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.  

By looking at our local context, we have designed a curriculum based on key drivers which are:

  • Catholic ethos 
  • Key literacy and numeracy skills
  • Growth mindset
  • Healthy mind and body
  • Memorable and engaging

These elements should be seen running through all subjects at St Mary's.


Catholic Ethos

Our aim is for children to leave our school with a love of God and with strong values of respect for one other. We intend to do this by ensuring our Catholic ethos is at the core of our curriculum. This helps children to develop their social and moral code, as they build their sense of uniqueness and self-worth as an individual. We have excellent links with the Parish community. All classes undertake a range of charitable acts and outreach work in the local and wider community so that children see themselves as part of the community and develop social responsibility.


Key Literacy/Numeracy skills

The driving force of the curriculum is reading. We aim to get all children reading fluently as quickly as possible, to open the reading gateway to the rest of the curriculum. We intend to develop a love of reading and a passion for books by providing opportunities to read a wide range of genres for different purposes.

We intend to prepare our children as world citizens of the 21st Century. In order for this to be achieved our children need high levels of literacy and numeracy. Therefore, we ensure quality first teaching for all our pupils with daily maths and English lessons where all pupils receive the appropriate amount of support and challenge to allow them to make progress.

Growth Mindset

We want children leave us as lifelong learners who are resilient in their approach, are responsible citizens and show independence in their attitude. 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. Through our focus on Growth Mindset, we raise children’s aspirations so they have confidence to set themselves goals and achieve them. It enables them to develop skills such as positivity, resourcefulness, independence, resilience and endeavour. Through our curriculum, children encounter positive role models and develop new skills, which not only inspires them to be high-achieving academically but also empowers them in their choices later in life. Our motto is ‘Let Your Light Shine’ and this is lived out daily in school. We encourage all children to nurture their individual God-given talents and to achieve their true potential.

Healthy Mind and Body

We place high value of children’s health and wellbeing so that they grow up to have healthy minds and bodies. We place great emphasis on sport so that children are regularly active throughout the week and we provide them with opportunities to compete in a wide range of sports. This increases confidence in pupils and develops life skills such as teamwork, determination, perseverance and the ability to deal with losing. We teach mindfulness so they develop an understanding of their own mental health requirements.

Memorable and Engaging

Our curriculum is designed to give children opportunities to think and talk through our use of Kagan strategies. 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 encourage children to make links and transfer their skills and knowledge from one curriculum area to another. 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) We use Thinking Maps so that the children can 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.  A wide range of ‘hooks’, educational visits, visitors in to school and exciting theme days ensure children’s learning is memorable and engaging. We also use 'Retrieval Practice' strategies to achieve our ultimate aim to make learning stick so that children know more and remember more. 


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: