Our Learning

St Mary’s is a single stream school with small, structured class sizes, where there is a focus on academic rigour. There is particular attention made to ongoing assessment of student growth and tracking of essential learning.

St Mary’s is a Professional Learning Community (PLC). Our educators work in collaborative teams and focus on the following three big ideas:

  • Focus on learning rather than teaching
  • Work collaboratively on matters related to learning
  • Hold themselves accountable for the kinds of results that fuel continual improvement

The Curriculum

Stages 1,2,3 (Primary K - 6)

St Mary’s follows a curriculum like other primary schools in NSW, based on stages of learning. Each stage is approximately equivalent to two school years. For each learning stage there are skills, knowledge and a level of understanding that each student should develop.

Early Stage 1 refers to Kindergarten
Stage 1 includes Years 1 and 2
Stage 2 includes Years 3 and 4
Stage 3 includes Years 5 and 6

The primary curriculum is divided into Key Learning Areas (KLAs) and meets the guidelines within the NSW Syllabus for the Australian Curriculum. Primary teachers meet weekly to identify essential learning in English and Mathematics and use regular assessments to gather data on individual student learning needs.

There are seven Key Learning Areas in the Primary Catholic School Curriculum in NSW.

  • Religious Education
  • English
  • Mathematics
  • Science (Incorporating Science and Technology)
  • Creative Arts
  • Personal Development, Health and Physical Education
  • History/Geography

In English and Mathematics the students are grouped into flexible learning groups which are tailored towards their learning needs.

Stages 4 and 5 (Secondary Years 7 – 10)

The Stage 4 and 5 curriculum places emphasis on the core NESA subjects of English, Mathematics, Science, History, Geography and Personal Development, Health and Physical Education.

Secondary teachers meet to identify essential learning in key learning areas and use regular assessments to gather data on individual student learning needs.

Electives which may be offered to Years 9 and 10 include:

  • Wood Technology
  • Graphics Technology
  • Agriculture
  • Textiles Technology
  • Food Technology
  • Commerce
  • History
  • Geography
  • Music
  • Drama
  • Information and Software Technology

Stages 4 & 5

The Stage 4 & 5 Curriculum follows the NSW Syllabuses and places emphasis on the core NESA subjects of English, Mathematics, Science, History, Geography and Personal Development, Health and Physical Education.

Access to Distance Education – optimising diversity. Students at St Mary’s are able to access distance education if they wish to access a subject that is not available at the school.

Learning Support

A highly trained Learning Support staff assists those students who require assistance in developing their literacy and numeracy skills. This usually occurs in a small group setting, according to the needs of the individual student. Likewise, teaching staff modify and enrich teaching and learning programs to facilitate independent learning and, where appropriate, develop an Individual Plan which specifically meets the needs of the student. Programs include Multilit, Quicksmart and MiniLit.

Students in Kindergarten are assessed in a range of tasks to establish their learning needs upon entry to the school. Students are regularly monitored throughout their education and receive specialist support if identified.

What You Can Do?

If a teacher has concerns regarding your child’s learning, they will initially have a discussion with you as parents or guardians. They will also seek advice from the Support Teacher. In consultation with you, the Support Teacher may recommend a referral for assessment with one or more Allied Health Providers. Recommendations from these assessments will help with planning support for your child.

The Support Teacher will discuss with you the concerns identified by the class teacher and assist you to complete a referral to the Catholic Education Office Bathurst for an assessment. The assessment will either take place at school or at Dubbo Centacare. Following the assessment, a report will be sent to both you and the Support Teacher. The Support Teacher will explain the recommendations and put in place the necessary intervention that your child requires.

St Mary’s has access to health professionals such as Speech and Occupational Therapists, to assist with their cognitive and physical development. The Catholic Education Office, Bathurst provides assessments from Speech and Occupational therapists, Clinical Psychologists and Centacare counsellors. Students who require follow-up sessions are assisted by the Learning Enrichment Team. A representative from Autism Australia, makes regular visits to St Mary’s to assist staff, parents and students. Students with severe reading difficulties are referred to the Dubbo campus of the NSW Centre for Effective Reading. All recommendations and programs are delivered by the Learning Enrichment Team.

Learning Enrichment

Additional opportunities for students include -

Spelling Bee
Wellington Eisteddfod
Writing focus groups
Flexible Learning Groups
Chess Tournaments
Mock Trial
Maths Olympiad
Art CompetitionsLunch time clubs: Chess, Science, Art, Garden, Choir, Passive play
Year 9/10 Work Experience program
Career Pathways – academic, trade and retail pathways
White card; Poultry Penthouse
Technology to Support Learning
computers, ipads, chromebooks and interactive boards
Google Classroom

Renaissance Reading Program

This is a program that assists teachers to manage and monitor children’s independent reading practice.

Sporting Pathways

Students have the opportunity to be nominated in diocesan selection teams in a variety of sports throughout the year. This provides a pathway to state and national competitions. Sports accessible include tennis, basketball, softball, swimming, netball, athletics, touch football, rugby union, rugby league and cricket. Every Year 3 -10 child at St Mary’s is placed into a Sport House (Xavier, Patrick or Dominic). Children have the opportunity to compete as a House on a number of occasions throughout the year, namely NAIDOC, Cross Country, Swimming and Athletics Carnivals. Secondary students participate in a two-day carnival against other Catholic Schools called the Quinn Cup.

Cultural Opportunities embrace all students at St Mary’s with our rich Indigenous culture.

Aboriginal Education

St Mary’s has a full time Aboriginal Education Worker (AEW) at the school. We strongly value having an Aboriginal person to work in partnership with our students and families. The school offers a vast array of support that enhances individual understanding and personal growth of both our Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal students.

The relationship that develops between the AEW, students and families continues beyond the school and into the community.

Support for our students includes:

  • Assistance with assessment tasks and homework
  • Internet and computer access
  • The opportunity to learn Wiradjuri language
  • Assistance in numeracy and literacy
  • Incorporation of Aboriginal perspectives in all Key Learning Areas
  • Learning about the importance and meaning of culture

Cultural Opportunities include: a traditional dance group, NAIDOC, Sorry Day, World Harmony Day, access to a newly established Cultural Centre, Excursions on Country.

Acknowledgement of Country

Little Saints Early Learning Program

St Mary’s Catholic School Early Learning Program is designed to enable your child to transition into school and give educators the opportunity to assess school readiness for each individual child. The Early Learning Program operates from 9am - 3pm every Wednesday of terms 2, 3 and 4 and is open to all children who are 4 years old by 31 March of the year attending. There is no obligation to enrol your child at St Mary’s Catholic School. A nominal fee of $50 is payable each term and the usual school buses are available for transportation.

Transition to School Programs

During term four St Mary’s facilitates a Transition to School Program for any child who is eligible to start Kindergarten the following year. Experienced early childhood educators assess each child’s school readiness. The program includes early reading and numeracy activities, creative arts and perceptual motor activities.
In term three and four students in Year 5 and Year 6 are involved in transition programs, developing readiness for their journey into Secondary School.