St. Mary’s Catholic Primary School is committed to meeting the requirements of the new primary curriculum.
We have taken this as an opportunity to reflect on what is best at St. Mary’s, remembering why we do what we do and ensure this remains at the heart of the curriculum.
We have thought about 6 key features that underpin our decision making.
- Teaching and Learning – What, and why do we use a certain approach?
- Pupils – Why is the unique child important in our curriculum?
- Curriculum Structure – What do we think should influence how we structure our curriculum and why?
- Community Links – Which people, places and businesses should we ensure are part of our curriculum?
- Shared Values – Why do we hold the values of confidence, collaboration, independence, creativity and service as essential in our community?
- Assessment – What sort of feedback/assessment system and why?
Each cross-curricular theme begins with a ‘Stunning Start’ to engage the learners, include an educational site visit and/or a visitor and concludes with a celebration of learning, a ‘Fabulous Finish’, shared with parents and carers.
Our core values will be developed over the year:
- Confidence and collaboration – Autumn Term
- Creativity and service – Spring Term
- Independence – Summer Term
Topic Based Curriculum
You can download the topic cycle two-year planner from the bottom of this page. This will tell you which topics are being covered by each class in each term. The books studied in english lessons and mathermatical problems will be linked to these particular topics. The topics covered will have a 'major' subject as a lead. For example, the 'Vikings' topic will have a strong emphasis on history whereas the 'Space' topic will be led by scientific enquiry. By linking the learning and showing children the big picture we aim to ensure that the children maximise both their progress and enjoyment of learning.
In Early Years, most topics are chosen on the interests of the children. Some topics are fixed to coincide with special times in the liturgical year such as Advent and Lent and we celebrate feast days and festivals. Also, at certain times throughout the year, we learn about the seasons and other festivals such as Chinese New Year and Diwali.
The Foundation Stage
is made up from the seven Foundation Stage areas of learning. There are three prime areas – Personal, Social & Emotional Development, Communication & Language, & Physical Development and four specific areas of learning – Literacy, Maths, Knowledge and Creative & Expressive arts. Children are taught through a balance of child initiated and teacher led activities. We also follow the ‘Come and See’ RE programme.
We aim to equip all children with numerical, spatial and data-handling skills, which will develop powers of logical thought. We emphasise understanding and the application of the rules of Maths and aim to ensure all are successful. Mental Maths sessions are planned daily. Calculation, computers and mathematical instruments are used to aid the children in their mathematical concepts.
All children are born with a desire to find out about their world. We build on this natural curiosity and the skills already developed. From Year 1 they learn to set up simple tests, make predictions, observe the results and report what has happened.
The children are introduced to a range of mediums e.g. drawing, painting, printing, clay, textiles and collage skills in the early years and these are extended and refined as they go through the school. Children look at the work of a range of artists and respond to them.
We plan opportunities for the children to develop historical skills e.g. investigation, attitudes/empathy and knowledge of particular periods or aspects of the past e.g. Egyptians. The children visit local historical sites, examine artefacts, use reference materials and are involved in role play. Our young children develop their understanding of the human and physical features of their surroundings and start to develop their skills, such as map reading. Our older children study places near and far in greater detail, map skills and focus on particular themes e.g. rivers.
Every classroom has at least two computers and printer and children have access to the ICT Suite. The children use the computers across the curriculum for word processing, data handling, Powerpoint simulations, control and modelling. There is a controlled access to the internet. The children will be taught the new National Curriculum programme of study using the i-compute scheme. The school has its own intranet. We have a bank of laptops and ipads. Roamer robots, Bee Bots, probots, crazy talk and digital blue cameras, all provide opportunities for control, modelling, animation and manipulation of images. An ICT/Research Suite has been installed and is fully networked, providing 16 work spaces and an 8 space computer table in Foundation/KS1 area.
Education in Personal Relationships/Sex Education
Each class teaches themes linked to the RE topics that include helping the children to learn about:
- Helping your child start the school year and building relationships.
- Learning about family life, school life and Parish life as part of their community.
- Learning how to make friends, solve conflicts peacefully, being assertive and supporting each other.
Class teachers use circle times, the Bible garden and visitors to the school to support the teaching of EPR. Our Sex Education Policy allows the children to begin learning about positive relationships and develops self-awareness.
As a Catholic School, R.E. is one of our core subjects. We follow the Diocesan Programme – ‘Come and See’ - which begins with the children’s own experiences of the world and relates the Christian faith to them. Assemblies are based on our shared faith and occur daily. School Masses and other liturgical services are planned each term. The children are encouraged to pray at particular times in the school day. We encourage close links with our Parish of Our Lady of Sorrows, Bognor Regis with Barnham and Slindon. Statutorily, parents can withdraw their children from all or part of the religious education and collective worship provided.
Speaking and listening, reading and writing are still the most essential skills, which underpin much of our learning. Children are encouraged to read and listen to a wide range of literature. Parents work in partnership with the teacher encouraging reading of an increasingly varied mixture of fiction/non-fiction material. Writing is developed as a way of organising thoughts and expressing themselves. Children write for a range of purposes. Grammar and spelling are taught. The Read Write Inc scheme is being introduced in Foundation/Key Stage 1 to develop children’s early phonic, reading and writing skills.
From the earliest age, children are encouraged to make use of a variety of construction kits and materials. Children plan, make and evaluate their finished item. A group room provides facilities for Food Technology activities.
St Mary's is very fortunate to have a teacher who is fluent in French. Children in KS2 learn French for 30 minutes each week.
All children are given opportunities to make music, compose, listen and respond to a range of music. Children have the opportunity to learn to play the recorder, violin, cello, clarinet, keyboard, percussion and guitar. We have achieved the National Silver Singing Award. Recorders are taught to Year 5 children for an entire year to introduce them to a tuned instrument.
Physical activity fosters well being and co-operation with others as well as giving confidence and enjoyment to the participants. Children take part in gymnastics, dance and games every year with time allocated to athletics, outdoor pursuits and swimming in Key Stage 2. The children are introduced to and play football, netball, hockey, rounders, athletics, swimming and cricket. As in other curriculum areas, the skills are built up from the infants with an emphasis on extending the range and ability of the child. We have a well-equipped hall for gymnastics, a large range of games equipment, a netball court and large field for football, hockey etc. This year specialist coaches are assisting us. We use Arun Leisure Centre for swimming. During the year, football, dance, netball, tag rugby, hockey, fencing and athletics clubs are organised after school.
The football and netball teams play against all the other Bognor/Felpham Schools and take part in the schools’ tournament. The children take part in Summer athletics events involving all the local schools. At various points throughout the year different groups of children are given the chance to take part in school games festivals and tournaments such as Tri Golf, Quicksticks and Quad kids. Gifted and talented children take part in the future flyers programme.
More Able Children
We seek to extend those children who are identified as having particular talents or abilities. We participate in the Locality and Deanery Enrichment Programme to give children further opportunities to extend their abilities and meet other children with similar talents. Staff members are encouraged to identify children who are more able in each curriculum area and provide provision in their planning. The school keeps a register of all more able children, which is moderated and updated each year.