The policy of St. Michael’s Catholic Primary School is to register pupils, wherever possible, as mixed ability groups within a chronological year. There may be occasions, however, because of numbers, when children will be in mixed age groups. Each class teacher is responsible, under the guidance of the headteacher, for general progress and pastoral care.
The children will experience a variety of teaching methods and will be able to work independently, collaboratively in small groups or as a whole class when appropriate.
As a Catholic school, we aim to instil in the pupils a sense of community, as stated in our Mission Statement. We also encourage pupils to see themselves as part of the wider community of the parish, neighbourhood and the world at large. We do this by involving them in parish activities, local initiatives and national/international causes. We stress the value of each individual in the school and frequently remind pupils of the need to show respect for each person, their feelings, beliefs, talents, problems and belongings.
Religious Education is provided in the school in accordance with the teachings and doctrines of the Catholic Church and permeates the whole life of the school. We use the programme “Come and See", a Catholic Primary Religious Education programme for Foundation and Key Stages 1 and 2 published in July 2012.
Prayer plays an important part in the life of the school and we would encourage all parents to take time to pray with their children.
The Governors are required to remind parents of their right to withdraw their child from Religious Education and Religious worship; however parents are also reminded that the school exists to give a Roman Catholic education to its pupils, and that therefore they are expected to be in sympathy with its aims and objectives.
At St. Michael’s we believe that the curriculum area of ‘English’ encompasses an enormous range of knowledge, skills and understanding. The effective teaching of these is central to successful learning in all other areas of the curriculum. Put simply, the successful acquisition of language is the foundation upon which all further learning will be built.
The following steps are taught at St. Michael’s – phonics, spelling, reading, grammar, punctuation and writing. All steps are discretely taught in every class, beginning in Reception.
The acquisition of language begins at home and the impact of this first stage cannot be overstated. Talking to and reading to pre-school children is essential. When they come to school, this continues and expands through the many complex stages needed to establish children as successful, independent readers and writers. Systematic teaching of synthetic phonics is established throughout the Foundation Stage and in Key Stage One. This happens in addition to reading and listening to stories for understanding, retrieval, sequencing and retelling. This process enables children to extract meaning from a text, and to become story writers themselves. As the children move through Key Stage One and into Key Stage Two, their skills expand into understanding increasingly more complex stories and non-fiction texts. Their knowledge also increases as they apply their understanding of phonics to spelling, and their knowledge of grammar and punctuation to their writing.
At every stage, the children are challenged to provide the very highest standard of work possible, across all curriculum areas. Support is given where and when it is needed to ensure that our Year Six children leave St. Michael’s with the skills necessary to be successful readers and writers throughout their time in secondary school and beyond.
We believe that Mathematics is essential to everyday life and aim to enable the children in our care have a foundation for understanding the world, the ability to reason mathematically, an appreciation of the beauty and power of Mathematics, and a sense of enjoyment and curiosity about the subject.
Our aims for Mathematics are to ensure that all pupils become fluent in the basics, including frequent practice applying this knowledge to given problems. We also want our pupils to be “mathematical investigators”, giving them the skills to follow a line of enquiry, recognise relationships, and reason using mathematical language. We encourage this by setting challenging problems that encourage students to be creative and to discuss and evaluate their Mathematics.
The Foundation subjects are covered by a broad, balanced and stimulating creative curriculum. We offer a topic approach throughout the school based on The Learning Challenge Curriculum. In each topic the children address a Big Question through a series of smaller questions. The topic encompasses all areas of the curriculum and gives a context to the learning, allowing for the maximum enjoyment and engagement of pupils. See class pages for details of current topics.
The Science Curriculum is also deliver through a Big Question approach. Each topic addresses a series of smaller questions in order to answer the Big Question. The objectives within the Science Learning Challenge Curriculum reflect the demands for each year group within the National Curriculum. For details on the provision within each year group can be found on class pages.
Our published aims for Science are:
- To develop a broad base of scientific knowledge and to understand a range of concepts and be able to apply this understanding.
- To develop skills through use of scientific methods of investigation by
- asking questions and solving problems of increasing difficulty and with growing independence.
- To develop positive attitudes and personal qualities; These being:
-a curiosity in the world around them
-creativity and inventiveness
-a respect for the environment
-the ability to co-operate and collaborate with others
- To allow the learner to understand the world in a scientific way.
- To develop qualities of spirit, feeling, imagination and sense of beauty through studying themselves and the world around them.
Our aims for History are:
- To arouse interest in the past seeing it as real, alive and interesting.
- To contribute to pupil knowledge and understanding of other countries and cultures.
- To understand the present in the light of the past.
- To enrich other areas of the curriculum.
- To be able to identify similarities and differences between our time and the past, in many areas of life.
- To introduce pupils to what is involved in understanding and interpreting the past.
- To be aware that there are different ways of interpreting the past.
- Evidence from the past takes many forms and can be obtained from a variety of sources.
Our aims for Geography are:
- To stimulate children’s interest in their surroundings and in the variety of human and physical conditions on the Earth’s surface.
- To foster children’s sense of wonder at the beauty around them.
- To help children to develop an informed concern about the quality of the
- environment and the future of the human habitat.
- To enhance children’s sense of responsibility for the care of the Earth and people.
We teach Art so that children can:
- Become visually literate, develop a visual language and use and understand visual communications.
- Develop creative and technical skills in making their own art, by looking closely, recording and analysing aspects of their world.
- Develop the ability to make judgements about Art.
- Develop their design ability
- Develop their capacity for imaginative and original thought and experimentation.
- Develop the ability to communicate ideas, opinions and feelings.
- Understand and appreciate art from various cultures and other times.
- Evaluate their own work and that of others
- Learn about the importance to society of the artist, craftsperson and designer and the impact they make on society and the environment.
Computers are used across the curriculum. Children are given the opportunity to use a variety of computer equipment and programmes in a range of contexts. They are taught to generate and communicate their ideas, retrieve, process and display information. As they progress they will interpret and analyse data held on computer systems.
With improved use of the Intranet, new horizons will open up for our pupils and enable them to communicate with youngsters in other classes and schools through the computer systems.
The school has a dedicated computer suite with 30 computers, all linked to the internet. All classrooms have electronic white boards with internet links.
We also have a number of iPads and laptops that are used in classrooms.
We consider E-safety to be a priority of school and we teach children throughout school how to be safe when using the internet and mobile phones. For further information on E-safety please click here.
Children will have experience of gymnastics, dance, swimming, outdoor individual and team games, in order to develop good body co-ordination and control. We endeavour to give each child enjoyment and satisfaction from physical activity and to foster the development of positive sporting attitudes. The school has achieved the Activemark qualification for its PE programme. The school has a number of extra-curricular activities using, our own staff and coaches from a variety of sporting associations.
SPORTING AIMS AND PROVISIONS
We run football and cross country teams and have Eco, hockey, tennis, dance, Irish dancing, gymnastics, computer, art/craft, cookery and music clubs. These all take place after school and are run by the school staff.
The formal school curriculum is not used to practise full sided team games - the emphasis is on small sided games that ensure much activity by all participants. Match skills are an important element.
During the football season regular match practice takes place. The school is in the local school league and takes part in cup competitions. We have our own football pitch. Our running teams regularly compete in local cross country competitions. Children are encouraged to join some of the many sporting activities organised by external agencies or individuals including parents.
Children are given opportunities for singing and music making for concerts and performances. A variety of musical experiences are accessed from the Local Authority. We have a number of children in both Key Stages 1 and 2 who are learning to play the flute, clarinet, violin and guitar. We also have a choir who meet one day each week after school.