A learning adventure
At St Mary’s Academy, we are committed to providing all of our pupils with the opportunity to engage in their learning with a sense of purpose. We achieve this by ensuring that their learning is both meaningful and aspirational. We believe that our combination of research-informed teaching strategies, rigorous assessment and a curriculum focused on authentic outcomes and audiences will ensure that all children know and remember more. In doing this, our pupils leave school ready for their next adventure with the skills and knowledge to flourish in God’s world.
Across the school, we follow the National Curriculum and all topics are planned with a creative context for the children’s learning. We engage the community as much as is possible and make sure our curriculum meets our children’s needs through regular reviews.
In Nursery and Reception the children follow the Early Years Foundation stage curriculum. All of the topics are chosen based on the current interests of the children. Parents are kept informed of the topics and learning each week through the weekly learning logs and the termly newsletter and we actively encourage their participation.
Reading, writing and spelling are a high priority in the Academy. We ensure all literacy topics are linked to a core text and that children have the opportunity to immerse themselves in their reading and writing. The children apply their reading and writing skills across the wider curriculum and are provided with opportunities to put these skills into practice in real-life situations. We expect all children to read a range of material and apply their learning through regular reading at home.
Foundation and KS1 children are taught to read through the Read Write Inc. program, which teaches children the forty four phonemes of the English language and how to blend these sounds to read words. Children take home Oxford Reading Scheme books so that they can practise with adults at home. The Oxford Reading Scheme is graded by word reading age and children choose from a wide variety of books matched to their level of ability. Children in KS2 continue to develop their reading skills through the Accelerated Reader system, which offers our children a huge choice of books levelled by reading age. The children’s reading progress is continually monitored via online assessments. These are taken each time the child finishes their book. Included in these assessments is feedback regarding how they can improve their reading.
At St Mary’s, we believe that that all children can and should become confident mathematicians. Through our mastery approach to teaching, we want all children to leave the school as inspired and competent mathematicians who challenge thought and theory, use reasoning to justify their answers and dig deeper into their learning. Central to achieving this is the combined importance we place in both procedural and conceptual understanding. Children have to reason with confidence, actively problem solve and demonstrate fluency in their mathematical ability.
Through the use of the White Rose Maths Hub scheme of work, we aim to ensure that children meet a minimum of the national curriculum goals. Children at St Mary’s become fluent in their times tables through earning Number Ninja belts and consolidate their knowledge using Times Table Rockstars. Ultimately, we believe that through a combination of a mastery curriculum, rigorous assessment and responsive teaching we can ensure that children become deeper mathematical thinkers and effective communicators.
Discovery provides the context to the learning. It offers a rich opportunity for pupils to immerse themselves in the study of their topic and enables them to apply this knowledge across the National Curriculum, including the teaching of history, geography, religious education and science. Through the Discovery curriculum, pupils learn about their place in the world. As they progress through the curriculum, this view continues to widen from the local to the international. Pupils learn to describe the world around them, they discover how landscapes and people have changed over time and understand that these changes are still taking place. They learn to ask and answer questions about the world they see through observation and investigation. Pupils explore Christianity, alongside other world religions while considering how religion affects their lives and the lives of others. As a Church of England Primary Academy we teach the understanding Christianity curriculum over 4 terms and World Faith units over 2 terms. Children receive a weekly RE lesson, trips to our local church and other enrichment opportunities.
At St Mary’s we foster children’s enthusiasm and love for the creative subjects through a curriculum that allows children to express themselves with a variety of media. The creativity curriculum engages, inspires and equips children with the knowledge and skills to experiment, invent and create their own works of art, craft, music and design. With a rich local culture of creativity, our curriculum ensures that children learn about, and from, people who have shaped the culture of art and music around us, both on a local and global level. We passionately believe in the importance of the arts and hope to inspire a lifelong love of them in all our pupils.
Citizenship and Well Being, Spirituality and Moral Purpose
Citizenship, wellbeing and enjoyment underpin everything we do and ensure our children flourish in God’s world. Through our well-developed Forest School, physical education provision and our citizenship and relationships curriculum, we develop the children’s ability to express their feelings and understand themselves.
The children make explicit links to how they develop as citizens of the world, support their community and manage and improve their own wellbeing. Our links with other schools are embedded across the curriculum as our 6th International School award clearly illustrates. Sessions on safety in their immediate environment, as well as the virtual world, equip the children with the tools needed to stay safe and keep healthy, as well as giving children the opportunity to become active citizens in an interconnected world.
Our Christian values of friendship, compassion, forgiveness and service underpin the spiritual, moral and cultural development of our pupils. As part of this, we ensure that the core British values of tolerance, mutual respect and an understanding of different faiths, disability, race, gender and sexual orientation are a fundamental part of the curriculum. We ensure that all children have an understanding of themselves and others so that ultimately they become positive, confident and engaged members of society.