Unlock every child’s potential as a unique child of God
Our aim is to ensure that every child’s unique strengths are celebrated and strengthened alongside gaining an excellent academic, social, emotional and physical education.
May Christ dwell in your hearts through faith, that being rooted and grounded in love, you may have the power to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
We believe that our curriculum should be enjoyable, rich, varied and challenging in order to engage and excite our children. We strive to meet the needs of all our pupils and ensure each and every child is able to fulfil their potential. We have developed a thematic curriculum which involves teaching the key skills of the National Curriculum using a thematic and creative approach. This approach to the curriculum is both a skills and knowledge based approach. The intention is to give children and teaching staff more opportunity to explore their own creativity and to give the children more purpose for their learning. We aim to create independent thinkers who take ownership over their learning.
The implementation of our curriculum
We implement the curriculum through a series of coherently planned and sequenced lessons. The curriculum balance is monitored and revisited regularly to ensure that pupils in this school develop a range of learning skills, knowledge and understanding over time. Different approaches to learning, media, publication and assessment techniques are also varied to ensure there is breadth and depth for all learners.
Teachers offer opportunities for children to learn in different ways. These include:
• investigation and problem solving;
• research and finding out;
• asking and answering questions;
• use of computer technology;
• creative activities;
• debates, role-plays and oral presentations; and
• designing and making things.
Throughout the day, pupils engage in whole-class work, group work, paired work and independent work. We aim for each session to include visual, auditory and kinaesthetic activities so that pupils see, hear and do. We make good use of ‘talk partners’ and we model, encourage and praise cooperative learning.
Parents and carers are our pupils’ first and most influential educators. We work in partnership with our parents/carers to enhance learning. Each term we create termly overviews. These include a summary of each topic, identifying links. Alongside this there is a letter from the teachers outlining specific activities or events for the parents/carers to prepare for with their children.
In order to further support parents/carers, we hold workshops to outline the curriculum and teaching strategies as well as suggestion for how parents/carers can help at home.
We assess pupils' learning each and every day by setting clear learning outcomes, including success criteria where appropriate. Marking and feedback directly links to these areas of learning as well as setting longer term areas for improvement. We use 'assessment criteria' regularly for the English, mathematics, science and religious education to focus on gaps in learning. A summative assessment takes place each term and is fed back to parents/carers at consultation meetings. The assessment indicators are below. Our end of key stage and phonics outcomes are consistently high, preparing the pupils well for the next stage of their education. Please visit the 'School Results' page.
For foundation subjects, we the curriculum is sequenced progressively with skills revisited to layer learning. Prior learning is built upon to ensure that the skills and knowledge are memorised by the pupils. The pupils are assessed throughout all aspects of learning and the progress is evident from their work and what they tell us.
At Shenfield St Mary’s we offer a wide range of extra- curricular activities designed to promote both excellence and social interaction. Please visit our 'clubs' page. These activities take place during the lunch hour and before and after school hours and are organised by staff, parents/carers and selected outside agencies.
Sporting Aims and Achievements
Our staff arrange a broad and rich variety of sporting activities for the children to participate in over the year within school time. Other opportunities arise through after school clubs and national competitions. Sporting opportunities include football, basketball, netball, cross country, swimming, athletics, rounders and cricket. At St Mary's we try to achieve a mix of 'sport for all' in addition to the competitive element that leagues and rallies offer. Added to this, all Year 3 children have weekly swimming lessons at Shenfield High School in the Summer term. Outward bound activities are encouraged through our residential field studies. Please visit our 'Sporting Successes' page.
Music and Performance
At St Mary’s there is a strong tradition of music and performance. Pupils are offered a wide range of musical opportunities including a school choir, orchestra and recorder groups. Within school time a number of children undertake instruction in a variety of paid performance lessons: violin, keyboard, piano, guitar and voice. Regular concerts take place and pupils are encouraged to develop their creative talents. Please ask for more information about peripatetic teaching.
Pupils are encouraged to take part in art and creative writing competitions from time to time and the school always gains a high level of participation in the Essex Library Summer Reading Programme. Our choir also performs regularly outside of the school and competes in competitions with great success.
We use Evolve, through Essex County Council, to help us ensure visits are safe and carefully planned. Sometimes it is more sensible to transport small groups of children in parents’ cars. When this happens, we ask the drivers concerned to confirm that they have suitable insurance cover and seat belts and child seats are fitted for all children being transported.
Throughout the year, a variety of visitors are invited to the school for special "themed days". For instance, the school has been transformed into Ancient Greece, Egypt and Jerusalem in the days running up to the crucifixion. Pupils have also experienced a Diwali day or have been inspired by visiting authors or poets, for example.
Equality and Diversity
As part of our aim to educate children about the world around them, developing tolerance and an understanding of people with different cultural, religious and socio-economic backgrounds, in our local community, national community and global community.
Pupils of all ages participate in field trips to support classroom topics and other extra-curricular visits such as theatre trips. We consider it is very important that children should visit places of interest as this furthers understanding. Recent visits have included the local nature reserve, historical sites of interest and Abberton Reservoir. Full details of all outings are sent to parents in advance, requesting written consent.
In addition, Year 5 pupils attend a three-day residential trip at Flatford Mill, to support their studies in geography and science. Year 6 pupils take part in a five-day outward bound activity residential trip. The activities undertaken include orienteering, abseiling and canoeing. Participation in such activities encourages personal growth as well as supporting the outward bound aspects of the National Curriculum Physical Education Programme of Study.