Our Broad and Rich School Curriculum

Our teaching promotes the spiritual, moral and cultural development of each child preparing them for lifelong learning with a strong Christian ethos as the foundations.

We place a necessarily strong emphasis on learning the basics of reading, writing and mathematics so that our children achieve their full potential. However, children learn best when they are interested and we strive to make our broad and balanced curriculum as creative and relevant to our children as possible. Learning is planned based on current pupil’s achievements, next steps in learning and takes in to account their different learning styles. We teach reading through the use of ‘Essential Letter and Sounds’ phonics and supplement this with high quality teaching strategies an resources. Daily reading, guided reading, the use of a range of intervention programmes and our well equipped library, challenges and supports learners of all abilities.

At St Mary’s skills such as computing, communication, research, problem solving and co-operative team working are promoted since these are the skills for life. We also place great emphasis on the development of each child’s personal, learning and thinking skills and firmly believe that these are fundamental in enabling them to achieve success in all aspects of their future lives in our rapidly changing world.

We provide a creative and stimulating learning environment within where we expect learners to respect, aim for and achieve their full potential. Learning takes place both within and beyond the school building.

As our mission statement says:

St Mary’s is a warm, happy, welcoming Church of England Primary School where children feel safe and everyone is valued, respected as an individual and encouraged to achieve their full potential.

Learning and caring for each other.


Religious Education –Religious education is compulsory for all children and at St Mary’s we follow Stockport’s scheme and use the recommended ‘Creative Learning’ scheme from Manchester Diocese to enhance learning. Our long term overview for R.E. can be seen by clicking on the link.

Religious education is compulsory for all children and at St Mary’s we follow Stockport’s scheme and use the recommended ‘Creative Learning’ scheme from  Manchester Diocese to enhance learning. Our  long term overview for R.E. can be seen by clicking on the link.

Below we have shared some helpful information about our belief that every child is individual and that with our support and guidance, they all shine in different ways. However, these are unprecedented times and we have had to respond differently to the needs our all our learners during these very difficult circumstances. As always, we welcome phone calls and emails if you have any personal questions or concerns. Please see our School Offer which was reviewed in May 2021 and replaces our April 2020 SEND Updatd Information Report in light of COVID-19 crisis.

All children are respected and valued at St Mary’s and learning is personalised. If your child requires extra help with a specific area of their learning, we will work together to support them in the most effective way. We have a range of learning opportunities and resources to help your child achieve their full potential. Our menu shows the range of intervention programmes we currently use to support and accelerate learning – Waves of Support and Intervention

At St. Mary’s, in EYFS and KS1, the majority of SEND needs lie within the area of Speech and Language. Our staff are supported by a trained Speech and Language Therapist and use a variety of intervention strategies and programs with these identified children.

There are a number of children with Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) who are supported by a caring and knowledgeable teaching staff and support staff. Staff have all been trained to teach children with Autism and update their skills on a regular basis. Our inclusive vision means that we tailor programmes of work as needed to accommodate individual needs. Children are supported by Learning Mentors and Learning Support Assistants but are encouraged to work independently where possible and to join in with the rest of the class as appropriate.

The majority of children with SEND have moderate learning difficulties, with some dyslexic features. Staff use Dyslexia friendly strategies where appropriate, including:

  • kinaesthetic learning opportunities and a range of activities to suit different learning styles
  • coloured whiteboard background for contrast or coloured overlays
  • differentiated phonics and spelling lessons across the key stages
  • reduced whiteboard reliance/larger print copies
  • the use of scribes/technology where appropriate

Regular meetings take place with the Teaching staff and senior leaders to evaluate the intervention programmes. These tailored programs ensure the children with additional needs make progress from their starting points. A list of some of the interventions offered in school can be found on the school offer on our website, under SEN.

All children are set aspirational learning targets to work towards by their teacher if, however, your child has additional learning needs they will have a specially tailored Individual Education and Health Care Plan (EHCP) which will be shared and agreed with you. Targets set on an EHCP are reviewed at regular intervals throughout the school year and new targets are set when existing ones have been achieved and celebrated. This also applies to more able pupils who, in addition have access to a wide variety of extension resources.

We liaise with outside agencies as and when appropriate and always include parents/carers at every stage to ensure maximum support for your child.

The Code of Practice for Special Educational Needs and Disabilities is in full operation throughout the school. Our SEND Code of Practice – School Offer can be found here, it is reviewed by the full Governing Board annually. A detailed description of all requirements on the Local offer is provided here- Stockport’s Local Offer can now be found at:www.sensupportstockport.uk

The school operates in accordance with the Disability Discrimination Act (1997). School policies relating to the Special Needs Practice, Gifted & Talented pupils and Whole School Inclusion are available in school. If you would like a copy, or to discuss this further, please do not hesitate to contact school.

It is estimated that one in five children will experience learning or emotional difficulties at some stage in their school life and a child’s Special Educational Needs can be identified in various forms, these being learning, behaviour, social/emotional and physical. If a child has emotional needs, they are ably supported by our school team of Learning Mentors in the first instance.

We look after the needs of all our children. We identify children with special needs as soon as possible in order to give them the best opportunity to develop to their potential. Through setting work matched to a child’s ability many difficulties can be overcome. Parents are involved from the outset of any special needs programme and regular contact is made throughout its duration.

Essential Letters and Sounds (ELS) is our chosen Phonics programme. The aim of ELS is ‘Getting all children to read well, quickly’. It teaches children to read by identifying the phonemes (the smallest unit of sound) and graphemes (the written version of the sound) within words and using these to read words.

Children begin learning Phonics at the very beginning of Reception and it is explicitly taught every day during a dedicated slot on the timetable. Children are given the knowledge and the skills to then apply this independently.

Throughout the day, children will use their growing Phonics knowledge to support them in other areas of the curriculum and will have many opportunities to practise their reading. This includes reading 1:1 with a member of staff, with a partner during paired reading and as a class.

Children continue daily Phonics lessons in Year 1 and further through the school to ensure all children become confident, fluent readers.

We follow the ELS progression and sequence. This allows our children to practise their existing phonic knowledge whilst building their understanding of the ‘code’ of our language GPCs (Grapheme Phoneme Correspondence). As a result, our children can tackle any unfamiliar words that they might discover.

Children experience the joy of books and language whilst rapidly acquiring the skills they need to become fluent independent readers and writers. ELS teaches relevant, useful and ambitious vocabulary to support each child’s journey to becoming fluent and independent readers.

We begin by teaching the single letter sounds before moving to diagraphs ‘sh’ (two letters spelling one sound), trigraphs ‘igh’ (three letters spelling one sound) and quadgraphs ‘eigh’ (four letters spelling one sound).

We teach children to:

  • Decode (read) by identifying each sound within a word and blending them together to read fluently
  • Encode (write) by segmenting each sound to write words accurately.

The structure of ELS lessons allows children to know what is coming next, what they need to do, and how to achieve success. This makes it easier for children to learn the GPCs we are teaching (the alphabetic code) and how to apply this when reading.

ELS is designed on the principle that children should ‘keep up’ rather than ‘catch up’. Since interventions are delivered within the lesson by the teacher, any child who is struggling with the new knowledge can be immediately targeted with appropriate support. Where further support is required, 1:1 interventions are used where needed. These interventions are short, specific and effective.

Supporting Reading at Home:

  • Children will only read books that are entirely decodable, this means that they should be able to read these books as they already know the code contained within the book.
  • We only use pure sounds when decoding words (no ‘uh’ after the sound)
  • We want children to practise reading their book 4 times across the week working on these skills:

Decode – sounding out and blending to read the word.

Fluency – reading words with less obvious decoding.

Expression – using intonation and expression to bring the text to life!

We must use pure sounds when we are pronouncing the sounds and supporting children in reading words. If we mispronounce these sounds, we will make reading harder for our children. Please watch the videos below for how to accurately pronounce these sounds.

At the beginning of each academic year, we will hold an information session for parents and carers to find out more about what we do for Phonics, Reading and English at our schools. Please do join us.

More support for parents and carers can be found here:

https://home.oxfordowl.co.uk/reading/reading-schemes-oxford-levels/essential-letters-and-sounds/

To find out how to correctly pronounce the sounds taught watch the videos below:

Phase 2

Phase 3

Phase 5

Following guidance from the DFE, we are required to incorporate RSE (Relationships and Sex Education) into our curriculum from September 2021.  As a result of the guidance, we have reviewed our PSHE (Personal, Social, Health and Economic Education) and RSE curriculum and policy to ensure that it is compliant and is appropriate for the children at our school.

PHSE is at the core of our teaching and learning and enables our children to become independent, confident, resilient and healthy young people. Our PSHE curriculum is about the social, emotional and cultural development of our children. The aim of our ‘Relationships and Sex Education’ is to equip children with the information they need to prepare for adult life. The children will leave St. Mary’s C.E. Primary knowing the key building blocks of healthy, respectful relationships, focusing on family and friendships, in all contexts, including online. They will develop the skills to not only form relationships but to think about relationships with others and recognise when these relationships are positive.

Our scheme and policy which has been reviewed and produced following consultation with parents can be found by clicking on the link PSHE and RSE  and it was fully implemented in September 2021.

All children at St Mary’s are given homework and we believe working in partnership with parents is vital if our children are to achieve their full potential. With this in mind, we would like you to help and encourage your child to complete homework tasks and return them to school as requested by the class teacher. During their school life, all children will be expected to read daily and complete other homework tasks and activities which are planned and linked to current learning in school.

There are regular curriculum events and workshops held throughout the year in school to  help all families find our more about our curriculum and learning at St Mary’s. In addition, staff are always readily available to help you explore and find out more about the breadth of our curriculum  and how together we can best support your child’s learning and development. If you would like to look in detail and find out more about learning in all cohorts, please browse by clicking on the links below: