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 Physical Education curriculum is exemplary because:

  • The current PE curriculum is reviewed annually and is one that has evolved over the last 15 years at St Mary’s to cater for the changing role of the school.
  • The curriculum provides an inclusive physical education programme, where students learn through a wide variety of fun, enjoyable and highly structured activities.
  • It is designed to cater for all abilities whilst also considering the very different needs of the individual groups we teach.
  • The structure of the curriculum progresses having considered the rate of cognitive development and the physical growth of individual classes of students.
  • It requires students to be physically active and understand the benefits of physical activity on their fitness and well-being.

The Physical Education curriculum is ambitious, broad and balanced:

  • Students are offered the opportunity to experience a wide range of National Curriculum activities to challenge them in a number of different disciplines; Gymnastics, dance, invasion games, striking and fielding games, athletics, personal fitness and outdoor and adventurous activities.
  • The curriculum aims to develop a ‘physically educated’ learner.
  • All students are encouraged to work collaboratively and mutually support peers within the classroom environment. 
  • All students are encourage to develop their communication skills and understand its importance across a variety of activities, and to be creative and experiment with ideas in a safe and secure environment.
  • Students are required to develop their critical thinking through observation and experiment with performance to solve problems encountered during activities.
  • Throughout this process, success is reinforced through careful guidance and positive feedback for all.

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

  • The journey through Key Stage 3 and 4 has been carefully planned to ensure students of all abilities are offered the same experiences and become physically competent.
  • It is designed in to ensure students move through the ‘3 Key Phases of Learning’ in Physical Education.
  • Phase 1: Year 7/8: Students learn to develop basic skills at the Cognitive Stage with a clear focus on trial and error and a clear focus on developing student confidence.
  • Phase 2: Year 8/9: Students develop skills at the Associative Stage of learning towards the end of Key Stage 3, they will begin to develop a kinaesthesis and refine their performance becoming more responsive to their own internal feedback mechanisms.
  • Phase 3: Year 10/11: All students are guided towards the Associative Phase during their time in Key Stage 4, with a view to executing their skills consistently and with an ability to focus on the strategic and tactical elements of individual activities.
  • The topic areas studied by the students are broadly the same for ‘EVERY CHILD’.

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

  • It is constantly evolving and the content is reviewed on an annual basis.
  • Students are positive about their experiences in physical education.
  • Students’ behaviour in classes is excellent resulting in a positive working environment for all students regardless of ability.  
  • Student participation rates in National Curriculum Physical Education are excellent.
  • Extra-curricular clubs at lunchtime and after school are well attended by students from a wide range of diverse backgrounds.
  • Examination results in GCSE PE and A Level Physical Education are well above the national average.