This section of our website is focused on our Curriculum and provides an overview of the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) Framework and the Curriculum offer for children in Years 1 to 6. The Curriculum is all the planned activities that the school organises in order to promote learning, personal growth and development. There are also sections on Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural (SMSC) Development, British Values.
In line with statutory requirements, the new Curriculum was launched in September 2014, coinciding with the introduction of the new National Curriculum in England.
All classes use a mixture of teaching styles and techniques during the week in a variety of groupings – whole class, ability groups, mixed ability groups, paired working.
Children are taught daily lessons of English and Mathematics where the level of work is tailored to individual ability. A broad and balanced curriculum is planned and taught in a happy and stimulating environment in accordance with the National Curriculum requirements.
Independent and collaborative skills are encouraged in all year groups and Computing is readily used and embedded across the whole curriculum.
All curriculum policies are available for parents to view (please ask at the office for details or see the school website).
Our school curriculum is explained in further detail below.
Our curriculum includes not only the formal requirements of the National Curriculum, but also the range of additional opportunities that the school organises in order to enrich the experiences of our children.
Built into the curriculum, is the incorporation of successful aspects of existing practice; Science week, European languages day/other events and termly assessment weeks.
- Performing arts teaching will be developed through seasonal and end of year performances, often with the assistance of our school chaplain for liturgical events and celebrations.
- Through art, design and music teaching, children will have the opportunity to study the work of specific artists and musicians, linked to the theme of their studies.
- Our “Outdoor Learning” agenda is personalised to our school and its grounds. We are a “Forest School” and use Geocaching GPS equipment in many areas of learning.
- Our Modern Foreign languages teaching is lead by a specialist teacher, incorporating Spanish, French and German.
The School Curriculum – Religious Education
Religious Education is obviously an important part of the school curriculum as well as everyday life at St Mary’s. Since September 2012 we have been using a new scheme, Come and See, throughout the school. We place great importance on providing opportunities for everyone within the school community to continue their personal Faith journey. During the school year there are many opportunities for the children to take part in school worship through assemblies, Mass and other celebrations.
The Governors are required to remind parents of their right to withdraw pupils from religious worship and education. However parents are also reminded that the school exists to give a Catholic/Christian education to its pupils and therefore parents are expected to be in sympathy with the aims and objectives of the school. It should be noted that parents who choose to exercise their right of withdrawal are responsible for the supervision of their children during these periods of withdrawal.
The children usually receive the Sacraments of Reconciliation and Holy Eucharist during Year Three as part of the First Communion Programme organised and run by our Parish Catechists. Although this is a Parish led programme, we believe in the importance of the School, Home and Parish partnership in the preparation of the children for these important Sacraments and give our full support wherever possible. The children usually receive the Sacraments with their own family, together with the Parish community.
Education in Personal Relationships
We consider that sex education should be taught within the context of personal relationships and that it should also be linked to Religious Education, because it is concerned with the person as a whole. Through Science, R.E., P.S.H.E. (Personal, Social and Health Education) and Citizenship, our aim is to make the children aware of the changes which take place both emotionally and physically as they mature. We aim to do this in a caring and supportive atmosphere, linking this knowledge to an understanding of God’s plan for our growth and personal relationship with Him.
Charges for School Activities
In order to meet the requirements of the 1988 Education Reform Act, schools must ensure that parental contributions to any activity which takes place during the school day, are ‘voluntary’. Our practice is to try to subsidise educational visits when we can. Parents will appreciate however that without their voluntary contributions the proposed activities may not take place.
Children are expected to read at home on a regular basis and from Year 1, they are usually given English and Maths homework weekly. This should take up to 15-20 minutes to complete (depending on the age of the child). We may, on occasions, request children to follow up work done in school. This may be to complete a particular task given at school, find something out at home, read more about a particular topic, or have extra practice in perhaps spelling or times tables. As well as reinforcing classroom learning, this homework is intended to develop the children’s organisational skills in preparation for secondary school.
If your child would like more work to do at home, they are always welcome to carry out their own independent research on their current topic.
We expect you to give your child every encouragement and support their efforts. A cheerful, positive attitude on your part will ensure that homework does not cause undue stress and anxiety for you or your child. Parental interest in children’s work is greatly appreciated, and the willingness to give time and effort at home is valued highly in school.
Additional curriculum and extracurricular activities.
All children across Key Stage 2 have the opportunity to play an instrument (currently this is the Ukulele) Also there are opportunities for a small number of children to play the violin or guitar. These are taught by teachers from Durham Music Service and private tutors.
Year 2 and Year 3 children go swimming weekly. The children are encouraged to take part in after school and clubs and activities over lunch break, such as “Prayer Club”, football, games etc.
We have coaching sessions for tennis, dance, cricket, multi-skills, golf etc. All these activities are an important part of the life of the school. Educational visits and visitors are the focus of many areas of learning and provide enrichment across the curriculum. Year 5 and year 6 pupils are also have the opportunity for residential visits.
Visit Our Classes to view our work and activities.
Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND)
All pupils follow the National Curriculum at a level and a pace that is appropriate to their abilities. Our SEND philosophy places SEND children at the heart of personalised learning, and our curriculum is tailored to meet individual pupil needs. At times and when it is felt appropriate, modifications to the curriculum may be implemented.
All children have an entitlement to a broad and balanced curriculum, which is differentiated to enable children to:
- Understand the relevance and purpose of learning activities
- Experience levels of understanding and rates of progress that bring feelings of success and achievement.
The National Curriculum is our starting point for planning that meets the specific needs of individuals and groups of children. When planning, teachers set suitable learning challenges and respond to children’s diverse learning needs. When children experience temporary or long term difficulties for a variety of reasons, and need help over and above what most others require, they may have Special Educational Needs and/or Disabilities (SEND).
Teachers take account of these requirements and make provision, where necessary, to support individual groups of children, and this enables them to participate effectively in the curriculum and assessment activities.
Provision for children with SEND covers all learning difficulties, whether physical, academic or emotional. A child’s problems may range from relatively minor or temporary, to severe and complex. Teachers use a range of strategies to meet children’s special educational needs. Lessons have clear learning objectives; we differentiate work appropriately and we use assessment to inform the next stage of learning. Teachers respond to children’s needs by;
- Understanding the child’s learning styles and characteristics
- Providing the correct learning environment for them
- Providing suitable tasks
- Using appropriate teaching styles and approaches
- Providing support for children who need help with communication, language and literacy
- Planning to develop children’s understanding through the use of all available senses and experiences
- Planning for children’s full participation in learning, and in physical and practical activities
- Helping children to manage their behaviour and to take part in learning safely and effectively
- Helping individual pupils to manage their emotions, particularly caused by trauma or stress and to take part in learning
- Children with SEND receive individual or group programmes of learning to supplement their shared classroom experiences. Extra support is available through teaching assistants (TA), and higher level teaching assistants (HLTA).
We support children in a manner that acknowledges their entitlement to share the same learning experiences that their peers enjoy. Wherever possible, we do not withdraw children from the classroom situation. However, there are occasions where, in order to maximise learning, we work with children in small groups, or in a one-to-one situation outside the classroom.
The inclusion manager is a senior member of staff who coordinates and monitors the SEND provision within the school. Mrs Ruth Veitch, Deputy Head Teacher, is currently our Inclusion Manager. Our special interest governor, who monitors provision and practice, is Mrs A Herdman.
In our school, the Inclusion Manager:
- Manages the day to day operation of the SEND policy
- Coordinates the provision for, and manages the responses to children’s special needs; supports and advises colleagues
- Oversees the records of all children with SEND
- Acts as a link with parents and carers
- Acts as the link with external agencies and other support agencies
- Monitors and evaluates the SEND provision and reports to the head teacher and the governing body
- Manages a range of resources, human and materials, to enable appropriate provision to be made for children with SEND
- Coordinates the professional development of all staff
If you would like to discuss your SEND requirements in detail please contact the school to arrange an appointment.
You may need a product like Adobe Reader (free download) to view our PDF documents on our website.