Curriculum design statement 2023

Early Years Curriculum Design Statement

Subject Links

Curriculum End Points




English (The teaching of literacy skills)




At St Mary's we believe that Literacy is a fundamental life skill. It develops a child's ability to listen, speak, read and write for a wide range of purposes. We use a variety of teaching and learning styles in our English lessons in order to meet the needs of all our pupils. Speaking, listening, group interaction and drama techniques are used throughout the teaching sequence to develop skills, to engage and inspire. Purposeful role-play is used in the Foundation Stage to develop language and imagination. Children are given opportunities to share and enjoy a wide range of rhymes, songs, poetry and books.



Reading is a lifelong skill and St Mary's places reading and books at the centre of the curriculum. Our aim is to promote a life-long love of reading in every child and that children move from learning to read to reading to learn.  We ensure that children experience a wide range of texts, genres and activities across the curriculum. There are daily opportunities for reading and each class has dedicated story/reading slots timetabled, which are a mixture of poetry/rhyme time, fiction and non-fiction. Adults model fluency, expression and discuss new vocabulary, making links with prior knowledge across the curriculum.

From Year 2 upwards, we follow The Literacy Company's Pathways to Read programme. High-quality texts and resources are used to deliver engaging and purposeful reading lessons. It is designed to equip pupils with key skills to move them through the reading process towards becoming competent and fluent readers. The programme comprises of a flexible combination of whole class and grouped reading sessions.

The children in Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1 take home a phonics reading book matched to the phonics phase they have been learning and matched to the Little Wandle scheme. These are fully decodable reading books.  Once children are independent readers they borrow fiction or non-fiction books from the library.



At St Mary's we follow The Literacy Company's Pathways to Write programme, a programme which develops vocabulary, reading and writing skills. High-quality texts and resources are used to ensure engaging and purposeful English lessons. Our aim is that children can complete sustained pieces of writing in a wide range of forms and for a variety of audiences and purposes.



Spelling is taught in accordance with the National Curriculum spelling requirement. We follow The Literacy Company's Pathways to Spell programme from Years 1-6. Prior to this, spelling is primarily taught through.



At St Mary's, we believe that all our children can become fluent readers and writers. This is why we teach reading through Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised, which is a systematic and synthetic phonics programme. We start teaching phonics in Nursery/Reception and follow the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised progression, which ensures children build on their growing knowledge of the alphabetic code, mastering phonics to read and spell as they move through school. As a result, children are able to tackle any unfamiliar words as they read.

At St Mary's, we also model the application of the alphabetic code through phonics in shared reading and writing, both inside and outside of the phonics lesson and across the curriculum. We have a strong focus on language development for our children because we know that speaking and listening are crucial skills for reading and writing in all subjects.

As a school, we appreciate the help parents give with learning how to sound out words. This can be difficult if it is not the way you were taught. Pronunciation needs to be precise so that children learn to blend sounds into words. 

To help you model sounds correctly please follow this link for a demonstration.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IwJx1NSineE

Many technical terms are used and referred to when we teach phonics. These terms can be found in the glossary below and also within the files section on Microsoft Teams for each year group.

Glossary of Phonics Terminology.pdf


Religious Education and Collective Worship


At St Mary's we recognise that quality RE has the potential, more than any other subject, to have the most powerful and lasting effect on the child's heart and mind. We recognise it is a huge responsibility but also a privilege to teach this subject.

It is a subject that combines academic rigour with the development of the character and spirit of the child. RE provides opportunities for spiritual development and personal reflection. On a quest to discover more about religion and world views pupils will discover more about themselves.

As RE develops children's knowledge and understanding of the nature of religion and belief, it provokes challenging questions about meaning and purpose, truth and values, identity and belonging. Pupils will experience, explore and encounter a wide range of creative and challenging multi-sensory activities that will help them to discover the answers to fundamental questions such as these: –

  • Who am I and what does it mean to be me?
  • In what ways do/can I relate to others?
  • How/where, can I encounter God?
  • How can I make a positive contribution to the world in which I live?
  • What values, attitudes, beliefs and behaviour are important to me?
  • What does it mean to have faith?
  • Who/what, influences and inspires me?

Through an open investigative enquiry approach, the pupils will be given the sense of being on a quest of discovery. A key feature of the syllabus is the large number of questions included in each unit. The purpose of these questions is to give pupils opportunity to investigate, reflect, evaluate and make meaning. In doing so they will discover more about themselves, their relationships with others, their relationship with the world around them and their relationship with God. The questions set the route through the curriculum content.


Families are invited to join with us every 1st and 3rd Wednesday afternoon of the month.



History is about understanding the past, to help understand the present and the future. There are a wide variety of historical resources available, which enable the children to discover why and how things have changed. We aim to help children to learn about their own history, the history of their locality, as well as events which have made major changes nationally and in the wider world.

Our curriculum is designed to enable children to make links between different era's enabling pupils to  be able to organise their knowledge, skills and understanding around the following learning concepts:

• Investigating and interpreting the past – recognising that our understanding of the past comes from an interpretation of the available evidence.

• Building an overview of world history – involving an appreciation of the characteristic features of the past and that these features are similar and different across time periods, and an understanding that life is different for different sections of society.

• Understanding chronology – understanding of how to chart the passing of time and how some aspects of history happened at similar times in different places.

• Communicating historically – using historical vocabulary and techniques to convey information about the past.


Design & Technology 

Design and Technology contributes to the development of the whole child. We aim to provide all children with the opportunity to develop new skills, practical expertise needed to perform everyday tasks confidently and to participate successfully in an increasingly technological world.  Through Design and Technology children can develop their understanding of the world around them, build and apply a repertoire of knowledge and skills in order to design and make high-quality prototypes and products. At St. Mary's, Design and Technology provides children with a platform from which to express themselves and gives them an opportunity to showcase their talents.  Pupils learn to understand the part Design and Technology plays in their own lives, and how it has affected the lives of other people in different times and cultures.




 At St Mary's children have a range of experiences in music which allow them to engage in listening, singing and playing, composing and performing. They experience music from different composers, traditions, genres and periods in history, becoming increasingly able to explore, discuss and understand the music they have heard and to make connections with other compositions, other areas of the curriculum and the wider world. Lessons are carefully sequenced so they progress in a range of musical skills, developing their creativity, perseverance and confidence, particularly when composing and performing. Children are given the opportunities to watch performances in different settings and take part in local events, making their musical experiences enjoyable, inspiring and relevant.


 Physical Education

At St Mary's we feel that Physical Education is a fundamental and essential part of a balanced curriculum.  We aim to promote confidence and develop skills in a range of progressive activities, namely Dance, Gymnastics, Games, Swimming, Athletics and Outdoor and Adventurous Activities.

To achieve our aims effectively, the children's learning  takes place in an environment where expectations are high, activities are varied and pupils are taught to value the benefits of participation in physical activity while at school and throughout life. Children learn to manage success and failure in competitive and co-operative physical activity.


Mathematics (The teaching of numeracy skills)



All children are encouraged to enjoy Mathematics and can become enthusiastic mathematicians by developing their skills, qualities and knowledge through practical experiences, which have relevance and purpose. Our teaching and learning focus is on the three key areas identified in the National Curriculum:

  • Becoming fluent in the fundamentals of Mathematics through frequent practice- recalling knowledge rapidly.
  • Reasoning mathematically- investigating and proving statements using maths language.
  • Applying maths to solve a range of problems- persevering to seek solutions.


We follow the 'Mastery' approach to mathematics which is made explicit in the National Curriculum and recent studies. The aim is to provide all children with full access to the curriculum, enabling them to achieve confidence and competency with key skills. 


Teaching and learning will follow the 5 big ideas in the mastery approach:

                                                      Teaching of Maestery.gif



Click on the link for your child's year group and you will be taken to a document which will show you some ideas for using MyMaths to support your child's learning.

MyMaths KS1.pdf     MyMaths Yr 3-4.pdf   MyMaths Yr 5-6.pdf 



Children are naturally curious and it is important that we ensure that they are provided with scientific experiences which will develop their skills, knowledge and understanding. We provide opportunities for them to investigate and explore in practical ways, often working with others and using high quality resources. Children carry out experiments and discover that science is not only a subject on its own, but is linked to many other areas of the curriculum, and current topics of interest. Science teaching helps children to develop enquiring minds and equips them with key skills, so that they are increasingly able to research answers to their own questions.



 At St Mary's, we aim to prepare our learners for their future by giving them the opportunities to gain knowledge and develop skills that will equip them for an ever-changing digital world. Our computing curriculum focuses on progression skills in computer science, information technology, digital literacy and online safety to ensure that children become competent in safely using, as well as understanding, technology. Online safety is paramount and we follow Project Evolve to ensure coverage of the key areas of being safe online and this is also taught discretely as well as embedded within our computing lessons. These skills are revisited repeatedly to ensure that the learning is embedded and that the skills are developed.

Computing is taught in discrete computing lessons but skills are often transferred to other curriculum areas. Employing cross-curricular links motivates pupils and supports them to make connections and remember the steps they have been taught. Having discrete lessons means that the children are able to develop depth in their knowledge and skills over the duration of each of their computing topics. We have around 40 laptops in school as well as around 40 iPads across EYFS, KS1 and KS2.

The implementation of this curriculum ensures that, when children leave St Mary's, they are competent and safe users of IT with an understanding of how technology works. They will have developed skills to express themselves and be equipped to apply their skills in computing to different challenges going forward.

Computing Vocabulary Progression at St Mary's.pdf




 Through the teaching of Geography at St Mary's we are preparing our children for living and working in a rapidly changing international society. The Geography curriculum is planned around the vision that “geography education should inspire in pupils a curiosity and fascination about the world and its people that will remain with them for the rest of their lives". Teaching equips pupils with knowledge about diverse places, people, resources and natural and human environments, and develops their deep understanding of the Earth's key physical and human processes. Our basic principles mean that learning is a change to long-term memory and our aims ensure that our children experience a wide breadth of study.


Art and Design

art.pngOur Art and Design Curriculum emphasises core knowledge in the ways of making art, including drawing, painting and sculpture, as well as its history and cultural development and those artists and craftspeople who have contributed to it. Plenty of opportunities are offered to ensure children practice, reflect and improve on their techniques in colour, pattern, texture, line, shape, form and space through a variety of inspiring and challenging activities, gradually developing in skill and confidence. Ultimately, children use this to express themselves creatively in a wide range of contexts. Repeated use of techniques, processes and a range of media is carefully planned for, ensuring children make progress and greatly increase their knowledge and understanding of the world and their place within it


Personal, Social and Health Education


Personal, Social and Health Education (PSHE) is a vital part of our curriculum. It is designed to give our pupils the confidence, information and skills to make safer choices and wiser decisions in order to live a full and happy life. We follow a programme called Heartsmart - a programme that focuses upon building character, enjoying healthy relationships and developing an understanding of well-being.

 Heartsmart covers five principles; Don't Forget to Let Love in, Too Much Selfie isn't Healthy,  Don't Rub it In Rub it Out, Fake is a Mistake, No Way Through isn't True and these principles are revisited and built upon each year. 

Through PSHE education we enable our children to become healthy, independent and responsible members of society, providing them with the skills and values needed to contribute positively at school and in the wider community. It helps to build character, emotional character, emotional health and resilience in children. It equips them with the foundational principles and skills that will improve their mental health, relationships and academic achievement. Pupils are given opportunity to explore a range of topics including; relationships, bullying, health and healthy lifestyles; diet, exercise, self- esteem and body image, tobacco, alcohol and drugs.

Pupils' personal, social and emotional development is encouraged by a supportive school ethos, where all are valued and encouraged, positive relationships are seen as essential.

We recognise the special role that school has in supporting the role of parents and enhancing the development of achievements in all fields and the potential impact of all aspects of school life.


Relationships, Sex and Health Education

Relationships, Sex and Health Education (RSHE) is an important part of our curriculum. It is an entitlement for all children because children and young people need to know how to be safe and healthy, and how to manage their academic, personal and social lives in a positive way. We aim to ensure that children learn the fundamental building blocks and characteristics of positive relationships, with particular reference to friendships, family relationships, and relationships with other children and with adults. As a school, we use 'Goodness and Mercy' resources, alongside the Heartsmart programme as they fully support the Church of England vision for education: “I come that they may have life in all its fullness" (John 10:10). 


Modern Foreign languages

At St Mary's, we provide children with a foundation and enthusiasm for future language learning.  The children learn to understand and respond to both spoken and written language in French. We encourage the children to engage in French speaking as part of everyday life. Lessons are taught through a variety of role-play, practical activities, songs and discussions.