Curriculum

The Governors of St. Mary’s support the aims expressed in the Framework for the National Curriculum in England (2014). All children follow the Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum until the end of their Reception year and most National Curriculum objectives from the start of Year 1 to the end of Year 6. The curriculum is balanced, broadly based and promotes the spiritual, moral, cultural, mental and physical development of pupils at the school and it prepares pupils for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of later life. 

It aims to provide pupils with an introduction to the essential knowledge that they need to be educated citizens. The National Curriculum is just one element in the education of every child; it provides a core of knowledge around which we build skills, understanding and independence within a community where respect and love of God and others is the keystone.

There are five core subjects in the Primary Curriculum:
Religious Education (a core subject in Catholic schools)
English                  Mathematics                     Science Computing

The foundation subjects are:
History                  Geography                         Art & Design       Design & Technology                     Music   
Physical Education           Languages           PHSE including Relationship and Sex Education and Citizenship through British Values.

EARLY YEARS
The Reception classes make up the Early Years Foundation Stage.
The EYFS is based around four themes. These are; 

·         A Unique Child - Every child is a unique child who is constantly learning and can be resilient, capable, confident and self-assured.

·         Positive Relationships - Children learn to be strong and independent through positive relationships.

·         Enabling Environments - Children learn and develop in enabling environments, in which the provision responds to individual needs and there is a strong partnership between practitioner and parents and carers.

·         Learning and Development - Children develop and learn in different ways. The curriculum covers education and care of all children in early years provision, including children with special educational needs and disabilities.

Our curriculum is also split into Characteristics of Effective Learning and Areas of Learning and Development, which are all interconnected.

Characteristics of Effective Learning are the ways in which each child engages with other people and their environment;

·         Playing and Exploring

·         Active Learning

·         Creating and Thinking Critically

Areas of Learning and Development are split into Prime and Specific Areas;

Prime areas are fundamental, work together, and move through to support development in all other areas.

• Personal, Social and Emotional Development

• Communication and Language

• Physical Development 

Specific areas include essential skills and knowledge for children to participate successfully in society.

• Literacy

• Mathematics

• Understanding the World

• Expressive Arts and Design

At St Marys we deliver the EYFS through a curriculum which is centred around topics and themes which the children help to generate. We strive to provide the children with an experience which they will find exciting, engaging and rewarding. Consequently, the children are able to develop the foundations they will require for future learning.

RELIGIOUS EDUCATION
St. Mary’s provides an environment in which children can grow in their knowledge and understanding of the Catholic faith and develop their own relationship with Jesus. We want our children to understand that religion is for living not just for learning. To enhance the religious education that already takes place in the children’s homes and Parish, we teach the God Matters religious education programme within the framework of the Portsmouth Diocese Programme of Study. The children’s experiences are enriched through reading and reflecting upon the Old and New Testaments. We also study other World Faiths in order to develop our knowledge and to help promote tolerance and understanding of our friends and neighbours’ beliefs and practice. 

PRAYER LIFE
At St. Mary’s we help our pupils to develop a reverential attitude in their prayer life and to make prayer a natural part of their daily lives. Children are exposed to a variety of prayer experiences, both formal and informal, private and communal. Children are encouraged to take an active part in school Masses, including the preparation of readings and prayers. Daily Collective Worship takes place either as a whole school, Key Stage or class. Whilst we respect the parents’ right to withdraw children from Collective Worship and Religious Education, as a Catholic school, both are an integral part of our mission and we hope that parents would not exercise this option.

 
MATHEMATICS
Children receive a daily Maths lesson. There is an emphasis on becoming fluent in the fundamentals of mathematics which enables them to recall and apply their knowledge rapidly and accurately to problems. Children are taught to reason mathematically, to generalise, argue, justify or prove their thinking using mathematical language. Lessons are built around the programmes of study but also follow Maths Hub materials as the children move towards a Mastery Maths Curriculum. The majority of pupils will move through at a similar pace. Those who grasp concepts quickly are being challenged to deepen their understanding through increasingly complex problems using reasoning and an application of their skills in the Mastery of maths. All pupils need to consolidate their understanding before moving on. 

Maths is a creative and highly inter-connected discipline and every opportunity is used to develop pupil’s mathematical fluency. Confidence in numeracy and other mathematical skills is essential to success in understanding the National Curriculum objectives. Pupil’s arithmetical and mathematical reasoning is developed across the curriculum so that they understand and appreciate the importance of mathematics. They are taught to apply their fluency to problem solving, to understand and use measures, to make estimates and check their work. They also collect, present and analyse data and apply their maths to break down complex problems into a series of simpler steps.

Key Stage 1
Pupils develop confidence and mental fluency with whole numbers, counting and place value. This involves working with numerals, words and the four operations (addition, subtraction, multiplication and division) including the use of physical and pictorial resources. They develop the ability to recognise, describe, draw, compare and sort shapes using the appropriate vocabulary. They use a range of measures to describe and compare length, mass, capacity\volume, time and money. By the end of year 2 they should know number bonds to 20, use and understand place value to 100 and are expected to know their 2, 3, 5 and 10 x tables and related division facts.

Key Stage 2
Lower Key Stage 2- Years 3 and 4
Lessons are planned to enable all pupils to become increasingly fluent with whole numbers and the four operations, including number facts and the concept of place value. They develop efficient written and mental methods and perform calculations accurately with large whole numbers. Pupils solve as range of problems including with simple fractions and decimal place value; they use their increasing accuracy and mathematical reasoning to analyse shapes and their properties and describe relationships between them; they accurately use measuring instruments and make connections between measure and number. By the end of year 4 pupils should have memorised their multiplication tables to 12x12 and show precision and fluency in their work. They should read and spell mathematical vocabulary correctly and confidently.

Upper Key Stage 2 – Years 5 and 6
With the introduction of the Arithmetic test at the end of KS2 as part of the Year 6 Maths SAT test there is more emphasis on the efficient completion of short questions that cover all four operations as well as fractions, percentages and algebra. The need to be able to provide reasoned answers is also key, especially when problem solving involves multi-step problem solving. The focus continues to ensure that pupils extend their understanding of the number system and place value to include larger numbers enabling them to recognise links between multiplication and division with fractions, decimals, percentages and ratio. Pupils learn to solve a wider range of problems using efficient mental and written methods. Teaching consolidates and extends knowledge and understanding of number, geometry, measures and vocabulary. By the end of year 6 pupils should be fluent in written methods for all four operations including long multiplication and division and working in fractions, decimals and percentages.

A wide range of mental calculation strategies are used from an early age including the skills of efficient jotting. We use a variety of planning methods according to the needs of the cohort, supplemented with a wide range of concrete and pictorial resources that lead onto the understanding of abstract problems. The use of whiteboards to test out ideas encourages a no-threat environment where making mistakes helps children to consolidate their understanding and promotes a growth mind-set. Practical activities are vital to the learning process at each stage. This aids our intentions to make mathematics as enjoyable as possible, so that the children see the joy to be gained in developing their mathematical knowledge. During Key Stage 1 & 2 (Years 1 – 6) the pupils are taught in ability based sets for Mathematics but these are reviewed on a regular basis.

ENGLISH
Aims: The overarching aim for English in the National Curriculum is to promote high standards of literacy by equipping pupils with a strong command of the written and spoken word, and to develop their love of literature through widespread reading for enjoyment.

A high-quality education in English will teach pupils to write and speak fluently. This enables them to communicate their ideas and emotions to others, and through their reading and listening, others can communicate with them.

Pupils are taught a daily English lesson based upon the National Curriculum 2014. There is an emphasis on enjoyment and understanding of a wide range of quality texts and authors, including cross-curricula texts, progressively developing knowledge and understanding of word and sentence structure, together with the skills of writing. Great importance is placed upon the ability to spell accurately and write clearly. These areas are assessed specifically as part of the statutory assessment process at the end of KS1 and KS2.

Reading:
The programmes of study for reading at key stages 1 and 2 consist of two dimensions:

• Word reading

• Comprehension (both listening and reading).
Skilled word reading involves both the speedy working out of the pronunciation of unfamiliar printed words (decoding) and the speedy recognition of familiar printed words. Underpinning both is the understanding that the letters on the page represent the sounds in spoken words. Phonics is of utmost importance in the early teaching of reading to beginners when they start school.

KS1 - To encourage the enjoyment of reading in the early years, the Oxford Reading Tree scheme is used together with supplementary material, which includes fiction, non - fiction and poetry. The methods of teaching reading are multi-faceted, using all the strategies that enable children to bring meaning to text. A wide range of phonics resources are used according to the needs of the cohort of children.

KS2 - Junior children read from a variety of books, using all the strategies they have been taught, to bring meaning to a text. Comprehension skills develop through pupils’ experience of high-quality discussion with the teacher, as well as from reading and discussing a range of stories, poems and non-fiction. All pupils must be encouraged to read widely across both fiction and non-fiction to develop their knowledge of themselves and the world in which they live, to establish an appreciation and love of reading, and to gain knowledge across the curriculum. Reading widely and often increases pupils’ vocabulary because they encounter words they might rarely hear or use in everyday speech. Reading also fuels a child’s imagination.

Writing:
The programmes of study for writing at Key stages 1 and 2 are constructed similarly to those for reading:

• Transcription (spelling and handwriting)

• Composition (articulating ideas and structuring them in speech and writing).

Writing down ideas fluently depends on effective transcription: that is, on spelling quickly and accurately through knowing the relationship between sounds and letters (phonics) and understanding the morphology (word structure) and orthography (spelling structure) of words. Effective composition involves articulating and communicating ideas, and then organising them coherently for a reader. This requires clarity, awareness of the audience, purpose and context. Poetry is taught from year three onwards; children will listen to, perform, recognise and learn a “wide range” of poems. The emphasis on reciting the most beautiful examples of the English language compliments the renewed focus on recognising standard and non-standard English. Writing also depends on fluent, legible and, eventually, speedy handwriting.

Grammar and spelling:
The English objectives from the national curriculum define the grammar terminology taught across the school. Children will be able to use and identify the past, present and perfect tenses as well as progressive tenses; write a simple and complex sentence; use modal verbs; use the subjunctive mood, use the apostrophe for both possession and contraction; and be able to recognise and use the passive voice.

Spelling: There is an appendix for spelling strategies and a required list of words for students to memorise inKS1 as well as the Lower and Upper Juniors. The expectation is that the children will be able to spell the root words contained within the appendices to the national Curriculum but also to be able to add prefixes and suffixes to form new words.

SCIENCE
In keeping with the shift from a skill-based curriculum to a knowledge-based one, the National Curriculum programme of study for science puts a greater focus on acquiring scientific knowledge, and less emphasis on developing scientific skills and understanding.  The scientific enquiry strand, ‘working scientifically’ is set out on a two-yearly basis. As before, this aspect is not taught separately, but is embedded throughout the subject. There is an emphasis on learning scientific vocabulary.

A high-quality education in science provides the foundations for understanding the world through the specific disciplines of biology, chemistry and physics. Science has changed our lives and is vital to the world’s future prosperity, and all pupils should be taught essential aspects of the knowledge, methods, processes and uses of science. Through building up a body of key knowledge and concepts, pupils are encouraged to recognise the power of rational explanation and develop a sense of excitement and curiosity about natural phenomena. They should be encouraged to understand how science can be used to explain what is occurring, predict how things will behave, and analyse causes.

Aims

The national curriculum for science aims to ensure that all pupils:

* develop scientific knowledge and conceptual understanding through the specific disciplines of biology, chemistry and physics.

* develop understanding of the nature, processes and methods of science through different types of science enquiries that help them to answer scientific questions about the world around them.

* are equipped with the scientific knowledge required to understand the uses and implications of science, today and for the future.

KS1
The principal focus of science teaching in key stage 1 is to enable pupils to experience and observe phenomena, looking more closely at the natural and humanly-constructed world around them. We encourage them to be curious and ask questions about what they notice. Lessons help children to develop their understanding of scientific ideas by using different types of scientific enquiry to answer their own questions, including observing changes over a period of time, noticing patterns, grouping and classifying things, carrying out simple comparative tests, and finding things out using secondary sources of information. We enable them to begin to use simple scientific language to talk about what they have found out and communicate their ideas to a range of audiences in a variety of ways. Most of the learning about science is done through the use of first-hand practical experiences, but there is also some use of appropriate secondary sources, such as books, photographs and videos. Pupils should read and spell scientific vocabulary at a level consistent with their increasing word reading and spelling knowledge at key stage 1. 

Years 3 and 4
The principal focus of science teaching in lower key stage 2 is to enable pupils to broaden their scientific view of the world around them. They do this through exploring, talking about, testing and developing ideas about everyday phenomena and the relationships between living things and familiar environments, and by beginning to develop their ideas about functions, relationships and interactions. We encourage the children to ask their own questions about what they observe and make some decisions about which types of scientific enquiry are likely to be the best ways of answering them, including observing changes over time, noticing patterns, grouping and classifying things, carrying out simple comparative and fair tests and finding things out using secondary sources of information. They should be able to draw simple conclusions and use appropriate scientific language, as taught in KS1 and gained in Years 3 and 4, to talk about, and to write about what they have found out. Pupils should read and spell scientific vocabulary correctly and with confidence, using their growing word reading and spelling knowledge.

Years 5 and 6
The principal focus of science teaching in upper key stage 2 is to enable pupils to develop a deeper understanding of a wide range of scientific ideas. They do this through exploring and talking about their ideas; asking their own questions about scientific phenomena; and analysing functions, relationships and interactions more systematically. In years 5 and 6 children encounter more abstract ideas and begin to recognise how these ideas help them to understand and predict how the world operates. They also begin to recognise that scientific ideas change and develop over time. They are encouraged to be more independent and select the most appropriate ways to answer science questions using different types of scientific enquiry, including observing changes over different periods of time, noticing patterns, grouping and classifying things, carrying out comparative and fair tests and finding things out using a wide range of secondary sources of information. Pupils should be able to draw conclusions based on their data and observations, use evidence to justify their ideas, and use their scientific knowledge and understanding to explain their findings. Pupils should read, spell and pronounce scientific vocabulary correctly and apply these ideas in their writing.

COMPUTING
Our aim in teaching computing is that all children will become responsible, competent, confident and creative users of information and communication technology.    To this end, they are taught discrete practical skills which include the fundamentals of computer science, such as abstraction, logic, algorithms and data representation. These skills are embedded across the curriculum, where ICT is used to enhance teaching and learning in all areas of school.   The children use a variety of ICT equipment, which includes interactive whiteboards, PCs and tablets together with associated software or apps and a variety of digital media.    Children’s completed work is stored in their personalised folders on the school network.  Each child has access to the internet and e-mail via a filtered internet, which helps to ensure a safe learning environment.  We seek to educate pupils to understand not only the capabilities and limitations of technology, but also the implications and consequences of its use.  All children receive internet safety lessons as part of their computing lessons as well as part of the PHSE scheme of work. 

HISTORY
At St. Mary’s we teach History to inspire pupils’ curiosity to find out more about Britain’s past and that of the wider world. Different types of evidence including artefacts are used within the guidelines of the National Curriculum. Periods of history from Ancient Egypt and Ancient Greece through to the 20th Century are studied. Children are encouraged to ask perceptive questions, think critically, weigh evidence, sift arguments, and develop perspective and judgement. The use of P4C (Philosophy for Children) helps the children debate and discuss principles. They learn how to use various methods of study and investigation and draw comparisons between the different ages and cultures. This helps them to develop a sense of chronology and understanding of the past, together with an awareness of their own existence and culture. Links are often made across the curriculum between History and Geography, Science, Art and Religion within identified areas of study. History also provides opportunities for children to apply their writing skills in cross curricula tasks.

GEOGRAPHY
The Geography curriculum enables the children to make local studies extending to Maidenhead Town centre and the wider region of the Thames valley. They draw comparisons between their home area and other regions. The children are encouraged to develop contextual knowledge of globally significant places and a growing awareness of sustainable development is encouraged. Studies are made of the economic, human and physical geography of a region with an awareness of the need to conserve the environment along with understanding the processes that give rise to key physical and human geographical features of the world. A growing familiarity with, and an understanding of, the interpretation of maps and plans is gained throughout their work. Thematic studies include water and landscape. Cross curricula writing opportunities are used to encourage children to apply their writing skills. Geography also provides opportunities for P4C (Philosophy for Children).                                                                                      

PHYSICAL EDUCATION
Physical education plays a key role in pupils’ physical and social development and lays the foundation for their participation in later life and for the development of healthy and active lifestyles.
The curriculum includes the following activity areas: dance, games, gymnastics, swimming (including water safety) athletics and outdoor adventurous activities.  

From Reception to Year 6 we concentrate on the development of fundamental movement skills – agility, balance and coordination (ABCs). It is through the development of these vital skills that children are then able to access all sports. There is an emphasis on personal best and we provide regular opportunities for children to experience competition. Alongside the development of ABC skills, our curriculum also focuses on the following key areas of PE: health & fitness, social skills, creative skills, cognitive skills and personal skills. We encourage positive attitudes to fitness, competition, health and hygiene, whilst ensuring an awareness of safety factors.

The school has an open-air heated swimming pool, two netball courts and a large playing field. Our teams participate in the local leagues and tournaments and are consistently successful.

As many extra-curricular sports opportunities are encouraged as possible to our children in KS1 and KS2. Our goal is to ensure as many children as possible maximise the opportunities for physical exercise in school and receive the opportunity to represent St Mary’s in sporting activities and competition with other schools. 

ART
Our aim is to enthuse and guide children through a series of experiences, which enable them to explore and express their ideas in a wide variety of media through a balanced programme of art, crafts and design. An important aspect of artwork is the need to look around the environment and see how often art is involved in our lives. The children study world art and the contribution made by artists over the centuries. Children investigate the work of a number of artists and are inspired to reproduce the themes of these artists in their own work.

MUSIC
We believe that from an early age every child can respond to music in a positive way and is capable of developing an awareness of musical themes. The school has a wide variety of pitched and un-pitched instruments upon which all children are given plenty of opportunity to develop their performing skills. Children are usually given the opportunity to learn to play the recorder. Year 4 are usually given the opportunity to undertake musical instrument lessons under the tutelage of Berkshire Maestros.
Children listen and respond to a wide variety of music from different cultures and periods. Through singing and composition they develop a range of musical skills and learn about the structure, dynamics and texture of music. Children are given opportunities to perform at school, with other local schools and at national events.

DESIGN AND TECHNOLOGY
By following the curriculum for Design and Technology, the children are helped to identify and solve problems. Ideas are formed into designs and finished products, which are then tested. Product evaluation and analysis are vital when investigating products. Children are encouraged to work safely with a wide range of tools, equipment, materials and components. Design and Technology provides opportunities for real-life texts including instructions and analytical writing.

PERSONAL, CITIZENSHIP, HEALTH AND SOCIAL EDUCATION
Through the ‘Jigsaw’ scheme of work adopted by the school, children are taught about how to contribute to the communities in which they live and how to care for and be confident in themselves. Jigsaw has an emphasis on children’s well-being as well as supporting the school’s emphasis on the development of a growth mind-set. Lessons also include P4C which encourages them to think more deeply about questions which interest them, to contribute their opinions to a discussion and listen to others before forming their ideas and valuing everyone’s opinion.

RELATIONSHIPS AND SEX EDUCATION
Our aim is to support the work of parents in giving children, throughout the school, appropriate moral, social and relationship education. In an increasingly complex environment children need to be prepared for a world where their social and moral personal compass will be challenged by secular viewpoints. We aim to provide guidance whereupon a young person can make an informed, educated and faith-based decision about their life choices. Parents in Years 5 and 6 are given prior warning of sex education lessons and are welcome to view the materials to be used. Parents have the right to withdraw their children from lessons where the content is not included in the Science National Curriculum for Key stages 1 or 2.

SPECIAL EDUCATIONAL NEEDS
In accordance with our ethos we strive to maintain a high quality of curricular provision for all pupils regardless of ability. A proportion of our pupils may have special educational needs at some time during their career and these needs will be met through a flexible, appropriate and varied provision. We recognise that it is the responsibility of the whole school to help all children gain full access to a broad, balanced curriculum and to encourage all pupils to reach their full potential.

At St. Mary’s we aim to identify children with special educational needs as early as possible. Once problems are identified parents are consulted and, if necessary, the child’s name is included on our Special Needs Register as described in the Special Educational Needs Code of Practice. Parents will be involved at all stages to aid greater understanding, mutual trust and respect.

Pupils experiencing problems may be given extra support from their own class teacher, a Learning Support Assistant, the Inclusion Manager, outside agencies or a special needs teacher. The provision made will be co-ordinated by the school’s Special Educational Needs and Disability Co-ordinator (SENCO), further supported by the Inclusion Manager. A copy of the school’s Special Educational Needs Policy is available on the website or on request.

HOMEWORK
Homework is viewed as an integral part of the partnership between Home and School and enables children to re-visit, extend or enrich their learning. Parents are encouraged to ask about their children’s homework and to ensure it is completely as independently as possible. It also provides opportunities for independent research. Parents are asked to support the Homework Policy and work with their child. Details of Homework are given to all parents at the initial parents’ meeting in the autumn term. All children are expected to read each night. The completion of homework by Junior pupils is monitored and parents are notified of any problems that may occur. 

ASSESSMENT AND RECORD KEEPING
Children’s progress is subject to continuous monitoring and assessment. Each child’s progress through the curriculum will be measured both by Teacher Assessment and by the National Statutory Tests (SATs) at the end of Year 2 and again at the end of Year 6.

During their first year at school all children will be assessed against the requirements of the Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum. At the end of Year 1 the ‘Phonics Check’ is a statutory requirement to report on the level of phonics understanding. From Year 1 onwards there is continuous assessment in reading, writing and maths in order to identify children’s strengths and areas for development.

All children undertake a series of summative tasks and tests throughout the year which include PIRA (Reading) and PUMA (Maths) during the Autumn, Spring and Summer terms, from which we are able to identify progress. This information is used to inform planning, for setting targets and allocating pupils to ability groups, where appropriate, for the needs of the cohort. The school uses INSIGHT tracking, a cloud based package, which maps out a pupil’s progress and interventions received across the years they are in the school.

EDUCATIONAL VISITS AND CHARGING
The school recognises the value of school trips in enhancing children’s education and the relative costs of such trips is considered carefully before they are booked. A large proportion of the cost is usually the provision of safe transport. Parents are asked to make a voluntary contribution towards any visit or journey organised by the school and approved by the Governing Body. The school will then determine whether the level of voluntary contributions is sufficient to enable the activity to take place. If insufficient contributions are received, then the trip may become uneconomic and may be cancelled.

The governors reserve the right to request a contribution towards the cost of breakages or loss of school equipment. Where parents indicate in advance that they wish to own the finished product of a practical activity, they may be asked to provide or pay for ingredients, materials, equipment used etc. No child will be disadvantaged because of the parent’s inability to contribute in this way. 

EXTRA CURRICULAR ACTIVITIES
We aim to offer as many extra-curricular opportunities as possible to our pupils. These vary from term to term and are according to the needs and interests of each cohort. Parents are kept informed of clubs that are available through letters sent home with the pupils and on the after school activity section of this website.

If any parent wishes to discuss the curriculum they are welcome to see the Head Teacher or Chairman of Governors. Copies of curriculum policies are available on request.

 

 


"A culture of high expectations
for all ensures that pupils and teachers aspire to
achieve their best. Pupils exhibit a love of learning" Ofsted March 2016

"To the greater glory of God"

School website: ClockTowerWeb