Our Curriculum

Intent

Our strong belief is that everyone at St Mary’s has the capacity to shine brightly in all they do, through their talents, attitudes and efforts. In order to achieve this, we have brought together the knowledge and understanding from the National Curriculum (2014) and the Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage (2014) and embedded the values required to enable all our children to lead productive, successful lives, contribute positively to society and recognise learning as a life-long gift that will open doors of opportunity.

Our knowledge-based, values-led curriculum aims to provide all pupils with the transferable knowledge for their subsequent stages of learning and into their adult lives. This knowledge needs to be taught in a way that means it is embedded and recallable. 

Subject Leaders ensure their curriculum area has appropriate coverage in each year and that knowledge and skills progress from year to year. 

Teachers carefully plan and teach engaging lessons in an effective sequence of learning, always mindful that they are:

  • providing suitable learning challenges which build on prior knowledge;
  • increasingly developing the children's fluency and mastery of key skills;
  • responding to pupils’ individual and diverse needs;
  • overcoming any potential barriers to learning.

Implementation

Underpined by cognitive theory and metacognition research, we approach the planning and implementation of our curriculum by carefully considering how the teaching and learning can develop children's schemas of understanding based on their prior knowledge and by actively forging links between concepts. 

To achieve this our curriculum is predominantly built around blocks of learning lasting 2-3 weeks which focus on particular ‘big questions’. These 'big question' units may have a particular main curriculum focus (e.g. a science objective) but they will 'pull in' other subject links where appropriate to build a schema of understanding for the children. Life-long learning and values are embedded in these ‘big question’ units of learning, too. Some lessons and subjects taught in the unit may not link directly with the big questions and so will be taught separately. Teachers carefully develop lesson sequences that build on children’s prior knowledge, with opportunities to practice key skills across the curriculum. 

You can see our curriculum overview for each year group by clicking the images below.

                                     

                         

 

Staff use a variety of approaches to promote learning and develop key skills, including teacher-led work, independent tasks and collaborative activities. Teaching and learning methods are matched to the subject and to the concepts being taught but often feature explanations, modelling, scaffolding, and interleaving retrieval and practise of prior and new knowledge.

When encountering new concepts, children are encouraged to demonstrate their prior learning through application and retrieval. They are also given regular opportunities to reflect on their learning by being pro-active in evaluating their own work and that of their peers. We aim to create a safe and supportive environment in which to do this by recognising and praising all efforts and achievements. Talk is considered an essential catalyst for much learning, whether to rehearse succinct and accurate explanations, debate an issue, explore ideas or develop rich and effective vocabulary and writing. We believe excellent writing is built on a foundation of rich vocabulary, real-life experiences and a diet of out-standing literature. We have a curated list of the '50 best books' for each year group to experience, whether independently, through reading with key adults, or shared by teachers in school.

Teachers check pupils understanding frequently through structured tasks and open questioning. Constructive, effective and succinct feedback is an essential feature of our teaching at St Mary's. Praise and encouragement is embedded in the life of the school. Making and recognising errors is considered key part of learning. More formal assessments (including those developed by the National Federation of Educational Research) are used three times a year to support teacher assessment and provide a measure of pupil attainment and progress within curriculum areas.

When a child or group is identified as not having either fully accessed or accurately retained key knowledge, interventions are planned and undertaken to support the pupils. This support will always involve the class teacher, but may be supported by the Teaching Assistant, Subject Coordinator, Special Educational Needs Coordinator, Pastoral Lead, Senior Leadership Team or outside agencies.

Children are given regular opportunities to shine, whatever their individual abilities, skills and attributes. In this way we believe that every child at St Mary's will have the chance to build their confidence, apply their skills, enjoy working collaboratively and become responsible, enthusiastic and lively students. In addition, we strive to provide as many exciting ‘hooks’ and a range of enrichment opportunities both in and out of the classroom and school to enhance our curriculum and provide a context for the learning.

Impact

We strive for the best progress for each child, regardless of their individual starting point and needs. We aim for the knowledge, skills, understanding and attitudes the children have learned and acquired over the Key Stages is embedded and can be recalled. Every pupil's attainment and progress is carefully documented in our own Learning Tracker system, which enables all staff members to scrutinise the achievements of groups and individuals in a way that enables them to purposefully reflect on all factors that contribute to a child's learning journey.

We expect our pupils to develop knowledge and skills across a broad range of subject areas each year, as evidenced through internal assessment data and regular, wide-ranging and objective monitoring (such as learning walks, work scrutinies, pupil voice feedback and lesson visits).  

Our pupils will be fully engaged in lessons with positive attitudes and resilience, and able to work independently or actively in a group.  Holistic personal development will be evident when talking to our children or looking at their work, displays, participation in whole school events and their wider achievements. 

Overall, we aim to develop future citizens who our curriculum has equipped with the transferable knowledge, skills and values they will need to 'shine brightly' throughout their lives.

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You can find out more about our curriculum by looking at our class pages or by speaking to any member of teaching staff. The links and information below might be of interest too. 

  • We use White Rose as a key part of our mathematics teaching and learning.
  • You can see more about our reading & phonics learning (with Floppy's Phonics and Phonics International) on our reading page, here.
  • As a Church of England school, Religious Education is an important part of our curriculum. We work closely with the Bristol Diocese and follow The Wiltshire Syllabus, as well as other resources, to support our worship such as Discovery RE.
  • Jigsaw PSHE underpins our work on personal, social and health education.
  • Charanga provides an exciting range of pieces of music and songs in a wide range of musical styles to ensure that music lessons at St Mary's are engaging and progressive.
  • Physical education is supported by Teach, Learn, Grow PE and Steps to Summit.
  • Much of our computing curriculum follows 'Switched On' Computing.

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