St Mary’s 5 W’s

Welcome

God is love and He loves us as we are.

St. Mary’s is a very happy and welcoming school, with Catholic values at the core of all we do. Visitors often comment on the warmth and friendliness of the welcome they receive. Parents, governors, outside agencies, supply staff and PE coaches are all made to feel a sense of belonging in our school community and as a result of this our community links continue to grow.
We pride ourselves on being an inclusive school community, welcoming everyone and celebrating faiths, disabilities, cultures and the talents of all. Children have a strong sense of belonging to St. Mary’s. They live by our core values of love, respect, faith, inspire and achieve, as do all St Mary’s staff. This includes our welfare staff, who promote the core values through play. St Mary’s Mission Statement has very strong links with our behaviour policy. Older children help and support younger children and take some responsibility for aspects of school life. They also join together across Key stages to promote British Values through work, play and celebrations.
Children and parents new to nursery or reception are invited to a ‘Welcome’ meeting in the summer term. This helps to familiarise new families with St. Mary’s. It encourages parents to work in partnership with school and the parish. Parents gain a great insight into our Catholic school community.
Before children start school at either nursery or reception level, they attend a play session where they have the opportunity to meet other children in their class. Parents find these sessions helpful as they can meet other parents who are also new to the school. The children are also visited at home by a member of staff. These visits serve as an opportunity to develop relationships at the earliest stage.
Our transition procedures from class to class are carried out with the wellbeing of each individual child being a priority. Transition to High School is successful because we plan, prepare and communicate sensitively and thoroughly with all individuals involved. As a result of this, we have developed strong working links with a number of local high schools.
Children who join our school in other year groups are invited to visit our school during a typical school day, meeting our staff and children. This enables good relationships to be formed straight away with both the child and parents. Once the child arrives, he/she is presented with a welcome booklet and is buddied up with a St. Mary’s Mate. A happy vibe can be felt throughout our school. We are all so proud to be part of the St Mary’s team, and the children to be ‘St Mary’s Mates’.
Some children new to our school, who have faced challenges in other primary schools, are welcomed into St Mary’s through managed moves. We are proud to see these children overcome their challenges and succeed at St. Mary’s. We also support our own children who face challenges every day. We greet these children warmly and ensure that their basic needs are met, allowing them to learn in class and be successful. This may be offering children breakfast in the morning, making food packages for parents to take home and offering Time to Talk support for both children and parents.
Parents and Governors are regularly invited into school throughout the year to participate in play and stay sessions in Early Years, celebration assemblies, collective worships, Wednesday workshops, themed plays and celebration days. Throughout Advent and Lent, we have additional special celebrations, where we invite parents and the wider community to join us on our faith journey. Children on their Sacramental Programme welcome us all to grow with them, support them and celebrate with them at the end of their journey.
Wellbeing and progress is strengthened through parent meetings for our children twice a year. Additionally, we have an open door policy for parents to come in and discuss their child’s progress or any worries and concerns that they may have. For longer discussions, parents may be asked to make an appointment to meet with their class teacher.
St. Mary’s have worked hard over many years to develop a very welcoming and supportive PTA. Every parent of the school is seen as a valued member of the PTA. They help us to celebrate the diversity of our school through taking an active role in Multi-Cultural Weeks, Arts Weeks and community projects. Our PTA work alongside the staff and school council, being involved in charity events. They assist in organising and running events such as film nights, discos and fairs. The funds raised not only enhance the children’s learning opportunities and enjoyment in school, but also provide donations to the wider community, including Caritas and the Loaves and Fishes charity that we support. Children understand how their contributions impact on other people’s lives.
We encourage parents and visitors to regularly view our school website www.stmarys-swinton.co.uk. It is informative and celebratory, displaying the importance of our Catholic ethos and the core values we encourage our school family to live by. Termly curriculum newsletters are displayed on the school website for each class to keep parents up to date on the class curriculum.
Mrs Raynor regularly welcomes other Head teachers into St Mary’s, and has made strong links with other Catholic and non-Catholic primary schools. This commitment has enabled St Mary’s to be part of a school-to-school support network. This provides CPD opportunities for all staff, and in turn benefits the children from all the schools involved.
We warmly welcome new staff members to our school, providing them with a mentor for support and a guardian angel to look after their wellbeing. The school has a happy, established staff with an extremely low turnover. This shows that staff morale is high and that St Mary’s school is a joyful place to be.
Governors are made to feel welcome, playing an active supportive role in the Catholic leadership of the school, carrying out termly governor visits and attending community and school events.

Welfare

God is love and He loves us as we are.
Jesus taught us to help and support all people in need of our care. The St Mary’s school community is built on trusting relationships between all children, parents, staff and governors which are rooted in our core values of love, respect, faith, inspire and achieve. It is because of these strong relationships that staff have good individual knowledge of all the children in our school. Our children grow into creative, compassionate and responsible young adults, as a result of the spiritual experience they receive in our school. In recent years, our children have raised funds for CAFOD, Caritas, Loaves and Fishes, Macmillan and other local charities.
All the children at St Mary’s are happy and experience success. We are able to identify each child’s needs and celebrate every child’s unique gifts from God. We closely monitor the academic progress of all children, so that any barriers to their learning can be identified early and overcome where possible. Children with Special Educational Needs are identified early and our staff work closely with the child, their family and outside agencies, where appropriate, to address individual needs and support the whole child. We ensure that appropriate interventions are implemented effectively for children with learning and social difficulties.
Our children are always encouraged to do their best and to use the skills and talents given to them by God. We are committed to valuing and developing each child fully. Children regularly take part in assemblies and use their talents in concerts, performances and sporting festivals. This ensures children feel proud of their efforts and that achievements are celebrated. As a staff, we provide a breakfast club and after school clubs across the year to cater for all interests including academic subjects, sports, film, Lego, music and art. The emotional welfare and self-esteem of our children is a priority of the school. Achievements outside of school (e.g. participation in sports and hobbies) are celebrated in our celebration assemblies each week. We are proud of the children’s success in and out of school.
St Mary’s is a safe place to be. Our school procedures and routines are paramount in ensuring that every child feels safe and secure in their environment. The school ensures that the building and fencing is securely locked. All safeguarding procedures are rigorous. The safeguarding and health and safety governors, who regularly meet with Mrs Raynor, are kept up to date with relevant safeguarding and health and safety information. Rigorous risk assessments are carried out to ensure all pupils, staff and visitors are safe. Staff are proactive when dealing with any concerns and respond appropriately whether it be discussions with parents or in more extreme circumstances working with external agencies such as CAMHS, social services, educational psychology, family support and the school nurse.
Safeguarding and health and safety issues are discussed at our weekly staff meetings, where the dignity of a child is always maintained. All staff act with confidence and discretion when dealing with issues regarding our children. We foster a high level of understanding, empathy, forgiveness and respect for diversity.
We have a very well established ‘Pyramid Club’ nurture group. We also offer individual nurture sessions in school through ‘Time to Talk’ and other EFS groups. In a small, family-like, secure environment children experience guidance and support and grow in confidence and self-esteem. Our children are encouraged to live and act with a spirit of reconciliation and forgiveness. Our morning offering teaches all our children that ‘today is a new day’, and there will always be a new chance to try again to ‘be as good as we are able and kinder than before’.
St Mary’s uses the Caritas in Action to reflect the Gospel values and encourage positive healthy relationships. Our children have a good understanding of SRE appropriate to their age group. This is a result of having access to a fully embedded, holistic and comprehensive SRE programme that is taught and built upon on a year-by-year basis. We use the “In the Beginning” SRE scheme to teach morality and issues of sexuality, in line with the teachings of the Catholic Church.
We support, guide and care for our families and children in good times and bad. When children and families face problems, the school’s support systems strive to ensure that stability is restored as quickly as possible. If needed a range of support professionals can be called upon by the school to support these families.
At St Mary’s, our aim is to help our parents to do the best for their children. We recognise that parents are their child’s primary educators and encourage them to attend our termly Wednesday workshops. We run these for each class in the school on a rolling timetable, with a focus on the core subjects. We try to empower parents by giving them opportunities to better understand the primary curriculum and in turn aid their children on their journey through school.
Pupil voice is an essential part of our school decision-making. All our children and staff are empowered to express their opinions, and know they will be heard. Children and staff feel respected and listened to and know that they can speak to a teacher or colleague or member of the SLT at any time. The Chair of Governors has attended school council meetings and has met the Missionary Disciples.
Our Missionary Disciple team help our children to pray and fully participate in leading Religious assemblies, collective worship and festivals throughout the school year. Our Missionary Disciple Leader, Mrs Prescott, works collectively and collaboratively alongside other members of staff. She has built a relationship of trust with our children through her compassionate presence and loving care and support of our school community.
We have an active and enthusiastic school council, which gives our children a forum to speak and to ensure their voice is heard. The council is a democratically elected group of children who represent their peers and enable them to become partners in their own education, making a positive contribution to the school environment and ethos. Older children in Key Stage 2 are encouraged to play an active role as pupil leaders in our school. Year 6 are given House Captain, prefect and monitoring jobs throughout the school which they carry out in a responsible and trustworthy fashion. We also have a reading buddy system, where children from Year 5 support our younger children who are not making expected progress with their independent reading. Children from Year 4 act as Guardian Angels.
Year 6 children have the opportunity to attend an annual residential trip to Robinwood. This helps our children to develop stronger relationships with each other and better social skills as they prepare for the transition to high school and the challenges they will face. During this time, children are encouraged to form social bonds with peers outside of their immediate friendship groups. Following this a full transition programme takes place with our feeder high schools. This involves children attending a full transition day at their future schools and teachers from those schools being invited into St Mary’s to deliver transition lessons in different subjects. Additional transition time with the high school is given to less confident children and those with SEND.
The welfare of our children extends beyond their primary school years. We always attend the year 7 High School Mass and welcome former ‘St Mary’s Mates’ back as visitors to our school.

 

Word

God is love and He loves us as we are.
Saint Mary’s School Mission Statement is rooted in the Gospel Values and the vision of Saint Mary. Saint Mary tells us: “God is love and He loves us as we are.”
At St. Mary’s, we value one another in a caring community, reflecting God’s love and compassion for all. We follow Mary’s example to pray, grow in faith and place our trust in God. We inspire to be the best we can, use our gifts and talents from God and celebrate our achievements.
We live out Our Mission within the following five Core Values: Love – we love each other, including those we find it hard to love. Respect – we value the views and ideas of others and appreciate that there are different ways of looking at things. Faith – we believe in God, have belief in others and ourselves. Inspire – we are motivated by the achievements and talents of others and want to set the right example in our lives. Achieve – we strive to do our best, we will not give up when things get tough and will help each other the best we can. Through these Core Values, all members of our school community live in the service of each other in our daily lives.
Our Mission Statement has been composed by our whole School Community: children, teaching and non-teaching staff, parents and governors. It is linked to our Behaviour Policy, and is consistently referred to by all staff and children. It underpins the Catholic ethos of our whole school, and permeates through all of our lessons, assemblies, and break times. It is evident in our displays, and in our actions toward one another around the school building.
Our whole staff share their commitment to and enthusiasm for Religious Education with the school community. Every child’s attainment and progress in RE is a major focus for the Senior Leadership team and teachers. Mrs Raynor, our Head Teacher, Mrs Brown, our Deputy Head and Mrs Kinman, our Assistant Head have all completed the Catholic Leadership Programme. Mr Loynd is the RE leader in school and is passionate about his faith. The majority of our teachers have or are working towards completing their CCRS within the next two years, in order to enrich their experiences of teaching RE further, with the remainder expected to do so in the coming years. Some Governors also hold the CCRS qualification.
Staff recognise and understand the distinctive features of teaching and learning in a Catholic school. All our teachers are practising Catholics along with many Teaching Assistants. Teachers approach Religious Education with enthusiasm and creativity and make lessons interesting and fun for the children. We strive to provide teaching and learning opportunities that lead children to bear witness to their Christian living and their growing faith. Teaching is very well matched to the needs and capabilities of all children. Work is differentiated according to the level of the children taught and support is planned for vulnerable groups of children including SEN, and also our children who are working at Greater Depth.
We regularly monitor the planning and teaching of RE. We expect our Teachers to deepen their children’s’ understanding of the Word of God, and nurture a holy curiosity through their teaching. We have very high expectations of the staff and monitor RE lessons against the same criteria as all other areas of the curriculum. Teaching across the curriculum ensures our children have an effective understanding of the Catholic faith.
We use assessment in RE to monitor individual and class progress. Children have RE assessment books that go with them throughout the school. We assess RE each term using a wide variety of activities and track the children’s progress on level descriptor grids. It allows us to make accurate judgements of the standards our children are achieving; it helps to improve the quality of teaching and learning and to identify progression through the levels. Lesson observations, book scrutinies and discussions with children show very good progress throughout school and increasing self-reflection. Our observations show that the standard of work in our RE books is as good as, if not better than, the work in our English books.
Our Resources are imaginative, creative and well-funded. Staff regularly attend CPD, and we dedicate at least one INSET day each year to RE, along with three termly staff meetings. On occasion, our staff share their knowledge and understanding of the Word of God with teaching staff from other schools. Governors are kept up to date with the standards of teaching and learning in RE. An RE focused presentation is delivered to the full Governing Body each year, along with Governors making regular class visits with a focus on RE and Prayer and Worship.
Religious Education is the core and foundation of our entire school curriculum. It permeates every aspect of school life and learning. Teachers use Sacred Scripture as a basis for teaching Religious Education across all Key stages. They plan for and teach RE through the Come and See Scheme of Work for years Nursery to Y6, following the Diocesan guidelines. We encourage all children to engage with the ‘Big Questions’ in life, through higher-order questioning and thinking across all RE lessons (and other curriculum areas). Through these regular reflections, our children learn to know and love Jesus, and develop an increasing understanding of how we all share in His Good News.
Teachers and children share, analyse and discuss the chosen Scripture, encouraging our children to question and to be critical thinkers. Children have access to Children’s Bibles, at a variety of reading levels of difficulty, which are used in lessons and for independent reading when children request. All teachers strive to improve children’s understanding through the acquisition of Religious Literacy skills. Ten percent of curriculum time is dedicated to Religious Education, ensuring that the learning objectives outlined in the Religious Education Curriculum Directory are comprehensively covered.
In every RE lesson, children are made aware of the WALT for the lesson and the key vocabulary they are expected to use, in ‘talk partners’ and in writing. Each class teacher displays key words and phrases from the RE topic being taught for each unit, to ensure that every child’s RE vocabulary is being developed and expanded throughout school. A high standard of marking in RE allows children to see where they have achieved their WALT, and clear targets are set to ensure they can move forward with their learning. Through next step extensions in their written work, our children are challenged to think about how this knowledge can help them grow in faith and as people in their own lives.
The RE curriculum is further enriched by the multi faith work we do in school. All children have a World Religion folder or book for their work on other faiths. Every class studies Judaism in every year group, for one week each year. The classes spend a second week studying a different World Religion. As a result of this, our children are respectful and celebrate differences, believing that all people are made in the image and likeness of God.
Our School Community celebrates the Word of God in worship and liturgy. Assemblies are rooted in the life of Jesus, as related in the Gospels. Every week is started with a Monday Praise assembly, based on the scripture from the previous Sunday’s Gospel. Our Missionary Disciples lead the assembly, guiding our children to see how we can live out the message of the Gospel in our daily lives. Friday Celebration Assemblies (led by a different class each week and based on their current unit of work) allow children further opportunities to listen to and reflect on the Word of God as a school community.
Our Statements of Belief are distributed once a fortnight after the Praise assembly by the Missionary Disciples, and are displayed on our classroom doors. This is a focus for the children to live out their Catholic faith. Spiritual and moral development is clearly based on the teachings of the Catholic faith. Our children have a clear understanding of right and wrong and the consequences of their actions. The Gospel values of Sacred Scripture guide them in their relationships and decision making.
All our children are given the opportunity to pray together in class at various times in the day. They also have the chance for their own personal prayer and quiet reflection. Prayer and worship sessions are carefully planned. Through these experiences and Praise assemblies, our children are nurtured in the art of reflection and contemplation of the mystery of life, created by God, across all curriculum areas.
Our children experience Scripture at other times of the day through a range of activities, including Guided Reading on a Bible text, opportunities for extended reflective writing and meditation on Sacred Scripture through Praying with Paint. Displays around school allow us to share and celebrate our work on the Word of God. This is further reinforced by religious Holiday Homework Projects.
Many informal opportunities arise during the day to consolidate R.E. Weekly Collective Worship liturgies, which take place in all classes on a Wednesday morning, allow children to engage with and reflect on the Gospel reading from the forthcoming Sunday Mass. These liturgies take place in our outdoor Chapel, for one class per week on a rolling timetable. We actively encourage parents and members of our wider school community to share in this experience.
The majority of our families are not regular Mass attendees. Therefore, school takes a greater responsibility to proclaim and share the faith. All of our Key Stage 2 children attend a parish Mass at least once per term. Father Lomax, our Parish Priest, and our parishioners regularly comment on the exceptional behaviour of our children, especially how respectful and reflective they are when attending these masses.
All families receive the ‘Wednesday Word’ weekly. We endeavour to serve the needs of children from disadvantaged backgrounds, varied faith experiences, and diversity of beliefs are served. We work hard to enable our children to appreciate the witness of the living traditions of our church through committal of prayer and a strong Sacramental Programme, which is run by school.
We are proud that our children have a rich understanding of Holy Scripture, and a deep love and respect for the Good News of Jesus Christ. Children are able to articulate the impact of their beliefs and values on their lives and learning. Our children are religiously literate, and have a good understanding of the Gospel Values. They learn to know and love Jesus; they are inspired to live out His legacy in their own lives and to continue His work.

Worship

God is love and He loves us as we are.
At St Mary’s we love God and worship Him daily. Jesus taught us how to pray, and so we share in prayer and worship as a school family, in different ways and at different times during the week. Our Mission Statement encourages us to grow closer to God, and believe that He is with us in everything that we do.
We begin every week with a Monday Morning Praise assembly led by our Missionary Disciples, based on the previous Sunday’s Gospel. We are fully aware that many of our children do not attend Sunday Mass. Therefore, children have the opportunity to experience and reflect on the Word of God, and start the week by sharing the ethos of our school as a Catholic faith community. A selection of hymns and songs are sung as an additional form of worship.
We also gather weekly for a Celebration assembly, where we reflect on the life and teachings of Jesus Christ. These assemblies are led by a different class each week and are planned for by both the teacher and children. They focus on what the children have been learning in RE, along with related Scriptures. The children are respectful, reverent and active participants in our assemblies. On occasions the children are invited to write their own prayers to share with the school. Our assemblies are creative and use a range of approaches including dance, music, meditation and drama. Following this, children’s achievements from the week are celebrated, with a star of the week being selected from each class.
Wednesday Worship liturgies are celebrated by each class in their classrooms or in the outdoor chapel. These are led by one member of the Missionary Disciple team, and selected children from the class. Parents and Governors participate in all collective worships held in our outdoor chapel.
We engage in other forms of worship at different times of the day. This could be in response to the needs of a class, the needs of a child and their family or any issue that has been raised during the day. This worship may incorporate readings from scripture, traditional and pupil prayers, quiet reflections and reflecting on a stimulus (such as a piece of music, a PowerPoint or a story). Where Scripture is the focus, this could take place in a Guided Reading session. Painting with Prayer is also used to allow children to reflect and respond to a Psalm or Prayer focus with painted pictures. Each class also has the opportunity to take part in daily mindfulness activities, including colouring, breathing techniques and meditation. Because our children experience prayer daily, they often compose their own prayers and ask for special intentions. As the children move through the school they create a personal prayer book filled with formal prayers to learn. As a school we value our children’s personal prayers and have created and published our own St Mary’s Children’s prayer book.
We encourage our children to attend Sunday Mass and support them on their faith journey. Throughout the liturgical year, as a school our children attend several weekday masses at either St Mary’s or St Mark’s church. For some of our children, school masses are the only opportunities that they have to go to church. We have created our own mass booklets containing all the responses for week day masses to help our children to fully engage with the liturgy. Year 6 take part in the Salford Leaver’s Mass at Salford Cathedral. Staff and Governors also attend the annual Salford Catholic Teacher’s Mass.
As a school, we also celebrate the month of October by saying the Rosary as a community in the hall at the start of each school day. Our Lenten reflections culminate with a whole school Stations of the Cross day during Holy Week. Parents are invited to pray and reflect at the stations with their children before and after school.
The Salford Sacramental Programme is delivered in school. We act as catechists for the parish and lead the children and parent meetings. Children on the Sacramental Programme attend additional masses and receive the Sacraments of Reconciliation and Holy Communion. Staff attend these Masses to show our support for the children and their families.
After children have received the Sacraments, they have the opportunity to attend religious retreats at the Marist Centre, where they can compose their own acts of worship on a theme relevant at that time.

Witness

God is love and He loves us as we are.
‘God is love and He loves us as we are’. This is a quote from St. Mary that is rooted within our School Mission Statement and one that each member of our school community thinks about daily. The school’s mission statement is at the heart of all aspects of school life, our community and is central to all policies and procedures. Children are reminded of their responsibilities to each other and the need to make St Mary’s a happy place built on respect for the individual. Our children are given opportunities to do this through leadership roles and responsibility initiatives such as the School Missionary Disciples, the School Council, Eco-Council, Guardian Angels, Reading Buddies, Prefects and House Captains. Every child at St Mary’s is placed in one of four houses. These are named after the shrines of the apparitions of Our Lady.
Children live by our core values, which are witnessed by staff and children throughout the school day. Our faith and our understanding of the core values impacts on how we treat one another. We often ask the question “What Would Jesus Do?” as it is important that everyone bears witness to the Gospel Values, and how they live them out in their daily lives. We are a Christ-centred school where Jesus is at the heart of all we do. In our daily life at school we ensure that the children meet God every day.
When we witness the Gospel Values being lived out, we give praise and children are rewarded for being good role models for others. We encourage our children to witness the Gospel Values themselves, and give their own praise to their peers. Praise is given through the School Kindness Catcher, Kindness Elves in Early Years and House Points.
Our Behaviour Policy, which is displayed in classrooms, around the school and on the playground, is driven by our five core Values. We bear witness to the word of God in action in our daily lives, valuing Sacred Scriptures, and using this to guide our relationship with each other and behaviour towards others. Our Behaviour Policy is known and followed by all staff, who lead by example, model good behaviour, and reward children who are behaving well. Our Missionary Disciple Team also provide an inspiration to children in our school through their loving and respectful behaviour to others.
Occasionally, when children follow the wrong path, they are given time for personal reflection and all involved are encouraged to forgive and be reconciled. This is reinforced in our school morning offering prayer, where we celebrate every new day as a fresh opportunity to grow closer to Jesus.
Our Missionary Disciple Team lead weekly Monday morning Praise assemblies, Wednesday Word liturgies and other collective worship opportunities and whole-school celebrations throughout the year.
Our Guardian Angels support and develop children’s understanding of mercy and forgiveness in the playground. They are there to ensure that everyone is included in play and intervene if conflict arises.
As we are an Emotionally-Friendly School, if any concerns raised, these are shared with an appropriate adult where interventions can take place, such as Time to Talk, Circle of Friends, Managing My Emotions, Art Therapy, Pyramid Club, Mindfulness, Restorative Justice and the Worry Monster and Worry Dolls in Early Years.
Our Governors regularly visit school to talk to our children and to take part in lessons and activities such as listening to children read. The Governors actively seek to recruit staff who are confident in their faith, and who engage in all faith activities. Our children see Jesus in the hearts of their teachers and Governors dedicated to teaching our children about God. The staff have a loving manner and we all work to ensure our children feel loved and secure at St Mary’s. We actively promote the British values of Individual Liberty, Democracy, The Rule of Law, Mutual Respect and Tolerance of those of Different Faiths and Beliefs.
As a school, we help our children to understand the need for helping each other, and people in the wider community through our charity work. We raise money for charities such as Caritas and the NSPCC. However, we are also keen to ensure that our children understand that we can support other people’s emotional and spiritual needs by giving something of ourselves, and being living witnesses to Jesus through our school core values. We seek to do this through our half-termly Caritas in Action days, with activities such as our annual Mission Statement celebration and occasions where we welcome members of the wider community into our school.
We have many prayer areas and special places around our school, including a prayer area in every classroom. These areas contain statues of Our Lady, prayers and displays which encourage the children to engage and reflect on their faith. We have a special outdoor chapel where Wednesday Worships and other acts of worship take place. There are also symbols and reminders of our faith placed around the school grounds to encourage independent prayer and reflection.