The Curriculum at St. Mary’s Catholic Academy
The Intent, Implementation and Impact of Our Curriculum
At St. Mary’s we shape our curriculum to ensure it is fully inclusive of every child and that it addresses each aspect of how a child develops, progresses and grows academically, emotionally and within their faith.
In doing this, our intentions are clear: to ensure all children make progress from their starting points; to ensure all children develop a love of learning and to ensure our community grows with us. We want our children to have the desire to and be able to evangelise the Gospel to those they meet in their actions and words and to be able to make a positive contribution to the society in which they live. In addition, we want our children to develop a vast array of knowledge and skills, which they have the ability to transfer across different subjects within the curriculum. With diverse families and different levels of socio-economic status, the staff at St. Mary’s ensure enrichment is at the heart of the curriculum we teach. Enrichment is woven into the very fabric of our planning, teaching and assessment process in each and every subject. Our children come to school with different life experiences, which impacts on their vocabulary, reasoning and understanding throughout all key stages. We intend to provide a wealth of trips and visits to improve learning outside the classroom and to create links between learning and fun for our children. ‘100 thing to do at St. Mary’s provides a framework of experiences for our children to have opportunity to encounter - such as restaurant and theatre experiences, a book author visit, residential spiritual retreats, outdoor pursuits and an adventure in France and trips to the farm, museum, zoo or seaside. We want the learning gained from these trips to be invaluable as to how our children develop understanding about the world in which we live and how it can help learning inside the classroom become more tangible. We want to prepare all our children for the next stages in their educational careers as well as allow them to develop their aspirations for adult life.
In ensuring progress is made and can be measured throughout the school, implementing a holistic approach to teaching and learning is seminal for our children. With a successful leadership model embedded in the school, all staff are committed to their role in helping our children achieve.
Our curriculum is carefully crafted to ensure all children have equal access to all areas of the curriculum, enrichment activities and extra-curricular learning too. Christ is at the centre of our curriculum and the Jesuit Pupil Profile is instrumental in the teaching of the values and virtues of our Catholic faith. We have devised our curriculum to ensure breadth and balance for all. A concept led curriculum has been developed to foster deep learning which children are able to transfer to new learning. This curriculum model is supplemented by a learning challenge curriculum – where children are encouraged to develop their enquiry based learning skills to again promote deeper levels of thinking.
We shape our curriculum utilising features within our local area which has enabled us to develop our children’s music, science, art, and history and geography skills.
We utilise our local area well, to help us build on experiences available to for our children to thrive. We have excellent relationships with our parish church, shops and businesses, all of which contribute to our unique curriculum throughout the year.
As much as possible, we take our children out of the local area, to provide them with rich learning experiences which they are able to talk about with their friends and families and make links with their learning in school.
Poets, artists, actors, governors, musicians and engineers work with our children regularly to enrich their experiences and help them acquire skills and begin to form their aspirations for their future.
Our multi-agency approach is implemented throughout our school and the utilisation of a range of agencies helps to close the gaps for some of our most vulnerable children. Sport is recognised as an excellent tool in enabling physical and mental well-being and as a result we employ a PE leader across the MAC who support to ensure that we deliver a robust and challenging PE curriculum to all children. To complement this, advanced sporting opportunities are offered to all children in different year groups: Year 4, 5 and 6 carry out their ‘Bikeability’ training which not only inspires them to ride a bike but teaches them how to do it safely and independently in readiness for their transition.
Alongside teaching of curriculum subjects and assessment of attainment and progress, we ensure that our children’s talents and successes are celebrated throughout school. We hold weekly achievement assemblies which not only celebrate academic gains but personal ones too. Children and parents are invited and encouraged to bring in their ‘out of school’ certificates and trophies; this helps to inspire children to work hard in all areas of their learning as we embed a culture of celebrating all achievements for every child. High expectations of all our children leads to high aspirations and the belief that the can achieve in all they do.
With the understanding that some of our children enter our school with lower than national starting points, we believe that family and community engagement is key to break down the barriers of any possible, pre-existing negative school experiences and to welcome families in to our happy, vibrant school. The early years’ team focus highly on play-based learning which is informed by topics and children’s interests and complemented with a balance of adult directed tasks. This approach to teaching ensures high level engagement for all children throughout their early years’ education and creates positive learning experiences in readiness for Key Stage 1. Throughout all stages of learning, teachers use this holistic approach to mould and shape the curriculum in order for it to fit the needs of the children in their class.
The impact and measure of this is to ensure children not only acquire the appropriate age related knowledge linked to the curriculum but also skills which equip them to progress from their starting points. In shaping our curriculum this way, progress can be measured and evidenced for all children, regardless of their starting points or specific needs.
We teach our children to ensure we alter their long term memories and we define progress as knowing and remembering more. Teachers and staff work hard to plan a broad and balanced curriculum which is expertly delivered to ensure a child’s entire school experience enables them to develop a deep body of knowledge which will see them through to further study, work and a successful adult life in whatever they choose. We pride ourselves on not just pushing our children through a SATs driven curriculum, where their creativity is stifled and well-being is compromised.
When our children leave us, as well as being ready for a KS3 curriculum, they have a wealth of transferrable skills which have been developed throughout their time at primary school in an inclusive and nurturing environment. We are proud that once the children from St. Mary’s Catholic Academy have left, they are faith-filled and ready to make a positive contribution to society; have been supported through their transition; have been exposed to rich vocabulary and have high aspirations and self-belief all through the teaching of this broad and balanced curriculum.