English (The teaching of literacy skills)
Speaking & Listening is an integral part of the school curriculum.. Children are also continually encouraged to talk about stories which they have listened to or shared at school and at home. All adults are aware of the need to model and extend our pupils vocabulary.
Reading is a lifelong skill and St Mary's places reading and books at the centre of the curriculum. Our primary aim is to promote a life-long love of reading in every child.
The most effective way to teach a child to read is a robust programme of systematic synthetic phonics. In 2012, the Government introduced a phonics screening check for pupils at the end of year 1. The simple check asks pupils to read 40 words, of which 20 are pseudo-words. This allows teachers to identify those pupils with a genuine grasp of decoding, and those in need of further support.
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
In addition to the direct and systematic teaching of phonics, which enables our children to decode fluently and accurately, we also help children to develop a range of strategies as appropriate (eg. sight recognition ) to develop their reading skills. Alongside this, we aim to develop children's understanding and responses to texts.
Our children experience a wide range of texts/activities across the curriculum. Progress is carefully monitored and recorded and there are daily opportunities for reading and planned guided reading sessions to promote learning/develop reading skills.
At St. Mary's we use a levelled colour banded system for our reading scheme. We have books from various reading schemes including Oxford Reading Tree, Heinemann Storyworlds and Rigby Star. This offers a wide range of reading material to support reading at home and in school.
Children are encouraged to write from an early age on various topics of interest to them. Grammatical skills, punctuation and spelling are introduced and based on the child's own written work. All children experience Literacy lessons at some time during each day.
Religious Education and Collective Worship
At the heart of St Mary's is the Christian faith.
As well as developing a knowledge and understanding of Christianity, Religious Education is concerned with moral and spiritual development and an understanding of all religions. Stories, discussions and drama give children opportunities to think about religious ideas, behaviour, and attitudes, as well as personal qualities such as consideration, bravery, loyalty, and truthfulness. Collective Worship is an integral part of our school day.
We foster close links with local churches and have regular assemblies led by the vicar, youth workers and local ministers. Christian values are woven through all curriculum areas and evident in everything we do. Children are not only taught about different faiths, they are given opportunities to reflect on their own beliefs and appreciate different viewpoints of others. We ensure that there is a distinction between learning about and learning from religion. Big questions are encouraged. We often have special RE themed days or weeks where we focus upon specific Christian beliefs. Children are encouraged to write and share their own prayers. Parents have the right to withdraw their children from Collective Worship and RE; however we would encourage parents to meet with the head teacher to discuss these arrangements.
History about understands the past, present and future. There is 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.
At St Mary's children are given a variety of live experiences from which we believe they gain enjoyment and learn skills. There are many opportunities for children to perform throughout their time at our school. They are encouraged to listen, to compose, interpret and perform rhythms. Children learn about some famous composers, as well as more modern artists, through story, dance and listening to music. In KS2, children are given the opportunity to learn a musical instrument either as a whole class or in small groups.
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 become more 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.
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, 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. Children are therefore encouraged to observe, question and communicate their findings in a variety of ways.
We aim to give children the opportunity to use the school's range of computers enabling them to use I. C. T. equipment and software confidently and purposefully to communicate and handle information, and to support their problem solving, recording and expressive work. St Mary's has an ICT suite and laptops in every classroom which are used to support all curriculum areas.
At St Mary's, we aim to inspire the pupils to think about their own place in the world, their values and their rights and responsibilities to other people and the environment. Geography is taught thematically, with strong cross-curricular links.
All pupils at St Mary's are given the opportunity to participate in a number of class trips throughout the year and these are often linked to theme work. Visits in the past have included Beeston, Norton Priory and gardens, Llandudno, Conway, Liverpool and London.
Art and Design
We believe that art and design contributes to the development of the whole child; we aim to provide all children with the opportunity to develop imaginatively through art and to reach their creative potential. Through art, children can develop their understanding of the world around them, and explore their own responses, thoughts and ideas. We expose our children to many visual, tactile and sensory experiences; they are encouraged to experiment and develop their skills using a wide range of media. At St. Mary's, art 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 that art and design plays in their own lives, and how it has affected the lives of other people in different times and cultures.
Personal, Social and Health Education
Personal, social and health education (PSHE) education 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.
Through PSHE education we enable our children to become healthy, independent and responsible members of society, equipping them with the skills and values needed to contribute positively at school and in the wider community. Pupils are given opportunity to explore a range of topics including; sex education, 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.
Modern Foreign languages
It is our aim to provide children with a foundation and enthusiasm for future language learning. At St Mary’s, the children learn to understand and respond to both spoken and written language in French. Modern foreign languages are taught through a variety of role-play, games and discussions. External language teachers also visit to teach lessons.