Our Curriculum Vision

Achievement-Creativity-Endeavour: Our Vision

The ‘values’ of the school community provide the building blocks for our curriculum offer, which is designed to equip the children with the knowledge and skills for future success. 

Curriculum Intent


In an ever-changing world, we will equip our children with the skills and qualities needed so they can embrace life’s challenges and opportunities. Our curriculum will open children’s eyes to new possibilities so they can develop aspirational attitudes and understand how to achieve their full potential.


Using an inspiring range of quality literature allows our children to broaden their horizons and knowledge of the world; develop their imaginations and use a rich vocabulary so they are able to communicate effectively with confidence and enthusiasm with the world around them both orally and through the written word.

We have an inclusive curriculum that reflects the needs of the individual, so ensuring opportunities to express talents and develop new skills are secured through a sequential approach to learning in all areas of the curriculum.


We believe that it is important for our children to understand that life is more than a virtual/digital world. We are passionate about their physical wellbeing and will therefore provide opportunities for the children to develop resilience and manage risk and elements of danger, through exploring the world around them.

As citizens of the future, we recognise the importance of our children using their skills, knowledge and beliefs to not only benefit ourselves but also to impact positively on the wider community. Through experiencing challenges and celebrating the rich diversity of modern Britain, we hope our children will positively impact on the world around them.


Our Christian Values under pin all that we do in school, guiding our daily actions and decisions as we work as a community of unique individuals whom share a common belief and goal, that is our community

Curriculum planning makes links to our values so they are embedded in how we teach the curriculum.


Research and Pedagogy

‘Pedagogy is defined simply as the method, and practice, of teaching. It encompasses: When people talk about the pedagogy of teaching, they will be referring to the way teachers deliver the content of the curriculum to a class. When a teacher plans a lesson, they will consider different ways to deliver the content.’

Subject Leaders and Classroom Teachers research and use different pedagogical approaches depending on what is being taught but as a school we are especially mindful of considering the following when planning how to deliver lessons and plan the curriculum:

  • Metacognition
  • EEF Summary of recommendations 

The curriculum is a working document reflecting emergent need within cohorts and individuals, but also reflects the staff’s continuous professional development, that uses the fundamental of evidenced based research to strive for best outcomes. 


The ‘Core Skills’ of learning

We refer to core skills, as the skills: 

  • in English which enable the children to read and write coherently across the curriculum and apply their knowledge of grammar and punctuation accurately whenever they are writing. We also expect the children to maintain high standards of presentation.
  • In maths, there are core arithmetic skills (e.g. number bonds) and numeracy skills (e.g. using a ruler) which the children use daily and should be used accurately outside of the maths lesson and the children should be able to apply these skills in a variety of contexts.

To ensure core skills continue to be at the forefront, children access Timetable Rockstars (KS2), Doodle (KS1 and KS2) and Lexia (KS1 and 2) computer based programmes that provide continuous opportunities to practice and embed the core skills.

Phonics is taught daily using Read Write Inc in EYFS and KS1 with defined expectations and end points throughout academic years.



Reading and using quality children’s literature is at the heart of everything we do. All areas of study, across all subjects are linked at some point to year group reading curriculums. We are keenly aware that when children have ‘learnt to read’, they are then ‘reading to learn’. We use whole class reading and English lessons to gain knowledge about a subject so the time in subject based lessons can focus on the skills. The children are then able to make rapid gains in knowledge through this cross curriculum approach.



To ensure a broad and balanced curriculum the school has subject specific non-negotiables across the curriculum, enabling the children to share the high aspirations we have for them in everything they do. 


Memorable Moments

We aim to provide interesting, varied and exciting visits and classroom visitors to enhance areas of learning. Visitors and trips are chosen to enhance the curriculum; provide experiences they may not usually have access to and to provide a range of cultural opportunities, often beyond their local community and previous life experiences.


Cultural Capital

According to the school inspection handbook, Ofsted’s definition of Cultural Capital is:

As part of making the judgement about the quality of education, inspectors will consider the extent to which schools are equipping pupils with the knowledge and cultural capital they need to succeed in life. Our understanding of ‘knowledge and cultural capital’ is derived from the following wording in the national curriculum: ‘It is the essential knowledge that pupils need to be educated citizens, introducing them to the best that has been thought and said and helping to engender an appreciation of human creativity and achievement.’”

We want all of our children, no matter what their background or experience, to be exposed to the best of the world around them in order to help them reach their potential and make progress in life beyond school. There are many experiences, some small such as a bedtime story and others which are bigger such as a trip to the zoo which many of us take for granted. Our aim is to redress the balance by aiming to provide opportunities and experiences for all. ‘…the accumulation of cultural capital – the acquisition of knowledge – is the key to social mobility”.

Some of the ways in which we think about Cultural Capital within in our curriculum are:

  • a variety of literature is taught (classic and modern authors)
  • across the years, children will be exposed to carefully chosen artists, designers, sculptors, architects and composers
  • learning about significant people of the past and present and their impact on the world today
  • we model respect for each other; use varied and appropriate language and strive to be role models for the children we teach
  • pupil voice allows children to formulate arguments, make plans and work with others and they have opportunities to make decisions for the greater good which will also impact on their moral development
  • daily life in school includes greeting each other at the door or when passing in the corridor; using cutlery appropriately in the dining room and even opening the door for a peer or adult. These life skills are a crucial part of enabling children to be able to adapt to the setting and experiences they are exposed to
  • meta-learning (learning to learn), developing a growth mindset, self esteem, keeping safe and spiritual development are all areas which we think play a part in children’s ability to be prepared for the future and experience the best of what the world has to offer.


Curriculum Progression

Knowledge, concepts and skills across subjects is progressive (builds on previous learning and takes account of prior knowledge) and all teachers know what has been taught before and what comes next. Our aim is for the curriculum to be cohesive so children are constantly building on previous learning and provided with a curriculum where connections can be made across areas of study and different subjects. 

We want children to be literate in a subject and become experts. Therefore, we emphasise ‘areas of study’ rather than topics to develop subject specific skills, concepts and language


Curriculum Development & Planning

Leaders have develop a curriculum overview for each key stage, that structures each area of study will be taught. The subject leader has based these decisions on progression of knowledge; and to enable tangible and experiential links to be made between areas of study and subjects.

Curriculum Implementation


  • Learning in the classroom is carefully planned so our school pedagogy is apparent and considered to allow the children to make gains in knowledge and make connections between different areas of learning.
  • Areas of study are progressive in skills and knowledge across the school.
  • Areas of study use the local environment, community and places of interest as much as possible.
  • Areas of study are taught in the order and at the time which has been specified on the overall plan.
  • Enquiry based approaches are used to deepen children’s knowledge and create high levels of interest.
  • Subject progression documents will be the basis for planning as will the specific skills which have been identified for each year group to secure learning expectations for agreed end points.
  • Subject non-negotiables will ensure all subjects have clear expectations for teachers and children, therefore are valued within our curriculum structure.
  • The curriculum journey will be fully inclusive reflecting the needs of the individual and cohort.
  • Quality children’s literature is at the heart of the majority of areas of study
  • A variety of experiences are provided for the children which are best suited to help the children remember and recall their learning
  • Curriculum information and pupil achievements are shared regularly with parents through meetings and on-line.  

Curriculum Impact

Monitoring and evaluation is a continuous process and is carried out by class teachers, curriculum leaders, senior leaders and external moderators. Monitoring takes place in a variety of ways – observations, learning walks, conversations with pupils and teachers, collaborative planning, work scrutiny

Classroom learning & Subject Monitoring – ‘drop ins’, team teaching, observations, learning walks, pupil scrutiny & external moderation. During these monitoring visits the following areas will be reviewed to evaluate the teaching and learning experience of the children:

  • Assessment
  • Core Skills
  • Attitude to Learning
  • Progress
  • Pupil voice 
  • Well-being / learning environment


  • Assessment should be ongoing and at the end of each area of study
  • Assessment tasks should be used throughout and these can range in a variety of way but they will be independent tasks which ask the children to apply their learning. 
  • For all subjects, there is assessment criteria based on the subject progress document.
  • Assessments are there to be informative and useful.
  • Pupil voice is a key part of assessment and should be used to evaluate how much knowledge has been remembered and which skills have been learnt. This should be carried out by a range of people e.g. subject leaders, class teachers, governors etc.

Curriculum subject 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 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 Pearson.

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.

Our Design & Technology lead is Miss Tait.

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 Language lead is Miss Flint.

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 Spanish to be the main language we teach as this is the main foreign language used by our families.

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 Barrett.

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.


We are Mathematicians!

‘Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.’ Romans 12:2

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.

At St Mary’s we aim to create independent and inquisitive mathematicians who recognise the importance of mathematics, integral to all aspects of life including science, technology and engineering, necessary for financial literacy and in employment.

The national curriculum for mathematics aims to ensure that all pupils:

  • become fluent in the fundamentals of mathematics, including through varied and frequent practice with increasingly complex problems over time, so that pupils develop conceptual understanding and the ability to recall and apply knowledge rapidly and accurately.
  • reason mathematically by following a line of enquiry, conjecturing relationships and generalisations, and developing an argument, justification or proof using mathematical language
  • can solve problems by applying their mathematics to a variety of routine and non-routine problems with increasing sophistication, including breaking down problems into a series of simpler steps and persevering in seeking solutions.

Mastery in Maths

Through a mastery approach, our curriculum is planned in small sequential steps providing both breadth and depth to all learners maximising the learning potential of each pupil and securing a life long understanding. Opportunities are given for pupils to work practically in a range of contexts, progressing to pictorial representations and then to abstract concepts such as written calculation methods. Pupils develop rich connections across mathematical ideas to develop fluency, reasoning by following a line of enquiry and challenged through sophisticated problems, including the application and use of mathematics in real contexts e.g. scaling problems when working with ingredients in cooking.

The national curriculum for mathematics reflects the importance of spoken language in pupils’ development across the whole curriculum. At St Mary’s language development is a key priority enabling pupils to develop their mathematical vocabulary, expressing ideas accurately, concisely and in presenting mathematical  thinking and justification.

Further opportunities are provided to enable pupils to apply their mathematical knowledge to science and the wider curriculum, e.g. interpreting data in Geography linked to climate change. Outdoor learning incorporates problem solving in a range of contexts including outdoor and adventurous activities.

We endeavour to ensure pupils develop a sense of enjoyment and natural curiosity about maths that will stay with them as they continue their learning journey into adulthood. Click on the classes below to see what Mathematics at St Mary’s looks like.

In Early Years, mathematics involves providing children with opportunities to develop their skills in counting, understanding and using numbers, calculating simple addition and subtraction problems; and to describe shape, space and measure.

In Key Stage 1, the principal focus is to ensure that pupils develop confidence and mental fluency when working with whole numbers, including counting and place value of numbers with the 0-100 range. This will involve working with numerals, words, addition, subtraction, multiplication and division.

Pupils will develop their ability to recognise, describe, compare and sort shapes and use the related vocabulary. They will use 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, pupils show know number bonds to 20 to aid fluency as they move into Key Stage 2.

In Lower Key Stage 2, the principal focus is to ensure pupils become increasingly fluent with whole numbers and addition, subtraction, multiplication and division, including number facts and the concept of place value. Pupils will develop efficient mental and written calculation methods with increasingly larger whole numbers.

Pupils will develop their ability to reason mathematically and solve a range of problems. This includes fractions and decimal place value, analysing shapes and their properties and describing the relationships between them. They will use measuring implements with accuracy and make connections between measure and number.

By the end of Year 4, pupils should know up to and including the 12 times tables and demonstrate fluency and precision in their work.


We are Scientists!

‘The Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes.’ Psalm 118:23 

Our Science lead is Mrs Oliver.

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.

At St Mary’s we teach our children to be inquisitive about Science and to be excited by the world around them. Science is taught weekly across Key Stage 1, Key Stage 2 and through ‘Understanding the World’ in our EYFS. The Science curriculum that we provide encourages the children to develop a sense of excitement and curiosity about natural phenomena.

Scientific Enquiry

We teach children to work scientifically by asking scientific questions, use scientific vocabulary (which is on display in all of our classrooms), investigate a line of enquiry, analyse results and refer back to their predictions. Scientific enquiry is strand that is covered throughout each topic from EYFS to Year 4 that involves lots of “hands on” approaches for the children to have first-hand experience of testing questions and hypotheses. As the children move through the year groups they are challenged to devise and complete their own scientific enquiries. Click on the links below for examples from each class.

In EYFS Science the children are given a problem solving task set from the class text. For example the children explored the story ‘The Owl Who Was Afraid of the Dark’. They shared their ideas to help Plop (the owl from the story) find a suitable light source to help him see in the dark. They were given a selection of resources and had to test the resources to identify if they were a light source or not. They tested the torch to shine light into the ‘bear cave’. They then made the light reflect from the mirror as they shone the torch at the mirror.

Throughout Key Stage 1 the children investigate questions and hypotheses. For example in Year 1 the children investigated the hypothesis “You can’t identify objects using sense of smell”. The children had 6 mystery cups with 6 different items in for the children to explore and predict the item in the cup using only their sense of smell. The children recorded their predictions in their books. The Year 2 set up an investigation to find out ‘How do germs spread?’. The children worked as a group to test different areas of the school where the most amount of germs would be found and which places and objects carried germs. When observing the germs the following week the children could then compare their predictions with the results.

Year 3 had a fantastic afternoon exploring shadows. The children drew around the shadow of our partner in the playground. They discussed how shadows are created using our prior learning in Science, e.g. light travels in a straight line, objects can block the light. They discussed how we could the change the orientation of our shadow but realised we couldn’t and reasoned why. After approximately 30 minutes, we went back to our shadows, standing on our footprints (we drew around our feet at the same time we drew around our shadow). They discovered that the shadow had changed position and reasoned why, drawing on our knowledge of how the earth rotates and the position of the sun in the sky. Following this the
children decided they would plan an investigation to see if the size of our shadow would change over the course of a day.

Year 3 also used Starburst sweets to show how different types of rocks are formed. Each Starburst was cut into pieces to represent sediments. Pressure was applied to the sediments to form a sedimentary rock and discussed the compaction process. To create a metamorphic rock, heat and pressure was applied using our hands, to represent what happens underground. Finally they used heat (a microwave), to melt the ‘rock’ and let it cool, representing how igneous rocks are formed.

In the Year 4 topic on sound, the children chose an appropriate hypothesis to investigate how far sound travels outside e.g. “All sounds travel further than 1m in the playground”. The children decided that they could work with a partner and use different instruments to make sounds. One person made the sound while the other walked away until they could no longer hear it. They drew a line on the playground and measured the distance accurately in metres and centimetres.

After Year 4 had learnt about sounds travelling in waves and being caused by vibrations, they investigated how they could then hear those sounds. They used an interactive fact “hotspot” on the whiteboard to find out how sounds travelled through the air into our ears then eventually turned into electrical impulses to be interpreted by our brains. They made models that included the outer ear (or pinna), auditory canal, ear drum, cochlea and the auditory nerve. They drew arrows to show the direction that the sounds travel in and then used their models to explain what happens to the sound at each part.

Our Science curriculum is broad and balanced and taught in a variety of ways including whole class lessons, collaborative small groups or individually, both in the classroom and outdoors. Links are made across different areas of learning to ensure that learning is maximised. We fulfil the requirements of the National Curriculum, as well as providing additional experiences through visits, visitors, the outdoors and use of technology (fully immersive experiences using VR).


We are historians and geographers!

At St Mary’s we aim to deliver History and Geography topics which enables them to become confident, creative and independent learners who learn about their local and wider world surroundings. We seek to broaden children’s real-life experiences both inside and outside of school through educational visits, visitors, experimentation, exploration and discovery. Within our carefully selected History and Geography topics, our children acquire a range of knowledge and skills in which they can then apply to other subjects and in a variety of situations. Furthermore, it is our aim that through historical and geographical learning, children will become global citizens, understanding their role in protecting our world and environment and knowing how they can cause positive change and development as they grow.

Each topic has an over-arching question and each lesson has a subsidiary question which leads to an enquiry of learning. Within each topic, lessons follow carefully planned sequences which support children to build on their previous knowledge and skills whilst learning new content. Both history and geography lessons take various forms. Throughout each topic there is a balance of practical, hands-on learning, using the outdoors, research gathering and written recording of knowledge.


‘A thousand years in your sight are like a day that has just gone by.’ Psalm 90:4 

Our History lead is Miss Simpson.

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 Egypt’ in KS2 and ‘Knights and Castles’ in Early Years are History focused topics although many aspects of history will also be taught through other topics such as the KS1 ‘Our Local Area’ 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.

nd written recording of knowledge.

In History the children will begin to learn and apply the skills and processes needed for History by asking and answering questions. They will focus on changes to their local environment, family life and famous people and events from a long time ago. They will then build on this to look at worldwide changes over time, by looking at civilisations and empires and how they shaped the world today. Each History topic in Key Stage 2 is planned and delivered in chronological order.

A girl in Nursery was drawing a picture and chatted about what she was drawing.
“Going to draw my mum.” she said.
She then drew another picture, “It’s my sister.”
“What do you like doing with your family?” asked her teacher.
“Going to the park. We go down the slides and it’s fun.” she shared.

These History photos are from a topic based on the historical concept ‘continuity and change’.

The children discussed and named the toys and games we have explored so far from the past (the 1960s in specific). After discussing how important it is in history to use primary sources of evidence to find out more information about the past the children began developing and asking questions that they wanted to know. We then interviewed a member of staff to find out more about toys and games, and to answer our history question of the day ‘What do adults remember about toys and games in their childhood?’ The children could then compare some of the similarities and differences in toys and games from the past to now.

As a class they then looked through and discussed popular toys from the 1960’s using photographs (secondary sources). They explored which toys they recognised and which toys they were unable to recognise. The children were set the task of working with a partner to use the photographs of the toys to explore what they do and do not tell us about the toys in the 1960s. They had to explain to an adult and each other why the photographs do or do not tell us that information. As a group we began to discuss the change in technology.

These History photos are from the Year 3 topic Vikings.

To start the Vikings topic the children examined primary sources of evidence describing and depicting a terrifying event that happened in AD793. They had to interpret and reason about what we thought had happened. The children discovered that the Vikings, as they are now known, raided Lindisfarne Priory, stealing treasures and killing many of the monks. Some of questions we raised were: Why did they steal from the monks? They travelled in boats, where did they come from? These questions were used to lead the enquiry on Vikings further. Year 3 continued to use different pictorial sources of evidence to speculate whether Viking helmets had horns to answer the question ‘Viking helmets had horns – historical fact or myth?’. When reporting back to the rest of the class, they had to justify their decisions referring to the sources of evidence and prior learning. It is in fact, a myth!

These History photos are from the Year 4 topic Anglo Saxons and Scots.

In History, the children in Year 4 learnt about the Anglo Saxon invasion of Britain and the different events that happened in order for it to be possible. They used different symbols to show the Romans leaving Britain, the invasion of the Picts and Scots from Ireland to Scotland, the different Scottish kingdoms and the settlement of Hengest and Horsa from modern Denmark. They added dates to our maps and labelled the different Saxon kingdoms. They began to compare the maps to modern maps of counties and started to understand how the Saxon invasion changed British history.

They also used role play to explore and explain the Christian conversion of Britain in the Anglo Saxon era. They used freeze frames to show each Saint and their significant contributions and started to try to persuade Anglo Saxons that Christianity was the right choice for them.


‘The mountains rose, the valleys sank down to the place that you appointed for them.’  Psalm 104:8 

Our Geography lead is Miss Simpson.

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. We link our curriculum as much as possibly to our locality, exploring the local coastline in both KS1 in ‘Our Local Area’ and KS2 in ‘Coasts’.  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. Our KS2 topic on Coasts links well to our seaside collage unit of work in Art and Design, incorporating work by Andy Goldsworthy. In KS1 the costal topic involved in ‘Our Local Area’ links to the Design & Technology unit of work around boat building and their mechanisms.

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.

In Geography the children begin by studying their local environment before broadening their outlook to the wider world. Each topic is planned in sequence across Key Stage 1 and 2 to explore local geography, a comparison to the UK and then a world topic. A variety of skills will be encouraged through research, studying maps and atlases and practical field work activities to develop knowledge about significant places in the world, understanding their physical and human features. Also how physical and human features relate to each other and change over time.

A Reception child was sat at the writing table drawing a picture.
When asked what he was drawing he shared his ideas in great detail.
“This is a map of the beach.”

“You see that circle.” he said pointing to his picture. “That’s where we are. That’s Berwick. The circles are places. Let me try and get a far away one.”

(He then drew a circle further away from the first one which he said was Berwick).

That one there is where I went on my holiday and the place was Devon!” He explained.

Another child had been chatting to his friends about speaking in different languages.
“Ola.” he said. “That means hello.”
“Do you know how I know about the countries. I’ve got a globe.” he added.
“What shape is it?” asked his teacher.
“Sphere.” replied the boy.

These Geography photos are from the topic ‘What can you see from space?’

The children began the topic locating the seven continents and the five oceans of the world. The children began with Europe to locate the seven continents. We used four compass points to describe the location of each continent from Europe and other continents (eg. Africa is south of Europe). The children could understand and use the compass points accurately to locate the continents without using an atlas. The children then continued with their map of the continents to locate the five oceans. They used compass points again to describe the location, but also discussed animals that you would find swimming in the oceans to help the children to locate the oceans.

The Year 2 children then continued to apply their spatial awareness to locate the seven continents and oceans onto a globe (a football!). The children worked in pairs to locate the continents first (from Europe using the four compass points) and then the oceans.

These Geography photos are from the Year 3 topic ‘Why do most volcanoes happen in the same places as earthquakes?’

In the topic ‘Volcanoes and Earthquakes’ the children in Year 3 watched video clips and read information to help them understand how volcanoes are formed. They worked together to construct a papier-mâché volcano. They used different ingredients including vinegar and baking soda to simulate their own volcanic eruption. They also couldn’t resist using Mentos sweets in diet cola to create a more violent volcanic eruption! They lastly worked in small groups to draw and label a diagram of a volcano.

These Geography photos are from the Year 4 topic ‘Is it too late to save our oceans?’

The Year 4 children explored maps of an area of Germany near Hamburg and discussed land features that gave them an idea of how sustainable Germany is. They worked in groups to recreate maps and used symbols to construct a key to represent features including fields, wind farms and recycling centres. We used tape to create grid references and described features we could see in given grid references.

As part of this topic, the children also carried out some Geography fieldwork to explore how sustainable their local area is with their own sustainability survey. They went to Morrison’s and collected data on how people were travelling there, they explored the packaging used on different food items and recorded how far they had travelled to get to the supermarket. Finally, they visited the recycling centre with a shopping list to investigate if everything they could buy at Morrison’s could also be recycled there.


We are coders and programmers!

 ‘You must teach what is appropriate.’ Titus 2:1

Our Computing lead is Miss  Simpson.

e 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.  In our weekly sessions we embed e-safety starters to ensure our pupils know how to use technology safely. Our pupils are strongly encouraged to use ICT to support their learning at all times; this may be through easy access to Ipads and chromebooks in the classrooms or 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 vision is to embed computing in as many learning opportunities as possible. This will provide our children with concrete experiences of when and how they can use digital media in different aspects of their lives.

Children should develop Computing skills that can thoughtfully applied in a range of different situations, with children developing increasing independence in the choices they make over which technology to use to help them reach the desired outcome. As they progress through KS1 and 2 children will become increasing confident in the application of their digital skills, becoming increasingly efficient and effective communicators, collaborators and analysts, showing imagination and creativity in their use of ICT in different aspects of their learning and life beyond school.


Within both KS1 and KS2 there is an hour lesson planned and resources weekly along with extra Computing taught in cross-curricular lessons. Evidence of this will be shared on Tapestry.

To help ensure children have the opportunity to develop a wide range of skills, experiences and competencies with technology, the curriculum has been broken down into 5 key areas.

  • Using Technology
  • Algorithm and Programs
  • Data Retrieving and Organising
  • E-Safety
  • Communicating and Presenting

Computing at St Mary's

E-safety is a fundamental element of computing teaching and technology use at St Mary’s. Children will be taught E-Safety at the beginning of each year (Autumn Term 1). It will then be recapped at the beginning of each term and where necessary throughout the year.  Year 4 will be taught E-Safety during Summer 2, before the holidays, supporting the transition between schools.

To celebrate Safer Internet Day, February 2020 after a whole school assembly on Online Safety we shared a picture of our bear, Cabearnacus, onto our Facebook page and asked parents/carers/friends to share the picture and comment where in the world the bear could be seen from. After three days we then came together during a whole school assembly and found out that 14,000 people had seen it with comments from people around the world including Morpeth, Finland, Switzerland, Wales, Canada, New Zealand, Plymouth, Iowa US, Scotland, France, Australia and Ireland!

In Early Years children are given the opportunity to explore technology in the classroom environment. Children are given the opportunity to use technology to support with other cross curricular areas such as literacy and numeracy.  The children are provided with username and password for their own School 360 account and are encouraged to access resources at school and home. During child initiated play children have the opportunity to take part in Computing based activities through ‘diamond challenges’ as well as adult led sessions. E-Safety is taught and discussed during circle time activities and teacher led sessions.

In Key Stage 1 children create their own username and password for their school 360 account. Through this the children develop their computing skills. They present work created, learn how to save and retrieve it and use floor turtles and instructions for programming. E-Safety is taught at the beginning of the year and recapped at the start of each term and where necessary throughout the year.

In Key Stage 2 children present work using resources on School 360 they create their own publications, blogs and send/receive class emails. They use J2code to plan more complex sequences of instructions for on-screen turtles and test and amend these instructions for different purposes. E-Safety is taught at the beginning of the year and recapped at the start of each term and where necessary throughout the year. Year 4 will be taught E-Safety during Summer Term 2, before the holidays, supporting the transition between schools.

Art and DT

We are artists & designers!

‘The metalworker encourages the goldsmith, and the one who smooths with the hammer spurs on the one who strikes the anvil. One says of the welding, “It is good.” Isaiah 41

Our Art & Design lead is Mrs Short

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.

At St Mary’s we strive to instil an appreciation and enjoyment of the arts enriching the children’s learning experience. Art and design stimulates imagination and creativity; involving children in a range of visual, tactile and sensory experiences, which enable them to communicate what they see, think and feel through the use of a range of media, promoting careful observation and an appreciation of the world around us. Art and design at St Mary’s allows the children to express themselves creatively whilst taking inspiration from some of the great artists, designers and craft people that have lived.

The national curriculum for art and design aims to ensure that all pupils:

  • produce creative work, exploring their ideas and recording their experiences
  • become proficient in drawing, painting, sculpture and other art, craft and design techniques
  • evaluate and analyse creative works using the language of art, craft and design
  • know about great artists, craft makers and designers and understand the historical and cultural development of their art forms.

Our art and design curriculum is planned to demonstrate the progression of knowledge and skills, with discreet vocabulary progression forming part of the units of work. An artist, designer, crafts person or an art movement is linked to each unit of work enabling pupils to learn how artists communicate their ideas as well as the roles and functions of art and the impact it has had on contemporary life and on different periods and cultures.

In Early Years, pupils explore and use a variety of media and materials through a combination of adult directed and child initiated activities. They have opportunities to explore and respond to different media and materials to express their own ideas, adapting their work where necessary.

In Key Stage 1, our aim is for pupils to develop a wide range of art and design techniques in using colour, pattern, texture, line, shape, form and space. Time will be allocated for pupils to explore working with different media and materials before they create their final piece of work.

In Key Stage 2, pupils will be taught how to develop and master their techniques, recording observations and using them to review and revisit ideas. Pupils will become more skilled in working with a range of media to produce desired effects to use in their work. They will also be encouraged to discuss and evaluate their work and that of others.

Physical Education

We are healthy in body and mind!

‘So encourage each other and build each other up.’ Thessalonians 5:11 

Our PE lead is Miss Murray.

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.

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.

At St Mary’s we aim to develop the enjoyment of being active through a wide range of sports and other physical activities and to improve the importance placed on health and wellbeing. Our aim is for pupils to develop the knowledge, skills and competence to participate in a broad range of sports and physical activities. They will learn to cooperate and compete fairly, understanding their own and the role of others. We value the benefits of PE and sport in helping to build children’s confidence, self-esteem and self-worth.

The national curriculum for physical education aims to ensure that all pupils:

  • develop competence to excel in a broad range of physical activities
  • are physically active for sustained periods of time
  • engage in competitive sports and activities
  • lead healthy, active lives.

At St Mary’s we aim to develop the enjoyment of being active through a wide range of sports and other physical activities and to improve the importance placed on health and wellbeing. Our aim is for pupils to develop the knowledge, skills and competence to participate in a broad range of sports and physical activities. They will learn to cooperate and compete fairly, understanding their own and the role of others. We value the benefits of PE and sport in helping to build children’s confidence, self-esteem and self-worth.

The national curriculum for physical education aims to ensure that all pupils:

  • develop competence to excel in a broad range of physical activities
  • are physically active for sustained periods of time
  • engage in competitive sports and activities
  • lead healthy, active lives.

Our provision includes other physical activities to promote fitness and wellbeing, such as yoga.

All children receive two lessons of physical education a week. Lessons are delivered either by class teachers or specialist PE coaches, who have expert subject knowledge and are extensively trained in the areas of the curriculum they teach. In addition, this enables to us to extend our provision further, for example, street dance.  Within our PE lessons we aim to:

  • follow a sequential, developmental curriculum that progressively builds on past experiences and incorporates new experiences when the children are ready. Lessons are planned building on previous learning, they aim to keep pupils active while developing their skills as well as core sports values.
  • Ensure the pupils enjoy the lessons to set the foundations for a lifelong passion from being active and healthy.

Physical Education at St Mary's

In Early Years the children experiment with different ways of moving, learning to adjust speed or change direction to avoid obstacles and learning to travel with confidence, negotiating balancing and climbing equipment. They learn how to use equipment with increasing control, including pushing, patting, throwing, catching or kicking an object or ball.

In Key Stage 1, our aim is for pupils to develop the fundamental movement skills of agility, balance and coordination and apply these in a range of activities. They will engage in competitive activities, not only challenging themselves to improve their personal best but also to beat others in competitions. Through team games, they will learn simple tactics for attacking and defending.

In Key Stage 2, the children develop a broader range of skills, learning how to apply them in a range of contexts.  More specific competitive games and sports are introduced e.g. hockey, tennis, cricket etc. adapted where appropriate to the needs of the children. Pupils develop their creative skills whilst continually improving their strength, flexibility, control and balance.

Outdoor and adventurous activities are not only an integral part of the KS2 curriculum but delivered from Reception to Year 4. Once every half term, the children from all year groups collaborate on a range of problem solving activities and challenges enabling pupils to work both individually and within a team. In addition, this provides an opportunity for the children in Year 4 to develop and demonstrate their leadership skills in a range of contexts.

The School Games, which is funded by Sport England National Lottery funding and delivered by the Youth Sport Trust, is a government led programme designed to deliver competitive school sport to all young people. Where possible the children attend inter school festivals and competitions within the Berwick partnership of schools providing an opportunity to compete with other children and achieve their personal best. Where teams are successful in winning tournaments, they progress to competitions at county level, the ‘Northumberland School Games’.

Due to the Covid -19 outbreak, there was a ‘Virtual School Games’ event delivered via You Tube with both children in school at home invited to participate. Officially opened by ‘Eddie the Eagle’ and with best wishes from sporting stars such as Stephen Miller, the Games included many different sporting and physical activities from ball skills to yoga as well as a design a mascot drawing competition. The children relished each new challenge with everyone choosing a different favourite activity at the end of the day.

In Year 4, pupils have the opportunity to further develop their leadership skills as sports leaders. After training, the Year 4s lead physical activities with the younger children at lunch time breaks, thus encouraging other pupils to become more active while still developing their own leadership abilities.