Central Avenue
Newton Aycliffe
Co. Durham

01325 300339

St Mary's Roman Catholic Voluntary Aided Primary School

Research into Education


Here at St. Mary’s we are pleased to work with a number of partners to support research and excellence in education.

Over the past four years we have work closely with the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) which is an independent grant-making charity dedicated to breaking the link between family income and educational achievement, ensuring that children from all backgrounds can fulfil their potential and make the most of their talents.

The EEF promote the use of evidence in schools by providing independent and accessible information through the Sutton Trust-EEF Teaching and Learning Toolkit, and the Early Years Toolkit summarising educational research from the UK and around the world. Both Toolkits provide guidance for teachers and school leaders on how best to use their resources to improve the attainment of all pupils.

Their ranges of publications are an invaluable resource for school leaders and policy makers to inform decision making in schools.

Past projects include:

Within the Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle, the school trialled Philosophy to Catechism, a programme that gives children the opportunity for children to “think outside the box” and ask those difficulty and though provoking questions.

We also work with a number of business and charitable partners that allow the children to experience real life situations that are topical, relevant to their lives and promote aspirations for all.

  • The Coldest Journey. Resources produced by the school were used nationally and internationally to support this charitable endeavour led by Sir Ranulph Fiennes
  • Polar Explorers - our children had a flag posted in Antarctica

We in our turn support the next generation of educators through our partnership with:

  • Shotton Hall SCITT


This year we have been accepted on the National Primary Careers Pilot. This was the theory behind the pilot.


There is clear need to develop suitable careers guidance programmes at a primary level.  We know that young people begin to form their first aspirations aged three to four years old, by the age of six they are beginning to form opinions about what they cannot do. By aged 10 young people are beginning to make career limiting decisions, which solidify by aged 14. It is critical that we develop a programme that will open up possibilities and horizons for our young people. This pilot is not about asking a four year old to choose a career but helping them see that anything is possible.

Given that the school is situated in a town with one of the largest Industrial parks in the country we have designed our curriculum to reflect the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematical (STEM) heritage of the town. Our aim is to instill in the children a love and interest in STEM subjects so they can find employment within the town if they wish after leaving education at 16, 18 or after university.