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St Mary's Catholic Primary School

St Mary's Catholic

Primary School

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How we learn



“Assessment for Learning is the process of seeking and interpreting evidence for use by learners and their teachers, to identify where the learners are in their learning, where they need to go and how best to get there.” (Assessment for Learning: 10 Principles ARG, 2002)


In our pursuit of excellence and to ensure our pupils learn and remember more and become lifelong learners, we, at St Mary’s, aim continuously to nurture a strong culture of Assessment for Learning (AfL) in our school.


AfL has developed through a fusion of research and classroom practice. The research-based principles that underpin it, evolved from an extensive review of formative assessment conducted by various researchers and were identified as:

  •  The active involvement of children in their own learning
  •  The provision of effective feedback to children
  •  A recognition of the profound influence assessment has on motivation and self-esteem of children, both of which are crucial influences on learning
  •  The need for children to assess themselves and understand how to improve
  • Adjusting teaching to take account of the results of assessment


At St Mary’s, we strive to ensure these features of AfL are inter-related, with the active involvement of children in their own learning (eg being clear about learning objectives and success criteria, being involved in self-assessment and paired discussions about learning achievements), under-pinning all other elements. These principles influence profoundly how we teach our children. Staff work to continuously improve their understanding of these strategies and to help the children to become lifelong learners.



At St. Mary’s, we passionately believe that young children learn best through play and exploration. Wherever possible we offer children real life experiences that are linked to their learning. Every day our children get the opportunity to be an artist, writer, mathematician, scientist, designer or a story teller to name but a few! These play based experiences enable them to consolidate their skills, knowledge and understanding and enable them to become independent and resilient. Throughout the environment, both inside and outside, you will see children happily engaged in a wide range of activities that they themselves have chosen. Continuous provision supports and encourages our children and staff to be life-long learners.


Early years education is special and unique with its focus on child development, effective learning characteristics and holistic approaches. At St Mary’s our setting is set up to run as a continuous provision where children are regularly encouraged to learn in the moment. Continuous provision describes all of the different provision areas which are available for our children to use every day. Within each of these areas of provision there are a core range of resources that children can use all of the time, throughout the whole year. Planning effectively for continuous provision is crucial and involves a consideration of classroom layout and resourcing that enables our staff to offer a breadth of learning possibilities.