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 Pastoral Programme curriculum is exemplary because:

  • It is a crucial area of whole school life, which includes weekly lessons and termly awareness weeks, where students have the opportunity to develop themselves socially, culturally, spirituality and academically, learning about how to thrive in modern Britain as young adults.
  • It reflects the ethos of our school whilst exploring local, national and global issues, debates and ways of the world. All activities have been made bespoke to other students to ensure they develop in all aspects of their life. 
  • It is a great tool in supporting students during their time in school and preparing them for both post-16 and post-18 life moving forward. Our Pastoral Programme is also in line with the new DfE Guidance regarding relationships, sexual education and health education with lessons and activities made bespoke for our students looking at the key issues in modern Britain.

The Pastoral Programme curriculum is ambitious, broad and balanced because:

  • The curriculum covered prepares students for life in the modern world. This includes ensuring students are well versed in issues prevalent in the modern world, understand how to protect themselves from areas of concern and can keep safe, have the appropriate skills for employment and further education, understand the responsibility of adulthood and are well prepared for any academic assessment.
  • The curriculum followed from Year 7 – 13 builds on year on year and makes a critical contribution to helping our students shape their future as a fulfilled and open-minded person who is ready for the next stage of their life.
  • Students carry out activities to develop into responsible, respectful and active citizens, gaining knowledge of their role in shaping Britain. Whilst the curriculum focuses the students to be respectful of other cultures/faiths/nationalities and enjoy learning from our differences and celebrating differences as well as the things we have in common.
  • All students are supported for the next phase of education, training or employment so that they are equipped to make transition successfully. Careers lessons, supported with help and visits from local businesses and enterprise partnerships, are incorporated from Year 7 – 13 and are planned in line with the Gatsby benchmarks and their progress is monitored on the UniFrog platform.

The Pastoral Programme curriculum has effective scaffolding to support our SEND students/other students with additional needs:

  • All student in the school access our Pastoral Programme and SEND does not prohibit any students from opportunities provided. Teachers recognise that SEND students require scaffolding to access the curriculum, in accordance with their individual needs, but there are no ‘generic’ support strategies used.
  • The curriculum is planned with a variety of activities for each lesson/specification point, and individual teachers differentiate their lessons to ensure activities carried out are the most effective for their students.    
  • Staff are asked to consider individual recommendations for students when carrying out activities such as considering fonts used, colour of PowerPoint and worksheets, working with peers promoting organisation, appropriate seating in class and guidance of scaffolding techniques, phrasing of questions, through to how to adapt homework, where to reduce written tasks, and how to support literacy.

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

  • The curriculum is planned with the students’ needs foremost in mind, all activities carried out by the students have a commitment to diversity, inclusivity, and an aspiration to provide the best holistic education for all irrespective of their faith, ability, culture or ethnicity.
  • It is an inclusive programme that supports students from a range of faith, cultural and socio-economic backgrounds, with the aim of improving the cultural capital to increase the life opportunities of all students.
  • It honours the life, dignity and voice of each person made in the image and likeness of God, whilst effectively preparing students for life in the 21st century covering important topics such as sexual harassment and abuse.