Education influences and reflects the values of society, and the kind of society we want to be. It is important therefore, to recognise a set of common values and purposes that underpin the curriculum at Alder Brook and enable the school to achieve its aims. We believe it is our job to bring out the best in our pupils by providing an enjoyable, engaging, positive learning environment. No child should be labelled as a failure and every child has something to offer. Expectations of all involved should be high as we strive for excellence for all our pupils.Our goal in delivering the curriculum is to combine excellence in teaching with enjoyment of learning.
Our school and curriculum values are:
Diversity At Alder Brook our curriculum celebrates diversity within our society giving the pupils opportunities to learn about different cultures and religions and celebrating the diversity in our class, school, local community and beyond.
Achievement At Alder Brook we have high expectation for all pupils to make progress. Our curriculum is designed to support pupils social and emotional needs to ensure a swift return to a mainstream setting whilst also designed to promote outstanding academic progress.
Nurturing We provide a nurturing curriculum where all pupils are respected and supported to make the most effective progress either socially or academically. Classroom environments are positive welcoming places to learn whilst the curriculum provides a range opportunities to promote well being.
Creative At Alder Brook we believe that 21st century children need a 21st century approach to learning. Pupils enjoy creative and memorable ways of learning
Enjoyment We believe children learn better when they are excited and actively engaged; what excites children best is excellent teaching, which will challenge them and demonstrate what they are capable of achieving. When there is joy in what they are doing, they learn to love learning.
Safety: Pupils have a right to feel safe in their school from bullying and Prejudice. The curriculum gives the pupils the opportunity to learn about being safe in society from such areas as e-safety, to stranger danger etc..
At Alder Brook we aim to tailor education to individual need, interest and aptitude so as to fulfil every child's potential. Every pupil will have access to a creative, exciting, rich, broad, balanced and differentiated curriculum based, where possible, on first hand experiences. However, it is recognised that every child has a different knowledge base and skill set, as well as varying aptitudes and aspirations; and that, as a result, there is a determination for every young person's needs to be assessed and their talents developed through diverse teaching strategies. At Alder Brook this means teachers develop pupils social and emotional skills whilst also supporting and maintaining their academic progress particularly their numeracy and literacy skills.
The Cornerstones approach
The fundamental aim of any curriculum is to help children learn. What sets the Cornerstones Curriculum apart is that it’s based on a four-stage philosophy:
Engage: At the ‘Engage’ stage, children: gain memorable first-hand experiences, such as going on a visit or inviting a special visitor into school, enjoy ‘WOW’ experiences, get an exciting introduction to a topic or theme,begin researching and setting enquiry questions,get lots of opportunities to make observations, develop spoken language skills, take part in sensory activities, and have lots of fun to fully 'engage' with their new topic.
Develop: At the ‘Develop’ stage, children will improve their knowledge and understanding of the topic, develop and practice their new skills, compose, make, do, build, investigate, explore, write for different purposes and read across the curriculum,research their own questions and those set by others, follow new pathways of enquiry based on their interests.
Innovate: At the ‘Innovate’ stage, children apply skills, knowledge and understanding in real-life contexts,solve real or imagined problems using everything they’ve learnt, get inspired by imaginative and creative opportunities, and revisit anything not fully grasped at the ‘Develop’ stage.
Express: At the ‘Express’ stage, children become the performers, experts and informers, share their achievements with parents, classmates and the community, evaluate finished products and processes, link what they have learnt to where they started and celebrate their achievements!
English is taught through Cornerstones. This is linked to the Pie Corbett format of Imitate/Innovate and Invent. This allows children to experience each genre through a topic based approach, thus providing experiences and knowledge on which children can then base their writing. Initially children have a first hand experience, this is then followed up by an introduction to the genre and the key features of that style of writing. The class will share texts based on the genre. This is followed by opportunities to adapt the texts they have become familiar with. In the final week the sessions are focused on creating independent writing based on the genre. This cycle will cover a two/three week period.
When a child enters Alder Brook our aim is to baseline reading and writing within three weeks. Each unit of work starts with a baseline assessment using a genre checklist, this combined with the previous end of unit assessment forms the targets for that unit of writing. These targets are discussed with the children and used by the teacher to plan and differentiate in order to ensure pupil progress. They are also recorded in the child’s book. Children are involved in tracking their own progress using genre checklists and their own individual targets.
All pupils have personalised Interventions during Earlybird and other sessions throughout the day to help extend and accelerate learning.
Alder Brook teach a range of phonics schemes to meet the needs of the individual child.
Since September 2014 mathematics is taught following the New Curriculum 2014 for all ages. Lessons include interactive elements through use of ICT and physical resources to aid learning. The work is differentiated based on each individual child’s attainment and progress. From September 2014 all children are baselined using RisingStars progress tests for mathematics. All teachers follow the Alder Brook medium term plan where the units are matched through all stages to allow for all children within a class to be working on the same topic but differentiated to their given stage. Children are included in tracking their own progress and achievements with the use of learning objective ladders. At the beginning of each unit the learning objectives to be taught to the child over the week or two weeks is presented in their maths book. At the end of the unit the learning objectives achieved are highlighted and recorded. Half termly teacher assessment is recorded on classroom monitor through updating each child’s markbook based on the learning objectives they have achieved. Children are summatively assessed at the end of each term using Risingstars progress. Children working under age related expectations or those not making expected progress receive Individual Pupil Plans with specific maths targets. Interventions are planned and run during the Earlybird sessions every morning to achieve the SMART individual pupil plan target.
Our Science Curriculum aims to create continuous opportunities for the children to think and form opinions for themselves whilst developing a secure understanding of key skills and concepts. During each lesson they are encouraged to question and challenge ideas, discuss possible outcomes and make their own connections through scientific investigations and enquiry. We believe this helps to foster a sense of confidence and independence in their own thought processes which can be applied to situations beyond the classroom.
Social, Moral, Spiritual, & Cultural
POSITIVE ACTION (PA): Our SMSC scheme is delivered by all classes twice daily at Breakfast through PA and Reflection and also 20 mins once a week in order to stress the importance of meeting physical, intellectual, social and emotional needs in order to be well rounded. Students learn the core philosophy of PA, that you feel good about yourself, when you think and do positive actions, and there is always a positive way to do everything. This includes work on Health, Drugs and Sex.
BRITISH VALUES: Pupils are taught to prepare for life in modern Britain during their daily Positiveaction (PA) lessons, assemblies and visits. They have the opportunity to get to know Britain's values and democratic parliamentary system and it's central role in shaping our history and values.
They are able to understand and appreciate the range of different cultures within school and further afield as an essential element of their preparation for life in modern Britain.
RE: Through the whole curriculum, PA, Assemblies & visits pupils are encouraged to be reflective about their own beliefs, religious or otherwise, that inform their perspective on life. AlderBrook fosters a sense of enjoyment and fascination in learning about themselves, others and the world about them, respecting different peoples' faiths, feelings and values.
Pupils will apply and develop a broad range of skills, learning how to use them in different ways and to link them to make actions and sequences of movement. They should enjoy communicating, collaborating and competing with each other. They should develop an understanding of how to improve in different physical activities and sports and learn how to evaluate and recognise their own success.
Pupils will be taught to:
•use running, jumping, throwing and catching in isolation and in combination
•play competitive games, modified where appropriate for example, badminton, basketball, cricket, football, hockey, netball, rounders and tennis, and apply basic principles suitable for attacking and defending
•develop flexibility, strength, technique, control and balance [for example, through athletics and gymnastics]
•perform dances using a range of movement patterns
•take part in outdoor and adventurous activity challenges both individually and within a team
We will be supplementing the curriculum with extra-curricular sporting activities including street dance, canoeing and rock climbing etc. We aim to ensure we give a comprehensive and broad P.E experience for our children
The national curriculum for computing aims to ensure that all pupils can understand and apply the fundamental principles and concepts of computer science, including abstraction, logic, algorithms and data representation, can analyse problems in computational terms, and have repeated practical experience of writing computer programs in order to solve such problems, can evaluate and apply information technology, including new or unfamiliar technologies, analytically to solve problems, and are responsible, competent, confident and creative users of information and communication technology.
Modern Foreign Languages
At Alder Brook we believe that an early introduction to a modern foreign language has many potential benefits:
• Through the study of a foreign language, pupils understand and appreciate different countries, cultures, people and communities - and as they do so, begin to think of themselves as citizens of the world as well as of the United Kingdom.
• Pupils also learn about the basic structures of language. They explore the similarities and differences between the foreign language they are learning and English or another language, and learn how language can be manipulated and applied in different ways.
• Their listening, reading and memory skills improve, and their speaking and writing become more accurate. The development of these skills, together with pupils' knowledge and understanding of the structure of language, lays the foundations for future study of other languages.
SEN & Inclusion
All children who attend Alder Brook are placed at a SIB level (SA/SA+) due to needing additional to or different provisions to meet their needs. Some of the children require an Educational Health Care Plan as high level of support and resources are needed in meeting their needs. All children access the curriculum being taught at Alder Brook and all children have Individual Pupil Plans where by SMART targets are set for social, behavioural and learning areas. IPP targets are for at least 6 weeks whereby individualised intervention is planned and learning interventions run every morning during the Early bird sessions. After six weeks the targets are reviewed and new targets are set.
We recognise that some pupils, despite often having average or above average intellectual ability and good oral skills, have difficulty learning to read or to spell and write fluently. These children may be described as having a specific learning difference or dyslexia, and they have the same rights as other pupils to access all curricular or extra-curricular activities and be accommodated in a way that is suited to how they learn best.
We recognise that these children have additional needs that have to be met through effective, flexible teaching, monitoring and appropriate resources. We also acknowledge that they have skills and talents which need to be celebrated, nurtured and developed in order to make their school experience more accessible and enjoyable,
Through all of our teaching and provision we adhere to our Dyslexia Friendly Schools and SEN policies.
Extended School activities
We aim to give our pupils a range of extended schools activities which include extra sporting activities, life skills such as cooking, computing activities & science activities. These are on a rota basis due to transport.
Following the removal of National Curriculum levels, Alder Brook is taking a considered and collaborative approach to introduce effective systems for both assessments for teaching and learning and for tracking pupils’ progress.
Working with other local schools to build a consistent approach we are evaluating a range of possible systems.
However our core beliefs in the purpose of assessment remain the same:
1. Indicate where the pupil is in his/her learning in order to plan for future development and ensure progression. Assessment has a formative function.
2. Identify individual strengths and difficulties in order to provide appropriate support and development. Assessment has a diagnostic function.
3. Record a pupil's overall attainments in order to give information to parents, colleagues and to other schools on transfer. Assessment has a summative function.
4. Provide all pupils with opportunity to show what they know, understand and can do. Assessment should inform the development of a curriculum with clearly stated learning outcomes. It is a means of providing information about a pupil's experience and attainment that guides the direction of future learning. Therefore a major aim is to improve the quality of teaching and learning.
Reporting on pupil attainment
At Alder Brook we aim to have clear, open channels of communication facilitate reporting to parents on their child's progress. This is done at Alder Brook through daily telephone calls home, termly reports, parent questionnaire’s and coffee morning’s where parents are invited to visit their child’s class and view their work and speak with the class teacher on the progress of their child.
Roles and Responsibilities
The Headteacher takes overall responsibility for the curriculum. Subject Leaders in the core subjects [Literacy, Mathematics, Science, SMSC, PE and Computing] monitor their particular subject to ensure that it is implemented consistently and effectively in line with the agreed policies.
Parents can contact school should they want additional information regarding their child's learning and attainment.