The Curriculum

St Mary’s Primary School, a Voluntary Academy, is committed to meeting the requirements of the Primary National Curriculum and to providing an even sharper focus on the curriculum.


Our intent is to provide a broad and balanced curriculum for all our pupils. Our schemes of work reflect the content and challenge of the curriculum. Teachers have received training in key areas of curriculum change to provide outstanding curriculum provision. Topics have been designed to complement and build on one another with clear progression and links, so that in subsequent years, children will be able to explore concepts deeper, applying their knowledge in different contexts

Our school has links with all primary schools within the Trust and we are making more links with our local schools.


Our curriculum has been designed to encompass knowledge and understanding of the world in which we live, and also the events that have shaped it in the past to make it what it is today. We are particularly proud of the respect and care that our children show for one another, the environment and the community around us.


The curriculum is taught with the consideration of the needs of all our learners. Our curriculum is exciting and inspires children to nurture a passion for learning. Our timetable evidence that slots beyond English and Maths are dedicated to our purpose.

Parents can find out more about our curriculum by clicking on the following links:

Click here for the link to National Curriculum 2014

Click here for the link to Cornerstones Curriculum

Click here for New Curriculum Parents Information Booklet

The Curriculum (Years 1 to 6)

The curriculum at St Mary’s is organised in accordance with the National Curriculum laid down in the Education Reform Act 1988 and the new National Primary Curriculum 2014. As a Catholic school our Mission Statement is with Christ at the centre, we show Unity, Respect, Joy, Love and Courage.

The curriculum at St Mary’s is designed to:

  • teach children to be numerate, literate and independent learners.

  • show children that learning is purposeful and pleasurable.

  • encourage the children to be self-disciplined, courteous and co-operative.

  • make each child self-confident and emotionally secure through achievement.

The curriculum is everything that the child experiences during his/her time in school. It includes those aspects that are difficult to quantify - play, assemblies, and social relationships - as well as the teaching/learning situation in class time. 

Key Skills

The following skills have been deemed ‘key skills’ in the revised National Curriculum:

  • communication

  • application of number

  • information technology

  • working with others

  • improving own learning and performance

  • problem-solving

Our school believes that all children need to make good progress in these skill areas in order to develop to their true potential. 

The Curriculum is made up of Religious Education plus the National Curriculum of three core subjects: English, Maths and Science, and eight foundation subjects: Computing, History, Geography, Design Technology, Languages (French), Music, Art and Design and Physical Education.

In addition to this we also incorporate Personal, Social and Health Education throughout the curriculum. The children in Year’s 3 ,4 and 5 receive swimming tuition at Knaresborough Pool a term each year. The children in Year 4, 5 and 6 have drama/music once a week for a term each. Year 3 have weekly whole class ukulele lessons.

We believe in offering a broad, balanced curriculum, which gives time for each subject area - delivered in a variety of different ways, respecting the three different learning styles. Class, group and individual teaching/learning situations are all used according to the children's needs.


In Key Stage 1 we aim to ensure pupils develop confidence and mental fluency with whole numbers, counting and place value. Pupils are introduced to the four operations, often using practical resources. They are taught to recognise, name, sort, compare and draw shapes, and to use units of measurement.

In Years 3 and 4 we continue to develop children's fluency with whole numbers and the four operations. Pupils are taught efficient mental and written methods of calculation, involving increasingly larger whole numbers. Simple fractions and decimals are introduced and pupils develop their range of problem solving skills and mathematical reasoning. This is applied to number, shape and measurements. Children begin to draw shapes with increasing accuracy and can recognise and describe their properties in more detail. By the end of Year 4 pupils should know all multiplication tables up to the 12 times table.

In Years 5 and 6 pupils extend their knowledge of the number system and place value to include larger integers. They develop their ability to solve problems and reason about increasingly complex mathematical problems, requiring efficient written and mental calculation skills. Algebra is introduced as a means of solving a variety of problems. Shapes are classified with increasingly complex geometric properties, and the necessary vocabulary to do this is developed. Pupils become fluent in written methods of calculation and in working with fractions, decimals and percentages.


The overarching aim for children within the English National Curriculum is to be able to speak and write fluently so that they can communicate their ideas and emotions to others, and through their reading and listening, others can communicate with them. The curriculum promotes high standards of language and literacy by equipping pupils with a strong command of the spoken and written language, and develops their love of literature through widespread reading for enjoyment. In Key Stage 1 we use the Floppy Phonics scheme for the teaching of Phonics.

The English curriculum is split into three areas:

Spoken language

This underpins the development of reading and writing. The quality and variety of language that pupils hear and speak are vital for developing their vocabulary and grammar and their understanding for reading and writing.

Reading (word reading, comprehension)

Reading widely and often increases pupils’ vocabulary because they encounter words they would rarely hear or use in everyday speech. Reading also feeds pupils’ imagination and opens up a treasure house of wonder and joy for curious young minds. The Reading Scheme that is primarily used is 'Oxford Reading Tree' and the Phonics Scheme is 'Floppy Phonics'.

Writing (transcription-spelling and handwriting, composition, vocabulary, grammar and punctuation)

Pupils will be taught how to plan, revise and evaluate their writing. These aspects of writing have been incorporated into the programmes of study for composition. Opportunities for teachers to enhance pupils’ vocabulary arise naturally from their reading and writing

Religious Education

Religious Education is a core subject in all Catholic Schools. Here at St Mary’s we recognise its importance and the teaching of RE is given 10% of our timetabled teaching time. We use The Way, the Truth and The Life for our RE teaching. It begins in Reception and goes through to Year 6. It is broken into 6 topics across the year. We also teach other major faiths across the school in Multi-Faith weeks that reflect the diverse world in which the children live. We have daily Collective Worship; Whole School Assemblies and Collective Worship on Monday, Thursday Friday mornings and class based Collective Worship on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. We also have Hymn Practice on Wednesdays. We have regular whole school masses and Key Stage 2 children go to church at least twice a term for Wednesday morning Parish Mass.


In Science, children will be expected to develop their scientific knowledge and conceptual understanding through the specific disciplines of biology, chemistry and physics. They will also develop their understanding of the nature, processes and methods of science through different types of science enquiries. This will help them to answer scientific questions about the world around them. In addition, we will also ensure that children are equipped with the scientific knowledge required to understand the uses and implications of science, today and for the future.


Children at St Mary’s are provided with a high-quality and engaging history education that helps them to gain a coherent knowledge and understanding of Britain's past and that of the wider world.  We inspire pupils' curiosity to know more about the past and ensure that our teaching equips pupils to ask perceptive questions, think critically, weigh evidence, sift arguments, and develop perspective and judgement. 

We teach history in a way that helps pupils to understand the complexity of people's lives, the process of change, the diversity of societies and relationships between different groups, as well as their own identity and the challenges of their time.


At St Mary’s we strive to ensure that children are provided with a high-quality geography education that inspires in them a curiosity and fascination about the world and its people that will remain with them for the rest of their lives.  Our teaching equips pupils with knowledge about diverse places, people, resources and natural and human environments, together with a deep understanding of the Earth's key physical and human processes.

Our aim is to ensure that as pupils progress, their growing knowledge about the world will help them to deepen their understanding of the interaction between physical and human processes, and of the formation and use of landscapes and environments.


In P.E, children develop competence to excel in a broad range of physical activities and are physically active for sustained periods of time.  They also have many opportunities to engage in competitive sports and activities and lead healthy, active lives.  At St Mary’s, we ensure that our pupils become physically confident in a way that supports their health and fitness.  The children also learn values such as respect and fairness whilst they engage in a range of sporting activities.


At St Mary’s Primary School, the children will learn to understand and respond to spoken and written French. They will also begin to speak with increasing confidence, fluency and spontaneity, finding ways of communicating what they want to say, including through discussion and asking questions, and continually improving the accuracy of their pronunciation and intonation. As they progress through key stage 2 our children will be able to write at varying length, for different purposes and audiences, using the variety of grammatical structures that they have learnt.


In Music we will aim to ensure that all children perform, listen to, review and evaluate music across a range of historical periods, genres, styles and traditions, including the works of the great composers and musicians. They will learn to sing and use their voices to create and compose music on their own and with others and will have the opportunity to learn a musical instrument. Children will also understand and explore how music is created, produced and communicated, including through the interrelated dimensions: pitch, duration, dynamics, tempo, timbre, texture, structure and appropriate musical notations. The children in Year 4, 5 and 6 have drama/music once a week for a term each. The children then perform their new skills at an end of term showcase or production. Key Stage 1 use their talents in our annual Nativity. Year 3 have weekly whole class ukulele lessons.


In line with the new computing curriculum, children will be exploring a range of different topics throughout the year. These topics will include learning about what algorithms are and creating their own algorithms. All years will be doing some programming at varying levels. Throughout the year the children will also explore aspects of data representation, communication and networks and computer hardware and processing.

Art and Design

Through the Art and Design curriculum pupils will develop a range of creative and evaluative skills. At St Mary’s we aim to engage, inspire and challenge pupils, equipping them with the knowledge and skills to experiment, invent and create their own works of art, craft and design. As pupils progress, they will explore colour, pattern, texture, line, shape, form and space use a range of art and design techniques including, drawing, painting, printing and sculpture to share their ideas and experiences. Pupils will also learn about different artists and designers and will develop the ability to evaluate artistic pieces.

Design Technology

At St Mary’s, pupils learn to design and make functional and appealing products, drawing on skills from other curriculum areas, such as mathematics, art and science.
Pupils develop practical, technical and creative skills in designing and making products, based on design criteria. They learn to evaluate both existing products and their own designs and creations.


At St Mary’s Primary School, personal, social, health and citizenship education is embedded throughout the curriculum. We aim to help pupils to become confident, independent and responsible citizens who can contribute to the life of the school and community. Pupils develop the knowledge and understanding they need to lead healthy and safe lifestyles. They learn to reflect on behaviours and attitudes and develop an understanding of their rights and responsibilities. At St Mary’s we provide opportunities for pupils to take on roles of responsibility and represent others through our School Council and our Mini Vinnies.