Monday to Thursday - 9.00am to 3.00pm
Friday - 9.00am to 14.20pm
All students will be expected to wear full school uniform. The uniform is as follows:
Please find below the links to the ‘My Clothing’ website who supply St Mary’s school uniform.
Visit the links below to the school's order pages on the My Clothing website.
• A sky blue polo shirt, navy blue jumper and black trousers are the main elements of the Lower & Middle Schools, and Year 10 uniform.
Year 11 Uniform:
• A white shirt (long or short sleeve), school tie, black jumper, black blazer and black trousers are the main elements of the Year 11 uniform.
Please note that an additional option for trousers is available here:
We have school meals provided by Chartwells. The system is cashless, and will require use of Parent Pay. We are a nut-free school and ask students not to bring nuts/nut products into school. The current menu is shown below.
For academy term dates please find our 2023-2024 calendar below.
In an effort to secure support beyond the everyday Curriculum on offer, St Mary’s has developed a range of interventions aimed at creating a ‘Support for Learning’ culture that all pupils can access. Further information on these programmes can be found below.
At St Mary's we are using IDL cloud software that supports our students with developing literacy and numeracy skills.
IDL Literacy has been proven to increase pupils’ reading and spelling ages on average by around 11 months after just 26 hours of use.
A learner's performance in an initial assessment determines the point of entry on the programme.
The programme consists of approximately 1000 graduated exercises, commencing with recognition of the alphabet and finishing with comprehension and essay writing tasks appropriate to fluent readers (reading age above 12 years, 6 months), with accurate spelling (spelling age above 12 years, 6 months).
The progression through the programme follows a standard path similar to that defined in any standard phonics-based scheme, eg: Alpha-Omega (Hornsby and Shear, 1993). Additionally, a touch typing course is woven into the fabric of the exercises.
Small Animal Care
We are able to offer Small animal care intervention at St Mary's to support students in managing their emotions and behaviours by interacting with animals, socialising in small group and developing their empathy.
Social and emotional skills
Interacting with animals helps children to work on their social skills with no pressure. After all, animals are easy to talk to! In addition, spending time with animals can help children to develop a strong sense of empathy. Of course, understanding others’ feelings is a vital skill to learn.
The love and attention bestowed on children by animals feel pretty special. Research has shown that when children care for animals they are more likely to have high self-esteem which in turn improves a range of outcomes throughout their lives.
Animals don’t care for themselves, and children are more capable than perhaps we give them credit for. Assign different children or groups of children a task each week and rotate throughout the class. Children can learn the responsibility of caring for an animal who relies on them to be fed, given water and cleaned on a regular basis. Responsibility is a valuable skill for life.
- Reduction in low mood and anxiety
- Improvements in communication
- Peer group facilitation
- Supported emotional exploration
- Reduction in anger and behavioural outburst
Time with ponies can help release endorphins that provide calming effects, this can help alleviate pain, reduce stress, anxiety and improve overall psychological state.
Children often find it difficult to open up and process painful emotions and experiences. Spending time with our ponies allows students of all ages, to work on
- Developing and maintaining relationships
- Emotional awareness
- Impulse control
- Problem-solving skills
- Social skills
- Trust in others
- Trust in self
- Reduction of anxiety
The Speech and Language Therapy Service have trained a select few staff to deliver this aspect of universal support at St Mary’s. Lego Therapy is an intervention aimed at improving social communication for a group of students. The shared goal of building a specific Lego model according to the specific and ordered instructions provides the motivation for the group to succeed. Each group member is assigned a role (eg architect, supplier, builder, quality control etc) for the duration of a session (although roles may be swapped within a session) and stay within the role to either give or receive instructions as part of the team as the building process progresses. Use of precise descriptive language to identify both the correct piece and how it should be laid help to improve expressive and receptive language as well as problem building skills and co-operation.
Drawing and Talking Therapy
We are currently developing this intervention - staff training.
A therapeutic intervention designed to complement CAMHS and other specialist therapies. Drawing and Talking Therapy is the number one alternative to CBT and direct talking therapies that can often be confronting or limiting in the processing of pain or trauma.
Drawing and Talking allows individuals to discover and communicate emotions through a non-directed technique, setting it apart from existing solution-focused and cognitive-based therapies and interventions.
We are currently developing this intervention - staff currently training .
Talking about problems can be hard for children. A child may not have the words to describe how they are feeling, or why they are behaving as they do. A child may not be able to recognise what they find difficult, or explain it to someone if asked. Play Therapy provides the expertise and time to do this through play. Play Therapy sessions aim to build a child’s ability to develop healthy and resilient relationships, and to work though traumatic experiences which may be preoccupying them. Pre-occupying difficult feeling can make learning at school or managing feelings impossible. Addressing difficult emotions through play provides a layer of story or metaphor to what is being shared and felt. Metaphor can provide a degree of removal from experience for the child. It can feel safer and less intense for a child to express themselves or explore their experiences through play.
Following some practical ‘on the job’ training (delivered by the Occupational Therapy Service provided by Kent Community Health NHS Foundation Trust) some staff can now themselves deliver this intervention. Sensory Circuits is a term used to explain how the brain needs to constantly assess and organise information being received via an individual’s sensory system; sight, hearing, touch, taste, smell, proprioception (internal feedback) and vestibular system (balance or relationship with gravity). How the brain organises this wealth of information (ie in a calm, orderly way or in a more chaotic, random manner) obviously has an impact on one’s capacity to be ready to learn. Physical activities to alert, organise or calm the brain are devised by staff and rehearsed by pupils in order to support this crucial aspect.
Zones of Regulation
Regulation is something everyone continually works on whether we are cognizant of it. We all encounter trying circumstances that test our limits from time to time. If we can recognise when we are becoming less regulated, we are able to do something about it to manage our feelings and get ourselves to a healthy place. This comes more naturally for some, but for others it is a skill that needs more attention and practice. This is the goal of The Zones of Regulation (or Zones for short).
'Talk about' social and relationship skills group
Talkabout is a structured programme for teaching and measuring social skills. It uses a hierarchical method of teaching social skills which means that having assessed the child using the Talkabout assessment, teachers will choose the appropriate level or book to start work at. This means that pupils may start by developing a child’s self-awareness and self-esteem before progressing onto body language. Then they would be able to move onto conversation skills and then onto friendship skills and assertiveness.
Language for behaviour and Emotions
Gaps in language and emotional skills can have a negative impact on behaviour as well as mental health and self-esteem. Language for Behaviour and Emotions provides a systematic approach to developing these skills so that young people can understand and work through social interaction difficulties.
A focus is on specific skills that are linked to behaviour, such as understanding meaning, verbal reasoning and emotional literacy skills.
Speech and Language Therapy
St Mary’s works in close partnership with the Speech and Language Therapy Service provided by Kent Community Health NHS Foundation Trust to deliver Universal, Targeted and Focused support for our pupils. All staff are trained so that universal strategies can be applied as part of quality first teaching. The SABDEN Multi Academy Trust employs an Integrated Therapy Assistant to work a day a week at St Mary’s so that pupils can access targeted support both within the classroom and, if necessary, by withdrawal – according to baseline assessment. Finally, the school has access to a peripatetic Speech and Language Therapist who carries out a range of interventions based on the needs identified within an individual’s EHC Plan.
St Mary’s are currently introducing Thrive into our setting and are looking to embrace the approach in the near future. The school currently has one trained, licensed practitioner. Thrive uses current brain development theory alongside attachment theory to systematically assess individuals in terms of their emotional development and resilience. The online Thrive assessment tool helps to identify at which stage of development an individual has been ‘interrupted’ at and seeks to build specific activities and targets to improve an individual’s stress regulation (coping) mechanisms at that stage. Most of the activities could be seen to be akin to ‘play’ or ‘creative’ type therapies.
St Mary’s employs a local Systemic Psychotherapist on a once a week basis to work individually with referred pupils to support them with their mental health needs. This therapeutic intervention may be required (amongst many others) to help them become more reflective about behaviours that may be regarded as socially unacceptable(eg anger and abuse), to deal with specific life events that have caused an individual to struggle with / withdraw from the demands of school life (eg trauma, abuse, depression, anxiety, bereavement etc) or to work alongside an individual and their family in order to improve or change repetitive behaviours that were previously negative or harmful to progress or possible positive outcomes.