At St Mary’s Catholic School we pride ourselves on providing an exemplary curriculum for all students, including our students with special educational needs.  Our Year 7 to Year 13 curriculum is ambitious, broad and balanced, allowing all students to know more and remember more in lessons, and to achieve exceptional progress.  Our curriculum is planned to stretch and challenge all learners, with highly effective scaffolding in place to ensure our students with SEND and other additional needs also achieve highly.  Our curriculum meets and exceeds all national curriculum requirements.  Due to the numerous strengths and sustained success and impact of our curriculum year on year, St Mary’s supports many other schools within the Bishop Bewick Catholic Education Trust and more widely to share this exemplary practice.

The Mathematics curriculum is exemplary because:

  • It provides stretch and challenge for all, through a differentiated approach, so  all students to achieve highly.
  • The maths curriculum at St Mary’s is constantly evolving, non-linear (students will return to topics year on year) and responsive to the needs of our students.
  • The department is staffed by highly qualified teachers that have outstanding subject knowledge and enthusiasm for teaching maths.
  • We know that students enjoy studying mathematics at St Mary’s, as, following Key Stage 4, there is a very large number of students returning to studying A Levels in Mathematics and Further Mathematics (one of the few schools in the area that are able to offer Further Mathematics “in-house” due to a large uptake). In addition, a large number of younger students regularly attend our extra-curricular clubs in the department, such as puzzle club, origami club and a maths book club.

The Mathematics curriculum is ambitious, broad and balanced:

  • Due to our large intake from a wide range of Primary schools, students have a varied set of starting points. Our ambition is that by the end of Key Stage 3, all students have the skills and knowledge to achieve the best possible outcomes, regardless of their starting points.
  • At Key Stage 4, the curriculum allows every student to access all areas of the GCSE specification, with no specific focus on Foundation/Higher entry until the final term of year 11. This allows all students to work to their individual strengths and achieve their maximum potential.
  • Every lesson includes an element of recall of previous concepts, in order to ensure students are able to effectively build on this work in the coming lessons.
  • We cover the entire content of the National Curriculum for maths, whilst also broadening our students’ experiences of these topics through rich activities and problem solving.

The Maths Curriculum has effective scaffolding to support our SEND students/other students with additional needs:

  • At Key Stage 3, a differentiated curriculum is used, in order to fully support students in consolidating their understanding, allowing them to develop their skills more easily and effectively, regardless of starting points. At Key Stage 4, all objectives are available to students; teachers differentiate work for their classes to maximise their individual outcomes.
  • Within lessons, teachers employ a wide range of strategies to support SEND students in accessing the entire curriculum and achieve their best possible outcomes; this includes tailored/specialised resources or activities that will differ according to individual needs.
  • Students always receive feedback on their progress during a lesson – self-assessment and reflection happens within all lessons so that students and teachers know what has been achieved and what requires further work.

The Mathematics curriculum is worthy of sharing more widely with other schools because:

  • The consistency of our approach to interleaved practise and recall activities has improved retention and numeracy skills across the Key Stages. These activities have been shared with other schools across (and outside of) the Trust and have been used effectively elsewhere.
  • Our highly structured start-of and end-of-topic tests have improved teachers’ knowledge of current student understanding of a topic to allow for more effective teaching, and teachers’ and students’ understanding of progress made across a topic. These have been taken by other schools in the trust, adapted and implemented into their department plans.