St Mary’s Catholic Primary School, Cross Street, Chesterfield, S40 4ST

01246 232170

St Mary's Catholic Primary School

Let Your Light Shine

Our Curriculum Intent

At St Mary’s Catholic Primary School, we are passionate about giving children the best possible to start to life and enabling them to ‘Let Their Light Shine.’ We prepare the children to be life-long learners who achieve their unique God-given potential. Our dedicated teachers work hard to inspire children with a broad, balanced and relevant curriculum, matched to their needs and interests. In this way children develop a thirst for learning and become independent thinkers – key skills for life in Modern Britain.

Our intent is to move children towards a deep level of understanding in every subject area so that they are able to use and apply skills and knowledge in different areas. We have constructed our curriculum so that key knowledge and concepts are built upon secure prior learning. This begins with the crucial Foundation Stage which creates a solid bedrock of knowledge and skills upon which to springboard from.  


Children are encouraged to develop mastery of concepts through deep, sustainable learning. We have a whole school mastery approach to the teaching of mathematics, phonics and early reading, and use the Oxford Reading Tree scheme throughout school.


We are passionate about reading as we believe that it is the gateway to learning. Our aim is for children to learn to read fluently as quickly as possible. We encourage them to develop a love of reading and of books so that they read for pleasure. We teach Read Write Phonics so that children learn how to develop quickly into confident, accurate and fluent readers. 


As a Catholic school, we place Christ at the centre of all we do. The gospel values underpin every aspect of school life. A minimum of 10% of the teaching timetable is dedicated to RE. Throughout the school week, children are involved in daily worship within the classroom and come together regularly for collective worship with the whole school community. We have our own Chaplaincy Team who lead the spiritual life of the school.


We use a topic based approach to learning, with cross-curricular links and basic skills inter-weaved throughout. For example, in Year 3, children read ‘Street Child’ and all their learning is focussed around the book. This links work in History to English as the final outcome is their own spin off story about one of the characters. They link this to geography by learning about Chesterfield in Victorian times. This approach ensures equal emphasis is placed on foundation subjects as core subjects and enables children to make links and connections which supports them in transferring this knowledge to their long term memory.



We use ‘The Magenta Principles’ in order to promote deep thinking and therefore learning. This is based on the premise that: ‘Learning is the consequence of thinking therefore our job is to get them to think. Language is central to thinking therefore our job is to get them to talk.  Learning is an active process therefore our job is to get them doing.’  (Mike Hughes)

In order to give children opportunities to think and talk we use Kagan and Thinking Maps. Thinking Maps help children visualise their thinking and create concrete images of abstract thoughts. This enables the children to reach higher levels of critical and creative thinking. It helps them to organise their thoughts and structure their writing across a range of subjects.  

We are a Kagan school. This allows us to develop co-operative learning, achieving active engagement and equal participation by all children across the curriculum. This makes learning fun and develops children’s social skills.


We are determined that every child succeeds and fulfils their God-given potential and so we instil in children a belief in a Growth Mindset. This is the idea that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work. The Growth Mindset idea creates a love of learning and a resilience that helps children achieve highly.


At St Mary’s we place high priority on preparing children for life in Modern Britain through our 'Shine Curriculum' which promote ideas and understanding around equality and diversity.  We believe that our Catholic Christian identity plays an important role in upholding the British values of democracy, rule of law, individual liberty, mutual respect and tolerance of those of different faiths and beliefs. These values are taught throughout the curriculum and are underpinned and reinforced in many ways for example:

  • Shine Curriculum
  • Collective Worship
  • School Values assemblies
  • Golden Rules
  • Weekly debates about current affairs
  • Pupil Voice and our School Council
  • Work in the community
  • Chaplaincy team
  • RE work on other faiths

Our curriculum addresses all the requirements of the 2014 National Curriculum and is designed to allow children to live out our mission statement, ‘Let Your Light Shine’.

You can find out more about our Curriculum by contacting the school: