The roots to grow, the wings to fly...
St Mary’s Church of England Primary School is a small, village school in the heart of Bradford Abbas. On the edge of Dorset and neighbouring Somerset, we welcome children from the surrounding villages and towns and from both counties.
St Mary’s has long been a popular and successful school; not just in terms of our strong performance overtime but due to our strong relationships with our families and the community. This is when children flourish.
As well as being a founder member school of Sherborne Area Schools’ Trust, St Mary’s is part of the small schools’ cluster; five small schools working together to provide more affordable enrichment activities such as residentials and art projects and giving our smaller cohorts the opportunity to meet and work with a wider spectrum of their peers.
In our curriculum, we make links across the different subjects where possible so that learning is ‘joined up’. We plan many enrichment activities both in and out of school to reinforce and extend learning.
Building on our high maths results, last year we introduced an aspirational maths programme of teaching into our curriculum, ‘Inspire Maths’. Inspire Maths builds firm foundations and a deep understanding of mathematical concepts through a concrete-pictorial-abstract approach, emphasising mastery to help children become confident and independent mathematicians. There is much more emphasis on practical exploration of number using apparatus.
We use an approach called ‘Talk for Writing in our English work. Talk for writing is powerful because it is based on the principles of how children learn. The movement from imitation to innovation to independent application can be adapted to suit the needs of learners of any stage. The Talk for Writing approach enables children to read and write independently for a variety of audiences and purposes within different subjects. A key feature is that children internalise the language structures needed to write through ‘talking the text’ as well as close reading. The approach moves from dependence towards independence with the teacher using shared and guided teaching to develop the ability in children to write creatively and powerfully. Our children are happy, independent learners!
A snapshot of other achievements last year were: being awarded the Silvermark Games award (an award which acknowledges our strong commitment to sport, our curriculum and being active), Key Stage 2’s performance of Shakespeare’s ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ to an enraptured audience, our swim team finishing second in the area swimming gala, our year 3 and 4 football team winning the Sherborne area tournament, our forest schools’ programme, our maths team finishing third in the Gryphon maths challenge, our year 6 chess team winning the Sherborne area tournament, year 5 and 6 performing in a Sherborne area rock concert to a packed house at the Gateway in Yeovil, a year 6 pupil winning the Sherborne Literary Festival writing competition in the junior category and the whole school participating in the Sherborne Literacy festival, meeting authors in and out of school. An exciting and diverse curriculum is very important to us.
This year we are building on our commitment to teach children about being responsible environmentalists by participating in Energy Challenges, a new project currently running in Southend on Sea by the Young People’s Trust for the Environment, but which will be fully launched across the UK in the 2020-21 academic year. Through Energy Challenges, we will be given access to a wide range of teaching materials and a programme of activities to tackle 3 key areas of energy saving, plastic waste and boidversity in the school grounds.