The Early Years Foundation Stage
The Early Years Foundation Stage makes a crucial contribution to a child's early development and learning. We provide all of our pupils with a rich variety of experiences, that are appropriate to their individual needs.
There are seven areas of learning in the Early Years curriculum, all of which are important and interconnected. Three of these areas are considered crucial for igniting a child's curiosity and enthusiasm for learning, which in turn will develop their capacity to learn, form relationships and thrive:
Communication and Language
Personal, Social and Emotional Development
We will also be supporting children in the four specific areas, through which the prime areas are strengthened and applied. The specific areas are:
Understanding the World, and
Expressive Arts and Design.
The outdoor classroom is as important as the indoor classroom, in exploring and understanding the early years curriculum and learning experiences. The Nursery and Reception classes share a well equipped outdoor classroom, that is experiences are planned for daily.
Children come to us with a wide range of experiences. During the first part of the term in which they start (in Reception this will be the autumn term, and in Nursery this will be the term in which they turn three years of age), the teacher will carry out on entry assessments for every child. Together with any further information from other nurseries or pre-schools, this will establish for us where they are in their learning and development, and aid future planning. The results of this assessment will be shared at Next Step meetings, which take place every six weeks. Assessment of learning will be ongoing throughout the year. In the Reception year, this will be recoded using the Early Excellence programme. By the end of each year, the class teachers will report on each child's learning profile and progress.
We encourage children's reading, communication and mathematics skills from the very beginning. Much of the learning in the Foundation Stage takes place through carefully structured play experiences and exploration. It is import that children use this time to begin to develop social relationships with other children, and develop new skills in doing so.
Reading is taught through a variety of ways, including the use of a daily dedicated phonics lesson (our synthetic phonics scheme is called International Phonics). Our children have access to a wide range of books, and will be read to daily.
Key Stage 1 and 2
At St Mary's we provide a curriculum which is broad, balanced, creative and relevant to the world in which we live. Children will explore a wide range of learning experiences, in accordance with the National Curriculum 2014.
The core curriculum at Key Stages 1 and 2 comprises:
As a Church of England Primary School we believe that Religious Education (RE) is part of our core curriculum.
Children will also study the following subjects, which are called the foundation subjects:
Art and Design
French (Modern Foreign Language)
Children are also taught Personal, Social, Health and Citizenship Education (PSHCE), and sex and relationship education.
At St Mary's we have adopted the Philosophy for Children (P4C) approach. Please click on the link for more information.https://www.st-marys-swanley.kent.sch.uk/p4c-philosophy-for-children/
We believe that reading and writing is the key to the curriculum, and place great emphasis on the early acquisition of skills. Children from Year 1 will continue with the Phonics International, synthetic phonics programme, which they will have started in the Nursery and Reception classes. This will run in conjunction with our reading schemes, which parents will be aware of from our parental information meetings. We use a variety of schemes including Oxford Reading Tree and Big Cat readers, which we tailor to the individual child. This runs alongside our Reading Recovery provision, which begins in Year 1.
Parental support with reading is essential, and we ask that that each child reads for up to 20 minutes per night with an adult. This will promote a love of books, as well as support the Guided Reading lessons, and individual reading practice that takes place in school. To assist with this, we provide an up to date range of books in our school library for the children to borrow.
Children in Key Stage 2 follow Destination Reader, a new approach to teaching reading in KS2. It involves daily sessions incorporating whole class modelling prior to the children applying these skills through partner work and independent reading. Destination Reader also helps to build a culture of reading for pleasure and purpose. Please see the Destination Reader page for more information https://www.st-marys-swanley.kent.sch.uk/destination-reader/
Power of Reading
The Power of Reading teaching sequences set out clear overall learning aims for a variety of writing styles and skills to be covered, that are drawn straight from the 2014 National Curriculum and Early Years Foundation Stage Statutory Framework 2012.
Each teaching sequence, from Foundation through to Year 6, gives teaching staff an English Scheme that ensures coverage of different writing genres. Please see the Power of Reading page for more information https://www.st-marys-swanley.kent.sch.uk/power-of-reading/
To further support and challenge our pupils, every child in Key Stage 2 will learn a musical instrument, with some pupils learning two instruments (challenging the able pupils in this area). All Key Stage 2 children will have weekly tuition of the violin or piano, and have opportunities to perform their skills to an audience.
St Mary's uses the Diocese of Rochester agreed syllabus, which is broadly Christian education. We have included elements of the Kent Agreed syllabus, to ensure that teaching of other faiths is robust and appropriate.
To find out more
The impact of this provision can be found on the school performance data tables, on the DfE website:
To discuss aspects of the curriculum further please make an appointment with the school office: 01322 665212