Our Curriculum

For the children at St Mary’s, education lasts from the age of four to eleven years. It is within this time that we see the most rapid development in an individual. This is brought about by a large number of carefully interwoven experiences. The two major sources of these experiences are home and school, working in partnership and understanding. The aims and objectives of the governors and staff at St Mary's School are to provide a range of interesting experiences and learning opportunities which will enable a child to learn and grow, acquire skills and knowledge, find fulfilment and pleasure in the things he/she thinks and achieves and then eventually to be able to play his/her part in the adult world, having an embedded desire for lifelong learning. The school places great emphasis on fostering the personal and social development of each child. As each child develops, greater responsibility, maturity and self-reliance will be encouraged.
The curriculum at St Mary's provides each child with broad, balanced and differentiated learning experiences, within the National Curriculum and beyond. English, Mathematics, Science and Computing are at the core of this curriculum. The philosophy of the school is based on our belief that each child is an individual. Therefore, the teacher approaches teaching and learning in a variety of ways, ranging from class lessons to small groups or individual work, using appropriate materials and a variety of teaching and learning styles. A cross-curricular approach to our skills based curriculum is used throughout school as exciting topics provide many opportunities to meet all the requirements of the National Curriculum. We have re-designed our curriculum to ensure it is meaningful, challenging and relevant to our children in preparing them for life as citizens of the world. Children access experiences that ensure there is progression and continuity in their development of knowledge and skills.

The curriculum is outstanding. Pupils’ outstanding enjoyment mirrors a very strong commitment of everyone to broadening and enriching everyday learning through many exciting and memorable experiences.
OFSTED Report June 2009

Healthy School
St Mary’s is a Healthy School, with healthy attitudes embedded in the curriculum and in extra-curricular activities. Children are encouraged to be active and maintain healthy relationships with their peers and with adults, as well as making healthy choices about their lifestyle.

Building Learning Power Statement
At St Mary’s, we encourage all pupils to build their own learning power. Building learning power emphasises the development of lifelong learning, values and skills. We aim to ensure that all children develop persistence and curiosity for learning and become adventurous risk takers who are not afraid of the ‘don’t know’ state of mind. At St Mary’s, children develop the ability to take responsibility for their own learning, self-assess and articulate their identity as a learner. They develop the ability to know what is worth learning, face confusion and select the best learning tool for the job.


Equality Statement
This policy and procedure is subject to The Equality Act 2010 which recognises the following categories of individual as Protected Characteristics: Age, Gender Reassignment, Marriage and Civil Partnership, Pregnancy and Maternity, Race, Religion and Belief, Sex (gender), Sexual orientation and Disability.


English is planned in accordance with the National Curriculum. Lessons include the discrete teaching of skills to enhance understanding of spelling and the structure of writing, as well as the study of a range of fiction and non-fiction genres. Drama, role play and the development of the spoken word are also an integral part of our English sessions.

Children are encouraged to ‘make their mark’ from the earliest stages in school. This early writing is of great significance to the child and teacher and should be encouraged at home. From the beginning, children are taught correct letter shapes in readiness for joining letters in Year 2. Formal aspects of writing will be taught at each stage, appropriate to the child's development. English lessons are based on a wide range of texts which provide examples of quality writing and maintain cross-curricular links to History, Geography and Science Topics. Children will be encouraged to write for a variety of purposes and audiences. Children also have access to a range of devices including laptops and iPads for word processing writing. Handwriting pens are used in Key Stage 2 during handwriting practice and for those children who have developed a fluent handwriting style. Writing themed weeks and sessions take place regularly, when we celebrate authors and significant days as a whole school or may have a visiting author to develop literary experiences.

Phonics and Spelling
In Foundation Stage (Reception) and Key Stage 1 (Infant) children learn through Read, Write Inc. Phonics and have a daily phonics and spelling session. Spelling is closely linked to writing and forms the basis for the school's Handwriting and Spelling Policy. Children are formally encouraged to join their letters from Year 2 onwards.

Spoken Language
Children are involved in a range of situations involving differing audiences and activities, which are designed to develop their competence, precision and confidence in oracy skills. Such activities include working with learning partners and adults in discussions and responding to questions. This will involve evaluating learning, collaborative play, listening and responding to stories, poetry, film clips and non-fictional texts. Performing poetry forms part of the curriculum and planned activities provide children will opportunities to develop their achievements each year. Every year, the school takes part in Choral Speaking events within the Local Authority with great successes of honour and distinction being achieved. Children also participate in and present whole school assemblies and productions.

A wide range of fiction and non-fiction books are available throughout school, so that children have early access to as many books as possible. These consist of various school readers, home readers, fiction books and reference books. Children read together as a class during English lessons when texts are studied for a range of different genres. Reading also takes place in groups during guided reading where a small group reads and discusses texts with a teacher before completing independent follow up tasks.  Individual reading takes place with teachers and support staff, particularly in EYFS and KS1. Individual quiet reading takes place in all classes from Year 1 upwards. A very successful home reading partnership is in place, which encourages regular reading at home, in a relaxed and supportive environment.
The school reading scheme consists of a wide variety of materials as each class has access to its own reading area. The school has a newly refurbished school library which contains a wealth of different reading materials which children can visit on a weekly basis to borrow and renew reading books. Our school library is managed by the English coordinator and Year 5 children.


Mathematics is planned according to the National Curriculum. Lessons include individual tasks, paired and group work and learning is facilitated by teachers and support staff. Children are taught understanding of number and patterns as well as mental and formal methods of calculation. School places strong emphasis on the development of mental strategies and rapid recall of number facts. A whole school approach to visual images and models is used for continuity across year groups. Problem solving and investigative activities form an integral part of the work and children are encouraged to discuss strategies used in their work. Practical learning activities provide children with a deeper understanding and consolidation of learning as well as real life examples. School supports a greater depth/mastery approach to teaching and learning in Mathematics. We believe that all learners, when introduced to a new concept, should have the opportunity to build competency in that area. By using a mastery approach to Mathematics, teachers reinforce expectations that all pupils are capable of achieving high standards in Mathematics. Differentiation is achieved via an emphasis on deep knowledge and through individual support and intervention. Practice and consolidation play a central role. Carefully designed variation builds fluency and understanding of mathematical concepts. Teachers use precise questioning to test conceptual and procedural knowledge and to assess pupils’ understanding - this includes identifying children requiring intervention, so that all pupils keep up. The intention is to provide all children with full access to the curriculum, enabling them to achieve confidence and
competence - ‘mastery’ - in Mathematics, enabling them to develop the mathematical skills they need for the future.
Learning takes place in the classroom around school and in the grounds, as well as being used in other subject areas including Science, Art, History and Geography Topic lessons. Computing resources and programmes also form an output for mathematical learning.


During Science activities, children are given opportunities to investigate, experiment, observe, predict, record and draw conclusions. Work may be within the local environment and/or linked to other curriculum areas. We have a scheme of work and also use a variety of published materials. School participates in National Science Week and has visiting Science productions and workshops.
A Year 3 pupil said, “My favourite subject at St Mary’s is Science because the lessons are interesting and amaze you.”


Computing is a core curriculum subject and our school has Internet facilities in all classrooms. All classrooms have an interactive whiteboard and projector. Computing is an integral part of all areas of the curriculum and specific computing skills are also taught. Netbooks and iPads are available for use in classrooms at all times. School has an ICT Consultant who keeps everything running smoothly! School has an E-Safety Policy and Social Networking Policy that outline the steps we take to educate our about children keeping safe and behaving responsibly online.
A Year 2 pupil said, “The iPads are brilliant. We use them for all sorts of things.”

Modern Foreign Language

Every child from Reception studies Spanish and develops their interest in the culture of other nations. School has an annual Cultural Diversity Week when pupils spend the week learning about a particular culture, for instance, Reception Class learn about Russia and Year 3 study China.
Year 5 pupils commented on their experience of Cultural Diversity week by saying, “Cultural Diversity Week was really good, we learnt about France and we worked together in groups to make The Eiffel Tower out of newspaper! It was an exciting week when everyone learnt about different cultures.”


Children have access to a variety of experiences in music, ranging from singing together, playing a range of instruments, creating their own compositions and moving to music. Provision is also made by the Oldham Music Centre and a local guitar/ukulele teacher for those children who show an interest in playing a musical instrument. However, this resource is limited and parents are asked to pay for this tuition. Currently, we have groups of children learning to play guitar, ukulele, keyboard and brass instruments. We also have a School Choir called ‘Spotlight’. Each year we have groups which participate in the Annual Oldham Schools’ Music Festival and the Rochdale Youth Festival as well as playing or singing for different audiences in school and within the local community. Year 4 pupils participate in ‘The Wider Opportunities Programme’ and receive a weekly hour-long lesson with brass instruments. Annually, they perform at The Bridgewater Hall with the Hallé Orchestra. Singing is high profile within school and is an important aspect of collective worship. School has recently been accredited with the Gold Award from SingUp! in recognition of the singing with takes place here.


History and Geography are promoted through a question based curriculum, providing opportunities to research answers, solve problems and develop historical and geographical skills. The school is well resourced, has its own schemes of work and also uses published schemes to support both subjects. Exciting topics such as,‘What makes the Earth angry?’ and ‘Why is Manchester such a cool place to live?’ engage the children and motivate them to learn.

Physical Education

St. Mary's benefits from extensive grassed and hard playing areas and a wooden trim trail. Children enjoy games, gymnastics, dance, football, netball, rounders, hockey, basketball, lacrosse, athletics, outdoor and adventurous activities, tennis, cross country and cricket, both in and/or outside the curriculum. School is proud to have achieved the Active Mark because two hours each week is spent on high quality PE, and we are committed to enabling all children have an increased participation in high quality PE. In October 2016, St Mary’s was awarded The Sainsbury’s Gold Sportsmark Award for Commitment to the development of PE and Competitive Sporting Opportunities. Children have the opportunity to represent school in some of the above sports and in addition, to take part in local sporting events and play competitively against other schools. We have strong links with local sports clubs and children regularly benefit from coaching by local sports representatives. In Years 4 and 5, children attend Saddleworth Pool for a weekly swimming lesson on during the spring and summer term. There is an annual sports day during the summer term involving all children. School has a PE technician two days each week who trains the Sports Leaders at
lunchtimes, leads PE sessions and runs after school physical activity clubs such as football, multi- sports and netball.

Art and Design Technology

We value children working with a wide range of media and they learn how to use tools correctly and safely. Children are able to express themselves through two dimensional and three dimensional work, as well as being able to develop their own personal style and sense of aesthetic appreciation. Our Art scheme of work is related to cross curricular topic work and children’s art is displayed throughout the school. We are very proud that throughout the year children take part in dedicated Design Technology projects, progressively developing skills, knowledge and techniques, including food technology, textiles and making a range of different models. We hold Art Exhibitions of children’s work which is professionally displayed and available to buy.

Enrichment Activities

It is our belief that children should have access to a broad, balanced stimulating curriculum and so we endeavour to devise activities which will enrich and enhance the children’s school experience, equipping them for life as a citizen of the 21st Century.
Throughout the year, themed days/weeks are woven into the curriculum to extend the breadth and balance of opportunities available. These include Antibullying Week and Safer Internet Day, Creative Arts Week, World Book Day, Sport, Health and Wellbeing Days, Cultural Diversity Week, Religious Experience Days and more!
We also take part in a range of events inside and outside school. These include Saddleworth Super Council Council meetings, Year 6 Business Project, Oldham Schools Linking Project, Oldham Schools Choral Speaking Festival, Eco-Schools Project, Year 6 Residential, The Animal Man, Healthy Schools and Environmental Projects, such as a termly Health and Eco-Action Day.

Learning Challenge

Our curriculum is planned through a series of themes and topics, which each offer experiences in all areas of learning.  Some topics lend themselves to particular learning areas, but we ensure that we achieve a balance of curriculum areas across the year.  We put a daily focus on Mathematics and Literacy through whole class carpet sessions, focussed group work and child-initiated play opportunities reflected through the various classroom areas. We celebrate many festivals across the school year.  We also teach greetings in many different languages and put a greater focus on simple Spanish.  This allows the children to develop an understanding of multi-culturalism and teaches them to respect different languages, cultures and traditions.

School uses the Read, Write, Inc Phonics programme and a range of published reading schemes and books to teach children phonics and reading.


Learning Challenge Curriculum and Learning Coverage Maps

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File icon: pdf Whole School Learning Challenge Curriculum Overview 2017-18 [pdf 296KB] Click to download
File icon: pdf Y2 Curriculum Coverage Map 2017-18 [pdf 301KB] Click to download
File icon: pdf Y3 Curriculum Coverage Map 2017-18 [pdf 263KB] Click to download
File icon: pdf Y4 Curriculum Coverage Map 2017-18 [pdf 246KB] Click to download
File icon: pdf Y5 Curriculum Coverage Map 2017-18 [pdf 327KB] Click to download

Religious Education

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Modern Foreign Languages

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Early Years Foundation Stage

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Key Stage One Curriculum

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Lower Key Stage Two Curriculum

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Upper Key Stage Two Curriculum

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Phonics at St Mary's

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Maths at St Mary's

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