‘Outstanding education is a right not a privilege. All children should have access to a fully inclusive school that excites, challenges and stimulates their individual expression, whilst ensuring they achieve to their maximum potential.’
(North West Academies. 2012)
A 21st Century Curriculum
St Martin's Academy enthuses children about learning through the delivery of an exciting curriculum and works in strong partnership with parents and carers to ensure high standards. In all areas, our school has a strong sense of community where all children and families are treated with respect.
The freedom to innovate and excite through learning is at the heart of our Education Philosophy at St Martin's Academy. An enquiry based approach to learning is at the centre of our development and a fundamental focus for our curriculum, ensuring that children have a relevant and focused education that enables them to develop their skills and understanding to move into the world beyond school. The framework for our 'real' learning is through the implementation of the IB Primary Years Programme after a strong foundation provided by the EYFS Curriculum duirng the children's first year at school. A strong emphasis on the core skills of maths, English and ICT, and links with industry, including a range of initiatives that link children into 'the wonderful world of work', are central to how our school operates. This ensures that learning not only produces outstanding results but enables our children to make exciting choices as they develop their awareness of possibility.
Organisation of Pupils
Pupils are organised in single, mixed ability and mixed gender year groups, according to age, with a maximum of 25 in each class. The school caters for children from Reception to Year 6, with no planned changes to year group sizes or structure as the school grows. This organisation meets the emotional needs of children, enables high quality practitioners the ability to influence learning appropriately and makes sure that the children can, and do, achieve to the best of their ability.
The EYFS Curriculum – A Secure Foundation for All Our Learners
Every child deserves the best possible start in life and the support that enables them to fulfill their potential. Children develop quickly in the early years and a child's experiences between birth and age five have a major impact on their future life chances. A secure, safe and happy childhood is important in its own right. Good parenting and high quality early learning together provide the foundation children need to make the most of their abilities and talents as they grow. At St Martin's Academy we ensure that children's experiences are built upon as they enter the Foundation Stage and that parents remain secure and active partners in their child's education.
At St Martin's we follow the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) curriculum, which sets the standards that all early years providers must meet to ensure that children learn and develop well and are kept healthy and safe. It promotes teaching and learning to ensure children's 'school readiness' for Year 1 and gives children the broad range of knowledge and skills that provide the right foundation for good future progress through school and life.
The International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme – Building Upon Success
In order to meet our educational values and vision, from Year 1 we follow the International Baccalaureate® (IB) Primary Years Programme (PYP) with its strong emphasis on the core subjects. This allows the school to provide a unique and highly relevant 21st Century curriculum.
The PYP enables St Martin's Academy to provide a unique framework for learning within which our children thrive. Outstanding primary education enables a child to build strong foundations upon which their future learning will develop. The PYP enables children to become creative thinkers and doers, structures learning sufficiently so that children can think in a multidisciplinary way and enables children to see the shades of grey. These valuable skills are what enable our learners to flourish as they continue their learning journeys and take these skills into the world of work.
The PYP ensures that our children learn in a fast-moving environment, that their basic skills in mathematics and literacy are strong and that there is no underachievement. Due to our strong focus on meeting the needs of different learning styles, all children regardless of gender have the opportunity to learn creatively; differences in gender do not inhibit progress.
Children in the 21st Century are faced with the challenge of learning about an interconnected world where knowledge is constantly developing. The PYP prepares students to be active participants in a lifelong journey of learning. The most significant and distinctive feature of the PYP is the six transdisciplinary themes, similar to the EYFS.
The most unique part of our school day, and one which makes us stand out from the crowd, is the additional 'beyond curriculum' activities with which pupils can engage five days a week. These are focused mainly around the arts and PE. They will encompass areas like a choir, school band, drama performances, rich arts-based experiences and various team sports. This enhancement of the curriculum will be carried out by all staff and will be in addition to the regular after-school clubs. During these sessions we will also be able to provide intensive intervention sessions for short periods to tackles areas of development and extend our more able pupils, ensuring that effective challenge and support are at the core of what we do.
The length of the school day – 9am to 4pm – will enable us to provide this additional exciting element to the school whilst not detracting from the main National Curriculum subjects being taught through the PYP programme.
Our curriculum is enriched with a range of peripatetic musicians, trips and visits. We expect our children to take part in at least one trip and have one visitor per term throughout their school life. The teachers plan this in conjunction with our curriculum model and in line with the school's overarching Educational Visits Policy. PE is a strength of the school and is taught by teachers or specialist coaches. All childen take part in weekly swimming lessons from Reception onwards at a local pool.
Effectively resourcing of the school and offering the children high quality equipment is vital. Creating high quality learning environments which are valued and cared for by the children is a vital aspect of the role of educators. ICT at St Martin's Academy is innovative, mobile and integrated throughout school. ICT is an important aspect of our approach to learning, creating independent, challenging activities which are used in all lessons. We offer a number of family learning projects centred on using ICT together. So many of our young children will end up in jobs that haven't been invented yet. As such, it is vital as educators, working within the confines of our budgets, that we ensure the children's ICT skills are equipped to deal with the modern and ever-changing world.
Our Approach to Reading & The Teaching of Phonics
Here at St Martin's Academy, we are dedicated to ensuring that each and every one of our children learns to read with accuracy and confidence and use Ruth Miskin's Read Write Inc programme from the EYFS throughout KS1 which allows us to do this, as well as supporting you in fostering a love of reading in your child that will last a lifetime.
At the core of the programme is the lively and vigorous teaching of synthetic phonics. Children learn the 44 common sounds in the English language and how to blend words for reading at the same time as developing handwriting skills and segmenting for spelling. As their confidence in decoding develops they are taught to comprehend and compose ideas for their own writing. The children have the pleasure of reading exciting storybooks perfectly matched to their level – so that they have early success in reading.
Read Write Inc. has 5 underlying principles – the five Ps:
PACE – no time is wasted during teaching sessions! Children are active and involved in a fun and creative way. The aim is for the children to complete the programme as quickly as possible.
PRAISE – teachers praise the children constantly throughout the teaching sessions. Children learn more quickly when they are praised for what they do and the children are encouraged to praise each other for their efforts within all sessions.
PURPOSE – each activity has a very clear purpose. The teacher will set this purpose at the beginning of the lesson so that the children know exactly what they will be learning.
PARTICIPATION – all children take part in all parts of the lesson. Full participation is gained through partner work and choral response.
PASSION – as a staff we are passionate about our teaching and the benefits of the Read, Write Inc. programme and our shared enthusiasm ensures outstanding results.
For further information about the programme please see Ruth Miskin's Read Write Inc section on the Oxford University Press website.
Please see our class pages for more information about our curriculum.