St Mary's Whole School Curriculum
‘We are happy living and learning in God’s friendship’.
At St Mary’s, we explore and celebrate our Catholic values through engaging children in a caring, nurture-based curriculum.
As an inclusive school, we want our children to be proud of our school community and all its members, and to feel valued as part of our family, with a sense of belonging and purpose. We see God as a trusted friend who helps to guide us to make good choices and decisions so that we can confidently take our special place in society. We encourage pupils to develop academically, socially, emotionally, physically and spiritually through personalizing our curriculum and making it relevant and exciting for our children.
Gospel values are taught and promoted in all that we do at St Mary’s- they are embedded into our curriculum; they form the basis of the Positive Powers and Marvellous Manners of our behaviour policy; and they are modelled by staff and pupils throughout our school. The Gospel values are linked to our celebration and promotion of British Values including Democracy, Rule of Law, Individual Liberty, Mutual Respect and Tolerance of Other Faiths.
At St Mary’s, we take into account the needs of all children, providing both support and challenge so that children are able to reach their full potential in preparation for their future lives and for being responsible citizens. We believe that all children are unique, made in the image and likeness of God, and that everyone has their own valuable contributions to make as a member of St Mary’s school community, with their own gifts and talents.
Our whole school curriculum approach encompasses ‘Routines for Readiness’ to help establish a calm, ‘ready-for-learning’ environment within each class. This includes Thrive and mindfulness sessions at the beginning of each day along with Breakfast Bagels for each child, daily Thrive time to focus on specific class social skills, and check-ins to support any pupils needing some nurture time. Whole school daily independent reading time is planned in for after lunch, and teachers read to their class at the end of each day. A choice of enrichment activity is offered to pupils as a reward at the end of each week.
We are currently working on developing our curriculum further in order to ensure it is more ambitious, engaging and creative in order to meet the needs of our pupils, especially as we recover from the impact of the pandemic. We aim to enable pupils to become more resilient, independent and aspirational – pupils who are positive decision makers and determined problem-solvers so that they are prepared for future life, transitioning to high school and beyond. We want our children to foster a sense of responsibility towards the community in which they live, and to be proud of their local area.
Our curriculum is broad and balanced to ensure that pupils experience a range of enriching opportunities. We also offer a range of extra-curricular activities throughout the year including sports clubs, arts and crafts activities, Forest Schools and music tuition. We plan for visitors to come and talk to our children, and organize valuable visits to enhance pupil learning.
In lessons, we are working on improving our pupils’ ability to recall and refer to previous knowledge, and to apply their learning across different contexts. Where possible, we try to match each class’s reading text to a subject theme or topic being studied. This is to help develop vocabulary, and to encourage children to make links and connections within their learning. Teachers plan for the different needs of children within their class and take into account the variety of ways in which pupils learn best. We strive to build a positive growth mindset through our approaches to teaching and learning, to help pupils grow in confidence and to help them develop a love for learning.