1. Learning & Support
  2. Curriculum


The school is organised into five main classes so teaching takes place in mixed age groups. Where possible, we have a creative approach to learning making links between subjects as we believe that's how children learn best.

The new National Curriculum was implemented in September 2014 and St Mary’s has to deliver the objectives set out by the Government.Please clink on this link to the Department for education website where you can download all of the national curriculum programmes of study for the Primary age range.

Parents are sometimes concerned when children are taught in split age classes, typical of smaller schools where the admission number is not high enough for one class. All pupils are St Mary's are taught to meet their potential with an often high level of challenge within the appropriate Programmes of Study. There is an emphasis on deepening learning so that children become proficient at using their knowledge and skills in a variety of ways and across different subjects.  Our classes are small enough so that every child has plenty of teacher/pupil interaction.

English is either taught explicitly or through other subjects. We use the Talk for Writing approach in our English lessons. Maths is  taught as a single subject but we constantly look for opportunities to practise and hone mathematical skills in other lessons. 

We use the Letters and Sounds scheme as the main programme to teach phonics and a variety of reading schemes, i.e. The Oxford Reading Tree to teach reading. From Year 2, our Accelerated Reading Scheme ensures that all children are reading the appropriate level of book for them throughout their development.  Our Reception teacher holds a meeting with new parents early in the Autumn term to show them how they can support their child's acquisition of phonics and reading at home.

Churchwell:                Autumn 17   Spring 18

Underdown Hollow:   Autumn 17   Spring 18

Great Western:          Autumn 17   Spring 18

Five Bridges:             Autumn 17    Spring 18

Silverlake:                 Autumn 17    Spring 18


Our School provides a comprehensive range of activities to broaden children's understanding of the world and their place in it. We teach children how to take care of themselves and others; how to make wise choices in different situations and how to respect one another's differences. Please also see our audit on how our school is Promoting Fundamental British Values throughout our curriculum.


St Mary’s explicitly teaches SMSC through SEAL (Social Emotional Aspects of Learning scheme) 
Theme 1: New beginnings         Theme 2: Getting on and falling out                 Theme 3: Say no to bullying (1 week) 


Theme 4: Going for goals           Theme 5: Good to be me


Theme 6: Relationships              Theme 7: Changes 

These topics are introduced through an assembly by Mrs Middleton. Much of the learning may take place in circle time. There is less emphasis on recording although teachers should assess children’s understanding.

We make safeguarding implicit and explicit in our curriculum. As well as the Rainbow SEAL scheme of work and Rights Respecting Schools scheme, we run a number of events  throughout the year for children and parents as a minimum.

SEPTEMBER: Life education van 
DECEMBER: Anti bullying week 

FEBRUARY: Safer Internet Day
MAY: Streetwise Year 2 and Year 5, E-safety training for all children, staff and parents (Date may change depending on availability of trainers)
MAY: Firewise KS2 
JULY: First aid Year 6 


St Mary’s explicitly teaches Christian Values through the Roots and Shoots programme of work. The topics are introduced by Miss Grunnill in weekly assemblies and there are follow up activities (Reflections) that may sometimes be completed in class.  

17-18                                                                            18-19

Autumn:   Generosity and Compassion                     Thankfulness and Trust

Spring: Courage and Foregiveness                            Perseverance and Justice

Summer: Friendship and Respect                               Service and Truthfulness

We also enjoy a Spirituality Day every term through which we explore  a Bible story and what we, as Christians and non Christians can learn from it.

For more detailed information about  learning in each class, please speak to the classteacher.


There are seven areas of learning and development that must shape educational programmes in early years settings. All areas of learning and development are important and inter-connected. Three areas are particularly crucial for igniting children’s curiosity and enthusiasm for learning, and for building their capacity to learn, form relationships and thrive. These three areas, the prime areas, are:

• communication and language;

• physical development; and

• personal, social and emotional development.

Providers must also support children in four specific areas, through which the three prime areas are strengthened and applied. The specific areas are:

• literacy;

• mathematics;

• understanding the world; and

• expressive arts and design.

Educational programmes must involve activities and experiences for children, as follows:

• Communication and language development involves giving children opportunities to experience a rich language environment; to develop their confidence and skills in expressing themselves; and to speak and listen in a range of situations.

• Physical development involves providing opportunities for young children to be active and interactive; and to develop their co-ordination, control, and movement. Children must also be helped to understand the importance of physical activity, and to make healthy choices in relation to food.

• Personal, social and emotional development involves helping children to develop a positive sense of themselves, and others; to form positive relationships and develop respect for others; to develop social skills and learn how to manage their feelings; to understand appropriate behaviour in groups; and to have confidence in their own abilities.

• Literacy development involves encouraging children to link sounds and letters and to begin to read and write. Children must be given access to a wide range of reading materials (books, poems, and other written materials) to ignite their interest.

• 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 measures.

• Understanding the world involves guiding children to make sense of their physical world and their community through opportunities to explore, observe and find out about people, places, technology and the environment.

• Expressive arts and design involves enabling children to explore and play with a wide range of media and materials, as well as providing opportunities and encouragement for sharing their thoughts, ideas and feelings through a variety of activities in art, music, movement, dance, role-play, and design and technology. 1.6. Practitioners must consider the individual needs, interests, and stage of development of each child in their care, and must use this information to plan a challenging and enjoyable experience for each child in all of the areas of learning and development. Practitioners working with the youngest children are expected to focus strongly on the three prime areas, which are the basis for successful learning in the other four specific areas. The three prime areas reflect the key skills and capacities all children need to develop and learn effectively, and become ready for school. It is expected that the balance will shift towards a more equal focus on all areas of learning as children grow in confidence and ability within the three prime areas. But throughout the early years, if a child’s progress in any prime area gives cause for concern, practitioners must discuss this with the child’s parents and/or carers and agree how to support the child. Practitioners must consider whether a child may have a special educational need or disability which requires specialist support. They should link with, and help families to access, relevant services from other agencies as appropriate. (Taken from the Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage)

To prepare children for a smooth transition into Key Stage 1 and the National Curriculum, at St Mary’s we stress the importance of:

  • The involvement of parents in their child’s learning.
  • Personal, social and emotional well being of the child.
  • The development of a positive attitude and disposition as a learner.
  • Active learning through play that is purposeful, relating to real life experience and building on what the child has already experienced.

We have recently introduced the online  programme called 'Tapestry' which  records children's achievements through narrative and photos. We encourage parents to log on and contribute comments and anecdotes from learning the children demonstarte at home so we have an all round picture.