St. Margaret Mary's is a learning community that uses every means possible to motivate and challenge the children.
Our curriculum is tailored to meet the needs of individual children and to celebrate the unique gifts and talents we all possess.
We enrich the curriculum in a variety of ways, we have speakers visit school, we organise regular class visits (thanks to our mini bus) and we have an interactive outdoor classroom for our youngest children.
Our curriculum has and continues to evolve to ensure that we prepare our children for the next stage in their education.
In our Curriculum Overviews you will be able to see the topics that each year group will be studying throughout the year (the newest are at the top of each section):
EYFS (Nursery and Reception)
When children enter the Early Years they take part in daily high-quality activities, planned carefully to teach children the important skills of speaking and listening. These are fun sessions involving lots of games, songs and rhymes where the emphasis is on children’s active participation.
In Reception, all pupils participate in daily phonics lessons to support their reading and writing. We follow a systematic synthetic phonics programme called Sound! Start Phonics. They learn to use their phonic knowledge for reading and writing activities and in their independent play.
From a very early stage, children develop awareness of different sounds in spoken language. They develop understanding that spoken words are made up of different sounds (phonemes) and they learn to match these phonemes to letters (graphemes). Children use this phonic knowledge when they are reading and writing. This approach has been shown to provide a quick and efficient way for most young children to learn to read words on the page, fluently and accurately. We want children to develop this skill so that it becomes automatic.
We learn about the author Julia Donaldson.
Key Stage 1 (Years 1 and 2)
All pupils in Year 1 and identified children in Year 2 participate in phonics lessons to support reading. We follow the Sound! Start Phonics programme. Year 1 have a particular focus on phonics as they prepare for their phonic screening check in June.
For those children who did not meet the required check in Year 1, interventions are continued in Year 2 to support the children and prepare them for their retake in Year 2.
There is a reading scheme where books are sent home once per week. For those children who are learning phonic sounds, they use Big Cat Collins Phonic books that are matched to the phonics phases so that children can apply their phonic knowledge to their reading. Parents are invited to comment in their child’s home/school reading record book. We also encourage children and parents to record other books that they have enjoyed reading at home with their family.
Our authors are:
- Year 1 – Roger Hargreaves and Lauren Child
- Year 2 – Francesca Simon and Oliver Jeffers
Key Stage 2
Across Key stage 2, pupils are introduced to the Reading Skills that are required within the Primary Curriculum. These skills include exploring vocabulary, retrieving information, summarising the main points of a text, making inferences and predictions. These skills are continually referred to in School and are on display. Children who have not yet met the phonic check in Year 2 are given extra phonic support, through interventions, to help close the gaps.
To continue and develop their love of reading, pupils in Key Stage 2 are introduced to the works of significant authors and their literary heritage through their units of work, guided reading sessions, engaging book corners and their designated class authors.
Our authors are:
- Year 3 – Jill Murphy, Roald Dahl and Philip Pullman
- Year 4 – Jacqueline Wilson, Michael Morpurgo and E.B White
- Year 5 – Cressida Cowell, Jeremy Strong and Rick Riordan
- Year 6 – J.K Rowling, William Shakespeare and Louis Sachar
English lessons follow medium term plans taking skills from the Primary Curriculum, with interesting texts to engage pupils, develop their love of reading and support their increasing fluency as readers, their facility as writers, and their comprehension. Reading books are sent home once per week. Parents are invited to comment in their child’s home/school reading record book to encourage a dialogue between home and school regarding achievement and enjoyment in reading. There is also space for parents and children to add books that children enjoy reading at home with their family. Pupils are continually encouraged to read widely and for pleasure. We enjoy celebrating reading through events such as World Book Day, visiting our own school library and learning about our year group authors.
As a school, our aim is to develop pupils’ skills and their ability to ‘read like a writer’ and ‘write like a reader’. Across the year pupils have regular reading and writing opportunities for fiction and non-fiction texts. Teachers build in Creative Writing opportunities into their planning and encourage children to demonstrate their own writing style. Children are invited to enter national competitions such as those organised by the ‘Young Writers’ organisation; many of our children have had their work published. Throughout the year there are other writing opportunities, outside of lessons, including Poetry Competitions.
Children are exposed to books throughout the curriculum, not just in English lessons. Each of our Creative Curriculum topics has a set of non-fiction books that children have access to in their classrooms. Children are encouraged to read in order to research new information. They complete book reviews to share their new knowledge and recommend the books to their peers.
In Saint Margaret Mary’s our Maths statement of intent is that every child develops a sound understanding of Maths, equipping them with the skills of calculation, reasoning and problem solving that they need in life beyond school.
Children study mathematics daily covering a broad and balanced mathematical curriculum including elements of number, calculation, geometry, measures and statistics. Alongside daily maths sessions an additional 15 minutes per day is spent focusing on a Maths Meeting which provides opportunities to develop upon our school’s traditional strength in number. This includes exploring conservation of number, ordinality, cardinality and the relationships between numbers. It establishes a routine for starting mathematical thinking in the day, building classroom culture, and making connections with mathematics in everyday life.
We teach maths in a cross curricular manner as well as discretely to teach the practical application of mathematical skills. We focus not only on the mathematical methods but also on mathematical vocabulary and use Maths Mastery to broaden and deepen mathematical understanding.
We recognise that in order for pupils to progress to deeper and more complex problems, children need to be confident and fluent across each yearly objective. To ensure our pupils acquire a deeper understanding in their mathematical learning journey, we supplement our fluency resources by using the ‘Maths – No Problem’ Mastery scheme. It helps pupils develop a deep, long-term, and adaptable understanding of maths using Its inclusive approach where all children achieve. Children will typically spend a portion of each lesson exploring a concept in their journals. Only when they are secure in their understanding will they will move to a text book which promotes problem solving and reasoning. Our teachers use this to help establish reasoning and problem solving as a significant element in each lesson and in conjunction with this, the high-quality resources of NRich and NCETM to support, stretch and challenge all learners within the classroom.
In Early Years, Mathematics involves providing children with opportunities to develop and improve their skills in counting, understanding and using numbers, calculating simple addition and subtraction problems; and to describe shapes, spaces, and measure.
Key Stage 1
At this stage, pupils develop their ability to recognise, describe, draw, compare and sort different shapes and use the related vocabulary. Teaching involves using a range of measures to describe and compare different quantities such as length, mass, capacity/volume, time and money.
By the end of Year 2, children know the number bonds to 20 and are precise in using and understanding place value. An emphasis on practice at this early stage aids fluency.
Key Stage 2
Teaching throughout Key Stage 2 builds on the solid foundations of the previous key stage. Children are introduced to formal calculation methods in Year 3 and these are developed and built on each year in line with age related expectations. The frequent opportunities to reason and problem solve provided by teachers develops their conceptual understanding and prepares them for the statutory end of key stage assessments.
Through moderation of planning, lessons and books, we can be sure that progress is made across all year groups. If progress is not being made, support is immediate and steps provided to ensure all pupils achieve and make progress.
Summative assessment takes place at the end of each term were Nfer tests give teachers standardised scores to not only understand the children’s progress within the classroom, but also at a national level. This data feeds discussions about children’s progress and attainment and helps inform senior leaders in pupil progress meetings about next steps. Formative assessment takes place on a daily basis and teachers adjust planning accordingly to meet the needs of their class.
Our school has achieved the Schools Membership of Music Mark - a national organisation and association for music education. This is in recognition for all the hard work we do to ensure that pupils are able to access and engage with a high-quality music education.
- Music Mark Certificate - 2019/20