At St Mary’s we provide rich and varied experiences specific to our school and the needs and interests of our children. An exciting and ambitious curriculum enables us to develop a love of learning and enjoyment across all subjects; encouraging creativity, independent thought, collaboration and a Growth Mindset. We offer a values-led curriculum founded in a Christian ethos where links to prior learning are revisited and built upon to ensure ‘sticky knowledge’. An overview of our curriculum topics can be viewed here.
We recognise that all children arrive at St Mary’s with different starting points. We have high expectations for all of our learners and our curriculum design encourages pupils to make the best possible progress and achieve to their highest potential. Through our carefully designed curriculum we provide opportunities for all pupils to experience success.
We believe our children need to develop an understanding about where they live and the wider world; in order to both understand their role in society and develop respect and for different communities, cultures and religions. We celebrate diversity through: actively seeking out opportunities to engage with visitors and organisations; providing opportunities within the curriculum; our diverse, well stocked library and class reading corners and thoughtfully chosen materials.
We believe our children need to develop the skills to work well with other people. Children need to learn how to speak and listen with respect in a variety of different situations. We believe in taking responsibility for our actions and owning our own behaviour (YOYOB). We promote emotional regulation, self-awareness and expressive language to enable children to communicate effectively in all situations.
Our children need to be resilient to be able to deal with different challenges across the curriculum and in the wider world. A thoughtfully designed curriculum with carefully chosen activities develops our pupils’ resilience, wellbeing and self-esteem. Children are encouraged to celebrate mistakes as part of the learning process and to recognise the importance of effort as part of the learning journey.
We believe our children need to understand the challenges facing our local and global environment and stand up to make a positive change. Our pupils lead by example, taking ownership of our local environment by raising awareness of issues, recycling and litter picking. We link with local organisations to reduce waste and promote sustainability.
We are passionate about our aim that all children will become fluent readers with a genuine love of reading.
In Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1 we use the Read Write Inc programme. Children are provided with reading books that support their phonic progression and build their confidence. In addition, they are encouraged to choose interest books from the school library.
In Key Stage 2, children begin are introduced to a wider range of genres and authors. Daily reading continues. In addition to this, adults share books from our 'Reading Spine' every day.
Children are given opportunities to write for many different purposes and acquire the necessary skills to achieve this. Handwriting, Spelling and Writing progression are carefully structured throughout the school and we work towards all children achieving fluent cursive writing by year 6.
The children learn to express themselves in a variety of situations, not only to each other, but also to adults and groups. Drama is used to explore the curriculum and widen their understanding and personal experience.
At St Mary’s we have adopted a mastery approach in order to deliver the three aims of the National Curriculum, fluency, reasoning and problem solving. These skills are embedded within Maths lessons and developed consistently over time. We are committed to ensuring that children are able to recognise the importance of Maths in the wider world and that they are also able to use their mathematical skills and knowledge confidently in their lives in a range of different contexts. We want all children to enjoy Mathematics and to experience success in the subject, developing independence, confidence and competence.
At St Mary’s, we recognise the importance of Science in every aspect of daily life. We understand that young children are naturally curious of the world around them and we want to continue to build on this natural curiosity by encouraging talk and questioning. We want to provide experiences that bring a real sense of ‘awe and wonder’ in order to keep the Scientific flame alive.
We use an enquiry-based approach to learning which supports children in answering their scientific questions of the world around them. These enquiry and investigative skills are explicitly taught. They are further enhanced in the use of our Forest School area and semi-rural environment.
By the time our pupils leave St Mary’s, we want them to have developed an enthusiasm for Science which will give them the confidence and motivation to continue to further develop their Scientific knowledge and skills into the next stage of their education.
At St Mary’s School our intent in Religious Education is for all children to develop a personal connection to St Mary’s Church and have respect for people who hold different views to them. We believe that it is important that children learn from and about religion so that they can make decisions and choices that will impact positively on the community and their own lives.
At St Mary’s, our History curriculum is designed to help pupils gain knowledge and understanding of Britain’s past and that of the wider world. In addition, we want them to recognise the importance of local historic sites such as Berkhamsted’s castle, the WW1 trenches and the canal. We use History to inspire the children’s curiosity about their ancestors, in order to know more and remember more about the past and consider how that has shaped our lives in the present. We want our children to have access to a chronological framework to assist them in making sense of the new knowledge they acquire. Through the teaching of History, we endeavour to help children understand the complexity of people's lives, the process of change, the diversity of societies and relationships between different groups, as well as their own identity and the challenges of their time.
At St. Mary’s we believe that Geography helps to provoke and provide answers to questions about the natural and human aspects of the world. Children are encouraged to develop a greater understanding and knowledge of the world, as well as their place in it. It is our intent to inspire in children a curiosity and fascination about the world and its people which will remain with them for the rest of their lives; to promote the children’s interest and understanding of our own rich geographical locality and of diverse places, people, resources and natural and human environments, together with a deep understanding of the Earth’s key physical and human processes.
At St Mary’s, physical education and sport develops children into physically confident, skilful and healthy pupils. We provide a high quality, varied curriculum that develops physical skill progression and knowledge of different sports over time. Our curriculum is specifically designed for the needs of our pupils and ensures children are physically active for sustained periods of time to support their health, fitness and wellbeing. It exposes them to vocabulary associated with health, fitness and sports science.
Our PE curriculum supports pupils to succeed and excel in competitive sports and other physical activities both during curriculum time, extra-curricular activities and in the local community.
We aim to provide all children with opportunities to represent St Mary’s in extra-curricular activities, promoting healthy competition and values such as teamwork and fairness.
Children collaborate with their peers, developing them into respectful and resilient sports people who set themselves aspirational challenges. We know that if children are exposed to a high quality physical education curriculum it will enable them to succeed and continue to have a physically active life.
We pay additional attention to swimming and water safety, especially as we are located next to the Grand Union Canal. All children receive swimming lessons with a specialist coach and skills are revisited during residential trips.
The areas that we cover can be viewed here.
Our vision for Art at St Mary’s is to inspire creativity in every child with a curriculum that develops and celebrates resilience, confidence and practical skills.
The curriculum has appropriate subject knowledge, skills and understanding to explore and investigate, create and evaluate artwork as set out in the National Curriculum. It will enable pupils to create their own works of art, craft and design with a real purpose, which may be practical or aesthetic. They will have the opportunity of displaying and sharing the work they create and showcasing the skills and progress they have made.
At St Mary’s our vision for Design & Technology is to equip every child with the knowledge and skills to experiment, design and create.
Our Curriculum provides children with a real life context for learning. At St Mary’s, we want to allow children to aspire to be whatever they want to be, through creating opportunities for them in the wider world. Through the DT curriculum, children should be inspired by engineers, designers, chefs and architects to enable them to create a range of structures, mechanisms, textiles, electrical systems and food products with a real life purpose.
At St Mary’s, we aim to prepare our children for a rapidly changing world. We want the use of technology to support learning (including remote and blended learning) across the entire curriculum and to ensure that our curriculum is accessible to every child.
Our computing curriculum focuses on a progression of skills, knowledge and understanding in digital literacy, computer science, information technology and online safety to ensure that children become safe, responsible and competent digital citizens. These strands are revisited repeatedly through a range of themes during children’s time in school to ensure the learning is embedded and skills are successfully developed.
Creativity, resilience, problem solving and critical thinking mindsets are boosted through high quality computer science provision, enabling children to adapt and flourish in an ever-evolving technological society.
At St Mary’s we want to make music an enjoyable, accessible and engaging learning experience for all our children, whatever their learning needs may be.
Children participate in a wide variety of musical experiences throughout the school including singing, playing tuned and untuned instruments as well as composing and performing for each other and wider audiences.
Through listening to and discussing different styles of music from around the world and through their singing and playing they learn about the structure and organisation of music including musical notation, as well as their own preferences and strengths as musicians.
Children learn technical vocabulary, such as beat, pitch and rhythm and musical notation so that they are able to build on their musicianship in primary school as they develop and play more demanding instruments and pieces.
Children experiment and learn to play a wide variety of percussion instruments in early years before progressing to using glockenspiels in years 1 and 2. In years 3 and 4 they learn the descant recorder and in years 5 and 6 they learn the Ukulele. In this way they experience both stringed and woodwind instruments, each for two years giving them a proper opportunity to develop as musicians as well as a grounding across different instruments before they progress to more complex and larger instruments when they are at secondary school.
At St Mary’s we regularly take part in large choirs and have been able to perform at The Albert Hall, Wembley and the 02. We have 1:1 and small group tuition by specialist music teachers for guitar and piano, as well as our weekly Rock Steady sessions where children have the opportunity to make their own Rock Bands. Music is a big part of life at St Mary’s and we are proud of all our musicians here.
Languages are part of the cultural richness of our society and the world in which we live and work. MFL contributes to a mutual understanding, a sense of global citizenship and personal fulfilment. All pupils in KS2 study French (in line with Ashlyns School) and will gain systematic knowledge of key vocabulary and structures, grammar and phonics of the new language and a better understanding of how these are used by French speakers. At St Mary’s, our MFL curriculum enables children to practise their listening, speaking, reading and writing skills and lay the foundations for life-long language learning.
At St Mary’s, Personal, Social and Health Education is fully underpinned by our Christian values. We support our children to develop the necessary skills to live life fully as responsible citizens. We use the Jigsaw scheme of work to support and prepare our children for the challenges they will face as they move on. PSHE lessons develop the children’s emotional intelligence, equipping them with the ability to articulate their feelings in order to maintain good mental health. The PSHE curriculum at St Mary’s develops our children’s awareness of diversity and different life choices; supporting them to develop as tolerant and respectful citizens.
Jigsaw is a unique, spiral, progressive and effective scheme of work, aiming to prepare children/young people for life, helping them really know and value who they are and understand how they relate to other people in this ever-changing world.