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Subject Areas

Subject Areas

Ofsted’s message to schools: Be ‘bold and courageous’ with your curriculum

From 2019, Ofsted will be introducing a new inspection framework, which will have a real focus on the curriculum which is taught in schools. No longer will data, results and performance be the sole factor which highlights the effectiveness of a school, but what the children are taught will be a primary factor of that school’s performance.
At the recent National Ofsted Conference, delegates were told that schools will soon be questioned on how well their curriculum promotes a love of learning, on how it delivers a breadth and depth of learning, and on how engaging it is.

This focus on the quality of education delivered is something we pride ourselves in at St. Mary’s. Our curriculum across all year groups, covering new, exciting topics, and making the most of our staff’s specialisms. We have had a new design for Literacy learning, which focuses around well-loved books, and we also stretch our learners in the wider curriculum, through a big focus on music, sport and more. Every area of learning has been reviewed. Every member of staff has developed their teaching skills. Every pupil is both nurtured and challenged. Our children have loved undertaking this learning journey, as have staff, and we feel this keeps our school a dynamic, fresh and stimulating place to learn.

Ofsted requires learning to be a growing and participatory process; pupils are encouraged at every step to love the challenge of learning, and to become more resilient to failure. At St Mary’s, teachers are determined that pupils achieve well. Our students try hard, our staff recognise their efforts and our high standards ensure that pupils take pride in all aspects of their work, while also being provided with every resources necessary to make exceptional individual progress.

We are proud of our teaching and learning, and we hope that you are too.

Subject Areas

  • Art and Design

    The national curriculum for art and design aims to ensure that all pupils:

    • produce creative work, exploring their ideas and recording their experiences
    • become proficient in drawing, painting, sculpture and other art, craft and design techniques
    • evaluate and analyse creative works using the language of art, craft and design
    • know about great artists, craft makers and designers, and understand the historical and cultural development of their art forms.

    Attainment targets
    By the end of each key stage, pupils are expected to know, apply and understand the matters, skills and processes specified in the relevant programme of study.

    Subject content
    Key stage 1

    Pupils should be taught:

    • to use a range of materials creatively to design and make products
    • to use drawing, painting and sculpture to develop and share their ideas, experiences and imagination
    • to develop a wide range of art and design techniques in using colour, pattern, texture, line, shape, form and space
    • about the work of a range of artists, craft makers and designers, describing the differences and similarities between different practices and disciplines, and making links to their own work.

    Key stage 2

    Pupils should be taught to develop their techniques, including their control and their use of materials, with creativity, experimentation and an increasing awareness of different kinds of art, craft and design.

    Pupils should be taught:

    • to create sketch books to record their observations and use them to review and revisit ideas
    • to improve their mastery of art and design techniques, including drawing, painting and sculpture with a range of materials (e.g. pencil, charcoal, paint, clay)
    • about great artists, architects and designers in history.
  • Computing

    The use of ICT is promoted in all subject areas and children use computers to enhance and compliment much of their work in school. They are encouraged to use the equipment properly, carefully and safely. Although every classroom has networked computer stations where children experience a variety of curriculum support programmes, our wireless laptops ensure individual experiences and progress through whole class focused activities.

    Purpose of study:
    A high-quality computing education equips pupils to use computational thinking and creativity to understand and change the world. Computing has deep links with mathematics, science and design and technology, and provides insights into both natural and artificial systems. The core of computing is computer science, in which pupils are taught the principles of information and computation, how digital systems work and how to put this knowledge to use through programming. Building on this knowledge and understanding, pupils are equipped to use information technology to create programs, systems and a range of content. Computing also ensures that pupils become digitally literate – able to use, and express themselves and develop their ideas through, information and communication technology – at a level suitable for the future workplace and as active participants in a digital world.

    The national curriculum for computing aims to ensure that all pupils:

    • can understand and apply the fundamental principles and concepts of computer science, including abstraction, logic, algorithms and data representation,
    • can analyse problems in computational terms, and have repeated practical experience of writing computer programs in order to solve such problems,
    • can evaluate and apply information technology, including new or unfamiliar technologies, analytically to solve problems,
    • are responsible, competent, confident and creative users of information and communication technology.

    Subject content
    Key Stage 1
    Pupils will be taught to:

    • understand what algorithms are, how they are implemented as programs on digital devices, and that programs execute by following precise and unambiguous instructions,
    • create and debug simple programs,
    • use logical reasoning to predict the behaviour of simple programs,
    • use technology purposefully to create, organise, store, manipulate and retrieve digital content,
    • recognise common uses of information technology beyond school,
    • use technology safely and respectfully, keeping personal information private; identify where to go for help and support when they have concerns about content or contact on the internet or other online technologies.

    Key Stage 2
    Pupils will be taught to:

    • design, write and debug programs that accomplish specific goals, including controlling or simulating physical systems; solve problems by decomposing them into smaller parts,
    • use sequence, selection, and repetition in programs; work with variables and various forms of input and output,
    • use logical reasoning to explain how some simple algorithms work and to detect and correct errors in algorithms and programs,
    • understand computer networks, including the internet; how they can provide multiple services, such as the World Wide Web, and the opportunities they offer for communication and collaboration,
    • use search technologies effectively, appreciate how results are selected and ranked, and be discerning in evaluating digital content,
    • select, use and combine a variety of software (including internet services) on a range of digital devices to design and create a range of programs, systems and content that accomplish given goals, including collecting, analysing, evaluating and presenting data and information,
    • use technology safely, respectfully and responsibly; recognise acceptable/unacceptable behaviour; identify a range of ways to report concerns about content and contact.
  • Design Technology

    Design and technology is an inspiring, rigorous and practical subject. Using creativity and imagination, pupils design and make products that solve real and relevant problems within a variety of contexts, considering their own and others’ needs, wants and values. They acquire a broad range of subject knowledge and draw on disciplines such as mathematics, science, engineering, computing and art. Pupils learn how to take risks, becoming resourceful, innovative, enterprising and capable citizens. Through the evaluation of past and present design and technology, they develop a critical understanding of its impact on daily life and the wider world. High-quality design and technology education makes an essential contribution to the creativity, culture, wealth and well-being of the nation.

    The national curriculum for design and technology aims to ensure that all pupils:

    • develop the creative, technical and practical expertise needed to perform everyday tasks confidently and to participate successfully in an increasingly technological world.
    • build and apply a repertoire of knowledge, understanding and skills in order to design and make high-quality prototypes and products for a wide range of users.
    • critique, evaluate and test their ideas and products and the work of others.
    • understand and apply the principles of nutrition and learn how to cook.

    Subject content

    Key Stage 1

    When designing and making, pupils will be taught to:

    • Design purposeful, functional, appealing products for themselves and other users based on design criteria.
    • Generate, develop, model and communicate their ideas through talking, drawing, templates, mock-ups and, where appropriate, information and communication technology.


    • Select from and use a range of tools and equipment to perform practical tasks [for example, cutting, shaping, joining and finishing].
    • select from and use a wide range of materials and components, including construction materials, textiles and ingredients, according to their characteristics.


    • Explore and evaluate a range of existing products.
    • Evaluate their ideas and products against design criteria.

    Technical knowledge

    • Build structures, exploring how they can be made stronger, stiffer and more stable.
    • Explore and use mechanisms [for example, levers, sliders, wheels and axles], in their products.

    Cooking and nutrition

    • Use the basic principles of a healthy and varied diet to prepare dishes.
    • Understand where food comes from.


    Key Stage 2

    When designing and making, pupils will be taught to:


    • use research and develop design criteria to inform the design of innovative, functional, appealing products that are fit for purpose, aimed at particular individuals or groups.
    • generate, develop, model and communicate their ideas through discussion, annotated sketches, cross-sectional and exploded diagrams, prototypes, pattern pieces and computer-aided design.


    • select from and use a wider range of tools and equipment to perform practical tasks [for example, cutting, shaping, joining and finishing], accurately.
    • select from and use a wider range of materials and components, including construction materials, textiles and ingredients, according to their functional properties and aesthetic qualities.


    • investigate and analyse a range of existing products.
    • evaluate their ideas and products against their own design criteria and consider the views of others to improve their work.
    • understand how key events and individuals in design and technology have helped shape the world.

    Technical knowledge

    • apply their understanding of how to strengthen, stiffen and reinforce more complex structures.
    • understand and use mechanical systems in their products [for example, gears, pulleys, cams, levers and linkages].
    • understand and use electrical systems in their products [for example, series circuits incorporating switches, bulbs, buzzers and motors].
    • apply their understanding of computing to program, monitor and control their products.

    Cooking and nutrition

    • understand and apply the principles of a healthy and varied diet
    • prepare and cook a variety of predominantly savoury dishes using a range of cooking techniques.
    • understand seasonality, and know where and how a variety of ingredients are grown, reared, caught and processed.
  • French (MFL)

    At St. Mary’s we are keen to promote the study of a Modern Foreign Language (MFL) because of its increasing importance in the modern world. We want to embed language learning into our curriculum. This has been recognised in the National Curriculum where there is the statutory commitment to give every child between the ages of 7 and 11 the opportunity to learn a new language. Enriching the curriculum and releasing children’s creative energy through sport drama, music and languages reinforces their understanding of the basics and helps them enjoy a broader, more balanced curriculum.

    The experience of learning and using a foreign language makes its unique contribution to the whole curriculum by taking children out of the familiar environment which is pervaded by English and allowing them to explore the life-style and culture of another land through the medium of its language. This in turn provides a satisfying, enjoyable and intellectually challenging experience for children in coping with a different linguistic medium.


    In French, pupils will learn to:

    • read fluently
    • write imaginatively
    • speak confidently
    • understand the culture of the countries in which the language is spoken

    We aim to ensure that pupils:

    • understand and respond to spoken and written language from a variety of authentic sources.
    • speak with increasing confidence, fluency and spontaneity, finding ways of communicating what they want to say, including through discussion and asking questions, and continually improving the accuracy of their pronunciation and intonation.
    • can write at varying length, for different purposes and audiences, using the variety of grammatical structures that they have learnt.
    • discover and develop an appreciation of a range of writing in the language studied.

    Subject content

    In Early Years and Key Stage 1 settings, it is suggested that MFL activities such as songs, classroom phrases, games become part of classroom practice. In Key Stage 2 teaching and learning follows the coverage grid set out in the progression of skills document. During this first year of French implementation, all Key Stage 2 classes will follow the same units, with progression becoming evident in subsequent years. Creativity in using the lesson plans is encouraged to suit the year group being taught.

  • Geography

    In geography children are introduced to the local area as well as extending their factual knowledge. A wide range of materials are used including maps, photographs, written accounts and other sources. We encourage children to appreciate and protect the environment with the starting point being our school.

    A high-quality geography education should inspire in pupils a curiosity and fascination about the world and its people that will remain with them for the rest of their lives. Teaching should equip pupils with knowledge about diverse places, people, resources and natural and human environments, together with a deep understanding of the Earth’s key physical and human processes. As pupils progress, their growing knowledge about the world should help them to deepen their understanding of the interaction between physical and human processes, and of the formation and use of landscapes and environments. Geographical knowledge, understanding and skills provide the frameworks and approaches that explain how the Earth’s features at different scales are shaped, interconnected and change over time.

    The national curriculum for geography aims to ensure that all pupils:

    • develop contextual knowledge of the location of globally significant places – both terrestrial and marine – including their defining physical and human characteristics and how these provide a geographical context for understanding the actions of processes.
    • understand the processes that give rise to key physical and human geographical features of the world, how these are interdependent and how they bring about spatial variation and change over time.
    • are competent in the geographical skills needed to:
    • collect, analyse and communicate with a range of data gathered through experiences of fieldwork that deepen their understanding of geographical processes.
    • interpret a range of sources of geographical information, including maps, diagrams, globes, aerial photographs and Geographical Information Systems (GIS).
    • communicate geographical information in a variety of ways, including through maps, numerical and quantitative skills and writing at length.

    Attainment targets
    By the end of each key stage, pupils are expected to know, apply and understand the matters, skills and processes specified in the relevant programme of study.

    Subject content.

    KS1-Pupils should develop knowledge about the world, the United Kingdom and their locality. They should understand basic subject-specific vocabulary relating to human and physical geography and begin to use geographical skills, including first-hand observation, to enhance their locational awareness.

    Pupils should be taught to:

    Locational knowledge

    • name and locate the world’s seven continents and five oceans.
    • name, locate and identify characteristics of the four countries and capital cities of the United Kingdom and its surrounding seas.

    Place knowledge

    • understand geographical similarities and differences through studying the human and physical geography of a small area of the United Kingdom, and of a small area in a contrasting non-European country.
    • Human and physical geography.
    • identify seasonal and daily weather patterns in the United Kingdom and the location of hot and cold areas of the world in relation to the Equator and the North and South Poles.
    • use basic geographical vocabulary to refer to:
    • key physical features, including: beach, cliff, coast, forest, hill, mountain, sea, ocean, river, soil, valley, vegetation, season and weather.
    • key human features, including: city, town, village, factory, farm, house, office, port, harbour and shop.

    Geographical skills and fieldwork

    • use world maps, atlases and globes to identify the United Kingdom and its countries, as well as the countries, continents and oceans studied at this key stage.
    • use simple compass directions (North, South, East and West) and locational and directional language [for example, near and far; left and right], to describe the location of features and routes on a map.
    • use aerial photographs and plan perspectives to recognise landmarks and basic human and physical features; devise a simple map; and use and construct basic symbols in a key.
    • use simple fieldwork and observational skills to study the geography of their school and its grounds and the key human and physical features of its surrounding environment.

    KS2-Pupils should extend their knowledge and understanding beyond the local area to include the United Kingdom and Europe, North and South America. This will include the location and characteristics of a range of the world’s most significant human and physical features. They should develop their use of geographical knowledge, understanding and skills to enhance their locational and place knowledge.

    Pupils should be taught to:

    Locational knowledge

    • locate the world’s countries, using maps to focus on Europe (including the location of Russia) and North and South America, concentrating on their environmental regions, key physical and human characteristics, countries, and major cities.
    • name and locate counties and cities of the United Kingdom, geographical regions and their identifying human and physical characteristics, key topographical features (including hills, mountains, coasts and rivers), and land-use patterns; and understand how some of these aspects have changed over time.
    • identify the position and significance of latitude, longitude, Equator, Northern Hemisphere, Southern Hemisphere, the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn, Arctic and Antarctic Circle, the Prime/Greenwich Meridian and time zones (including day and night).

    Place knowledge

    • understand geographical similarities and differences through the study of human and physical geography of a region of the United Kingdom, a region in a European country, and a region within North or South America.

    Human and physical geography

    • describe and understand key aspects of:
    • physical geography, including: climate zones, biomes and vegetation belts, rivers, mountains, volcanoes and earthquakes, and the water cycle.
    • human geography, including: types of settlement and land use, economic activity including trade links, and the distribution of natural resources including energy, food, minerals and water

    Geographical skills and fieldwork

    • use maps, atlases, globes and digital/computer mapping to locate countries and describe features studied.
    • use the eight points of a compass, four and six-figure grid references, symbols and key (including the use of Ordnance Survey maps) to build their knowledge of the United Kingdom and the wider world.
    • use fieldwork to observe, measure, record and present the human and physical features in the local area using a range of methods, including sketch maps, plans and graphs, and digital technologies.

    n history we introduce children to historical personalities and events through stories, poetry, pictures and TV, at local, national and world levels. We use the children’s own lives and environment to make them aware of the passage of time. Children are encouraged to use documentary evidence to enhance their understanding and develop their historical skills. Parents and the local community play a very important part in the development of resources and artefacts for this area of work. We encourage all children to take part in field trips related to their topics.

  • English

    At St Mary’s, we believe that literacy and communication are key life skills and that it is our role, through the English curriculum, to help children develop the skills and knowledge that will enable them to communicate effectively and creatively with the world at large, through spoken and written language. All English topics are developed from central book theme, this also includes whole school shared learning focus, using the same reading material as a stimulus for learning. All books are linked to out half termly thematic overview, the theme of which is carried throughout all curriculum subjects. Through a love of reading that is embedded within our school, we strive to help children to enjoy and appreciate literature and its rich variety.

    Aims and Objectives:
    As a school, we aim to promote high standards of language and literacy by equipping children with a strong command of the spoken and written word, and to develop their love of literature through widespread reading both across the curriculum and at home. As a school, we aim to ensure that all pupils:

    • read easily, fluently and with good understanding
    • develop the habit of reading widely and often, for both pleasure and information
    • acquire a wide vocabulary, an understanding of grammar and knowledge of linguistic conventions for reading, writing and spoken language
    • appreciate our rich and varied literary heritage
    • write clearly, accurately and coherently, adapting their language and style in and for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences
    • use discussion in order to learn; they should be able to elaborate and explain clearly their understanding and ideas
    • are competent in the arts of speaking and listening, making formal presentations, demonstrating to others and participating in debate.

    In all Key Stages a range of genres are taught, including fiction, non-fiction and poetry. Each unit is an integrated programme of speaking and listening, reading and writing. The children set targets at the beginning of each unit and are involved in reviewing the progress that has been made at regular intervals. During lessons the children are encouraged to explore text through role play, freeze framing, hot-seating and many other speaking and listening activities which allow children to develop their ability to communicate as well as build on their own self confidence.

    English is taught within an integrated programme of speaking and listening, guided reading and writing. The children’s abilities in English are developed across the curriculum. They are taught to communicate and express themselves clearly and effectively in speech and writing and great emphasis is placed on the ability to listen and understand. The children experience a wide variety of reading material at appropriate levels of complexity and interest so that they become competent, enthusiastic and fluent readers.

    Reading development is seen as a partnership between home and school and children are encouraged to choose books to take home to read to their parents.

    The school has fully adopted the New Framework for Literacy. Guided reading takes place on a daily basis.

    Reading at Home At St. Mary’s, is at the heart of all that we do. Our aim is to encourage a love of books and for all children to leave our school as fluent and avid readers. Reading at home plays a significant role in this and we have therefore created this document to support you in ensuring that reading with your child is easy, purposeful and – most importantly – fun! What are the benefits of reading with my child? Reading together and sharing stories is a great way of building special memories; it can become a favourite part of the day for many children and adults. Reading a range of books also helps children to understand the world around them; develop social and emotional skills; build confidence with communication and make further progress with their reading accuracy and fluency. When should I read with my child? It is important to make time every day to read with your child. Try to find a time and place where there are minimum distractions and where you can get comfortable so you can focus solely on enjoying a story together. What should we read together? Your child’s reading book from school is selected carefully to match their current ability whilst providing a suitable challenge in order to support progress. However, books from school should be just one part of your child’s reading diet. You could also read: · Familiar picture books that you both know and love · New books from the library that are of interest to your child · A range of fiction and non-fiction books · Children’s magazines or comics · Picture books – it’s fantastic to use pictures to explore stories and aid understanding Whatever you choose to read on an evening, please do make a comment in your child’s reading record so that we know about their wonderful home reading!


  • Music

    All children are given the opportunity to receive expert tuition from a peripatetic teacher. The children are encouraged to make music and to develop an appreciation of different types of music. Good use is made of the expertise of available professionals. Children to take part in the whole school annual Nativity performing songs in front of friends and family. Children are provided with opportunities to try a range of professional tuition of musical instruments.

    Purpose of study
    Music is a universal language that embodies one of the highest forms of creativity. A high-quality music education should engage and inspire pupils to develop a love of music and their talent as musicians, and so increase their self-confidence, creativity and sense of achievement. As pupils progress, they should develop a critical engagement with music, allowing them to compose, and to listen with discrimination to the best in the musical canon.

    The national curriculum for music aims to ensure that all pupils:

    • perform, listen to, review and evaluate music across a range of historical periods, genres, styles and traditions, including the works of the great composers and musicians.
    • learn to sing and to use their voices, to create and compose music on their own and with others, have the opportunity to learn a musical instrument, use technology appropriately and have the opportunity to progress to the next level of musical excellence.
    • understand and explore how music is created, produced and communicated, including through the interrelated dimensions: pitch, duration, dynamics, tempo, timbre, texture, structure and appropriate musical notations.

    Attainment targets
    By the end of each key stage, pupils are expected to know, apply and understand the matters, skills and processes specified in the relevant programme of study.


    Pupils should be taught to:

    • use their voices expressively and creatively by singing songs and speaking chants and rhymes.
    • play tuned and untuned instruments musically.
    • listen with concentration and understanding to a range of high-quality live and recorded music.
    • experiment with, create, select and combine sounds using the interrelated dimensions of music.


    Pupils should be taught to sing and play musically with increasing confidence and control. They should develop an understanding of musical composition, organising and manipulating ideas within musical structures and reproducing sounds from aural memory.

    Pupils should be taught to:

    • play and perform in solo and ensemble contexts, using their voices and playing musical instruments with increasing accuracy, fluency, control and expression.
    • improvise and compose music for a range of purposes using the interrelated dimensions of music.
    • listen with attention to detail and recall sounds with increasing aural memory
    • use and understand staff and other musical notations.
    • appreciate and understand a wide range of high-quality live and recorded music drawn from different traditions and from great composers and musicians.
    • develop an understanding of the history of music.
  • P.E

    In physical education children develop their skills in gymnastics, dance, games and adventure play to develop good body co-ordination and control. This work is connected with our health programme. We endeavour to give each child enjoyment and satisfaction from physical activity and the opportunity to develop positive sporting attitudes. The children in our school carry out a minimum of 2 hours PE per week. We also promote swimming throughout the whole school on a weekly basis and provide opportunities to try netball and football.

    As a school we participate in many sporting competitions including football, cricket, swimming, athletics and gymnastics. We believe in healthy competition teaching the children to do their best and be gracious in victory and defeat. Over the past few years we have been the champions in football and netball.

    The school also runs a wide variety of lunchtime and afterschool clubs, some of which are led by coaches from local teams, teachers and teaching assistants.

    Purpose of study
    A high-quality physical education curriculum inspires all pupils to succeed and excel in competitive sport and other physically-demanding activities. It should provide opportunities for pupils to become physically confident in a way which supports their health and fitness. Opportunities to compete in sport and other activities build character and help to embed values such as fairness and respect.

    The national curriculum for physical education aims to ensure that all pupils:

    • develop competence to excel in a broad range of physical activities
    • are physically active for sustained periods of time
    • engage in competitive sports and activities
    • lead healthy, active lives.

    Attainment targets
    By the end of each key stage, pupils are expected to know, apply and understand the matters, skills and processes specified in the relevant programme of study.

    For information about how we are spending the Sports Premium Funding , click here.


    Pupils should develop fundamental movement skills, become increasingly competent and confident and access a broad range of opportunities to extend their agility, balance and coordination, individually and with others. They should be able to engage in competitive (both against self and against others) and co-operative physical activities, in a range of increasingly challenging situations.

    Pupils should be taught to:

    • master basic movements including running, jumping, throwing and catching, as well as developing balance, agility and co-ordination, and begin to apply these in a range of activities
    • participate in team games, developing simple tactics for attacking and defending
    • perform dances using simple movement patterns.


    Pupils should continue to apply and develop a broader range of skills, learning how to use them in different ways and to link them to make actions and sequences of movement. They should enjoy communicating, collaborating and competing with each other. They should develop an understanding of how to improve in different physical activities and sports and learn how to evaluate and recognise their own success.

    Pupils should be taught to:

    • use running, jumping, throwing and catching in isolation and in combination
    • play competitive games, modified where appropriate [for example, badminton, basketball, cricket, football, hockey, netball, rounders and tennis], and apply basic principles suitable for attacking and defending
    • develop flexibility, strength, technique, control and balance [for example, through athletics and gymnastics]
    • perform dances using a range of movement patterns
    • take part in outdoor and adventurous activity challenges both individually and within a team
    • compare their performances with previous ones and demonstrate improvement to achieve their personal best.

    Swimming and Water Safety
    All schools must provide swimming instruction either in key stage 1 or key stage 2. In particular, pupils should be taught to:

    • swim competently, confidently and proficiently over a distance of at least 25 metres
    • use a range of strokes effectively [for example, front crawl, backstroke and breaststroke]
    • perform safe self-rescue in different water-based situations
    • All pupils in Years Three and Four swim throughout the year. A £3 per week voluntary contribution to the costs is asked for these lessons.
  • Science

    A high-quality science education provides the foundations for understanding the world through the specific disciplines of biology, chemistry and physics. Science has changed our lives and is vital to the world’s future prosperity, and all pupils should be taught essential aspects of the knowledge, methods, processes and uses of science. Through building up a body of key foundational knowledge and concepts, pupils should be encouraged to recognise the power of rational explanation and develop a sense of excitement and curiosity about natural phenomena. They should be encouraged to understand how science can be used to explain what is occurring, predict how things will behave, and analyse causes.


    The national curriculum for science aims to ensure that all pupils:

    • Develop scientific knowledge and conceptual understanding through the specific disciplines of biology, chemistry and physics
    • Develop understanding of the nature, processes and methods of science through different types of science enquiries that help them to answer scientific questions about the world around them
    • Are equipped with the scientific knowledge required to understand the uses and implications of science, today and for the future.

    Scientific knowledge and conceptual understanding

    The programmes of study describe a sequence of knowledge and concepts. While it is important that pupils make progress, it is also vitally important that they develop secure understanding of each key block of knowledge and concepts in order to progress to the next stage. Insecure, superficial understanding will not allow genuine progression: pupils may struggle at key points of transition (such as between primary and secondary school), build up serious misconceptions, and/or have significant difficulties in understanding higher-order content.

    Pupils should be able to describe associated processes and key characteristics in common language, but they should also be familiar with, and use, technical terminology accurately and precisely. They should build up an extended specialist vocabulary. They should also apply their mathematical knowledge to their understanding of science, including collecting, presenting and analysing data. The social and economic implications of science are important but, generally, they are taught most appropriately within the wider school curriculum: teachers will wish to use different contexts to maximise their pupils’ engagement with and motivation to study science.

    The nature, processes and methods of science

    ‘Working scientifically’ specifies the understanding of the nature, processes and methods of science for each year group. It should not be taught as a separate strand. The notes and guidance give examples of how ‘working scientifically’ might be embedded within the content of biology, chemistry and physics, focusing on the key features of scientific enquiry, so that pupils learn to use a variety of approaches to answer relevant scientific questions. These types of scientific enquiry should include: observing over time; pattern seeking; identifying, classifying and grouping; comparative and fair testing (controlled investigations); and researching using secondary sources. Pupils should seek answers to questions through collecting, analysing and presenting data.

    Spoken language

    The national curriculum for science reflects the importance of spoken language in pupils’ development across the whole curriculum – cognitively, socially and linguistically. The quality and variety of language that pupils hear and speak are key factors in developing their scientific vocabulary and articulating scientific concepts clearly and precisely. They must be assisted in making their thinking clear, both to themselves and others, and teachers should ensure that pupils build secure foundations by using discussion to probe and remedy their misconceptions.

    Attainment targets

    By the end of each key stage, pupils are expected to know, apply and understand the matters, skills and processes specified in the relevant programme of study.

    The Science Curriculum


    The principal focus of science teaching in key stage 1 is to enable pupils to experience and observe phenomena, looking more closely at the natural and humanly-constructed world around them. They should be encouraged to be curious and ask questions about what they notice. They should be helped to develop their understanding of scientific ideas by using different types of scientific enquiry to answer their own questions, including observing changes over a period of time, noticing patterns, grouping and classifying things, carrying out simple comparative tests, and finding things out using secondary sources of information. They should begin to use simple scientific language to talk about what they have found out and communicate their ideas to a range of audiences in a variety of ways. Most of the learning about science should be done through the use of first-hand practical experiences, but there should also be some use of appropriate secondary sources, such as books, photographs and videos.

    ‘Working scientifically’ is described separately in the programme of study, but must always be taught through and clearly related to the teaching of substantive science content in the programme of study. Throughout the notes and guidance, examples show how scientific methods and skills might be linked to specific elements of the content.

    Pupils should read and spell scientific vocabulary at a level consistent with their increasing word reading and spelling knowledge at key stage 1.

    Lower KS2 – Year 3 and Year 4:

    The principal focus of science teaching in lower key stage 2 is to enable pupils to broaden their scientific view of the world around them. They should do this through exploring, talking about, testing and developing ideas about everyday phenomena and the relationships between living things and familiar environments, and by beginning to develop their ideas about functions, relationships and interactions.

    They should ask their own questions about what they observe and make some decisions about which types of scientific enquiry are likely to be the best ways of answering them, including observing changes over time, noticing patterns, grouping and classifying things, carrying out simple comparative and fair tests and finding things out using secondary sources of information. They should draw simple conclusions and use some scientific language, first, to talk about and, later, to write about what they have found out.

    ‘Working scientifically’ is described separately at the beginning of the programme of study, but must always be taught through and clearly related to substantive science content in the programme of study. Throughout the notes and guidance, examples show how scientific methods and skills might be linked to specific elements of the content. Pupils should read and spell scientific vocabulary.


    In March 2017 the Bishops’ Conference produced a document called Learning to Love: An introduction to Catholic Relationship and Sex Education (RSE) for Catholic Educators. As a result of this the Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle has produced Relationships and Sex Education Guidance for Primary Schools. As a Catholic School we are duty bound to follow this guidance,

    Our policy links directly to the National Primary PSHE and RSE curriculum framework that cross references Personal Social Health Education and RSE.

    Open document -Primary Framework for PSHE including RSC (In CURRICULUM 2020 folder)

    Open document-Relationships and sex education policy (In CURRICULUM 2020 folder)

    At St. Mary’s, Personal Social and Health Education (PSHE) is an integral part of the school curriculum and is taught in a sensitive manner appropriate to the needs of the individual child. It aims to help children understand how they are developing personally and socially, tackling many of the moral, social and cultural issues that are part of growing up. It is intended to provide the children with the knowledge, understanding, skills and attitudes to make informed decisions about their lives whilst allowing them to explore feelings about themselves and others, and their place in the family and wider community. Topics covered include:

    • Friendships
    • Safety in school and out of school including internet safety
    • Dealing with emotions
    • People and their work
    • Keeping healthy
    • Anti-bullying

    As a Catholic School it is important that we deliver a programme that relates to the teachings of the Catholic Church, that develops the essential skills required for self-understanding, an awareness of spirituality and one which places a high value on family life. We recognise that “Family” can be very different for different people and this must be treated with tolerance and respect.

    The DfE have recently reinforced the need “to create and enforce a clear and rigorous expectation on all schools to promote the fundamental British values.” As a result we have revised our PSHE scheme to include Promoting British Values. For more information click here.

    In 2015 ‘The Counter-Terrorism and Security Act’ was updated. The’ Prevent Duty’ is an aspect of this Act. The Prevent Duty is not about preventing students from having political and religious views and concerns but about supporting them to use those concerns or act on them in non-extremist ways. It covers such areas as:

    • Discussing different groups and communities
    • Respect equality and be a productive member of a diverse community
    • Respect and protect the environment.

    In partnership with the NSPCC we deliver the underpants rule and aim to offer learning opportunities across and beyond the curriculum, in specific lessons as well as in assemblies, circle time, relevant school projects and other activities that enrich children’s experiences. We encourage children to grow into confident and emotionally secure individuals who know that the decisions they make will affect both themselves and others. Our overall aim is to provide children with essential life skills so that they leave us as well-rounded and confident individuals who are respectful and tolerant.

  • Maths


    In line with the curricula of many high performing jurisdictions, the National curriculum emphasises the importance of all pupils mastering the content taught each year and discourages the acceleration of pupils into content from subsequent years.

    The current National Curriculum document says:

    The expectation is that the majority of pupils will move through the programmes of study at broadly the same pace. However, decisions about when to progress should always be based on the security of pupils’ understanding and their readiness to progress to the next stage. Pupils who grasp concepts rapidly should be challenged through being offered rich and sophisticated problems before any acceleration through new content. Those who are not sufficiently fluent with earlier material should consolidate their understanding, including through additional practice, before moving on.’ (National Curriculum, page 3).

    Progress in mathematics learning each year should be assessed according to the extent to which pupils are gaining a deep understanding of the content taught for that year, resulting in sustainable knowledge and skills.

    Key measures of this are the abilities to reason mathematically and to solve increasingly complex problems, doing so with fluency, as described in the aims of the National curriculum:

    The national curriculum for mathematics aims to ensure that all pupils:

    • become fluent in the fundamentals of mathematics, including through varied and frequent practice with increasingly complex problems over time, so that pupils develop conceptual understanding and the ability to recall and apply knowledge rapidly and accurately
    • reason mathematically by following a line of enquiry, conjecturing relationships and generalisations, and developing an argument, justification or proof using mathematical language.
    • can solve problems by applying their mathematics to a variety of routine and non-routine problems with increasing sophistication, including breaking down problems into a series of simpler steps and persevering in seeking solutions.’ (National curriculum page 3)

    Assessment arrangements must complement the curriculum and so need to mirror these principles and offer a structure for assessing pupils’ progress in developing mastery of the content laid out for each year.

    +What do we mean by ‘Mastery’?

    The essential idea behind mastery is that all children need a deep understanding of the mathematics they are learning so that:

    • future mathematical learning is built on solid foundations which do not need to be re-taught;
    • there is no need for separate catch-up programmes due to some children falling behind.
    • children who, under other teaching approaches, can often fall a long way behind, are better able to keep up with their peers, so that gaps in attainment are narrowed whilst the attainment of all is raised.

    There are generally four ways in which the term mastery is being used in the current debate about raising standards in mathematics:

    1. A mastery approach: a set of principles and beliefs. This includes a belief that all pupils are capable of understanding and doing mathematics, given sufficient time. Pupils are neither ‘born with the maths gene’ nor ‘just no good at maths’. With good teaching, appropriate resources, effort and a ‘can do’ attitude all children can achieve in and enjoy mathematics.
    2. A mastery curriculum: one set of mathematical concepts and big ideas for all. All pupils need access to these concepts and ideas and to the rich connections between them. There is no such thing as ‘special needs mathematics’ or ‘gifted and talented mathematics’. Mathematics is mathematics and the key ideas and building blocks are important for everyone.
    3. Teaching for mastery: a set of pedagogic practices that keep the class working together on the same topic, whilst at the same time addressing the need for all pupils to master the curriculum and for some to gain greater depth of proficiency and understanding. Challenge is provided by going deeper rather than accelerating into new mathematical content. Teaching is focused, rigorous and thorough, to ensure that learning is sufficiently embedded and sustainable over time. Long term gaps in learning are prevented through speedy teacher intervention. More time is spent on teaching topics to allow for the development of depth and sufficient practice to embed learning. Carefully crafted lesson design provides a scaffolded, conceptual journey through the mathematics, engaging pupils in reasoning and the development of mathematical thinking.
    4. Achieving mastery of particular topics and areas of mathematics. Mastery is not just being able to memorise key facts and procedures and answer test questions accurately and quickly. It involves knowing ‘why’ as well as knowing ‘that’ and knowing ‘how’. It means being able to use one’s knowledge appropriately, flexibly and creatively and to apply it in new and unfamiliar situations.

    Mastery of mathematics is not a fixed state but a continuum. At each stage of learning, pupils should acquire and demonstrate sufficient grasp of the mathematics relevant to their year group, so that their learning is sustainable over time and can be built upon in subsequent years. This requires development of depth through looking at concepts in detail using a variety of representations and contexts and committing key facts, such as number bonds and times tables, to memory.

    Practice is most effective when it is intelligent practice, i.e. where the teacher is advised to avoid mechanical repetition and to create an appropriate path for practising the thinking process with increasing creativity. (Gu 2004)

    Mastery of the curriculum requires that all pupils:

    • use mathematical concepts, facts and procedures appropriately, flexibly and fluently;
    • recall key number facts with speed and accuracy and use them to calculate and work out unknown facts;
    • have sufficient depth of knowledge and understanding to reason and explain mathematical concepts and procedures and use them to solve a variety of problems.