Primary School

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At St. Paul’s School, Primary School offers a bilingual syllabus in Portuguese and English and bases its educational activities on values of academic and moral excellence. We seek to promote language proficiency in English, ensuring a high education and providing students with fully trained staff. With the development and continuous improvement of the syllabus content, development of skills and values, our priority and mission are to educate responsible citizens, from a humanistic and intellectual standpoint.

The teaching method is based primarily on student activity, assuming that the child is the principal agent of his own learning. The teacher’s role is to organize and direct the learning process and ensure a structured and organized work environment, as well as a joyful mood in the classroom.

This teaching model also includes the Primary School Assemblies, which call for the promotion and development of interpersonal intelligence, enhancing students’ concern for the well-being of others. These meetings encourage values such as caring and being responsible in the community, including concepts such as tolerance, honesty, sharing, equality, respect and cooperation.

Taking into consideration Article nr.8, Point 2 from the Bill for Education which states that “the articulation between levels obey a gradual and sequential progression, in which each level completes, deepens and enlarges the previous one, thus providing a global unification for this level of teaching”, St. Paul’s School follows a syllabus focusing on the awareness of the learning process and on the initiation to mathematical thought, known as the Graphomotricity Project. This Project aims to harmoniously make the transition from Kindergarten, in which there is a gradual sequence between both levels of teaching. New knowledge and new perspectives will be incorporated, thus enhancing interaction, which will stimulate and enrich the learning process.

The Primary School syllabus at St. Paul’s School is distinguished by its specificity and program requirements, as well as the curricular organization (multi curriculum, inter- and transdisciplinary). Thus, there is personalized teaching in different subject areas, which translates into an individual or small group approach, according to the specific characteristics of students.

This set of principles is based on the practice of effective education that reveals, in addition to the cognitive aspect, a connection to the ethical, aesthetic and emotional aspects of learning, taking as a guideline the constancy of a permanent and systematic joint efforts to include values and affections.

Portuguese – in this area there are four areas of reference, namely: Speaking, Reading and Writing, Literature and Grammar, through the systematization units, grammatical rules and processes of the Portuguese language, making a sustainable use of the Portuguese standard in terms of speaking, reading and writing. This area also includes the Children’s Literature subject (which includes several of the works of the National Reading Plan) and Creative Writing.

English – The school aims to help students become fluent in English. In Primary School, the English teaching program and the Anglo-Saxon culture is designed to enable a link between learning a foreign language, and the remaining constituent areas of the curriculum. Thus, in Primary School students learn this second language, in spoken and written form, as well as the subject of Social Studies where they are taught content related to the natural and social environment. Throughout the years several English literature works are also discussed, according to the reader acuity of students.

Mathematics – In this area, in addition to content areas recommended by the Mathematics program of the Ministry of Education, namely: Numbers and Measures, Geometry and Measurement and Organization and Data Processing, in Primary School the Experimental Mathematics subject was introduced, divided in two stages: Chess and Experimental Activities.

Chess was introduced as part of Mathematics in order to stimulate attention, concentration, memory, logic and reasoning. This is also a supports student motivation against the strategic challenge as chess facilitates understanding of other subjects.

The experimental activities play an essentially practical role and support more abstract mathematical concepts through the development of the hypothetical-deductive reasoning and acquiring proficiency in communication and mathematical reasoning. These activities are an added value in the learning process, to the extent that they allow students to make connections between learned mathematical concepts and understand that mathematics consists of a complex network of relationships that give it a very particular unit.

Social Studies – This area allows for a systematic introduction to the scientific knowledge fields that allow students to analyse, interpret and understand the reality of the natural and social world.

In grades 3 and 4, this area is divided in the subjects of History, Science, Geography and Social Studies. These seek not only to promote the acquisition of concepts and specific content, but also the development of observation and experimentation methods, widening the spectrum of each of them in the syllabus set by the Ministry of Education for Primary School.

‘… The experimental teaching of science in the early years of education can make a decisive contribution to the promotion of scientific literacy, enhancing the development of skills necessary for the exercise of an intervening and informed citizen and to insert a qualified professional life.’

In DGIDC; Programa de Formação em Ensino Experimental das Ciências no 1.º ciclo.

Information technology – The implementation of information Technology in Primary School aims to the apply concepts inherent to information and communication technologies (ICT). The logic of interdisciplinarity in this subject, enhances the articulation of the content covered in class, favours the acquisition of work habits and simultaneously consolidates the technological knowledge.

Physical Education Motor Skills – Through this subject, the Department of Physical Education and Sport proposes to contribute to the individual resilience of our students, assuming the practice of physical activity as a key element to an eclectic and harmonious development. Various situations of controlled confrontation, interaction (cooperation and opposition), are organised, promoting team spirit and maintaining motor, cognitive and affective relationship areas.

Music – The development of musical abilities in all children, in a perspective of the overall development of the innate capacity of the human being, is the main objective of musical education in Primary School. Through this subject, students develop their creative potential, understand the functions of music in their community and the world and understand music as a form of emotional communication.

Art – This subject is embedded in our syllabus as a means of providing each child not only an opportunity to observe and manipulate matter creatively, but also to see the outside world with their particular vision or medium, with the permanent acquisition of notions and the need to share their emotional state with others. At the same time, Art becomes a very good way of initiating basic learning skills: reading and writing. It is through drawing, painting and modelling that child better accesses the graphic symbol for its understanding and use.

Drama – Through the interpretation of dramatic games in the exploration of imaginary situations, it is intended, essentially, that children experience through different environments, express their sensitivity and develop their imagination. These activities result in dramatic performances that are presented to the school community in the various events held during the school year, including Family Day, Halloween, Carnival, the Christmas Plays, etc.

Latin – Language and Culture – Under Decree-Law No. 139/2012, of July 5, amended by Decree-Law No. 91/2013 of 10 July, whose principal objective was the cultural and linguistic development, with particular emphasis on the deeper knowledge of the mother tongue and its roots, with the integration of Latin as part of the curricular provision is of key importance to the education of children or the intrinsic value of knowledge that adds either the function of this knowledge in learning fundamental values of the Portuguese language and other subjects. In Primary School, Project ‘Pi’ focuses on theatrical expression of the classic theme and on other activities that promote, in a transversal way, education for citizenship and the information and communication technologies.

Pedagogical support strategies:
Extra help / individual support / study rooms / promotion of school success

In terms of pedagogic autonomy, the school implements diversified measures to promote academic success, according to the provisions of paragraph 4 of Article 2 of Decree-Law No. 139/2012, of 5 July, including a personalized education in different subject areas, consisting of a single support service or in small groups. This set of principles based on the exercise of a practice of effective education that reveals not only the cognitive aspect, but also the ethical, aesthetic and emotional aspects of learning, being focused primarily on the constancy of a permanent and systematic joint action of values and affections.

Aware of the levels of demand that characterize our school and a philosophy based on differentiated learning, student-centred education as the main agent, St. Paul’s School has a specific set of resources in different areas of knowledge that aim to find educational answers for all the difficulties diagnosed in school.

In general, St. Paul’s School has two different types of educational resources: the Educational Support Centre and Specialized Child Development and Psychology Department.

Specialized support is developed focusing on the specificity of each problem identified in the student profile and is primarily aimed as a diagnostic assessment of their problems, their causes and the respective educational intervention needed in different areas.

We have Individualised Educational Support (for students with permanent special educational needs, under Decree-Law 3/2008 of 7 January) with direct intervention (by specialized teachers in special education) where specific learning difficulties are identified in a specialized assessment conducted for children, after referral by an educational stakeholders: parents, teachers, coaches, etc.).

Regarding the Specialist Educational Support, (for all students), this also seeks a direct and personal intervention by educational stakeholders considered relevant to the respective intervention (teachers, specialized support teachers and psychologists), which focuses mostly on specific learning disabilities or other difficulties stemmed from external factors that compromise students’ difficulties.

Students can also benefit from the application of specific learning programs, developed by teachers, aimed at strengthening specific content in the context of the classroom that may or may not be supplemented with programs, usually proposed by the class teachers and those responsible for educational guidance and educational support of the students, including, or not, the direct intervention of the Child Psychology Department.

Groups of Relative Homogeneity

The school promotes the temporary creation of groups of students with the same characteristics, in order to overcome difficulties and build skills. These groups are made after careful evaluation by the teachers, with the main objective of levelling the difficulties encountered and the planning educational activities that allow progression in learning.


St. Paul’s School also promotes to assistance in the classroom, emphasizing the experiences and collaborative practices that lead to the improvement of education. This Collaboration is conducted by teachers from various areas in order to enrich the planned activities and can be developed per year, or between teaching levels. Teachers from primary and Junior School plan the sessions and collaborate by managing the content covered, as a means of facilitating a transition between the two levels.

Establishment of specific preparation workshops for Final Exams

The work to be carried out in each of these sessions is the responsibility of teachers in the Portuguese and Mathematics subjects and above all, aim to offer students training situations and improvement of skills that contribute to a more effective and consolidated performance. This work, conducted in parallel in the classroom, is of a systematic nature, which allows students to hold more secure and progressively more responsible positions.

Study rooms

The school offers workspaces (study halls), guided by teachers from different areas and geared for students wishing to consolidate and extend their knowledge, answer questions and receive support when carrying out homework.

Summer / Back to School Courses

The Summer / Back to School Courses run exclusively during the school holiday period, especially at the end and beginning of the year, respectively, and promote the consolidation of concepts for students who have been referred by their respective teachers, with carefully structured programs that help to integrate new students in the areas of Portuguese, English and Mathematics. The objective of the Summer / Back to School Courses is to acquire the proficiency required in order to proceed with quality in learning.

Educational Support Plan

The educational support plan for the class or individual is created, carried out and assessed, where necessary, in conjunction with other education professionals and in regular contact with the parents.


For students who have at any time shown learning difficulties in any subjects an educational support plan is designed by the class teacher in conjunction with the other teachers of the class, containing recovery strategies to help address the difficulties detected.

Internal assessment

The main guidelines and requirements for assessment in Primary School, in particular the interrelationship between evaluation and learning and skills required, are based on the legal assessment document within the curricular reorganization Dispatch Rule No. 24-A / 2012.

Diagnostic evaluation occurs at the beginning of each school year and whenever you start a new teaching unit, to allow for any adjustment of the teaching-learning process.

Formative assessment (main method of assessment in Primary School), is continuous and systematic and aims to regulate teaching and learning, using a variety of information-gathering instruments in accordance with the nature of learning and contexts, as well as the specifics of each subject and subject area.

Summative assessment consists of forming a synthesis of the information gathered during the development of learning skills defined for each subject area, with particular attention to the competencies. Summative assessment takes place at the end of each period and each school year and is expressed in a qualitative way. The marks obtained at the end of each period will be the result of the analysis of three areas: learning, task execution and behaviour / attitude.

It should also be noted the importance of self-assessment of students in the 3rd and 4th grades, allowing their active participation in the learning process, as well as their perception of the respective difficulties and progress.

The Child Development and Psychology Department of St. Paul’s School works in all years of schooling, from kindergarten to the end of junior years.

It aims to contribute to the educational and personal development of students, taking into account the diversity of their characteristics and needs, as well as all those involved (teachers, family and community).

Honour and Merits Awards: Objectives / Criteria

The Honour and Merit Tables aim to provide an incentive for students, allowing the development of a positive attitude towards the institution and should not constitute a form of discrimination.

The Honour and Merit awards intend to distinguish students who throughout Primary School, developed work of an excellent level. They provide an additional incentive to the educational process of the students and to the development of a positive attitudes towards the teaching-learning process in which they are involved.

The Merit Award recognizes students who show excellence in any area of human behaviour, which may take various configurations according to the nature of the student, including obtaining prizes of a sporting nature and others.

The Honour Award recognizes students who have excellent academic results, produce academic work or activities of excellence. Included in these awards are students who, in addition to the excellence of their academic results, also show a global moral conduct of excellence.

Object and scope

This document sets out the guiding principles of assessment and skills to be acquired and developed by the students in primary school.

Guiding principles

The assessment of a child’s learning is based on the following principles:

  1. a) Coherence and continuity between the various levels of education (kindergarten, Primary School and Junior School);
  2. b) Diversity of educational provision taking into account the needs of students in order to ensure the acquisition of knowledge and the development of essential skills;
  3. c) Increasing workload in the main subjects: Portuguese and Mathematics;
  4. d) The integration of theoretical and practical knowledge through the enhancement of experiential learning;
  5. e) Enhancement of educational outcomes and reinforcement of the importance of external summative assessment;
  6. f) Importance of Portuguese and English languages and cultures in curriculum components.

Assessment methods

The assessment of learning includes the diagnostic, formative and summative assessment.

Diagnostic assessment

Diagnostic assessment takes place at the beginning of each school year or whenever it is deemed appropriate and to facilitate the integration of school student.

Formative assessment

Formative assessment is continuous and systematic, using a variety of information collection tools adapted to the diversity of learning and to the circumstances in which they occur, generating pedagogical measures appropriate to the characteristics and development.

Summative assessment

This is reflected in the formulation of an overall assessment of student’s progress, resulting in a decision about the progression, retention or reorientation of the student’s educational route, and includes:

  1. a) Internal summative assessment which is of the school’s responsibility;
  2. b) External summative assessment which is of the responsibility of the departments or agencies of the Ministry of Education and Science.

In situations where the student does not acquire knowledge or develop the capacity for the grade in question, the class teacher and other teachers must propose the necessary measures to help overcome the difficulties detected in the student and / or possible extension of the school calendar. Should the student not achieve the pre-defined knowledge for one school year, with the exception of the final year for that level, the class teacher and other teachers may, on an exceptional basis, determine the retention of the student in the same year, except if it is in the 1st year of school. It is of the responsibility of the class teacher to identify the knowledge and the capacities that are not acquired by the student, which must be taken into account in the class Plan in which the student will be integrated. The information resulting from internal summative assessment is descriptive in all curricular areas, with the exception of Portuguese and Mathematics in the 4th grade, which are classified on a scale of 1 to 5, in all subjects.

Thus, we use a methodology that is based primarily on student activity, as we assume that the student is the principal agent of his own learning. The teacher’s role is to organise and guide the learning activities, creating a pleasant working environment in class. In this way, the marks obtained at the end of each period will be the result of the observation of three areas: learning, tasks achievement and behaviour.


  1. a) The acquisition and application of new knowledge in different situations, developing the research skills and creativity in students;
  2. b) Oral and written communication skills are stimulated through activities that lead students to verbalize their reasoning, analysing, explaining, discussing and confronting processes and results obtained.

We mustn’t forget the fact that in the same class we see students with different motivations, interests and needs, and that a differentiated teaching method should be practiced, with the progression of each child, within his own individuality, compensating the differences and respecting the learning pace of each student, never failing to keep in mind the framework of joint acquisitions. We also think it is important to develop an interdisciplinary work ethic, so making connections between the various subjects.

Task achievement

  1. a) Learning is reinforced through participation (spontaneous and prompted), performing tasks and homework that aim to consolidate the different content and the acquisition of study habits;
  2. b) The organization and presentation of materials are essential elements of study and work, contributing to greater structuring and systematization of content.


With regard to this area, we intend to develop in the student:

  1. a) Proper behaviour towards different situations in the classroom and in social areas.

It should also be noted the importance of self-assessment of students in the 3rd and 4th grades, allowing their active participation in the learning process, as well as their perception of the respective difficulties and progress. From the teacher’s perspective, this allows for the development of specific measures, namely, recovery, support and consolidation programmes.

Below are the criteria for assessment and their weighting:

Learning – 70%

  • Assessment / tests

Task achievement – 25%

  • Homework
  • Participation (spontaneous and prompted) in the classroom
  • Organization and presentation materials
  • Task achievement

Behaviour – 5%

  • Behaviour in the classroom
  • Behaviour in the social areas

Failing conditions

Summative assessment leads to a decision regarding the progression, retention or redirection of the student’s educational route. In situations where the student does not acquire knowledge or develop the capacity set for the school year, after hearing the class teachers, appropriate measures to remedy the difficulties detected should be proposed, including the possible extension of the school year for these students. If the student does not acquire the predefined knowledge in a non-terminal year, that fundamentally compromise the acquisition of knowledge and capacity for a particular year, the class and year teachers can determine the retention of the student in the same year. The results expressed are “Transition” or “Non Transition” at the end of each school year and “Pass” or “Fail” at the end of each cycle.

At the end of Primary School, the student does not pass and is classified with “Fail” if one of the following conditions apply:

  1. a) Results lower than 3 in the subject Portuguese (or PLNM) and Mathematics;
  2. b) Results lower than 3 in Portuguese (or PLNM) or Mathematics and simultaneously an “unsatisfactory” in any other subject.

Self-proposed Primary School students do not pass and receive a statement of “Fail” if the conditions mentioned in the previous point are met.

Qualitative Quantitative Portuguese & Mathematics (Grade 4)
Excellent 17.5 – 20 5
Satisfactory 9.5 – 13.4 3
Good 13.5 – 16.4 4
Very Good 16.5 – 17.4 4
Unsatisfactory 4.5 – 9.4 2
Poor 0 – 4.4 1