.
We teach children phonics and reading following the letters and sounds programme. This is supported through the use of ICT programmes such as Nessy. The children practise sounding out the words (segmenting) and then blend these sounds together to read the whole word. As well as this, we teach tricky words which cannot be phonetically spelt and in Foundation stage and KS1 phonics sessions are taught and revised daily with Key Stage Two having weekly SPAG lessons and phonics sessions where needed.
We have a high quality range of levelled reading books which are colour coded to match a reading level. These books start from red colour, where books are fictional stories with little or no words in, to Diamond level, where our more able readers are reading classic novels like Black Beauty. We recognise the need to continually challenge our readers, through these levelled books which run up to Year 6. The children choose their own books from colour boxes, so they can find a text that will motivate them to read. As well as this, children are encouraged to visit our school library and choose their own ‘free reading’ book.
We use a range of publishers from Pearson press, to Oxford Reading Tree, who provide books that support and inspire all ages, abilities and genders. Reading is taught at least three times a week through ‘text talks’ sharing of a variety of fiction and non fiction texts, that are read together, and explored in detail, using reading assessment focuses (AFs) which teaches children how to understand a text on a deeper level (comprehension).
Spelling is taught weekly from Year 1 to year 6. Children are taught spelling patterns and rules, as well as common spellings. Spelling is taught through dictation, handwriting and through interactive games.
At St Mary’s we recognise the importance of explicitly teaching correct grammar and punctuation from Year 1 up to year 6. This is taught discreetly and through text level work.
The development of children’s ability to communicate in writing is given high priority and we achieve good standards in this important skill. We teach a variety of genres and ensure that writing is linked to other curriculum areas.
Our aim at St Mary’s is to instil a love of maths in all children, and support them to achieve their potential. We structure our maths curriculum so that children learn the required skills for their year groups, and give them opportunities to apply these skills in a variety of contexts including web-based practice through ‘IXL.com’, which we also use for our homework.
Due to the interconnected nature of mathematics we aim to teach maths in a cross-curricular manner as well as discretely, through the use of White Rose Hub, to teach the practical application of mathematical skills. We focus not only on the mathematical methods but also focus on mathematical vocabulary and applying the skills to real life situations to help prepare the children for the wider world.
Science at St Mary’s stimulates and excites childrens’ curiosity about phenomena and events in the world around them. Because Science links direct practical experience with ideas, it can engage all children at many levels. Scientific is about developing and evaluating explanations through experimental evidence and modelling which drives critical and creative thought.
Through Science, children understand how major scientific ideas contribute to technological change – impacting on industry, business and medicine and improving the quality of life. Children are encouraged to question and discuss science-based issues that may affect their own lives, the direction of society and the future of the world.
Our Science curriculum is based on the National Curriculum for Key Stages 1 and 2 as well as running alongside the STEM learning scheme. Wherever possible, lessons are practical and creative, with considerable time allocated to the discussion of ideas.
In this subject, children learn about the rich heritage of our country and ancient civilisations. We make good use of visits to places of historical interest and visitors to school, including actors and drama groups who bring history alive for the children.
We aim to give children an understanding of their own and different environments, the use and misuse of natural resources, and other environmental issues such as pollution and conservation.
We have a seperate ICT suite equipped with 25 laptops computers. All classrooms are equipped with interactive touchscreens, which enable teaching and learning to take place in an exciting, stimulating way that was unimaginable a few years ago. We also have a number of iPads for use in class.
Our intention at St Mary’s is to encourage creativity and develop transferable skills. Children are given opportunities to design and make products, considering the product, purpose and user. They will learn technical knowledge and develop their skills when using a range of tools. We support the children to build on their resilience and to persist with ongoing projects, making changes to their original ideas whilst considering accuracy and safety. Our focus is to develop the children’s skills in designing, planning, making and to evaluate their creations using a variety of tools and materials.
At St Marys, we recognise that Art stimulates creativity, imagination and encourages children to express themselves and their ideas through a wide range of medias. Art enables children of all abilities to communicate what they see, feel and think through the use of materials, colour, texture and form. We provide all of our children with opportunities to develop and build on their skills and to explore and evaluate different creative ideas and influences.
At St Marys we appreciate that music promotes wellbeing for individuals and as a whole school community. Music weaves its influence through many subjects as an emotional and historical touchstone that combines physical and mental stimulation in all areas of school life. Music is an important factor which contributes to our daily school life and community, particularly singing which brings us together as a class, school and parent community. Our yearly Christmas and summer productions are an exciting time to bring us together and for children to share and celebrate their musical skills, talents and voices, both individually and collaboratively.
We have close connections with Dorset Music Service who work alongside us to provide children the opportunity to learn a tuned instrument either on an individual 1:1 tuition, and/ or as a whole class session. So far our children have learned samba, guitar, violin, recorders and ukulele. The children relish this opportunity to learn a new skill and play amongst and with their peers.
Children are encouraged to keep fit as part of their education for a healthy lifestyle. Gymnastics, games, dance and swimming are taught in each year group.
We have school teams for football, netball, and cricket which regularly take part in matches with local schools. We offer an extensive range of after-school sports clubs.
In partnership with parents we prepare children for future adult life. Our personal, health and social education deals with all the issues relating to the physical, social and emotional well-being of each child. As part of this, the school has a programme of sex education which follows guidelines from the Catholic Diocese of Plymouth. Parents of children in Year 6 are invited to view teaching materials before they are introduced to the children and may, if they wish, withdraw their child from all or part of sex education, except for those elements taught as part of National Curriculum science.
Teachers use the outcomes of our assessments to summarise and analyse attainment and progress for their pupils and classes. Teachers use this data to plan the learning for every pupil to ensure they meet or exceed expectations. Teachers and leaders analyse the data across the school to ensure that pupils identified as vulnerable or at particular risk in this school are making appropriate progress and that all pupils are suitably stretched. The information from assessment is communicated to parents and pupils at parent consultation meetings.
We celebrate all achievements across a broad and balanced curriculum, including sport, art and performance, behaviour, and social and emotional development.
We expect all children to spend an age-appropriate time each evening completing homework, and we ask all parents to co-operate with this policy. The expectation is that all children will read at home at least four times a week and complete a set piece of literacy and numeracy homework weekly.
Please download our Curriculum documents below.
To find out more about the curriculum our school follows please Contact Us.
All documents on the website are available as paper copy on request at the school office.