The School Curriculum
The National Curriculum is made up of the following subjects:
Art and Design
Physical Education (PE)
Modern Foreign Languages
Religious Education (RE)
In addition, all children have a regular programme of Personal, Social and Health Education (PSHE).
At Alder Coppice we believe in a vibrant and stimulating knowledge-rich curriculum, which all children will benefit from. Our curriculum is designed to inspire a love of learning in children and equip them with essential knowledge, skills and concepts. We want our children to:
Subject Leader: Key Stage 1 - Miss L Cain, Key Stage 2 - Miss S Gamston
English has a pre-eminent place in education and in society. A high-quality education in English will teach pupils to speak and write fluently so that they can communicate their ideas and emotions to others and through their reading and listening, others can communicate with them. The English Curriculum is designed to inspire children to become competent, confident communicators of the spoken and written word. Through providing children with a wide knowledge base of the English language, they will become fluent in speaking, reading and writing. We will provide children with a sound foundation of knowledge which will then enable them to make effective choices of how to communicate successfully in an ever-changing world.
Reading is at the centre of our curriculum and all learning in English lessons is derived from quality key texts. The texts in the Alder Coppice Reading Spine have been rigorously selected to expose children to several reading challenges (referred to as The Five Plagues of the Developing Reader, Lemov 2016). The texts have been carefully selected to ensure that children are exposed to a wide range of literature, providing ample opportunity for developing pleasure, posing challenge and engagement. Through reading, we will provide children with a wide variety of texts, celebrating a diversity of authors, characters and stories. The teaching of reading, writing, grammar and punctuation and spoken language are all delivered with key texts at their core, providing a context for learning to take place.
We read aloud to the children throughout the School, so that they learn the lasting enjoyment of books and want to read themselves.
We feel it is important for the children to see that parents and teachers are working together to help their learning. We try to do this by encouraging children to take reading books home to share with parents. Children in all year groups are expected to take a reading book home each day to read at home. We hope you will spend time reading to, reading with and listening to your child. All we ask is that the book is transported to and from School in a book bag to prevent damage. Book bags can be purchased from School. Children taking reading books home are responsible for their care and should they not be returned; we expect parents to pay for any replacements.
We have invested in the Accelerated Reader program, which is a computer program that helps teachers manage and monitor children's independent reading practice. This will be used for children in Year 2, once they have reached an appropriate reading level, and in Years 3 to 6, (Key Stage 2).
Teachers determine your child’s reading level through a Star Reading test, which is a computerised reading assessment that uses computer-adaptive technology. Questions continually adjust to your child's responses. If the child's response to a question is correct, the difficulty level of the next question is increased. If the child misses a question, the difficulty level of the next question is reduced.
The assessment gives your child a zone of proximal development (ZPD) and a reading age. ZPD is the range of books that will challenge a child without causing frustration or loss of motivation. Your child’s reading age supports them with choosing books at his/her own reading level, which are at an appropriate level that are challenging without being frustrating. Once a book has been read, the child takes a short quiz on the computer to check their understanding. Accelerated Reader gives both children and teachers feedback based on the quiz results, which the teacher then uses to help set reading targets and direct ongoing reading practice.
Children using Accelerated Reader choose their own books to read, rather than having one assigned to them. This makes reading a much more enjoyable experience as they can choose books that are interesting to them.
If your child does not do well on a quiz, the teacher may help him/her:
How you can further support reading at home
As with anything, performance improves with practice. Encourage your child to read at home. Create a culture of reading in your household by reading with your child, starting a home library, visiting your local library or bookshop on a regular basis, letting your child see you reading and discussing books that each of you have read. When reading with your child, stop and ask questions to be sure your child is comprehending what is read. Reading with your child, no matter what the child's age, is an important part of developing a good reader and building a lifelong love of reading and learning. For parents of children in Key Stage 2, please see the Accelerated Reader Bookfinder Information at the bottom of this page, which shows you how you can find books to further support reading for your child.
Phonics Lead: Mrs J Podmore & Miss L Cain
The Phonics scheme that we use at Alder Coppice is Little Wandle Letters and Sounds. This scheme is one that has been validated and approved by the DfE, meeting the criteria for a systematic synthetic Phonics programme. The programme ensures high quality consistent teaching of Phonics and early reading for every child in the classroom, as well as developing a love of reading. Learning to read is a life skill that is so important and is essential in all subjects at school. Evidence suggests that children who read for enjoyment every day develop a broader vocabulary, increased general knowledge and a better understanding of other cultures.
At Alder Coppice we use Little Wandle Letters and Sounds to deliver daily, engaging whole class Phonics lessons. During these lessons, children are taught to recognise and represent all the different sounds they will encounter when reading and writing. Alongside this, they are also taught to read and write ‘tricky words’ (these are words that are not decodeable using a phonetical approach).
Children begin their Phonics journey with us in Nursery where they listen to stories, are supported with language development and play lots of games around sounds they can hear and make. They begin to develop their skills in oral blending in readiness to move to Reception.
In Reception, Phonics is a priority from the very beginning with the aim to get all children reading quickly, as recommended by Ofsted and the DfE. Oral blending is taught in every lesson as this is a key skill in being able to read words. Initially, phonics lessons are lively, short lessons that are full of fun and these become longer as the year progresses.
In Year 1 and into Year 2, the children continue with the Little Wandle programme, moving systematically through the programme at a pace that we feel is appropriate for the children.
Reading Practise Sessions
In addition to the daily Phonics lesson, children also take part in practise reading sessions three times each week. Here they will learn in small groups using a reading book that is at their level of reading. They will read the same book in these sessions, each time with a different focus of learning: decoding, prosody and finally comprehension. After these three reading sessions in school, the children will bring this book home to continue practising the skills with an adult at home. At this point, we would expect the children to be fluent and accurate when reading the book. We would ask that adults at home listen with interest to their child, giving them lots of praise and encouragement with their achievements.
In Reception, these sessions begin once children can blend.
Children will also bring home a ‘sharing book.’ This is a book that the children have not practised at school and one that will have words that the children are not yet able to decode. We want children to develop a love of reading and a desire to read for pleasure. The ‘sharing book’ is one that your child has chosen themselves because it is one that has appealed to them; it is vitally important that it is their choice of book. We would ask that an adult at home sits with their child to read the book to them and enjoy it together, talking about the pictures, the characters and the events in the story or marvelling over facts in a non-fiction book. The important thing is that you have fun together sharing the book! We would not expect the children to read this book themselves – it is one they can listen to curled up on a sofa during special quality time together.
Little Wandle for Parents
There is a section on the Little Wandle website specifically for parents that has some great resources and support available; whether that may be to listen to how a grapheme is pronounced or how we teach blending and tricky words. Please use the link below:
Across Years 2-6 Spelling is taught through the use of the No-Nonsense Spelling Scheme. Handwriting is delivered through the Letter-Join scheme of work which incorporates spelling and phonics rules alongside allowing children to develop a clear and consistent cursive handwriting style.
Subject Leader: Mrs J Podmore
Maths is an essential skill in everyday life, and our aim, is to ensure that through implementing the Government’s Mathematics National Curriculum, children learn and develop a range of mathematical skills.
The core elements of the Mathematics Curriculum are:
Number - which encompasses counting, Place Value, Addition and Subtraction, Multiplication and Division, Fractions and Algebra.
Shape, Space and Measures – which includes Properties of Shapes, Position Direction and Movement and use of Measures.
Statistics – Using data
In September 2015 the School adopted a programme based on Singapore Mathematics that focuses on Key Fundamentals and the Concrete, Pictorial and Abstract approach. The aim of this is to make children better mathematicians for life.
The core part of the lessons aim to teach and develop Maths skills in interesting and exciting ways. The children will not only practise written skills, but be involved in many practical activities and investigations using manipulatives (equipment), which also help develop their skills of problem solving and logical thinking. They will usually be involved in working actively with Learning Partners to develop their reasoning skills on a daily basis.
Throughout the School in all Maths lessons, there is an emphasis upon using the correct mathematical language. Children are encouraged to be able to talk about the Maths they use and explain their ideas. More and more, they should also be able to raise questions about what they see or do and use this language to also prove or make a mathematical justification.
Subject Leader: Mrs J Randall
Science is key to children understanding the world around them, how this world came to be and their place within it. For this reason, Science at Alder Coppice is knowledge driven to create a sense of awe and wonder and a natural curiosity and respect for their world, both locally and globally.
Science knowledge is taught in blocks of the specific disciplines of Biology, Chemistry and Physics and each of these are built upon within each year group. The skills of Scientific Enquiry are embedded within each of these blocks. All children are encouraged to develop and use a range of skills including asking questions, predicting, making careful observations in a variety of different ways, conducting experiments, building arguments and explaining concepts using scientific language.
Subject Leader: Miss H Rose
Computers have become a part of everyday life - for most of us, technology is essential to our daily lives, at home and at work. ‘Computational Thinking’ is a skill pupils must be taught in order to provide them with essential knowledge and skills that will enable them to participate effectively in the digital world.
The new national curriculum defines three clear aspects of computing curriculum: Computer Science (CS), Information Technology (IT) and Digital Literacy (DL). By the time our pupils leave Alder Coppice, they will have been given the opportunity to develop their knowledge and understanding in each of these key areas across the school, ensuring a solid grounding for future learning and beyond.
Subject Leader: Mrs M Shee
The learning of a foreign language in primary school provides a valuable educational, social and cultural experience for all pupils. Pupils develop communication and literacy skills that lay the foundation for future language learning. They develop linguistic competence, extend their knowledge of how language works and explore differences and similarities between the foreign language and English. Learning another language raises awareness of the multi-lingual world and introduces an international dimension to pupils’ learning, giving them insight into their own culture and those of others. Children are given the opportunity to learn Spanish during their time at the School.
Subject Leaders: Mrs M Shee
Through the teaching of History, we aim to encourage the children's understanding of the past, the past's influence on the present and future, and the children's sense of identity. Children’s learning is centred on being inquisitive and analytical; providing children with the skills needed to be successful historians. Children are encouraged to make comparisons and ask questions to help not only build detailed schemas of world history but also to build empathy and a wider sense of belonging. Our knowledge rich history curriculum provides children with a breadth of understanding of local history, British history as a whole and wider world history.
Subject Leader: Key Stage 1 - Miss L Cain, Key Stage 2 - Mrs M Shee
Geography is the study of people and places in a variety of locations. We aim to enable children to make sense of their immediate surroundings and the wider world by imparting key knowledge about diverse places, people, resources and natural and human environments, together with a deep understanding of the Earth’s key physical and human processes. It is important that pupils understand how and why places and enviroments are changing and have an appreciation of the interconnections between concepts such as community, cultural diversity, interdependence and sustainability.
RE (RELIGIOUS EDUCATION)
Subject Leader: Mrs S Bott
We are required by law to include Religious Education in our curriculum. Religious Education is provided in line with the Dudley Agreed Syllabus for Religious Education. We aim to help our children achieve a knowledge and understanding of religious insights, beliefs and practices, so that they are able to continue in, or come to, their own beliefs and respect the right of other people to hold beliefs different from their own. Christianity has been of great importance in the shaping of British history, institutions and culture; therefore, children need to gain knowledge and understanding of this. Also, it is important that we consider other major faiths, which are held in contemporary British society, to help children to learn to live together in harmony with others.
These are held each day and are wholly or broadly of a Christian character. A variety of approaches are used, the whole school may join together, there is also regular Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 separate Collective Worship, class based worship or phase worship. This allows us to focus on different themes appropriate for that age range and to involve the children more actively. Through Collective Worship, we try to make children morally aware and to have more understanding of themselves and others. Children sometimes participate in the presentation of Collective Worship, either as individuals or as a group.
Under the terms of the Education Reform Act 1988 parents have the right to withdraw their children from Religious Education and/or Collective Worship. Alternative provision would be made for any children withdrawn, which would be discussed with the parents concerned. Any parent wishing to withdraw their child should put this in writing to the Headteacher.
ART AND DESIGN
Subject Leader: Mrs R Holdcroft
We understand that the purpose of Art and Design education is to give pupils at Alder Coppice the skills, concepts and knowledge necessary for them to express their responses to ideas and experiences in a visual or tactile form; the appreciation and enjoyment of art enriches all our lives. Pupils will study painting and 3D art and drawing, as well as the use of colour. Understanding of the visual elements of Art and Design (line, tone, texture, colour, pattern, shape, 3D form) will be developed through providing a curriculum which will enable children to reach their true potential.
DESIGN AND TECHNOLOGY
Subject Leader: Miss S Regan
Design and Technology draws on knowledge and skills from many other subjects; in particular it is closely related with Science and Computing. We aim to provide children with the opportunity to acquire a range of skills and work with a variety of materials, designing and making working models. They will be encouraged to develop the competence and confidence to identify, examine and solve practical problems involving the production of artefacts and systems.
Subject Leader: Mrs M Shee
Music is an area of the curriculum which opens a range of opportunities to all children. All our pupils take part in a range of musical activities which include listening, composing and performing. They learn to identify the “elements” of music in the works of existing composers and gradually employ these in their own composition. Children begin their exploration of music in singing. They learn to internalise melodies and can transfer these to a range of instruments for use in a performance. Regardless of ability, all children can take an active part in music lessons, enjoying listening to, composing and performing different genres of music, from Nursery through to Year 6.
Tuition is offered by peripatetic teachers in a variety of instruments. Please contact the School Office for details.
Subject Leader: Mr J Lawrence & Mr G Wall
Physical Education forms an integral part of the education of every child and is an important and compulsory part of the School curriculum. We aim to use physical activity to encourage agility, co-ordination, fitness and confidence. It is hoped that through our programme there is a continuous development of body management.
Children’s social skills and understanding of fair play are also developed by providing them with the opportunity to take part in a variety of team games and understand why rules are necessary. Through taking part in various activities, children will become aware of their individual strengths and learn to cope with both winning and losing.
Children have the opportunity to develop skills in: gymnastics; dance; games (e.g. football, hockey, netball and tennis); athletics and outdoor activities (orienteering). Swimming is usually provided for children at some stage during Key Stage 2. Priority is given to non-swimmers and those not reaching the requirements of the Key Stage 2 National Curriculum for Swimming.
We give girls and boys equal opportunities in all sporting activities.
All children take part in PE unless they are unable to for medical reasons.
Clothing for PE should be brought in on Monday and kept in school until Friday, when they can be taken home to be washed. These clothes are for PE lessons only - we expect children to change for this lesson.
Health and Safety guidelines dictate that no jewellery should be worn during PE lessons, including ear studs for pierced ears. If your child wears ear studs, it is best for them to remove them at home before coming to school on a day on which they have PE, alternatively you can provide them with a named container for keeping them safe during PE lessons or send a plaster so that they can cover their ear.
If your child has long hair, it should be tied back for PE. Parents should ensure that their child’s hair is tied back on the days that they have PE or should provide a band for their child to do this before the PE lesson. A small supply of hair bands will be kept in school.