Academic Curriculum

Mrs Wentworth is the Assistant Director of Lower School (Academic) and is responsible for the delivery of the curriculum. If you wish to speak with her, please make an appointment via the School Office.

Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS)

The curriculum in the Kindergarten and Prep class is built around the four principles of:

  • A Unique Child
  • Positive Relationships
  • Enabling Environments
  • Learning Development, taking into consideration that children develop and learn in different ways and at different rates.

The seven areas of learning and development are covered in the educational programme. The prime areas of learning are as follows:

  • Communication and Language
  • Physical Development
  • Personal, Social and Emotional Development

The specific areas through which the three prime areas are strengthened and applied are:

  • Literacy
  • Mathematics
  • Understanding the World
  • Expressive arts and design

Work covered in the Early Years is child-centred, using the Framework for the Early Years. Staff consider the individual needs, interests, and stage of each child in their care, and use this information to plan a challenging and enjoyable experience for pupils in all the areas of learning and development. In planning and guiding pupils’ activities, teachers focus on the Characteristics of Effective Learning and reflect these in their practice and assessment processes:

  • Playing and exploring – pupils investigate and experience, and ‘have a go’
  • Active learning – pupils concentrate and keep trying if they encounter difficulties, and enjoy achievements
  • Creating and thinking critically – pupils have and develop their own ideas, make links between ideas, and develop strategies for carrying out tasks

Structured and imaginative play forms an important part of the EYFS curriculum. Adult intervention is for a real purpose and in all areas language is one of the prime indicators of achievement and progress. A baseline assessment is conducted within the first six weeks of each child’s entry into the Preparatory (Reception) Class.

It is important that parents are able to share in the achievements of their daughter. The online learning programme Tapestry is a two-way system which gives parents the opportunity to see what their daughters have been learning in the Preparatory Class and also to add achievements at home. This creates a rounded picture of a child’s learning and development.

Key Stage 1 and 2

In the Lower School we agree long-term plans, which indicate the topics to be taught in each term and to which groups of pupils. We review our long-term plans on an annual basis. Medium-term plans give guidance to the objectives, learning outcomes and teaching strategies that we use when teaching each topic, including suggested resources, activities and ways to differentiate to ensure that the needs of all the pupils are being continually met.

Although the National Curriculum is often used as the basis for the long- and medium-term plans for KS1 and 2, at St Mary’s we often go beyond the expectations of the National Curriculum.

The Director of Lower School is responsible for the overall planning and organisation of the curriculum which is supervised and reviewed by the Assistant Director of Lower School (Academic). Subject Leaders and Subject Co-ordinators ensure that their subjects provide continuity and progression from the EYFS to the end of KS2. Specialist teaching forms part of the curriculum. In all year groups the pupils are taught by specialist Music, French/Languages, Forest School and PE teachers. This allows for a stimulating and challenging curriculum in which the pupils can thrive.

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