St Mary’s is a Christian learning community that aims to bring learning to life for all pupils. For us this means developing the whole child, academically, socially, emotionally, physically, morally and spiritually to become a life-long learner who achieves their individual potential not only in the classroom but at home, in their wider community and into their adult life. It also means working in close partnership with parents and carers and the wider community to enrich our understanding of each child and expand the range of learning experiences we can offer.
Attitudes to learning
We are very aware of the pace of change in our society today – and of the fact that we are preparing children for jobs which don’t yet exist. For this reason we actively teach them to take some responsibility for their own learning; to become aware of the different ways in which they can learn things; to make links and judge for themselves how effective they have been. We believe this will make them powerful learners – ready to cope with whatever challenges the future will bring.
For many years we have worked with the Building Learning Power ideas, developed by Professor Guy Claxton. In EYFS and KS1 the children are introduced to Captain Resilience, Collaboration Kid, the Questioner, and the Reflector who all have learning ‘super-powers’ that the children can adopt to build their own learning muscles. The children continue to refine their understanding of these principles throughout their time with us.
Teachers use this, and the principles from our Great Learners Project, to help the children understand that challenge in learning, and not being able to do something straight away is important. They are taught strategies to help them cope when they are solving problems and are encouraged to reflect for themselves on which strategies have been successful.
We believe this approach is what helps make our children eager and independent learners – and it certainly makes our school a vibrant learning community.
“Pupils recognise the importance of learning and are determined to make the most of opportunities presented to them.”
Spirituality and Well-being
Our strong Christian ethos is recognised by all who come into contact with our school. We encourage our pupils to explore their personal spirituality within the effective framework of our Christian Values. We believe this allows pupils to investigate and shape who they are, gives them the skills they need as members of a community, the values that will form the foundation of their lives and the ways in which they respond inside to all they meet both tangibly and intangibly.
In addition to this and as part of our focus on the Christian Values we follow the MindUp programme. A comprehensive, classroom tested, evidence based curriculum that fosters social and emotional awareness, enhances psychological well-being and promotes academic success.
We recognise that all children are inherently spiritual and we value that. Throughout our pupils’ time in school we nurture their spiritual growth and promote their mental health and well-being.
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“The values led Christian ethos inspires all children to achieve and encourages them to face the future with confidence. The children are not presented with a formula but are encouraged to find their own path to God so facilitating personal spiritual growth.”
– SIAMS Inspection report
There is strong evidence that good quality learning outside normal classroom experiences adds much value to classroom learning. It can lead to a deeper understanding of the concepts that span traditional subject boundaries and which are frequently difficult to teach effectively using classroom methods alone.
Quality learning experiences in ‘real’ situations have the capacity to raise achievement across a range of subjects and to develop better personal and social skills.
At St. Mary’s, time in lessons is enriched by making the most of our outdoor environment, and enhanced by the additional activities we can offer.
We have a wide range of workshops provided by outside experts covering everything from History and Music to Art and Problem Solving. We also take the children out and about to visit places of worship, the theatre, wildlife centres and much more. The older children have the opportunity to take part in residential trips – always the highlight of any year. Please see year group pages for details.
At St Mary’s we are committed to giving children the widest possible range of experiences – to expose them to activities they have never tried before, and to support them in building expertise in areas they really enjoy. We are fortunate to have so many skilled staff who lead clubs and activities for us, as well as a wide range of other providers. Details of the full range of activities we offer can be found on our Clubs page.
At St Mary’s we love to sing and dance and make music together! We have 3 dance clubs, 3 choirs, 2 recorder groups, an orchestra, a percussion group, a bells group, and lots of impromptu groups are pulled together for assemblies and performances. Children can have individual or group lessons on keyboard, woodwind, brass, string and percussion. Most of these are provided by Surrey Arts. For details on how to arrange lessons please Contact Us.
All of this activity means that we need plenty of opportunities to perform. These include:
- EYFS, KS1 and lower KS2 Nativities
- Annual variety show at the Barn Theatre
- Dance Festivals at Oxted School and the Harlequin Theatre
- Soloists’ concert
- Year 5 production
- Year 2 music festival and production
And our year concludes with our annual Party in the Playground, our outdoor music and dance extravaganza followed by family BBQ.
There are many highly skilled and highly competitive sports people at St Mary’s – and that is just among the staff! We encourage all our children to be active and to participate – and often find that our sporty children are able to apply the determination and perseverance they show in their sports to their learning in the classroom.
Children have the opportunity to compete in a very wide range of sports both within our own school, and against other schools in our area and across the county. Because we are a big schools we often enter a large number of teams – so that as many children as possible have the opportunity to take part.
Sports we offer include: Football, Netball, Hockey, Rugby, Cricket, Dodgeball and Athletics. Other sports are offered by outside providers. For details of these please see our Clubs page.
Whether they are budding Olympians or not every child is encouraged to show respect and support for others whenever they compete, and our children are often commended for their sportsmanship at tournaments.
To learn more about all our sporting activities please read our Newsletters.