The curriculum of the school seeks to fulfil both the educational aims specified in the School Development Plan and the complementary school aims which are stated in the Prospectus. In addition to the compulsory subjects specified for study at each key stage, it is the policy of the school to provide an enriched curriculum for all pupils, offering optional subjects as appropriate and making a wide choice of extra-curricular activities available to all age groups.
Our aim in St Mary’s is to provide the richest personal experience possible in a secure, fulfilling and challenging environment for all of our pupils. To this end, our school has agreed the following strategic goals to promote the education of every pupil:
- To ensure that our ethos based on Christian values is a key priority for the whole school community and to ensure that this inclusive approach will develop the confidence of all;
- To improve the quality of learning and teaching by embedding AfL and extend active and independent learning practices across all subject areas;
- To further develop the sharing of best practice in learning and teaching across the curriculum;
- To raise the level of pupil achievement at all levels and to further embed the culture of tracking including improved target-setting by staff and pupils;
- To improve the quality of the pupil experience and to further embed and develop the Pupil Voice;
- To promote the school community by further developing the parent link and the links with educational partners at primary and post-primary levels.
Roles and Responsibilities
Heads of Department
HODs work with colleagues to promote and sustain a consistently high quality of teaching and learning in their subject and to ensure the best possible outcomes by pupils. They ensure that appropriate Schemes of Work and Syllabi are in place, and used by colleagues, in all year groups which are in accordance with Department of Education guidance. Careful monitoring of pupil performance is also carried out.
Under the direction of their HOD subject teachers deliver the appropriate Schemes of Work, ensuring pupils are given the opportunity to gain their best possible outcomes.
Heads of Year/Heads of School
HOYs take an overview of each pupil’s progress at each assessment. If required they communicate with parents and pupils to help put in place strategies for improvement.
Pupils are encouraged to participate in at least some of the enrichment activities which are on offer, for example, the Pope John Paul II Award, Public Speaking and Debating, the school magazine, Young Enterprise, the Engineering Education Scheme, Public First Aid, music and drama productions, orchestras, bands and choirs, exchange visits abroad, a wide range of sporting activities and the Catholic Caring and Trocaire campaigns.
Lower Sixth pupils have the opportunity of participating in work experience which usually lasts for one week. It gives them insight into the world of work and helps them with their choice of career. Some Modern Language pupils may have the opportunity of doing their work experience in the country of their target language.
Quality Assurance of Curricular work in SDP
Each HoD completes an annual HoD report in which they have identified the following:
- A pre identified focus on implementing their departmental marking policy. This will ensure that all written feedback provided to pupils is in line with agreed departmental policy. The frequency, nature of the feedback and how pupils use this feedback to improve their work should be evident in sampled work across the department.
- A departmental focus following an analysis of departmental results. This focus should address any concern areas identified in departmental results and must be based on improving the learning in the department culminating in improved outcomes for pupils in the agreed area.
The above priorities are reflected at whole school level (SDP 2018-21) in improving the quality of written feedback provided to pupils and raising pupil achievements and standards with a particular emphasis on GCSE.
In the report HoDs have identified what sources of evidence they will look at in order to ascertain if progress towards initial targets is being made.
The evidence must come from the following sources:
- Looking at pupil books
- Analysis of pupil scores including ARPs
- Speaking to pupils and seeking their feedback
- Peer observing teaching in their department
Role of the SLT Link
SLT will work in partnership with HoDs to oversee the evaluation of progress against priorities identified in their HoD report.
There are scheduled meetings where SLT will meet with HoD links to talk through progress made in the key priorities listed in their annual HoD report.
Prior to this meeting SLT will arrange for the collection of samples of FHE to inform discussion during the meeting. The primary focus of each meeting is to examine the FHE and to with the HoD agree and record a statement of progress based on the quality of the FHE produced. If the evidence produced demonstrated that progress is not as expected, then SLT will work with HoDs at this point to realign these.
Key Stage 3 Curriculum
At Key Stage 3 (Years 8-10) the school provides a broad and balanced curriculum and has fully implemented the revised curriculum as required by the Education Order 2006, including Learning for Life and Work (incorporating Home Economics, Personal Development, Local and Global Citizenship and Education for Employability), Skills and Capabilities (incorporating Communication, Using Mathematics, Using ICT, Thinking Skills and Personal Capabilities) and the General learning areas.
Subjects and Allocated Periods at Key Stage 3
Points of note:
- Pupils choose 1 language from a selection of French, Spanish, Irish and Gaeilge (for Bunscoil pupils)
- Practical subjects are not taught in Form Classes