At St Mary’s we believe in providing a knowledge based curriculum which is in line with National Curriculum expectations, but has a focus on skill progression to drive questioning, exploration of ideas and challenges children will face. It is also creative, in order to encourage children to express themselves and develop their talents.
At its heart we have 12 Christian Values which permeate through all areas of school life:
Respect, Courage, Forgiveness, Thankfulness, Compassion, Friendship, Generosity,
Justice, Perseverance, Service, Trust, Truthfulness, Generosity.
A broad and balanced curriculum that enables children to have the deeper learning necessary to give them confidence to approach school and life challenges they will meet in coming years.
For with God nothing shall be impossible (Luke 1:37)
Our Christian vision states
We live and learn by our Christian Values in an inclusive, supportive and caring environment.
The aim at St Mary’s is to provide opportunities for children to develop as independent, confident, successful learners with high aspirations who know how to make a positive contribution to their community and the wider society. We do this with our Christian values at the heart of everything which includes a high focus on developing children’s moral, spiritual, social and cultural understanding. St Mary’s strives to ensure children are well prepared for life in modern Britain.
St Mary’s provides an inclusive environment where learners enjoy their education. Pupils at all levels are helped to flourish and develop their knowledge and understanding to become confident learners. Those who are most able are challenged, encouraged to expand their skills and knowledge through varied curriculum opportunities. Those who find learning more difficult are supported and given targeted interventions to embed skills, to develop at their own pace and to learn in a style that best suits their individual needs.
St Mary’s focus on curriculum development is always carefully designed to ensure coverage and progression. As a school we have looked at all subjects and with the aim that skills are developed and repeated to embed deeper learning. The intent here is to ensure children as they move up the school can automatically apply skills to challenges, problems, new concepts they will face. Where possible we look for links to give the learning purpose and relevance eg Money Sense project or Enterprise week. It provides pupils with memorable experiences, in addition to diverse and rich opportunities from which children can learn and develop a range of transferable skills. We do this by looking to use the local environment as a resource; from studying the high street, using Thornbury Castle for Tudor research to visiting the mosque in Gloucester and River Severn as a study on rivers. A primary focus of our curriculum is to raise aspirations, engender a sense of personal pride in achievement, provide a purpose and relevance for learning and ultimately to help every child to find strengths and interests they can develop and excel at.
Teamwork and responsibility are an essential part of our curriculum and we enable children to take on key roles, becoming involved in the community eg Thornbury Eisteddfod, Thornbury in Bloom; they have opportunities to lead and plan worship by learning new skills and enabling them to take an active part in events throughout the year. They will have opportunities to compete against other schools both locally and more widely in area tournaments eg athletics at Yate athletics stadium and Ashton Gate in Bristol at a standard of Gold PE Arts Award achieved in 2019.
Children leave St Mary’s with a sense of belonging and are proud that they have developed the confidence and skills needed to be learners for life.
At St Mary’s we embrace a pedagogy of ‘Personalised Learning’; an approach which expects all children to reach or exceed national expectations, to fulfil their early promise and develop latent potential. High expectations of progress apply equally to children working above, at, or below age-related expectations, including those who have been identified as having special educational needs. There is an expectation of participation, fulfilment and success; and teaching and learning is characterised by ambitious objectives, challenging personal targets, rapid intervention to keep pupils on trajectory and rigorous assessment to check and maintain pupil progress. There are clear plans to support those who are struggling to maintain trajectory with pupil passports and provision mapping. A Pupil premium strategy supports disadvantaged children and pupil premium profiles outline the interventions and progress they make each term. The teacher’s priority is to support children so that they can keep up with the pace of learning and make good rates of progress. The effective teaching practices at St Mary’s see teachers expecting everyone to succeed by offering higher levels of support or extra challenge for those who need it, so that all pupils access the learning at the expected year group standard.
Key Foci for Effective Teaching:
1. Quality first teaching
2. Target setting
5. Learning environment
6. Curriculum organisation
7. Extended curriculum
8. Supporting children’s wider needs
The impact of our curriculum will not only be measured by assessment procedures which allow us to measure outcomes against all schools nationally:
But will be measured by how effectively it helps our pupils develop into well rounded individuals who embody our Christian values and carry with them the knowledge, skills and attitudes which will make them lifelong learners and help them develop more generally. They will have the confidence to face the many new challenges as they move onto the next stage in their educational journey.
At St Mary's our ethos is to support children’s personal, social and emotional development so that they feel safe and secure and are ready to learn.
The EYFS curriculum is designed to recognise children’s prior learning, provide first hand learning experiences, allow the children to develop interpersonal skills, build resilience and become creative, critical thinkers. Our curriculum embraces the community in which it is situated, explores the local area, and most importantly, the aspirations of all our children.
We place strong emphasis on the religious, spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of all our pupils. Our school community has identified a clear set of values that underpin expectations for behaviour for all members of our school family. Every child is recognised as a unique individual. We celebrate and welcome the differences within our school community. Those children with particular needs, including SEND, are supported appropriately allowing them to be successful.
The EYFS curriculum is designed to develop the characteristics of effective learning:
● Creating and thinking critically – children have and develop their own ideas, make links between ideas, and develop strategies for doing things.
● Active learning – children keep on trying if they encounter difficulties, and enjoy their achievements.
● Playing and exploring – children investigate and experience things, and ‘have a go’.
Through the seven areas of learning we provide topics that excite and engage children, building on own interests and developing their experiences of the world around them. We recognise that all children come into our setting with varied experiences and all staff work hard to ensure that the learning opportunities provided widen their knowledge and understanding of the world, setting ambitious expectations for all children.
EYFS Curriculum Implementation
At St Mary's, we offer a curriculum which is broad and balanced and which builds on the knowledge, understanding and skills of all children, whatever their starting points. We follow the Early Years curriculum using topic themes which are based around core texts and enrichment opportunities.
The aim of our curriculum is to develop a thirst and love for learning by:
The English curriculum is taught using parts from Talk for Writing (T4W) in EYFS. Children develop their literacy skills by the imitation of stories that they learn using actions and story mapping techniques. They then move on to innovation of these stories by including their own ideas. Children also have the opportunities to show independence in their writing by planning and writing their own stories. Literacy opportunities are also promoted in many of the continuous provision activities available to children during the week. We also have regular poetry sessions and use Helicopter stories to help enrich our children’s vocabulary and story telling skills.
The Early Years uses core texts as a basis for topic planning. These texts are chosen for their level of challenge and quality language and to ensure a broad range of topics are covered during their time in the EYFS. They have also been chosen with a view to promoting reading for pleasure. We have an Author of the Year who is Julia Donaldson and promote her stories through the year in story sessions to develop the children’s interest in authors as well as using for our Literacy inputs. The children also take turns to take a story sack home with a selection of her books and suggested activities and book reviews to do with their parents.
Phonics is taught daily through Letters and Sounds document to ensure progression through the year. We use the Jolly Phonics actions and songs to engage the children and the children are taught the skills of blending and segmenting through a variety of different games and activities to make this an exciting and fun session. These skills are also embedded through the areas of learning around the setting.
All children have an individual reading book which they read at school and take home. These are phonetically decodable books and link in to their current phonics phase. There is a range of non-fiction and fiction books and varied stores for the children to choose one that interests them while matched to their level. Our Reading scheme has mix from Oxford Press such as Floppy’s Phonics, Traditional Tales, Aliens Adventures, Hero Academy, Songbirds which are all fully phonetically decodable before they go onto richer reading within the level which includes in fact non-fiction books and some ORT stories. Children also get to choose a library book which they take home to share with adults to help promote reading for pleasure.
The maths curriculum is taught through dedicated carpet sessions. These sessions are carefully planned using resources and build on prior learning and real life experiences across the theme and year. We want our children to become confident mathematicians who can apply what they have learnt to real life experiences. We follow these sessions up with Maths in our continuous provision and with focused small group sessions with an adult.
Where possible the children’s own interests are used by the adults to engage the children in higher level thinking and deeper learning. Child initiated learning is valued and encouraged. Through adult led learning we introduce new concepts and knowledge, the progression of which can be led by the children through enabling environments and continuous provision. The adults play an important role in the children’s continuous provision helping to challenge the children and move them forward as well as modelling key language and skills. Specific children’s needs are also targeted through their play in order to support them further.
Each half termly topic is enhanced through a variety of first hand experiences (visits and visitors). These give all of the children a shared experience through which to explore and develop language, knowledge and skills. Role play is also seen a valuable tool to support delivery of the curriculum and the development of key language skills.
Parents are valued as first educators and every effort is made to inform them of the EYFS curriculum whilst providing them with the tools to continue in school learning at home. Parents are also encouraged to inform school of their child’s interests and achievements at home as these are an essential part of each child’s learning journey. They send in WOW moments to help celebrate achievements at home. Strategies to include and inform parents include, ‘Meet the Teacher’, Termly Big Read events, Phonics Workshop, Mathematical Development workshop and our website. We also hold craft afternoons and special events for our parents such as Mother’s Day afternoon tea and Father’s Day Fun afternoon. Parents have access to their children’s learning journey through photos and observations that they can access through 2simple.
EYFS Curriculum Impact
The impact of the EYFS Curriculum is that all children make good progress from their individual starting points. All children get the best possible start to their school life and develop the knowledge and skills so that they are well prepared for Key Stage 1. They develop and nurture strong, positive attitudes where they become proud and respectful of themselves, others and their environment.
Children demonstrate high levels of engagement in activities, developing their speaking and listening skills, enabling them to access more areas of the learning and communicate to both adults and children. Children have developed a wider sense of the world around them and can draw on these experiences during interactions with others and link this to new learning.
Children develop their characteristics of learning and are able to apply their knowledge to a range of situations making links and explaining their ideas and understanding. Children are confident to take risks and discuss their successes and failures with adults drawing on their experiences to improve or adjust what they are doing.
At St Mary’s CE VA Primary School, English has a very high profile. Speaking and writing fluently enables pupils to communicate their ideas. Reading enables pupils to develop culturally, emotionally, intellectually, socially and spiritually. We provide the opportunity for learners to understand and to make links between the combined skills of language, enabling them to participate fully as a member of society. At St Mary’s we believe reading is central to a child’s understanding of the school curriculum and is of vital importance in life as an essential life skill. Children who enjoy reading tend to progress well in school. Reading increases a child’s knowledge and vocabulary and widens their view of the world. We aim to develop a love and appreciation of reading which will stay with children for life. We hope to achieve this through careful planning and teaching using up-to-date strategies. At St Mary’s children are encouraged to read for pleasure at home and school. Teachers read a variety of high-quality texts to the children on a regular basis, being role models on how to read for the children.
Speaking and Listening
At St Mary's Primary we follow the Letters and Sounds scheme of phonics teaching. We use the Jolly Phonics actions and songs to engage the children and the children are taught the skills of blending and segmenting through a variety of different games and activities. Each child in Reception through to Year 2 have a daily, 20-minute phonics lesson, following the teaching sequence of revisit/ review – teach – practise - apply. In Year 2, children access a balance of both phonic and spelling punctuation and grammar (SPAG) lessons based on their individual needs and attainment. Reception and KS1 children are taught in whole class or groups based on regular assessments so that children’s learning needs are accurately matched to the correct provision and we have a tracker to show what phase the children are on. Small phonic sessions or interventions are delivered by teaching assistants and overseen by the class teacher, to provide complimentary teaching. Sessions are lively, fast-paced and fun.
In a session children are taught either phonemes/ digraphs/ trigraphs, high frequency and/or tricky words and these are consolidated through reading and writing. They are also encouraged to use their skills through activities in their continuous provision in the reception and Year 1 class as well as in Literacy sessions.
At the end of Year 1 children have to take the national Phonics Test which tests pupil phonic knowledge. Any child that does not complete the phonics programme will continue learning phonics throughout Year 3/4 during interventions and Phonic sessions. All children are tested termly to ensure that we keep track of where they are and their next steps.
As soon as children start in Reception they are opened up to a love of reading. Core texts are chosen for their level of challenge and quality language and to ensure a broad range of topics are covered during their time in the EYFS. Reading is introduced in our Literacy inputs, story time and through our continuous provision. Story telling is also promoted through drama, small world, role play and using Helicopter Stories. Our Books have also been chosen with a view to promoting reading for pleasure.
Initially each child will take a picture book to help them become familiar with the features of a book, how to handle it and to use language skills and the pictures to tell a story. Once the children have developed their phonic skills they will move onto books with words. These are phonetically decodable books and link in to their current phonics phase. There is a range of non-fiction and fiction books and varied stories for the children to choose one that interests them while matched to their level. Our Reading scheme has mix from Oxford Press such as Floppy’s Phonics, Traditional Tales, Aliens Adventures, Hero Academy, Songbirds which are all fully phonetically decodable before they go onto richer reading within the level which includes in fact non-fiction books and some ORT stories. Children also get to choose a library book which they take home to share with adults to help promote reading for pleasure. This scheme runs from Reception and throughout Key Stage 1. The children are assessed regularly to keep track and ensure on books for their level.
Love of Reading and reading for pleasure is encouraged through school with regular free reading slots in the class, lunch time clubs and a weekly access to the library. Each class takes part in ‘Buddy Reading’ weekly where they share stories with a pupil from a different class. We hold a termly ‘Big Read’ event where parents come in to share stories with their children. Every class also visit the local library in Thornbury through the year. Reading events are both celebrated and promoted through the school year with special days and activities planned.
Each class has an Author of the Year and promote their stories through the year in story sessions to develop the children’s interest in authors as well as being used in our Literacy sessions. The children also take turns to take a story sack home with a selection of their books and suggested activities and book reviews to do with their parents.
We support our parents at St Mary's with reading by providing a parents Phonics workshop which is open to all parents where we explain what Phonics is and activities that they can do at home to support their children. We also provide all parents with a reading leaflet which gives them useful website links as well as questions to use when reading with their children at home. Volunteers are very welcome to help support reading and we provide them with support through teacher discussion and a pack with question prompts and our Reading Hats programme information.
As a result we have a community of enthusiastic readers who enjoy showcasing their developing literacy knowledge and skills. They are confident to take risks in their reading, and love to discuss and share their ideas. We believe reading is a strength of the school giving children a firm platform to access the wider curriculum.
Attainment in reading is measured using the statutory assessments at the end of Key Stage One and Two. And assessed against the Early Learning Goals in Reception. These results are measured against the reading attainment of children nationally. Attainment in phonics is measured by the Phonics Screening Test at the end of Year 1. However, we firmly believe that reading is the key to all learning and so the impact of our reading curriculum goes beyond the results of the statutory assessments. We give all children the opportunity to enter the magical worlds that books open up to them. We promote reading for pleasure as part of our reading curriculum. This enhances a deep love of literature across a range of genres, cultures and styles. Through our Author of The Year focus or children leave us with a good knowledge and range of authors.
At St Mary’s CE VA Primary School, English has a very high profile. Speaking and writing fluently enables pupils to communicate their ideas. Reading enables pupils to develop culturally, emotionally, intellectually, socially and spiritually. We provide the opportunity for learners to understand and to make links between the combined skills of language, enabling them to participate fully as a member of society.
Spoken Language- Learners are given the opportunity to develop their spoken language across the curriculum whilst learning and applying grammar. Learners participate in drama to develop their skills and knowledge.
Reading- Learners focus on both word reading and comprehension to develop understanding of the written language. Pupils are encouraged to read widely across fiction and non-fiction for enjoyment and to develop their knowledge of the world.
Writing- Learners will develop transcription (spelling and handwriting) and composition (structuring ideas, vocabulary, punctuation and grammar) skills. They will be taught to control their writing consciously using Standard English.
St Mary’s will promote high standards of language and literacy, equipping pupils with a strong command of the spoken and written language and to develop their love of literature.
Our intention is that all pupils:
IMPLEMENTATION: TEACHING AND LEARNING IN ENGLISH
Pupils are engaged in English through a variety of core texts which are used to help promote writing. Daily phonics sessions enable pupils to access the formation of letters along with their sounds. Clear modelling of spelling using their known sounds gives children the confidence to have a go themselves. They have access to writing areas and resources during continuous provision, along with specific writing tasks with an adult. By the end of the year pupils are writing simple sentences.
KS1 + KS2
At St Mary’s English is taught through a sequential journey that encourages children to read like a writer and write like a reader. The children use a high quality core text each term as the basis of their learning. The text is then supplemented with other genre specific texts dependent upon the expected writing outcome, whether it be to entertain, to inform, to persuade or to discuss.
Based on our core texts we plan a unit of work over a 6-week period, ensuring that we have a balance of skills and application being taught throughout. Well-planned learning intentions, taken from the National Curriculum and Age Related Expectations, are mapped out over a complete sequence, enabling learners to move from novice to expert.
We break down a unit into two three week blocks with one having a fiction outcome and the other a non-fiction outcome. The 3 weeks contain 3 phases using planning circles to support us in the organisation of these. Each phase allows children to develop their skills and be fully immersed in the text through a range of techniques suited to class; encouraging discussion about authors’ choices and context and making links. We plan a sequence backwards, beginning with the end of block outcome and focusing on the skills that need to be developed in order for children to meet the required expectation; this is known to teaching staff as ‘bottom-up planning.’
Teachers draw on a range of resources to help teach the National Curriculum, including the St Mary’s Text Type and Narrative Progression documents which provide a clear progression of expectations for each year group.
Teachers know their pupils, identifying those who are SEN, Pupil Premium, greater depth and those who require additional support to ensure that their needs are planned for within units. Support is given in the form of quality first teaching, using a range of resources and further adult intervention. Challenge is given to enable pupils to meet their full potential by providing additional quality first teaching, extending the more able pupils as indicated in our Greater Depth Trajectory documents, using a range of resources and having high expectations of all pupils.
Grammar is learnt naturally as a child interacts and reads. At St Mary’s we build on their natural skills, teaching grammar so that pupils develop a conscious control and choice in their writing.
The national curriculum sets out a clear progression of grammar and punctuation skills which children should be taught across KS1 and 2. We try to teach these skills in a variety of ways to make them memorable but, most importantly, enables children to apply the skills consistently when they write independently. We embed the teaching of grammar into our English units, taking examples from our core texts and modelling appropriately. Pupils are given practise tasks to enable them to explore these grammatical elements in oral and written form before being expected to independently apply in their own writing outcome at the end of a unit. Grammatical terms are used with pupils so they develop their understanding and application of these.
Grammar understanding is tested formally at the end of KS1 and KS2. Throughout years 3-5 children complete NfER grammar tests in term 5, giving teachers time to identify and recap misconceptions and pass information onto the next teacher.
ORACY & VOCABULARY
Opportunities for developing oracy are at the heart of the whole curriculum, enabling them the confidence to communicate effectively, providing a basis for their writing development.
Children learn stories and poems by heart, as indicated in the NC, and teachers plan activities in which the children learn to become effective communicators. From EYFS to Year 6 these range from informal ‘play’ tasks, focussed discussions, drama in the classroom environment through to more formal opportunities such as class assemblies, speaking as part of our worship team, concerts at Christmas and presenting in our church services.
Our intent is to improve pupils’ vocabulary, and in doing so we will increase their ability to communicate through both oral and written language.
Vocabulary is a key focus when analysing texts, exploring the meaning of words and the reasons why they were selected by the author. A similar process is used when modelling the writing process, discussing possible word choices and justifying decisions. Pupils are encouraged to explore and use a wide range of vocabulary, through the use of dictionaries and thesauruses.
At St Mary’s we recognise the importance of spelling as one part of what makes a good writer. We understand that whilst some children may find spelling challenging, with the right support most will become proficient spellers during their time with us.
Throughout the school spelling is taught discreetly outside of English units.
Each child in Reception through to Year 2 have a daily, 20-minute phonics lesson using Letters and Sounds as our key resource. Lessons follow the teaching sequence of revisit/ review – teach – practise - apply. This enables us to constantly revise and revisit sounds they have previously been taught to develop fluency.
Children are taught to segment words to spell using the graphemes they have acquired. They are also taught common ‘tricky’ words that may not include the usual spelling of the phoneme.
In Year 2 pupils access a balance of both phonics and spelling lessons related to the needs of the class in order to fulfil the National Curriculum expectations.
From Year 2-6 No-nonsense Spelling is used as a teaching resource for teaching spelling. Spelling is taught regularly, focusing on the outcomes indicated in the National Curriculum.
In a small number of cases phonics teaching through interventions will continue into KS2 where required by the needs of individual pupils.
Spellings are sent home to learn from Year 1 through to Year 6. Pupils are encouraged to use a variety of strategies to practise these, including visual and kinaesthetic methods. Spellings will take the form of lists including words from the statutory requirements in the National Curriculum spelling appendix, KS1 common exception words and the KS2 spelling lists. These are then tested in school and are expected to be applied in their independent writing.
Some pupils who have been identified as struggling with spelling will have additional support in school. This could be taking part in an intervention with an adult or having extra practise time in school hours. These pupils may have a differentiated list from the majority of the class.
A small number of pupils with significant difficulties use ‘Nessy’, a “highly structured, sequential, cumulative and systematic phonics based learning program”. This is individualised and tailored to the pupils need.
At St Mary’s we believe that spelling must not be allowed to dominate our responses to children’s writing. Very good efforts at writing can often be dismissed because of basic spelling errors and this can damage a child’s perception of him/herself as writers. When drafting writing, children are encouraged to have a go at unfamiliar spellings in order to continue the creative flow. They can then edit by using dictionaries.
HANDWRITING & PRESENTATION
Our intention is for pupils to write clearly and neatly in order to communicate meaning effectively.
The aim by the end of KS1 is for all pupils to form capital letters and digits of the correct size, orientation and relationship to one another and to lower-case letters, use spacing between words that reflects the size of the letters and use the diagonal and horizontal strokes needed to join some letters. (Teacher Assessment Framework)
The aim by the end of KS2 is that all pupils are able to maintain legibility in joined handwriting when writing at speed (Teacher Assessment Framework) by choosing which shape of a letter to use when given choices and deciding whether or not to join specific letters and choosing the writing implement that is best suited for a task (National Curriculum).
Pupils should write legibly in both joined and printed styles with increasing fluency and speed by:
• Having a correct pencil grip.
• Forming all letters correctly.
• Knowing the size and orientation of letters.
• Knowing the correct position of letters on a line.
St Mary’s uses the Nelson Handwriting Scheme which is taught across the whole school. Regular handwriting lessons encourages pupils to think about their handwriting and will embed the handwriting process.
Handwriting begins in EYFS when individual letter formation is taught within phonics phases 2 and 3. This is reinforced in Year 1 by consolidating the individual letter formation, with emphasis on where letters begin and end. At a relevant time in Year 1 pupils will be introduced to joining. Year 2 continue to teach joining, so that pupils are able to meet the handwriting criteria set out in the TAF. Key Stage 2 use the resources to revise and revisit joins, giving children opportunities to practise and apply their own style to develop legibly.
In EYFS pupils have access to a wide range of mark making materials, including those with a thicker hand grip until their gross and fine motor skills develop sufficiently to maintain grip on a normal pencil. Pencil grips are provided to those pupils who need them. A small minority of pupils with specific needs benefit from using a writing slope to ease discomfort and improve presentation.
In Year 3 pens are introduced to all pupils. They have a choice between using a school provided black handwriting pen or black biro.
Presentation expectations are reinforced to pupils by all members of staff, encouraging children to take pride in their work.
EDITING & REVISING
The final, and highly important stage, in writing is editing and revising.
Throughout all of KS1 and 2 pupils are taught to edit and improve their writing in relation to the NC and ARE expectations for their year group. This is an invaluable skill for pupils to learn and as such is a key component of our writing teaching sequence. Editing and revising is modelled during teaching and is consolidated through guidance on a 1:1 basis or in groups.
From Year 1 pupils work with an adult to reread their writing and to edit mistakes and errors using a purple ‘polishing pen’.
This continues in Year 2 with pupils spotting their own mistakes so that they can independently ‘make simple additions, revisions and proof-reading corrections to their own writing’ (KS1 TAF).
Revising is fully introduced in Year 3. By the end of KS2 pupils are expected to
propose ‘changes to vocabulary, grammar and punctuation to enhance effects and clarify meaning, ensuring the consistent and correct use of tense throughout a piece of writing, ensuring correct subject and verb agreement when using singular and plural, distinguishing between the language of speech and writing and choosing the appropriate register and proofread for spelling and punctuation errors’. (NC)
At St Mary’s writing is assessed using ARE grids from years 1-6. For the majority of pupils this is done in terms 2, 4 and 6. Pupil Premium and SEN pupils are assessed termly to enable teachers to track their progress more closely. In Year 2 and 6 the TAF is used to assess in addition to the ARE.
In reception the EYFS profile is used to assess their progress.
In September the EYFS data and ARE results from the previous year are used to identify gaps in learning which should be recapped and consolidated during term 1.
The majority of pupils will be working at their relevant ARE. A small number in each class may be working at a lower ARE and these pupils will receive additional quality first teaching and interventions to reduce the gap between them and their peers.
Through discussion with their teacher pupils are made aware of their next steps and how to improve their work. Writing target cards with child friendly statements are used so that pupils are aware of their targets and can talk about the next steps to improve their work.
Here at St Mary’s we believe that science is an important area of children’s learning and is a fantastic way of developing not only their scientific knowledge and understanding; but also of their curiosity, fascination and interest in the world around them.
Our science curriculum develops both children’s scientific knowledge and understanding and their investigative and experimenting skills. Science in our school is about developing children’s awareness of the world we live in through investigation, as well as using and applying process skills.
At St. Mary’s Primary School, in conjunction with the aims of the National Curriculum, our Science teaching offers opportunities for children to:
We believe that a broad and balanced science education, where cross curricular links can be made to other subjects, is the entitlement of all children within our school. We aim to prepare our children for life in an increasingly scientific and technological world; broaden their understanding of the scientific concept of their world; develop their skills of investigation – including observing, measuring, predicting, hypothesising, experimenting, communicating, interpreting, explaining and evaluating; encourage their use of scientific vocabulary and enable them to become effective communicators of scientific ideas, facts and data.
At St Mary’s children have weekly lessons in Science throughout Key Stage 1 and 2, using various programmes of study and resources. In Early years, science is taught through the children learning about the world around them in their learning through play.
The children within our school consider our approach to be fun, engaging, informative and practical. They relish the opportunities to explore new equipment and carry out investigations which develop their understanding of the world around them. The children demonstrate their knowledge of the individual topics within science and they understand the importance of engaging in the process of working scientifically, opposed to always coming to a concise conclusion first time. As a school, we monitor progress through regular monitoring and questioning of the children.
At St Mary’s, we develop the children’s knowledge and understanding of the major world faiths, and address fundamental questions concerning, for example. We enable children to develop a sound knowledge not only of Christianity but also of other world religions, especially those that are the main faiths of children within our school and local community. Children reflect on what it means to have a faith and to develop their own spiritual knowledge and understanding. We help the children to learn from religions as well as about religions. We encourage children to think about their own views and values in relation to the themes and topics studied in the RE curriculum.
“Standards in religious education (RE) are outstanding. They are in line with standards in the other core subjects which are significantly above the national average.”
Statutory Inspection of Anglican Schools
History Curriculum Intent
INTENT behind the design of the curriculum.
Across seven years the aim is to provide a balance of important events, historical people, local history, ancient civilisations, comparison and impact. We aim to develop four main skills encompassing chronological understanding, a range and depth of historical knowledge, how history is interpreted historical enquiry and research.
In KS1 very much looking at things the children can identify with to build up the enquiry aspect of history eg, toys past and present, a study of the high street, building imagination with exploring what it is like to land on the moon to celebrate events from the past. Looking at different explorers and why they were so brave.
Using local history eg Edward Jenner who was born 5 miles away, visiting his museum. Or looking at music through the ages to show that history is not just about books and what people did.
In KS2 use of the local area to make history more real for the children eg using Thornbury castle when studying the Tudors or looking at Iron Age hill forts at Uley. The links with railways, the work Brunel did locally, with visits to Bristol. We can compare today with the arguments about the H2O rail link to the north, showing how history repeats itself in so many ways and what lessons we can learn from the past. The work on slavery, understanding that Bristol’s wealth was built on the slave trade. The blitz in WW2, Bristol was a targeted area and huge areas were destroyed or spending the day as evacuees at Avon Valley Railway Museum. Bristol museum is an excellent centre for studying ancient civilisations, such as Greece and Egypt as we aim to develop their chronological understanding before 1066 and increase their range and depth of historical knowledge.
We aim to make history as real as possible for the children so that they develop a lifelong love and fascination about the subject.
History is taught in termly blocks throughout the year over four terms. Teachers have identified the key knowledge and skills of each topic and consideration has been given to ensure progression across topics throughout each year group across the school. By the end of year 6, children will have a chronological understanding of British history from the Stone Age to the present day. They are able to draw comparisons and make connections between different time periods and their own lives. Interlinked with this are studies of world history, such as the ancient civilisations of Greece and ancient Egypt.
The local area is utilised with opportunities for learning outside the classroom embedded in practice. Planning is informed by and aligned with the national curriculum and adapted to take advantage of local opportunities. Outcomes of work are regularly monitored to ensure that they reflect a sound understanding of the key identified knowledge. Within our knowledge-rich approach, there is a strong emphasis on people and the community of our local area.
The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) follows the ‘Development Matters in the EYFS’ guidance which aims for all children in reception to have an ‘Understanding of the World; people and communities, the world and technology’ by the end of the academic year.
History is an opportunity to develop a sense of understanding, not just with history but of the area the children live in, an appreciation of our heritage so that they can learn the lessons from the past.
Regular visits eg to historical buildings and museums provide further relevant and contextual learning, engaging members of the community in children’s learning and providing positive role models from the community for children to learn from.
The impact and measure of this is to ensure that children at St Mary’s are equipped with historical skills and knowledge that will enable them to be ready for the curriculum at Key Stage 3 and for life as an adult in the wider world.
Music Curriculum Intent
At St Mary’s we aim to develop a love for and appreciation of music which will enrich our pupils’ lives. We believe that participation in music provides valuable creative, social and cultural experiences for our pupils, and contributes towards key cross-curricular skills such as reflection, risk-taking, teamwork and self-expression.
All pupils receive opportunities to build on their ability to listen to, respond to, perform and compose music, whatever their starting point. We follow the national curriculum aims for music and develop these through a curriculum which contains six strands:
In Key Stage 1, EYFS start by using songs which support other areas of learning such as number, and enjoy discovering the range of sounds instruments make. As they progress through the key stage, they are taught to perform with more accuracy, and to describe music using musical terms such as pitch. In Key Stage 2, these skills are built upon through focussed instrumental lessons which include teaching about notation, and through increasingly detailed appreciation of music to inform choices about performance and composition.
Each year group has three units of music to complete each year, which build on and develop skills learned in previous years. The majority of our music is delivered using resources from the online music school Charanga, which is recommended by and supported by the South Gloucestershire Music Hub. Children in KS2 receive their own log-ins so that they can explore the site at home for enrichment, and follow up on class learning. We also make use of other resources, in particular to deliver the composition elements of music, such as the BBC’s 10 Pieces collections. The songs and pieces used are regularly reviewed and changed as appropriate to keep the curriculum fresh and inspiring.
Where possible, we adapt the curriculum to incorporate cross-curricular and topical learning opportunities. For example, Year 5 children have recently composed raps about bullying and climate change which have been used in an assembly during anti-bullying week, and for the centenary of the end of World War 1, children throughout the school were involved in performing and composing music based on songs from the time and the experiences of the soldiers. Children are encouraged to share their own interests and talents in music lessons, for example by bringing in their own instruments for practical work. All children receive lessons in how to play the recorder and the glockenspiel. The school has a good collection of percussion and tuned instruments, ensuring that all children are involved in lessons.
In addition to class-based learning, musical skills are promoted through a range of extra-curricular activities. We have visiting peripatetic teachers who deliver small group lessons in ukulele, guitar, recorder and piano. Each year, Year 4 have a ten-week block of music tuition delivered by the Hub, which includes lessons and instrument hire. In the past this has involved learning the fife, the violin and samba drums. We have a successful choir who take part in the local Eisteddfod and visit a local residential home every Christmas to share carols with the residents.
Music features strongly in the Christian life of the school through our worships. Song is a key feature of our Eucharist services and the children have composed and perform regularly their own song for the Eucharist. We also perform at a Christmas carol service in the church, and there are two Key Stage productions a year; KS1 put on a Christmas production and KS2 a summer production. We have worked with iSingPOP on several occasions, learning Christian songs with actions which we performed at a concert and often use in worship.
The impact of music teaching at St Mary’s can be seen in the confidence children gain by participating in the subject. During their time here, every child will have performed regularly, worked in groups and individually, and composed their own work. These experiences greatly benefit their self-esteem and contribute to their ability to communicate with a range of audiences.
By the end of Year 6, all pupils will be able to perform on a tuned instrument to at least a basic level of competency and to have a grasp of how to read and record music, with many pupils able to read music fluently. They will have an appreciation of a variety of types of music and have an understanding of how music and instruments have developed through history.
They will also have taken an active role in the school and wider community, preparing them to make the most of opportunities in the next stage of their education.
Modern Foreign Languages (MFL)
Through our teaching of MFL, we aim to develop linguistic competence. This as a key ability which supports children across their learning, through improved confidence and communication skills. MFL plays an important role in shaping our pupils to become global citizens of the future, by both equipping them with an additional language, and by fostering an understanding and appreciation of people from other countries and cultures. As such, MFL has strong cross-curricular links to areas such as Geography and P.S.H.E.E.. It also contributes to and strengthens pupils’ understanding of the spiritual, moral, social and cultural aspects of the curriculum, and supports our school values, particularly respect, friendship and service.
The language learning provided at St Mary’s CE VA School aims to ensure that all pupils:
Whilst some incidental language may be taught in KS1, for example songs and instructions, the French curriculum starts in KS2. Children in Years 3 and 4 receive weekly lessons throughout the year, and those in Years 5 and 6 receive weekly lessons in terms 2, 4 and 6. The curriculum is taught in topics such as colours and the family, with each unit enabling children to speak and write about the topic in French. Key grammatical knowledge is also built into the structure of the curriculum, so that children are revisiting and building upon blocks of language to create increasingly detailed phrases and sentences. This means that, from mostly vocabulary based learning in Year 3, by upper Key Stage 2 children have enough words and grammatical understanding to speak, read and write with greater purpose and accuracy. They will also become more independent at researching how to say and write their ideas, learning how to use a bilingual dictionary.
In addition to key areas of vocabulary and grammar, the MFL curriculum includes work on aspects of cultural life. For example, all classes will explore Christmas and Easter in France, focussing on a different tradition, story or rhyme as they progress through the school. They look for similarities and celebrate differences between their own and others’ cultures.
As a school, we also seek to celebrate the diverse languages and cultural traditions of our pupils and their families. Many languages are spoken across the school, including Russian, Italian and Cantonese. The children who speak and understand these languages in addition to English are already skilled linguists, who can contribute much to our understanding of how language works. We value this by incorporating the range of languages spoken into our school life, through displays, festivals and worships.
Children at St Mary’s are enthusiastic about foreign languages. The vast majority of children do not speak any French when they enter the school, and as such most children are starting from a similar point. This means that all children can feel confident about joining in, and the combination of songs, games, and choral speaking which precedes reading and writing in French supports children with SEND well. From this starting point, learning is differentiated as appropriate, with some children achieving a very high standard particularly in written French. This gives them a strong foundation for success in languages at secondary school.
During their time at St Mary’s, all children will achieve a good basic level of speaking and writing in French. By the end of Year 6, children are able to hold a simple conversation in French in which they provide key information about themselves and give opinions about a range of topics e.g. whether they like their school uniform and why. They are familiar with the key grammatical constructs of simple sentences. They will also have acquired a range of learning tools which will enable them to access other languages, and have a deeper understanding of how language works in general. Most importantly, they will take with them a positive attitude to the exciting range of languages and cultures around them.
Art and Design Intent
At St Mary’s we understand that art and design engages, inspires and challenges pupils, equipping them with the knowledge and skills to experiment, invent and create their own work.
By providing a rich and enjoyable variety of activities in drawing, painting, printing, textiles, collage and 3D, children have the opportunities to communicate what they see, think and feel about the world around them whilst kindling their creativity and imagination.
We recognise that developing the skills children need to explore outcomes within an activity is vital and studying the work of established artists both in the present and past and from different cultural backgrounds is an important part of our focus.
At our school, we encourage the children to embrace their learning within art activities in the light of the school core Christian values: perseverance, truthfulness and respect. Alongside the development of practical skills, pupils are given opportunities to critically reflect about and respond to their own work and that of others, with increasingly informed and sensitively expressed opinions.
All children should:
Personal Social Health Economic Education (PSHEE) Intent
At St Mary’s our PSHE curriculum aims to equip our children with the skills, knowledge, understanding, attitudes and values they will need to fully engage in life within and outside the school community.
Children enjoy a variety of experiences and activities which equip them to work successfully with others and responsibly as individuals. Our PSHE curriculum and Values Ambassador program encourages the practical outworking of our school values. Children will learn to appreciate the richness of diversity and differences in a range of contexts which will prepare them in the future for building secure and fulfilling relationships : the building blocks of a tolerant and harmonious society.
Children will be given opportunities to reflect on their deepening knowledge of economic, moral, social and spiritual responsibilities and how this is shaping them into ‘future-ready’ grounded individuals.
All children should:
. have the opportunity to think about how they can contribute to a happy , inspiring learning environment where they can function successfully as individuals and with others.
. learn how it feels to be bullied and what makes someone bully, recognise some warning signs and have some strategies for dealing with these situations.
. be taught how they can keep safe online and what to spot in terms of cyber bullying.
. be taught about people who could help them and how they can access help.
. be taught about how to keep themselves healthy physically and mentally by specific teaching about relationships and sex, looking after their teeth, healthy eating and lifestyle choices including the perils of drugs and alcohol.
. be taught about budgeting , spending , saving and making a profit. All children will use these skills to take part in a school fund raising enterprise.
. Children who demonstrate our school values at all times will be invited to become Value Ambassadors with responsibilities to ‘show by example’ both inside and outside the classroom.
Sex and Relationship Education
As part of the PSHE curriculum, SRE (Sex and Relationship Education) covers subjects such as relationships, keeping healthy, personal hygiene, feelings, naming body parts, appropriate touch and keeping safe. Puberty is introduced in KS2 and sexual intercourse is discussed in Year 6. We are awaiting confirmation of the new statutory guidance for 2020.
Through the study of design and technology, children combine practical skills with an understanding of aesthetic, social and environmental issues, as well as of functions and industrial practices.
Teachers ensure that the children apply their knowledge and understanding when developing ideas, planning and making products, and then evaluating them. We do this through a mixture of whole-class teaching and individual or group activities. Within lessons, we give children the opportunity to work both on their own and to collaborate with others, listening to other children’s ideas and treating these with respect.
Our children experience geography as a practical subject, where they investigate their own environment and have opportunities to work outside the school through trips and field studies. As the children move through the school they learn to understand how the geography of a region plays a part in the culture that develops. They are also taught to be aware of the changing world in which we live and of the various factors which influence our environment.
At St Mary’s CE VA Primary School, we intend for the Computing curriculum to enable our children to become CONFIDENT, CREATIVE and SAFE users of technology. We want to enable our pupils to use computational thinking and creativity to understand and change the world.
CONFIDENT – We intend for children to be able to confidently use a range of hardware and software in order to solve problems and create programs and digital content. We intend for children to understand and apply the fundamental principles and concepts of computer science, build on their skills each year to write and test programs. Children will be able to confidently manipulate text, images and data in a range of programs and be able to use these skills across other curriculum subjects.
CREATIVE – We want children to be able to use technology to develop their ideas and create a range of content. Through programming, children will be able to develop creative solutions to problems by planning, testing, and debugging code, as well as other programs such as spreadsheets and databases. They will be able to use their skills and imagination to add and change content, incorporating appropriate images, text and sounds for effect.
SAFE - We teach our pupils to be responsible and active participants in a digital world. This will include how children can protect themselves online, search safely and effectively, communicate appropriately with respect and be able to evaluate the usefulness of online content.
As a Church school, we believe it is important to embed our Christian values throughout the Computing curriculum, and therefore encourage values such as perseverance when debugging code and understanding respect and compassion when communicating online.
Children generally start St Mary’s with a reasonable understanding of technology, particularly touch screen skills. In KS1, there is a focus on developing early keyboard skills as we want to ensure the basics are embedded early. We recognise that there are children in our school community with strong Computing skills and we intend to ensure these children have additional challenge within the curriculum as well as extra-curricular opportunities. We make sure that all children are able to access technology and adapt lessons or resources where necessary to ensure this can happen.
The children experience a varied physical education programme which includes swimming, dance, games, wake and shake and ‘Speed, Agility and Quickness’ sessions as well as gymnastics. The PE scheme of work is designed to teach children how to assess their skills in PE and games and how to improve them further. There is a range of after school clubs and sporting activities throughout the year and we hold a sports day in the summer.
We strive to deliver PE opportunities to engage children in a range of sporting activities. We do this by inviting specialist coaches who can run in class curriculum based sessions and who may also run after school clubs in their chosen areas. Most recently this has included training in Tag Rugby from member of the Bristol Rugby Club and Cricket from Rockhampton Cricket Club. We encourage a love of sport by taking part in tournaments for sports from Tag Rugby and Football to Boccia and New Age Kurling. After school clubs, which are run throughout the academic year, have included Sports Heroes, Netball, Hockey, Rounders and Football.
In 2019 our excellence in PE was recognised when we achieved the National Gold PE Quality Mark.
Each class has a web page where you can find more about the curriculum overview and exciting developments every term.