The St Mary's Curriculum
At St Mary's Primary School we strive for our pupils to reach their potential by delivering an engaging curriculum, and championing children’s aspirations.
We understand that when learning is exciting, engaging and hands-on, children learn more effectively and can be inspired to continue their learning outside of school.
Our curriculum is child-centered, designed so that teaching enables children to take an active role in their learning and are at the forefront of learning experiences. Pupils are encouraged to ask their own questions, to do their own finding out and to make sense of new knowledge. Whilst knowledge is valued to help children move through our 'Scheme of Learning', skills and understanding are given equal priority as these allow children to apply knowledge in a range of contexts and for a variety of purposes.
Through a safe and caring environment, we develop and celebrate children’s personal and academic progress so they can ‘be the best they can be'. Through our curriculum we aim to broaden their horizons and help them to make positive contributions to our local community.
As part of the St Mary's Primary School learning journey, all children experience a broad and balanced curriculum that is coherently planned and sequenced in order to ensure that they have opportunities to develop the knowledge, skills and understanding they need to think critically and contribute to their learning journey.
Our curriculum is designed to prepare children for the next stage of their education.
Our curriculum provides a broad and balanced programme of study that adheres to the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) framework and the guidance provided by the National Curriculum, whilst promoting learning alongside personal growth and development.
Children’s knowledge, skills and understanding are developed through studying subjects through topics or as discrete disciplines if linking with topics does facilitate high quality learning.
Our curriculum enables children to go beyond memorising dates and facts, to develop new knowledge and skills or deepen existing ones through an engaging approach where they are supported to make links between aspects of learning in different subjects and draw on previous learning as building blocks from which they develop new understanding.
- has four ‘drivers’ at its core (see below)
- is well organised and purposefully designed to facilitate learning
- is planned around the needs of the children
- has a clear outcome, designed to raise standards
- values the voice of the child
- enables children to take ownership of their learning and reach their goals
- nurtures children’s interests and talents
- encourages curiosity and a love of learning
- increases motivation and engagement
- gives a real context for the application of basic skills
- allows writing to be meaningfully embedded
Whilst designing the St Mary's curriculum we identified key barriers to learning for our pupils and considered the interests of our children to ensure all pupils can reach their potential.
This led to our Curriculum Intent having four key drivers at its core:
- Oracy and vocabulary
- Reading for pleasure
- Healthy lifestyles
- Aspirations and resilience
Through these carefully selected curriculum drivers we aim to provide an opportunity to develop new interests and pay particular attention to any aspects of learning, which left unaddressed, have the potential to impact on children’s progress as well as their attainment.
These drivers, alongside our school vision and values, underpin the direction and development of all aspects of school life, enabling children to encounter and incrementally build essential knowledge and experience in key areas, across different contexts over time. Our drivers of oracy, reading for pleasure, healthy lifestyles, and aspirations and resilience enrich as well as personalise our curriculum, ensuring it meets the needs, interests and ambitions of our children and their families.
At St Mary's Primary School we explicitly teach oracy and deliver a talk-rich curriculum that enables children to experience a wide-range of contexts for speaking across the curriculum.
Oral language is the most important communication tool and fundamental to children’s success in education and beyond. Research also shows that engaging in high-quality classroom talk has a range of positive emotional and social benefits for children.
Reading for Pleasure
Through our curriculum, we aim to foster an enjoyment in reading for all children and to provide them with opportunities to read in different ways and for different purposes. There are frequent opportunities to read individually, with a partner, in a group, as a whole class and with the whole school. We also ensure that children interact with a wide range of different text types: fiction, non-fiction, comics, magazines, junior newspapers, websites, e-books etc. Reading materials, as well as reading environments are welcoming and routinely refreshed.
Alongside oracy, reading attainment is instrumental to future educational success. Research relating to reading for pleasure (DfE May 2012) references the research of OECD (2002) which reports reading enjoyment as more important to a child’s educational success than their family’s socio-economic status. Children who choose to read for pleasure at 11 years old are more likely to achieve higher educational outcomes at 16 years old.
We aim for children to be aware of the impact that their own and others’ behaviour and choices have on themselves and on wider-society.
Our curriculum supports them to make informed choices around activity (including screen-time), exercise, diet, and life-style, and to understand both the short as well as longer term impact of these choices.
We educate children to make ‘safer’ decisions when they are in their own homes, when they are using technology and when they are out in the community. We help them to learn about their own physical and mental health and the many ways in which this is connected to the choices they make.
Aspirations and Resilience
We aim for children to 'be the best they can be' both now and in the future. Through increasing knowledge of the local area and further afield, exposure to differing environments and different places, increasing opportunities available to them and widening their experiences children are explicitly and implicitly taught about and immersed in the potential the wider world can offer.
Our curriculum and whole school environment aim to developing resilience through providing practical and outside learning experiences where children are challenged to take risks and find solutions. Play times and lunch times are designed to build on their Early Years experiences and where the children are able to explore and learn through play.
Our Thrive program supports individual children to develop their resilience and perseverance through targeted support. This work is enhanced through our Forest School provision which offers personal development for identified groups of children.
The children are taught to 'never give up' through our Collective Worships; Stories, activities and teachings from the bible and other religions exemplify resilince and clarify their understanding and reinforce the importance of this life skill.
Equality in the Curriculum
We have a commitment to ensuring that pupils have equitable access to the curriculum and a high quality, coherent and progressive experience of each subject. Learning ability, physical ability, linguistic ability, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity and/or cultural circumstances will not impede pupils from accessing any aspect of learning at St Mary's Primary School.
As we are in the early stages of implementing our school curriculum we are reviewing it regularly. The curriculum team will be reviewing it against these criteria:
- Impact on learning and raising standards and embedding key skills
- Opportunities to develop further links to the local area
- Review each Schemes of Learning against our values and core drivers
Social, Moral, Spiritual and Cultural (SMSC) Awareness and Fundamental British Values
As well as equipping children with the skills and knowledge of the National Curriculum, our curriculum develops children’s social, moral, spiritual and cultural awareness and their understanding of fundamental British values.
Much of this teaching is addressed through our PHSE and RHSE curriculums and through assemblies and extra-curricular activity.
We also aim to support parents in equipping their child(ren) with the skills every child needs to successfully navigate the next stages of their education, and to be members of their local communities and wider society.
Our curriculum also incorporates teaching about the core British values of:
- the rule of law
- individual liberty
- mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs
These values are taught across the curriculum and are also implicitly experienced through our relationships, our pedagogy and our celebration of diversity and the promotion of equality and inclusion.
They are taught alongside our St Mary's Primary School values of
- Generosity and Service