St Mary’s Primary School gives children full access to a broad and balanced curriculum, enabling them to achieve the highest academic and personal standards and providing them with the challenges and life skills they will need, to successfully take their place in modern British society. All children are encouraged to succeed, gaining self-esteem and confidence to become independent learners who will develop a life-long love of learning and the ability and willingness to engage in critical thinking and reasoned debate.
CRITICAL 'THINKING SKILLS'
Children are encouraged to develop higher order thinking skills to deepen their understanding. The development of English, Mathematics, Science, Computer skills and Religious Education is balanced with opportunities to learn about the humanities, physical development and the expressive arts. Equal value and recognition is given to pupils’ strengths in all areas of the curriculum.
The school strives to provide a curriculum that all pupils will find enjoyable and that helps them to understand the relevance of their lessons. This can only be achieved by using the experience, enthusiasm and specialism of individual teachers who provide interesting, relevant, purposeful and skilfully differentiated lessons. Wherever possible, lessons are based on real-life experiences, in a structured and well-ordered classroom environment.
Senior Leaders regularly review the curriculum. We work with colleagues in the Academy Trust and with other local schools to ensure we keep up to date and offer the best possible opportunities to our pupils. Current initiatives include working with the Surrey Maths Hub 'Mastery Maths' Teacher Research Group and Literacy related Research Programmes to establish best practice in the teaching and learning of writing and spelling.
EXTRA- CURRICULAR ACTIVITIES
The experiences of children are enriched by a range of planned extra-curricular activities, including after-school clubs, off-site visits and outside visitors/speakers as well as opportunities for children to develop their wider social awareness through our disability workshops, enterprise activity weeks, charitable activities and E-Safety training sessions.
FORMING & EXPRESSING VIEWS
St Mary’s School supports Article 12 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child acknowledging that children should be encouraged to form and express their own views. This is encouraged through the appointment of a pupil 'leadership team', a pupil 'worship team', school council representatives and peer mediators as well as through our internal systems which encourage children to become self-disciplined and involved in the daily life of the school, talking to adults about their views and ideas.
Teachers use a wide range of resources to make the learning age-appropriate, lively and engaging.
Foundation subjects are studied through topic work. Each class studies between 3 and 6 topics per year and topics are selected for the opportunities they provide for developing children’s knowledge, skills and understanding of subjects as well as for their potential to offer cross curricular links with literacy, numeracy and computing. Religious Education involves learning about Christianity as well as other religions. Comparative religious study gives children an opportunity to learn about other cultures and faiths in preparation for life in modern Britain. Diocesan and other planning resources are utilised.
COMPUTING & PROGRAMMING
Computing and programming is taught using the ‘Rising Stars’ teaching resource and children as young as five years old, are introduced to programming, using elementary programmable toys. Older children are taught about programming and de-bugging with a particular emphasis on ‘e-safety’ training, to ensure children use the Internet safely, wisely and knowledgeably.
Music covers all areas of the primary music curriculum and is taught by a range of class teachers as well as music specialists who provide opportunities for pupils to perform in public wherever appropriate. There are opportunities to take part in rock bands and individual performance and children are encouraged to listen to and enjoy music of all genres.
Art is taught by class teachers who link the art curriculum closely to the topic work. Children’s work is celebrated throughout the school in displays and some are published more widely (e.g. Christmas cards). Selected work is displayed on the headteacher’s display board. The School participates in a Christmas Art Project and their work is displayed in Guildford Cathedral.
PHYSICAL AND EMOTIONAL HEALTH AND WELLBEING
Physical Education (including gymnastics and dance) is taught by class teachers whilst outdoor games (football, netball, hockey, tennis and athletics) are taught by a specialist sports teacher. Games are taught with an emphasis on transferable skills, decision making, effort, team-work and fair-play so that children are well prepared for competitive matches against other schools. Lunchtime and after-school clubs are available to create opportunities for children to try different sports and activities; targeting all abilities and interests. We regularly participate in sports events and festivals with other schools in our local confederation. We promote physical activity and healthy eating, as a way of life, to help tackle obesity and contribute to young people's physical, mental, emotional health and all-round wellbeing. The School has an appointed Mental Health Leader, a Home School Link Worker and a SENDCo all of whom can direct children and families to appropriate support services.
MODERN FOREIGN LANGUAGE
A specialist French-speaking teacher coordinates the teaching of French and all aspects of MFL (Modern Foreign Language) teaching. Children are encouraged to use their French around school and to link it to other subjects, for example mathematics (numbers) and art (colours) and science (naming of body parts).
Every teacher has responsibility for an area of the curriculum and is accountable for standards in that subject. Teachers look for cross-curricular links to other subjects wherever possible so that learning is meaningful and children can make connections that enhance their understanding and consolidate their learning.
The school is constantly reviewing its curriculum through a rigorous self-evaluation process and priorities for improvement are incorporated into whole school development planning, such as the addition of the thinking skills initiative, the use of specialist teachers and the development of outdoor learning. Currently, the school is working on maths and writing/spelling initiatives and plans to further develop and enhance its humanities and outdoor learning provision this year.
Parents can obtain more information about the curriculum by visiting the school, by talking to teachers or by looking at the year group sections on our school website.