Literacy is a key life skill. The main areas of Literacy are listening, reading and writing. These are planned, taught and assessed both discretely and as a major part of our cross-curricular activities.
Guided Reading sessions give children the opportunity to read a whole range of fiction and non-fiction texts and to develop their comprehension skills. At home, children are expected to read at least 4 times a week and Bug Club is used to engage the children in further reading online. Children who are not yet free readers are benchmarked half termly in order to determine whether they are ready for the next colour band. We have reading scheme books by Oxford Reading Tree, Ginn Lighthouse, Rigby Star, Storyworlds, Bug Club and Big Cat Collins.
Letters and Sounds is a programme we use in school to support the teaching of phonics. It is split into the following 6 phases.
Phonic Knowledge and Skills
Activities are divided into seven aspects, including environmental sounds, instrumental sounds, body sounds, rhythm and rhyme, alliteration, voice sounds and finally oral blending and segmenting.
Learning 19 letters of the alphabet and one sound for each. Blending sounds together to make words. Segmenting words into their separate sounds. Beginning to read simple captions.
The remaining 7 letters of the alphabet, one sound for each. Graphemes such as ch, oo, th representing the remaining phonemes not covered by single letters. Reading captions, sentences and questions. On completion of this phase, children will have learnt the "simple code", i.e. one grapheme for each phoneme in the English language.
No new grapheme-phoneme correspondences are taught in this phase. Children learn to blend and segment longer words with adjacent consonants, e.g. swim, clap, jump.
Now we move on to the "complex code". Children learn more graphemes for the phonemes which they already know, plus different ways of pronouncing the graphemes they already know.
Working on spelling, including prefixes and suffixes, doubling and dropping letters etc.
Children are taught phonics daily in Foundation Stage and KS1. In KS1, children are put into ability sets so they are taught the relevant phase for them. If you would like to find out what phase your child is working at, please do not hesitate to speak to your child’s class teacher. Phonics is then taught where necessary in KS2.
Grammar is taught discretely each week using ‘Visual Literacy’ as a stimulus. The skills covered in these sessions are practiced and applied in a range of writing tasks across the week. The writing process breaks down into the following steps:
- Familiarisation with text type / genre.
- Capturing ideas.
- Teacher demonstration.
- Guided / shared writing.
- Independent writing.
- Editing and improving.
At St Mary’s we believe it is important for children to develop a fluent and legible style of handwriting. The style should be consistent throughout the school with a clear progression of skills as children become more competent and confident. For this we use letterjoin.co.uk as a resource to teach letter formation.
To support the children in reaching the End of Year Expectations for spelling, children are taught and then tested on words including a ‘Sound of the Week’. Word lists are carefully chosen and children in KS2 then personalise these lists by adding spelling errors from their own writing.
Speaking and Listening
At St Mary’s we recognise that language is a key to learning as it enables the children to access all areas of the curriculum. Through the guidance of their teachers, children develop their use of vocabulary which they can then use as a tool to aid thinking, speaking and listening. Drama is often used as a stimulus for learning as it allows children to express their ideas.
Our aim when teaching mathematics is to ensure that the children are equipped with a variety of strategies to apply to different situations (examples of these can be found in our calculation policy below), have the ability to think for themselves and develop confidence in using mathematical vocabulary. Throughout the year the children work on a number of different key areas:
- Number & place value
- Calculating using addition, subtraction, multiplication and division
- Properties of Shape
- Position and Direction
- Ratio & Proportion
Problem solving and investigation are used to encourage children to bring together their different mathematical skills and physical resources are used to support learning across all year groups. A main focus in class is for children to explain their reasoning using key mathematical vocabulary.
Links between maths and other areas of the curriculum, including topic areas, are made as often as possible to put maths in context and make the learning purposeful. In order to promote these links further, maths is taught in mixed ability class based groups to allow for flexibility in teaching cross curricular sessions. In Year 6, maths is taught in sets.
Art & Design
At St Mary's we aim to engage, inspire and challenge pupils creatively. Through our teaching we equip pupils with the knowledge and skills to invent and create their own works of art, craft and design. Pupils learn to be reflective and critical of their work. An understanding of how art and design has influenced history and culture in our nation and in others around the world will be developed through studying various artists and art forms.
Pupils will be introduced to and have opportunities to explore a range of materials. They will be encouraged to share and develop their ideas, experiences and imagination through creative media.
Key Stage 1
- Pupils will be introduced to a range of materials and how they can be used.
- Develop skills in drawing, painting and sculpture.
- Develop techniques in using colour, pattern, texture, line, shape, form and space.
- Learn about other artists and their techniques to apply to their own work.
Key Stage 2
- Pupils will improve and develop the skills they have learnt in Key Stage 1 and be introduced to a wide range of materials.
- Use sketch books to develop observation skills and develop ideas.
- Be introduced to and deepen their knowledge of artists and designers.
Our aim when teaching the computing curriculum is to develop the children’s understanding, confidence and independence when using technology for a range of purposes. The computing curriculum is split into three areas: computer science, information technology and digital literacy. Through these areas the children will learn to design, write and debug programs, use technology to communicate and use software to collect, analyse and present information.
We also aim to embed technology within other subjects of the curriculum to support children in using it with confidence and understanding its relevance in everyday life. We have a range of technology available to support us with this including; interactive white boards, visualisers, digital microscopes, fitness trackers, sound and light monitors, microphones, beebots, probots, Lego WeDo, cameras, camcorders and iPads.
At St Mary’s, Online Safety will always be a very important part of the curriculum and is taught and promoted in all year groups. This is supported with an Online Safety week each year and Safet Internet day where children, staff and parents are all offered workshops.
DT (Design & Technology)
Design and technology inspires children to use their imagination and creativity to solve real and relevant problems in a variety of contexts. It involves the pupils in developing skills of analysis, planning, designing, making and doing, and evaluating what they have produced. We aim for pupils to learn to take risks, become resourceful and be aware of how to use resources safely. Children will evaluate their own work and that of others including major designers. Through-out the Early Years, Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 pupils will have the opportunity to explore and evaluate products they have created and discover ways and techniques to improve their work. Children will also develop their skills in food technology and discover the nutritional value of healthy eating.
All pupils need to feel safe, accepted and valued in order to learn. For pupils who are learning English as an additional language, this includes recognising and valuing their home language and background. As a school, we are aware that bilingualism is a strength and that EAL pupils have a valuable contribution to make.
At St Mary’s we teach history to help children gain a coherent knowledge and understanding of Britain’s past and that of the wider world. When teaching the History topics, in line with the National Curriculum, we endeavour to use a range of resources and activities including but not limited to; enquiry skill based activities, artefacts / replicas, pictures, videos and technology to develop their analytical thinking and questioning skills as well as to help inspire their curiosity and interest in the past and the world around them.
At St Mary’s we teach geography to inspire children to become curious and fascinated about the world and its people. It is a vital subject to support children in understanding different cultures and ways of life. Children will learn about diverse places, people, resources and natural and human environments, together with a deepening understanding of the physical and human processes. When teaching Geography, in line with the National Curriculum, we endeavour to use a range of resources and activities including but not limited to; fieldwork, maps, pictures, videos and technology to develop their knowledge, understanding and interest in the world around them.
French is taught in KS2. The emphasis is on oral work, learning vocabulary through games and rhymes and introducing written work in Upper KS2. The National Curriculum states that MFL (Modern Foreign Language) is now a compulsory subject and must be taught once a week. The subject provides children with a sense of enjoyment and fascination in learning about themselves, others and the world around them.
SMSC is developed through French lessons as the culture of France is studied every half term with each year group focussing on a different aspect. This will enhance children’s understanding and appreciation of the range of different cultures within school and further afield as an essential element of their preparation for life in modern Britain.
An after school French club is offered to children from Year 1 to Year 4 to participate in games to enhance the target language within different topics. European Day of Languages is also celebrated through the school.
The website below is a fantastic tool for learning French at home as it is full of interactive lessons, games and quizzes. The children love using it at school!
Music is taught to all our children in KS1 and KS2 as part of our school curriculum.
We believe that Music is an important part of all our pupils’ education. We expect all pupils to make progress in music through the use of a planned scheme of work, by building on what they have learned at each stage of their school life, and by setting their sights on a high level of achievement. We aim to ensure that pupils become increasingly confident in making their own decisions about contributions to performing, improvising, composing, listening and appraising activities. Teaching and learning opportunities are planned for and we match work to differing levels of ability, extending individual talents and supporting those who need to make progress in smaller steps. All pupils are encouraged to take an active part in the school’s musical life and all have the opportunity to excel.
PE (Physical Education)
At St Mary’s we believe that Physical Education inspires pupils to become healthy, confident individuals. Through PE lessons, children learn important values such as team work and respect, and the importance of a healthy, active lifestyle. It is vital to pupils’ development to engage in physical activity for a sustained period time, and therefore we provide a minimum of 2 hours of PE per week.
Swimming is offered to children from Year R to Year 6 in the Summer Term and is delivered by a qualified swimming instructor in the outdoor swimming pool on the school site. We promote a love of learning through providing pupils with a variety of activities ranging from Athletics to Outdoor and Adventurous activities. All children are encouraged to participate, and are given the opportunity to develop fundamental skills and apply them to dance, gymnastics, athletics, games, swimming and outdoor and adventurous activities.
It is also important for children to be provided with the opportunity to engage in competitive sport. Therefore, we have set up links with other local schools and sporting organisations to ensure that competitive fixtures are arranged throughout the academic year, as well as having extra-curricular clubs offering a wider variety of sports for children to participate in. Many children show a good commitment to sport by attending after school clubs and sporting fixtures. The school has close links with other schools and there are opportunities for KS2 children to participate in inter school sport activities. These include local leagues and friendly matches for football, hi 5 netball, cricket, rounders, tag rugby and district athletics.
PSHE (Personal, Social, Health Education)
This is an important area of our curriculum which aims to give children the knowledge, skills and understanding they need to lead healthy lives and be responsible citizens. It forms an integral part of a child’s development, and is brought into our cross-curricular activities and discussions in such a way as to ensure that knowledge and understanding of oneself and others is developed. PSHE is also time-tabled as a discrete subject following a scheme of work to cover all strands of PSHE. The pupils grow more confident about aspects of their own lives, their self-esteem, their health, their beliefs, their relationships with others, and their ability to express their feelings and to cope with life’s problems. We encourage pupils to participate in these discussions and activities, which lead to a greater awareness of their social and moral responsibilities.
- Strands covered are:
- Drugs and Alcohol
- Financial Capability and Citizenship
- Health and Wellbeing
- Healthy Lifestyles
- Relationships and Sex Education (RSE)
- Staying Safe
The aim for RE at St Mary’s is to allow the children to have the tools to decide for themselves about what their own beliefs, morals and values are and to celebrate their successes and individuality. Children are encouraged to think deeply about the important things in life and given time to reflect.
At St Mary’s we follow the Agreed Surrey Syllabus for RE. RE is divided into 2 Attainment Targets. Attainment Target 1 involves learning about religion. Attainment Target 2 develops how religion and the moral messages taught affect themselves and their own beliefs and moral code.
The children explore the major aspects of Christianity and other world faiths such as Islam, Judaism, Hinduism and Buddhism. The children are encouraged to be reflective about their own beliefs, religious or otherwise, that inform their perspective on life and their interest in and respect for different people’s faiths, feelings and values. We look at what makes us special and how to be good people so that we can contribute positively to our local community with respect and tolerance for people with different viewpoints.
We also develop skills to be a moral and thoughtful person through learning about Values such as justice, creativity, patience, forgiveness and peace.
Parents have a right to withdraw their children from RE.
Science has changed the way we live our lives and is central to many aspects of day to day life. Here at St Mary’s we aim to enthuse and excite students’ curiosity about the world around them and how it works. We take an investigative approach to the teaching of science, encouraging children to ask questions, devise investigations and solve problems. Through encouraging children to work scientifically, we aim to teach a balance of scientific knowledge and essential skills. The staff at St Mary’s aim to create a fun and stimulating curriculum, whilst ensuring a safe and supportive learning environment.
SMSC (Spiritual, Social, Moral and Cultural)
The spiritual, social, moral and cultural development of the child is recognised as being of fundamental importance for the education of all children by all staff, governors and parents of our school. It is taught through all subjects of the curriculum and in particular RE and PSHE. It supports all areas of learning and can contribute to the child’s motivation to learn. It is recognised that such development will be most successful when the values and attitudes promoted by the staff provide a model of behaviour for the children. In later years it can enrich the individual’s appreciation of life’s experiences and their relationships with others.
The values and attitudes promoted by the staff influence the behaviour and attitudes within the school. The quality of relationships and the atmosphere within the school reflect an appreciation of their shared values. The aim is to develop positive lifelong skills and attitudes so be able to contribute positively to British society and British Values. Each pupil will be supported to achieve their personal best together in a caring community in order to feel fulfilled.