At St Mary’s Catholic Primary School our expectations are limitless! We believe that all pupils can achieve excellence and that a quality primary education provides the platform for lifelong learning and success.
Pupils in our school come from a diverse range of backgrounds and face many challenges. They live in a changing world, and need an education which equips them with the knowledge and skills to make sense of their world. We aim to equip children to be critical thinkers, capable of thinking ethical and morally about the issues they face.
We believe St Mary’s is a caring, listening school where the children feel safe, valued and can achieve their very best. Through the curriculum, we aim to prepare pupils for the opportunities, experiences and responsibilities of adult life and to lay a firm foundation for future learning.
Our Catholic values help children to develop their social and moral ethos, as they build their sense of uniqueness and self-worth as an individual. We believe all children deserve the opportunity to nurture their individual talents and to achieve their true potential. We aim to encourage the children to develop their understanding of their local and national heritage and their role in modern Britain today. We encourage them to embrace all that multi-cultural Britain has to offer them and develop their understanding of the global world, within which they are a citizen of the 21st Century. Through our curriculum, children develop the British values of democracy, respect for the rule of law, individual liberty, mutual respect for and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs and for those without faith.
It is important to us to provide a broad range of exciting, relevant and creative opportunities that enrich our children’s learning, such as: special events, trips, visitors, outdoor learning in our school grounds and links with our parish church. Our school also has specialist coaches/teachers for Music, MFL and PE.
We give high priority to teaching the fundamentals of reading, writing and Mathematics every day, to ensure that all pupils acquire the basic skills for learning and life. These skills are used and practised across other subjects, through planned themes. We teach the National Curriculum and Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum, using a wide range of strategies. We give children opportunities to work on their own, in pairs and in groups. We value the importance of talk as a tool for learning and invest time in this.
The children are taught a planned programme of work throughout their years in St Mary’s Catholic Primary School. Opportunities are planned to cater for a range of different learning styles to ensure that all children can access the curriculum and learn in a way that is best for them. We enhance this with planned opportunities that make up the wider school curriculum.
Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS)
The EYFS curriculum covers Nursery and Reception and is split into seven areas of learning, three prime areas and four specific areas
The EYFS curriculum is underpinned by a play-based approach where children have access to all areas of learning within the classroom and in the outside learning area. Children will engage in self-chosen activities as well as carefully planned adult-directed sessions, including phonics and mathematics.
The children are continually observed and assessed by teachers and support staff so that they progress rapidly towards achieving the ‘Early Learning Goals’.
Some pupils are still working on the Early Learning Goals of the Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum as they enter Year 1. Throughout this period and beyond all children are still developing their phonic knowledge. The use of the Read Write Inc. programme meets the higher expectations of the National Curriculum and uses effective assessment to accelerate every child’s progress.
Key Stage 1 and 2
At Key Stage 1 and 2, children have a daily English and Mathematics lesson, and a daily lesson in reading.
As a school, we recognise the importance of reading for all children and therefore, have a comprehensive and thorough approach to the teaching of reading across the school including, daily phonics lessons in Year 1 and Reception. Reading is developed through a ‘Book Talk’ approach in classes which is taught daily from Year 2 – Year 6, giving children the opportunity to read texts which are pitched at the right level to develop their fluency and understanding. In addition, the school promotes reading for pleasure and uses Accelerated Reader to encourage, support and help track children’s reading. Reading is at the core of most lessons. Through rewarding reading behaviour, assembly challenges, reading and book weeks, use of reading journals and parent workshops, parental engagement with reading is strongly promoted.
Writing is taught through a topic-based approach or planned around a rich, stimulating text. This provides a context and purpose and audience for the children. Grammatical accuracy is embedded in the teaching of writing but also as a discrete element of the English curriculum.
We are a ‘Mathematics Mastery’ School. This is a programme of mathematics teaching that will be built on year by year as children progress through school.
The Mathematics curriculum aims to ensure that all pupils become fluent in the fundamentals of mathematics including the ability to recall and apply knowledge rapidly and accurately. Children at St Mary’s are taught to reason mathematically, solve problems and apply their mathematical skills in a variety of real-life contexts.
In addition to English and Mathematics, children are taught to develop their skills, understanding and creativity in Science and foundation subjects of the National Curriculum. History, Geography, Art and D&T are delivered using planned themed topics of learning. This ensures full curriculum coverage linked to national curriculum objectives and includes ‘essential knowledge’, along with ideas for ways to ‘launch’, ‘explore’, ‘energise’ and ‘celebrate’ the themes. Science is taught discretely but integrated into topics where possible. Over-arching school-wide themes are being developed to provide cohesion and ensure the curriculum is relevant to the local context.
The outdoor environment and the local community are considered an opportunity for active learning for all our pupils. The school grounds have been developed so they can enrich different curriculum areas, particularly science.
To help the children develop their knowledge of their faith, the school uses the Dr Margaret Carswell Framework Model for Religious Education, which is taught in a three year cycle and links to the liturgical year. The content of this model offers a systematic programme of study which comprehensively covers all the strands and requirements of the Curriculum Directory. Each topic plan ensures progression and depth of provision in focussed areas.
We dedicate a significant proportion of the schools timetable to Reading, Writing and Mathematics to promote a love of reading, to develop fluent communication and to build confidence in mathematical skills.
The curriculum is demanding, challenging and rigorous. Pupils will learn good habits of work, develop their intellectual, moral and spiritual skills to emerge as well-educated, responsible and Catholic citizens ready for further education and future careers.
Please click on the link below for more information about our approach to reading, writing and spelling.
Excellent teaching: A teacher is the most important factor affecting pupil achievement. We employ and grow outstanding teachers; those who are passionate about learning and pass their enthusiasm on to our children, inspiring them to develop a love of learning and become life-long learners.
We work side by side with our teaching staff to ensure excellent teaching and support them with exceptional training and development. To ensure no child is left behind, we have developed data management tools which allow teachers to monitor pupils’ progress and quickly identify when children, or indeed teaching staff, need extra support.
Educational Curriculum Visits
Educational curriculum visits, full day or 1/2 day outings, are arranged during the school year. They are a positive part of the curriculum and are centred upon topics covered and have a strong educational content.
Visits are also valuable opportunities for personal and social education and will be used to fully develop children’s awareness of self, of others and of the world around them. School uniform will be worn unless unsuitable for the particular activity.
Before each outing involving transport parents will receive a letter from the school giving all relevant details and are asked to complete a consent form. Without the consent form a child is unable to participate in the educational visit. During the year, children sometimes go on local walks or to the park as part of their lessons. Agreement to such excursions is given by way of a general permission slip which parents sign once a year.
As a main curriculum subject, we place a high emphasis on the teaching of English at St Mary’s. We aim for all our pupils to leave Year 6 with excellent skills in reading and writing that will be the basis for future learning and their lives ahead of them.
We teach English daily throughout the school and also have class reading and guided reading time. We know that for children to become better writers they need to read and therefore we aim to engage the children with different genres of books and encourage them to read for pleasure. Every classroom is blessed to have a book corner with a variety of books for the children to choose from. As well as this the school has a well stocked library for the children to use and borrow books from. The school has recently bought a new scheme of books for the children to read during guided reading sessions. These are very popular with the children who look forward to seeing what adventures or journeys the characters will have next.
Writing is also a priority at St. Mary’s and the children are given the opportunity to complete extended pieces of writing every week and across the curriculum. Children are taught the grammar, punctuation and vocabulary skills needed to complete a good piece of writing. Every Friday one child from each class is chosen to take a well written piece of work to Mrs Titus and the children are awarded a sticker and a book. This motivates the children to do well. Throughout the school, displays of excellent writing can also be seen.
At St Mary’s we promote a curiosity and love of learning in Mathematics lessons where pupils are confident in taking risks and learn through making mistakes and being inquisitive. Problem solving tasks and investigations are at the core of all mathematical concepts.
The pupils learn to apply Mathematics to the world around them and real life situations. We are currently developing this, along with higher order thinking skills and questioning (Blooms Taxonomy) in our plans, lessons, activities and challenges in order to extend their knowledge and understanding.
Direct support is provided for those pupils with difficulties through a variety of interventions.
We also incorporate Mathematics as part of the Creative Curriculum, linking it to other subjects such as Topic, Science, English and Physical Education.
At St Mary’s we strive to plan enjoyable and engaging lessons for our children to take part in. We view scientific skills to be as important as scientific knowledge, therefore children are encouraged to investigate in order to answer scientific questions; they find the answers to these themselves instead of simply being told them. It is common place to see children completely applied and engaged, and striving to answer these questions.
Children are encouraged to take ownership of their own learning, and this is evident when pupils are encouraged to contribute what they would like to learn and how we can set about doing this. Equipment is routinely audited in order to ensure we have the best appropriate resources for our children.
Don’t take our word for it – the children will tell you even better than us. Simply ask a child about last year’s Science Day!
Religious Education is a fostering of each child’s relationship with God and their neighbour. This begins at Baptism and is continued at home as well as at Church and School.
The school delivers religious education through the composite units which are updated termly within the liturgical cycle. These planned units of work are age appropriate and empower pupils to develop their knowledge and understanding to be religiously literate. These units are also linked succinctly to the Religious Education Curriculum Directory and the Agreed Understanding in the Levels of Attainment across the phases. Links are made with the children’s own experience and the universal experience. Children are also encouraged to explore links with other faiths and traditions. There is a programme of visits to places of worship for pupils in KS1 and KS2. Scripture plays an important part in the Religious Education programme and connections are made between the readings and the children’s lives.
Computers and other technological aids are used throughout the school. Computer Science skills are taught as a discrete subject and as a means of supporting other areas of the curriculum. The children are encouraged to communicate ideas and information in a variety of forms, where appropriate, using equipment and computer software to enhance their learning. The school is internet linked and we have an ICT station suite for which each class is timetabled for at least one hour a week.
Our themed approach ensures pupils receive a broad and balanced Computer Science experience where they have the opportunity to experience all five themes (Research & E-Awareness, Handling Data, Modelling & Simulation, Control & Sensing and Communication) in each year group. This inevitably involves some discrete Computer Science teaching but wherever possible we try to embed it within cross curricular teaching / learning. For example, pupils’ multimedia presentations could focus on a class history topic.
Through our effective planning our KS1 children understand what algorithms are and will begin to write simple programmes. Furthermore they are taught how to use the web as a tool for learning, and are given an understanding of e-safety.
At Key Stage 2, our children are able to present information in different formats and have an understanding of ‘design principles’. They are able to use a variety of software on a range of electronic devices, understand search engines, use algorithms to solves problems, and write programmes. Here at St Mary’s they are taught about their responsibilities online, like the need to respect intellectual property, secure themselves, and the ethical impact of technology.
We ensure rigorous monitoring of internet use by the children to ensure safe and effective use of it to enhance their learning. Each child has signed and agreed to our e-safety policy by signing a twelve rule guidance agreement.
Each classroom has an interactive whiteboard and computer, a camera and computer visualiser. We also have ten Apple ipads which each class has access to for use in other curriculum lessons at least once a week for one hour.
We are currently providing an after school film club that enables pupils to use multi-media and peripherals to produce creative and innovate ideas.
In this ever changing world we live in technologies are constantly evolving and here at St Mary’s we also seek to evolve and keep abreast of new pedagogies and technologies so that we can be at the fore front of Computer Science development and produce confident and effective technology people who display aptitude and ability to embrace new ideas for the future.
Every child learns French at St Marys’s Catholic Primary School.
Reception classes enjoy songs, nursery rhymes, stories and games to practise greetings, numbers and colours in French.
KS1 children perform role plays and do whole class and group activities using the interactive whiteboard.
KS2 children take part in conversations in French. Children keep a record of the words they learn and are very proud of their achievements. Children develop their writing skills and start writing longer sentences. They also enjoy doing a variety of games and online activities.
Our French partner school in Paris is called Ecole Bezunce. Year 6 pupils enjoy writing in French to their French penpals in Paris. Year 6 pupils are also very excited to read emails written by their French friends. Our email link with Ecole Bezunce provides opportunities for our pupils to find out about school life in France as well as French traditions and culture.
Year 6 pupils went to Paris in June 2014 to visit the famous landmarks and also to meet the children from our partner school. Please click here for further information.
Finally, we celebrate Bastille Day with a whole school French day.
Physical Education (PE) is given high importance at St Mary’s. Our vision applies to all areas of learning and social development including PE. All children from Years 1 to 6 participate in 2 hours of PE each week.
In KS1, children develop and improve a range of skills including hand/eye co-ordination, throwing and catching across a variety of sports such as football and basketball. Children also take part in activities such as dance, gymnastics and athletics.
In KS2, pupils experience a wide range of sports including football, basketball, tennis, hockey, cricket and Gaelic football. They also have the opportunity to take part in dance, gymnastics and athletics. Pupils in Years 3, 4 and 5 attend weekly swimming lessons at Vale Farm Sports Centre.
The school enters and participates in borough competitions. We currently have football teams, a tennis team and an athletics squad.
Art & Design
At St Mary’s, our teachers are always seeking ways to enhance the children’s learning experience in all areas of the curriculum through the ‘arts’. The children have the opportunity to develop skills and use a wide range of materials to create pieces of artwork, many of which are displayed in the school for our visitors to enjoy.
This year, the school will work on a number of creative Arts projects and experiences. Throughout the academic year, we strive to also invite experts from the field of Art & Design into the school to inspire our children and to share specific knowledge about various art forms.
The Chinese New Year Exhibition showcased the talents and efforts applied to Art & Design at St Mary’s. There is a clear progression in skills and application throughout the school. The children and the wider school community came together to recognise and celebrate the wonderful achievements in every class.
At St Mary’s we recognise that creative Arts stretches a child’s imagination and allows freedom to express themselves as individuals. We offer a vast amount of opportunities, from poetry and creative writing awards to drama and musical performances.
Music is taught daily at St Mary’s Roman Catholic Primary School. Throughout the school, from Reception to Year 6, Music is a big part of school life. Starting in Year 1, all children learn the Zoltan Kodaly techniques for singing, memorising and performing on instruments.
In Year 2, every child learns to play the Recorder, using a popular graded method book as a scheme of work. Just like a Wider Opportunities scheme, Year 2 and Year 3 also learn important musicianship skills including reading music and basic music theory including German and Italian terms to describe the musical elements.
In Year 3, all children learn to play the Ukulele for a whole year which serves as an excellent starting point to go on to learn other stringed instruments, as well as learning self-accompanying techniques and combining singing and playing together in a group.
In Year 4, all children learn percussion instruments such as the African Djembe and the Djun Djun drum as well as basic drum kit patterns. By exploring the history of African music and rhythmic patterns in this way, children learn how pop and rock music is built up and how it can be used in song-writing.
In Year 5, all children learn to play the Steel Pans. This follows on from learning about rhythm in Year 4 and performing melodies in Year 2 and 3. Children learn the history of Soca music from the Caribbean and how to play the music of countries like Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica and Grenada.
In Year 6, children draw upon all their musical knowledge and focus on song-writing, electronic and keyboard instruments as well as music technology using iPads and sequencers to create new music. Music of the great composers is used as a stimulus for composition as well encouraging good, analytical listening habits.
Throughout the school, music theory, notation, history and the music of the great composers is taught and embedded into lesson plans so that children receive a wide and varied musical experience.
Guitar and Keyboard are also taught in small tuition groups for Years 4, 5 and 6. We also have two extremely popular school choirs that children attend after school. Where possible, children get to go on trips to see live performances such as our recent trip to The Barbican to see the London Schools Symphony Orchestra perform works by Wagner, Gliere and Strauss.