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St Mary's Catholic Primary Schools Trust


Characteristics of Learning at our Schools


We want all our children to grow into confident, independent learners and so we encourage an independent attitude from a very early age.

In our Early Years Foundation Stage (Nursery and Reception):

We encourage the children to dress themselves, tidy up, collect and put away the resources they need to complete a task, and to begin to make independent learning choices. We give them all the guidance and support they need to move towards independence so that by the time they are ready to move on to Year 1 they have the organisational, cognitive and reflective strategies they need for the next stage of their learning journey.

In Key Stage 1 (Year 1 and Year 2):

Our children should now be well on the road to being successful little problem solvers, able with support, to make decisions, construct plans and begin to evaluate ideas. They will be encouraged to make simple decisions about their own learning for example: is this my best work? How can I make it better?

In KS2 (Years 3, 4, 5 and 6):

Our pupils develop the firm foundations they need to enable them to be confident, independent, reflective pupils who can independently tackle quite sophisticated problems, research, create and hypothesise. With the support of their Teachers they will be able to set themselves targets and make independent judgements as to whether these targets have been achieved. They will be able to prepare themselves for learning, collect the resources they need to learn and work to a time limit.


The ability to adapt to the challenges of the world is a vital life skill and so we foster this throughout our schools.

In our Early Years Foundation Stage:

For our youngest children we will ensure that they have lots of opportunities to try new things, experience the wonders of the world, and for young children every new experience holds wonder.

In Key Stage 1:

We want them to feel confident and secure enough to be excited by change and ready for new challenges. We will increasingly take them out and about into the world, introduce them to new books, plays, teach them about others places and other cultures and equips them with the skills they need to face an ever changing world.

In Key Stage 2

Our pupils’ ability to adapt what they know to achieve successful outcomes should be second nature to them by the time they reach Key Stage 2, and as they continue to be faced with new exciting challenges so they will develop the skills they need to become lifelong learners brimming with curiosity and excited by change.


The ability to keep going even when you find the going tough is a difficult but vital skill to accomplish if our children are to grow into successful young men and women. We have therefore developed a challenge based curriculum that develops and rewards persistence.  

In our Early Years Foundation Stage:

From their earliest days in school be encourage our children to ‘have a go’. We foster a belief that one should not be afraid of failure but that it should be seen as a vital part of the learning process. We learn from our mistakes so if our little Nursery children put their shoes on the wrong foot it doesn’t matter as long as they have another go!

In Key Stage 1:

Our children are encouraged to develop their ability to concentrate for longer periods and to begin with support to edit their own work and self- correct. Their learning is carefully scaffolded to give them the support they need to overcome obsticles and think logically.

In Key Stage 2:

Our pupils will be developing into confident problem solvers who will not only be able to overcome failure and adversity to achieve their goal, but will able to constructively criticise the guide others to help them to achieve their goals. They will be consistently editing their learning and adapting their choices to achieve successful outcomes.


When children are encouraged to aim high they rarely fail to live up to expectations and we never limit our children by limiting our belief in them.

In our Early Years Foundation Stage:

From the beginning we encourage children to ‘reach for the stars’, and we will support them every step of the way to enable them to achieve their goals. Our youngest children are provided with a rich, vibrant curriculum and all the resources they need to create, model invent and adapt.

In Key Stage 1:

We set aspirational targets for all our children and then painstakingly adapt our teaching to ensure that their learning is tailor made to ensure success.

In Key Stage 2:

The children will be supported to set their own targets and then plan how they will achieve them. We will encourage them to look outside the confines of our school to see what is available to them in the wider world so that they can begin to construct their dreams with the knowledge that anything worthwhile will involve hard work, determination and challenge.


The ability to share our thoughts, talents and ideas makes us the success Trust that we are and we want to instil this in all of our children so that they can go out into the world as successful collaborative young people.

In our Early Years Foundation Stage:

Very young children find it extremely hard to share and so our patient, talented staff will carefully and sensitively nurture their ability to share their space, their resources and their thoughts with others. They will be given lots of opportunities for group speaking and listening activities where they will learn the rules of etiquette for our society e.g. saying please and thank you, taking turns and very importantly being kind.

In Key Stage 1:

By now our children are well used to sharing and will now be given lots of opportunities for team work in all areas of the curriculum whether it be Maths where they will be playing simple maths games, Literacy where they might be reading together, or sport where they will be taught a wide variety of team games by our specialist sports coach.

In Key Stage 2

Our pupils will have grown into competent, collaborative learners who are confidently able to work as part of a team to achieve successful outcomes. They are provided with a rich variety of opportunities to work collaboratively both within their class and within their school as well representing their school as we work collaboratively with the wider Catholic community.

Our Positive Behaviour Rules

Our rules are based around the belief that our children should be given the knowledge, understanding and self- control to manage their own behaviour in their interactions with the world around them.

Our expectations are that children should be safe, be responsible and be respectful and we teach them from Nursery onwards the rules that will enable them to be safe, be responsible and be respectful in the classroom, in the playground, in the dining room, in the toilets and cloakrooms and in the common areas of the schools..


We believe that it is important that children receive a wide and rich reading experience. We therefore encourage children to read and enjoy books of their choice from our well stocked, age appropriate library alongside our own levelled books which link directly to their level of progress.



Children work within their own class as the class teacher is aware of phonics levels and specific practice needed to be applied in class. Taught Phonic sessions are 15 minutes daily in every year group.

We use our own bespoke Phonics Scheme which enables us to tailor and adapt our scheme to fit the needs of the children in our care.

Any child falling below the identified average for each year group is given additional daily 1:1 support:

Reception: 1:1 revising sounds of the week

Year 1: 1:1 5 minute box, catch up phonics

Year2: catch up phonics revision with daily reading

Year 3 onwards - half termly interventions based on identified need.