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Curriculum Overview

We know that children learn best when they are engaged in their learning and when it is creative and stimulating. We therefore deliver as much of the curriculum as possible through our termly Creative Curriculum Topics.

Reception class topics are based on the children’s interests using the school environment as much as possible and in particular their Outdoor Learning space at the front of the school.

The rest of the school plan their topics linked to the new 2014 National Curriculum.

Whenever possible, the links between the different subjects are identified and are planned into the termly topic. However some aspects of the teaching for the different subjects will not fit into the Creative Curriculum topic and will be taught separately. At the beginning of every term each class teacher sends out an overview to parents of what is being taught in each subject and how it links with their Topic, along with suggestions for how the children’s learning can be supported at home.

The Teaching of Phonics:
The school uses the DfE Primary National Strategy document “Letters and Sounds:  Principles and Practice of High Quality Phonics” for teaching phonics.  However we supplement this scheme with resources from other published schemes to ensure we use a multi-sensory approach to learning phonics, and which enables parents to support the children’s learning of phonics at home.  

The Teaching of Reading:
The school uses a range of Reading Scheme books which are colour coded according to the children’s development in Reading.  This enables the children to choose their own books within their colour band to maintain their confidence in reading independently and to others.  Using a range of schemes ensures our children have access to a wider variety of early reading books.
Children are also encouraged to read books from their class library as well as having regular opportunities to choose a book from the school library.

The school has recently invested in a wide range of “Guided Reading” sets of books to meet the needs of all levels of readers from Reception to Year 6.  These are used by the teacher with differentiated groups of children regularly and include a wide range of genres.

Children are taught and encouraged to use a wide range of strategies when reading, for example:
• Phonics ( sounds and spellings)
• Word recognition and graphic knowledge (words, shape of words, word families and letter strings)
• Grammatical knowledge (punctuation, parts of a sentence, use of language etc.)
• Contextual knowledge (picture clues, using prior knowledge etc.)
• Inference and deduction

Each class has regular planned opportunities for independent reading during curriculum time.  In addition, all classes experience a class book or novel being read to them, with high quality writing, syntax, vocabulary and other features being discussed.

We promote and value the volunteer Reading Buddies, who come into school throughout the week to share a book with children from across the Year groups - and especially with those children who do not have an opportunity to read with someone out of school.

The Teaching of Handwriting
At St Mary’s we teach the cursive script; our Handwriting policy details when each letter and joining is introduced.  Our handwriting policy is attached below.

The Teaching of Writing

A key text is used as a stimulus for all of our writing.  Each unit of writing is a journey, where the children start at word level, then sentence level, building up to their first draft which is edited, and final draft which is written and then published.  Each child produces at least one piece of published work per half term.  Knowing that the children produce their best work when they are writing for an audience and a real life purpose, the school ensures that these are provided.  The words which children should be able to spell by the end of each phase can be found below as a download.


The Teaching of Mathematics

The school has recently introduced Power Maths.  Power Maths is an exciting Growth Mindset and Problem Solving approach to mathematics, which helps to spark a curiosity and excitement for Maths and equips children with a deeper understanding.  Power Maths is a mastery approach which has been developed to ensure it meets the needs of all children in the UK.



We ask our children to undertake certain tasks at home, because we believe that homework encourages many positive aspects in children's learning and, in particular, their attitude towards it.  It also supports the essential need for partnership between home and school in the children’s education.   We seek to ensure progression by the introduction of homework early in Key Stage 1.  By gradually developing the amount and content of the homework as the children progress through the school, they are adequately prepared for the expectations regarding homework in secondary school.  Our homework is always shared on the Homework page of our website in the Children’s section.

End of year age related expectations for English and Mathematics are shared with parents at the first TLC (Termly Learning Conference) of the year and can also be accessed below.


Further information about the Curriculum can be obtained by contacting the appropriate class teacher, the Assistant Headteacher or the Headteacher.  Please contact the school office in the first instance.


Contact Us

St Mary's Catholic Primary School
Cobden Road
West Sussex
BN11 4BD
Telephone: 01903 234115
Fax: 01903 215034