Curriculum

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Our Curriculum Vision

All pupils at St Mary’s have access to a broad, balanced and curriculum which is relevant to 21st century life and which encourages children to become lifelong learners. Differentiated to meet individual needs, we seek to ensure that all children are ‘next stage ready’ when they leave our school at the end of Year 4. Equipping our children with the skills and knowledge to innovate and meet future challenges underpins much of what we do. Enriching the curriculum with first hand experiences, pertinent educational visits and expert visitors further brings learning to life for St Mary’s children.

Through the development of our curriculum, we seek

  • To create a lively stimulating school where every individual is encouraged to maximise their opportunities for intellectual, moral, spiritual, physical, aesthetic and social development.
  • To support pupils in order to achieve high academic and personal standards.
  • To help pupils to develop lively, enquiring minds with the ability to question and argue rationally and to apply themselves successfully to tasks, problem solving activities and physical skills.
  • To help pupils to understand the world in which they live and to develop the ability to contribute as a member of a co-operative group and to recognise their responsibility within a community.
  • To help pupils to acquire knowledge and skills relevant to adult life, at home, at work, at leisure and as consumers and as citizens in order to achieve maximum potential.
  • To encourage the pupil to acquire values, attitudes and concepts which enable the individual to adapt to life in Britain and in a fast changing wider world.
  • To encourage a respect for all and an understanding of various religions and cultures present in our modern society.

Our curriculum is designed, organised and planned to ensure every child receives an appropriate mix of academic and personal development which means that in practice it places equal importance on core (reading, writing, maths) and foundation subjects (e.g. history, geography, art etc.)  We also place a high priority on ensuring the physical and mental well-being of children is met, understanding that they will not be successful learners unless they are emotionally secure.  We provide for this through our well-planned approach to social, moral, cultural and spiritual (SMSC) development. Our balanced approach to the curriculum is not, however, at the expense of high standards in core subject areas.  Enabling children to reach national expectations and above is of vital importance to us if they are to succeed at the next stage of their education and go on to achieve their aspirations

The statutory orders of the National Curriculum are taught in Years 1 to 4. The Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum is taught to children in Nursery and Reception. A Modern Foreign Language (French) is taught in Key Stage 2.

Curriculum Depth

At St Mary’s we seek to ensure the crucial deepening of essential knowledge, skills and understanding through our curriculum design.  We plan and organise our curriculum to ensure that children are not merely covering curriculum content, but are achieving a depth to their learning which enables them to apply their skills and understanding across a range of contexts and subjects.  We build in opportunities for repetition of learning, allowing children to gradually develop a deeper understanding of skills and processes within subjects.  Furthermore, our curriculum is planned to move children’s thinking to a deep level of understanding rather than just acquiring new facts and knowledge.

Curriculum area information

For further information about the curriculum areas, please use the table below. Or if you prefer please conact the school office and we will arrange a meeting with a member of staff to deal with any of your queries.

Our Literacy lead is Mr Hilton

The purpose of English in the National Curriculum is to teach pupils to write and speak fluently so that they can communicate their ideas and emotions to others and through their reading and listening, others can communicate with them. Our curriculum aims promote high standards of literacy by equipping pupils with a strong command of the spoken and written word and to develop a love of literature through widespread reading for enjoyment.

At St Mary’s  English is taught as an integral part of our topic based curriculum.  Through these topics, pupils will learn to read and write through a variety of fiction, non-fiction and poetry texts. Phonics, spelling, punctuation, grammar and handwriting, as well being part of every lesson, will be taught discretely at specific times each week.  English teaching is supported by a directed focus on language even for older pupils although teachers tailor lessons to the children’s interests, abilities and the topics that they are working on.

We strongly focus on developing our pupils into confident, fluent and independent readers. Our school reading scheme, the core of which is Oxford Reading Tree, draws from a range of other schemes to capture the range of abilities and interests of our pupils. Our reading scheme and library encourages pupils’ independence in choosing the texts that they wish to read at their ability levels. Weekly guided reading and writing sessions target small groups with specific objectives to ensure good progress of all pupils.

English teaching is detailed in our half termly curriculum maps.

Click here to view the full National Curriculum Programme of Study that we follow for English.

Our Numeracy lead is Miss Murray.

The National Curriculum for mathematics aims to ensure that all pupils become fluent in the fundamentals of mathematics, reason mathematically and can solve problems by applying their mathematics to a variety of situations.

At St Mary’s Numeracy is taught on a daily basis in two discreet elements, the first being a focus on the basic skills required by children to develop the application of numerical skills, (e.g. times tables, number bonds, etc). The second session is developing the application of numerical knowledge, with a focus on the contextual use of maths in everyday life.

We encourage the use of explorative learning to demonstrate the understanding of numerical skills, therefore each week from Years 1-4 children will be given the opportunity to learn through investigations, whereby they are provided the tools to explore a given task, and generate their own reasoned answer, (such as in the use of surveys, puzzles and other mathematical investigations).

Mathematic teaching is detailed in our half termly curriculum maps.

Click here to view the full National Curriculum Programme of Study that we follow for Mathematics.

Our Science lead is Miss Allan.

The purpose of science education in the National Curriculum is to provide the foundations for understanding the world through biology, chemistry and physics.  Children should be encouraged to understand how science can be used to explain what is occurring, predict how things will behave, and analyse causes. The aims if the National Curriculum are that all pupils develop scientific knowledge and conceptual understanding, develop understanding of the nature, processes and methods of science and that they are equipped with the scientific knowledge required to understand the uses and implications of science, today and for the future.

At St Mary’s the relevant programmes of study are taught for each key stage. Where possible, science is linked directly to the current topic being taught; for example, as part of their topic about Ancient Egypt the children may investigate the human body or use electrical circuits to make lighthouses during a topic about the coast. Some cross curricular topics may actually be based around a particular science programme of study. By using a topic based approach we aim to deepen pupils’ understanding of how science is linked to the real world as well as providing more opportunities for writing across the curriculum.

Science teaching is detailed in our half termly curriculum maps.

Click here to view the full National Curriculum Programme of Study that we follow for Science.

Our Art & Design lead is Miss Thompson.

The purpose of art and design in the National Curriculum is to engage, inspire and challenge pupils, equipping with the knowledge and skills to experiment, invent and create their own pieces of art, craft and design as well as thinking critically about their work. The aims of the National Curriculum are to ensure that all pupils produce creative work; become proficient in drawing, painting, sculpture and other techniques; use the language of art to evaluate and analyse creative works; and know about great artists, craft makers and designers and understand the historical and cultural developments of their art forms.

At  St Mary’s art and design is an integral part of our topic based approach to delivering the curriculum. Skills and techniques are taught within relevant topics; for example, during a topic entitled ‘Inside the walls’ which incorporates a study of the local area the children study the work and style of Lowry and the links to the Berwick area.

Art and Design teaching is detailed in our half termly curriculum maps.

Click here to view the full National Curriculum Programme of Study that we follow for Art and Design.

Our Computing lead is Miss Todd.

The purpose of computing in the national Curriculum is to equip pupils to use computational thinking and creativity to understand and change the world. The core of computing is computer science in which the children are taught how digital systems work and put this knowledge to use through programming to create programs, systems and content. Computing ensures that pupils become digitally literate and develop their ideas through information and communication technology to prepare them for the future workplace and as active participants in a digital world. The aims of computing in the National Curriculum include the children understanding and using algorithms, writing computer programs, and become responsible, competent, confident and creative users of ICT.

At Berwick St Mary’s First School pupils in Year 1 to Year 4 take part in a weekly discrete computing lesson which, wherever appropriate, is linked to the topic that the children are studying.  Our pupils are strongly encouraged to use ICT to support their learning at all times; this may be through easy access to Ipads in the classrooms or regular access to computers in our ICT Suite at break times and at after school clubs. The school provides pupils with access to a range of additional online resources including School360. Teaching of computing is supported by Northumberland County Council’s ‘Teaching Computing in the Primary School’ document.

Staying safe whilst using ICT and online is an integral part of Computing lessons and is supported by half termly lessons based on SWGfL’s Digital Literacy and Citizenship programme.

Teaching of Computing is detailed in our half termly curriculum maps.

Click here to view the full National Curriculum Programme of Study that we follow for Computing.

Our Design & Technology lead is Miss Thompson.

The purpose of Design and Technology in the National Curriculum is for pupils to use creativity and imagination to design and make products and solve real and relevant problems. The curriculum aims to ensure that all pupils develop expertise to perform everyday tasks confidently in an increasingly technological world by having the skills to design, make and evaluate and test as well as having an understanding and the ability to apply the principles of nutrition and learn how to cook.

At St Mary’s  Design and Technology is an integral part of our topic based approach to delivering the curriculum and will be taught at appropriate points of the year with strong links to other subjects; for example, when learning about the ‘Ancient Eygpt’ the children may design and make their own canopic jars or use electrical circuits to help make moving toys while learning about ‘Inventions’.

Design and Technology teaching is detailed in our half termly curriculum maps.

Click here to view the full National Curriculum Programme of Study that we follow for Design and Technology.

Our Geography lead is Miss Allan.

The purpose of Geography in the National Curriculum is to inspire curiosity and fascination about the world and its people. The curriculum aims to ensure that pupils develop knowledge of location of globally significant places and understand the processes that give rise to physical and human geographical features.  The curriculum aims for pupils to become competent at collecting, analysing and communicating data, interpret a range of sources of information including through the use of maps.

At St Mary’s Geography is an integral part of our topic based approach to delivering the curriculum and will be taught at appropriate points of the year with strong links to other subjects. Some topics we teach such as ‘Inside the Walls’ in Year 1 are Geography focused topics although many aspects of geography will also be taught through other topics such as the Year 4 ‘Wild Border’ topic.

Geography teaching is detailed in our half termly curriculum maps.

Click here to view the full National Curriculum Programme of Study that we follow for Geography.

Our History lead is Miss Allan.

The purpose of History in the national Curriculum is to help pupils gain knowledge and understanding of Britain’s past and that of the wider world. The curriculum aims to ensure that pupils know and understand the history of the British Isles from the earliest times to the present day and how peoples’ lives have shaped the nation. Other aims include the pupils being able to understand significant aspects of history of the wider world and to understand historical concepts such as continuity and change, cause and consequence, similarities, differences, connections and contrasts.

At Berwick St Mary’s First School History is an integral part of our topic based approach to delivering the curriculum and will be taught at appropriate points of the year with strong links to other subjects. Some topics we teach such as ‘Ancient Eygpt’ in Year 4 and ‘Knights and Castles’ in Reception are History focused topics although many aspects of history will also be taught through other topics such as the Year 1 ‘Inside the Walls’ topic which looks at many aspects of the local area  including historical aspects such as how Berwick has changed over time.

History teaching is detailed in our half termly curriculum maps.

Click here to view the full National Curriculum Programme of Study that we follow for History.

Our Language lead is Mr Hilton.

The purpose of learning foreign languages is to provide an opening to other cultures and deepen pupils’ understanding of the world.  The curriculum aims to ensure that pupils understand and respond to spoken and written language from a variety of authentic sources.

At St Mary’s pupils are encouraged to appreciate and use a range of languages from early on (for example by answering the register in a language other than English).  In Years 3 and 4 we begin to teach the children basic spoken and written vocabulary and phrases to support the teaching of modern languages as they move to Middle School.  We have chosen French to be the main language we teach as this is the main language taught in the school most of our pupils move to.   French will be taught in a short weekly session.

The teaching of Languages is detailed in our half termly curriculum maps.

Click here to view the full National Curriculum Programme of Study that we follow for Languages.

Our Music lead is Miss Todd.

 

In Key Stage One children will:

  • 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 inter-related dimensions of music.

In Key Stage Two children will:

  • 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 inter-related 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.

Music teaching is detailed in our half termly curriculum maps.

Click here to view the full National Curriculum Programme of Study that we follow for Music.

Our PE leads are Miss Murray and Mr Moor.

The purpose of Physical Education in the National Curriculum is to inspire all pupils to success and excel in competitive sport and other demanding activities which in turn support health and fitness. The curriculum aims for pupils  to develop competence to excel in a broad range of physical activities, be physically active for sustained periods of time, engage in competitive sports and activities and lead healthy, active lives.

At St Mary’s pupils from Years 1-4 take part in a weekly swimming lesson as well as a weekly PE lesson.  Our PE provision is detailed here.

Physical Education teaching is detailed in our half termly curriculum maps.

Click here to view the full National Curriculum Programme of Study that we follow for Physical Education.

Our RE lead is Miss Pearson.

At St Mary’s  our Christian ethos and vision is at the heart of everything we do we teach, both in terms of academic and social development. The R.E. curriculum is from our agreed syllabus, that is enhanced to meet the needs of all our children. Although R.E. is predominantly Christian, we do prepare our pupils for the wider world through teaching other practices of other principal religions represented in Britain and around the world.

Pupils take part in a daily act of Collective Worship that allows them opportunities to reflect and develop an understanding of our Christian values. Collective Worship is given a high profile in school, as it allows the children the opportunity to experience many aspects of the Christian faith that we enjoy and celebrate in our daily practice. Parents can attend a weekly celebration of our Christian values, where the achievements of the children are celebrated by the whole school community.

For more information on the RE curriculum please click this link.

RE teaching is detailed in our half termly curriculum maps.

Our PSHE lead is Miss Murray.

PSHE Education offers learning opportunities and experiences which reflect the increasing independence and physical and social awareness of learner. They learn skills to develop effective relationships, assume greater personal responsibility and keep themselves safe.

At St Mary’s  PHSE is interwoven throughout the curriculum and may be delivered specifically in response to situations that arise in school such as bereavement.  Wherever possible PSHE teaching will be linked to the specific topic area being taught at that time and will be detailed in our medium term topic plans.

Many aspects of PSHE are covered through our everyday work, acts of collective worship as well as within our taught curriculum. Our Thrive approach is used to support this curriculum area, with staff adapting to the needs of the individual and group.