At Cotteridge Primary School we follow the programmes of study for individual subjects as outlined in the National curriculum in England: primary curriculum 2014. An overview of how these subjects are taught at Cotteridge can be found below.
A topic based approach is used for the teaching of non-core subjects like history, geography, art and design. The whole school curriculum topic map shows the topic titles for each year group whilst a more in depth look at the curriculum for each term can be found on class pages.
In line with our school ethos of Achieving Excellence and Inspiring Dreams, our exciting topics, along with relevant and stimulating school visits ensure our children achieve a well-rounded education at Cotteridge Primary School.
English teaching and learning involves the four elements of English: Speaking, Listening, Reading and Writing. At Cotteridge School we want our children to become:
- Confident speakers in a variety of situations;
- Good listeners;
- Readers who enjoy all sorts of stories, poetry, plays and information;
- Writers who have the skills to write for different purposes.
We believe parents are partners in our teaching of reading and set reading as homework in all classes. We use the Collins Big Cat Reading Scheme as well as a selection of banded reading books. We teach phonics in the Foundation Stage and in Key Stage 1 using letters and sounds. Throughout Key Stage 2 cued spelling strategies help consolidate spelling skills.
We have a wide range of resources, including class books collections and well stocked Key Stage 2 and KS1 libraries. The children are exposed to high quality texts through the Pie Corbett Reading Spine.
We link our English lessons to all other areas of the curriculum in order to make the learning real and relevant. We use the Talk 4 Writing process to embed vocabulary and language features ensuring the children have a high quality framework for their writing. Our children have a positive attitude to English and tell us they enjoy their learning.
Every year we hold a Book Week when we promote a love of books and reading. Classes may visit local libraries; we have a visiting poet or author who will perform for the school and take workshops with selected classes; we have a ‘Dress as a character from a book day’; a Book Fair after school.
Mathematics at Cotteridge Primary School embeds the three aims of the National Curriculum into daily practice. Children are encouraged to be fluent through daily counting, number fact activities, number relationship tasks and the practice of inverse operations. A wide range of opportunities to then apply these skills are offered, across a range of problems and puzzles, which ensures the knowledge and understandings of children are of depth. Maths is made real, with scenarios children can relate to. We encourage children to reason within mathematics, using mathematical language to discuss learning, explain thoughts and determine conclusions. Children follow the Concrete-Pictoral-Abstract model in order to make links and build on concepts. Concepts are explored in a variety of ways to ensure structures and relationships are understood. We encourage cross-curricular maths within our topics, which enable children to practise mathematical skills across the variety of topics they study.
We follow the Bright-Pi programme of study, which maps out the complete coverage of the mathematics objectives. Our written calculation policy is robust and ensures written calculations are taught consistently so children can build on prior learning and extend methods as they progress through the school.
At Cotteridge Primary School our standards and expectations are high. We strive for all pupils to perform at their best and to achieve their mathematical potential under our specific, creative, supportive and challenging curriculum.
Science is taught with the aim to offer children excellent opportunities which help develop their skills, knowledge and understanding of important scientific ideas and processes and relate them to everyday life.
In every year group, children have the opportunity to plan, prepare, record and report on scientific investigations using a variety of skills and resources.
Science learning ensures that all pupils develop understanding through the specific disciplines of biology, chemistry and physics. We want children to ask scientific questions, to make predictions and explain their ideas, to test them out and to observe, and to draw conclusions about their discoveries.
We also have access to the outdoor classroom area of the Orchard in Cotteridge Park, and visits include the Botanical Gardens, Sea Life Centre and Nature Centre.
Learning through a broad range of topics such as The Human Body, Keeping Healthy, Plants, The Earth, Moon and Sun and Electricity, Magnets and Forces, and many others – using a wide range of equipment and multimedia resources – ensures excellent progression in this subject.
At Cotteridge we understand the important role that computing plays in education today. We aim to ensure that children are technology competent and that they are supported and challenged.
The enjoyment and achievement of pupils in computing is evidently clear throughout the computing lessons that happen at Cotteridge School. Lessons are brought to life through subject specific software, coding, programming and web activities, which all provide interactive and engaging learning opportunities. Cotteridge School’s list of websites, applications and programs is always expanding to ensure that the children have the best possible tools available for them to progress, grow and evolve within their computing skills and knowledge. Pupils are taught the many uses of ICT, whether it is word processing, multimedia, presentation, coding, programming, website creation, design work or even email and internet use.
In the Early Years, pupils are taught important keyboard and mouse skills through engaging games, whilst also developing an understanding of how to make electronic items move, through the use of programmable toys. This is an early introduction into integral input and output stages of programming.
Cotteridge Primary School has a successful, popular and valued Code Club run by the Head of Computing and an expert volunteer with plenty of experience in coding and programming to the highest level. The club allows children to explore the depth and breadth of their talents and acts as a home for them to direct their passion and talents for coding and programming.
The current resources available include a class set of ipads and laptops which are used regularly to support learning in most computing lessons and even some topic lessons. There are interactive whiteboards in every classroom and also interactive whiteboards located in nursery, after school club and the library. All year groups also have access to a digital camera.
E-safety is an important topic that is integral to the teaching, learning and everyday life at Cotteridge School. All staff are trained to follow the Cotteridge School E Safety policy and E-Safey lessons are taught every half term and are sourced from the South West Grid For Learning guidance.
At Cotteridge School we value children’s art. We encourage them to use their imagination and creativity by exploring and experimenting with a variety of materials such as clay, textiles and paint. They develop skills in using and handling different types of tools and techniques. We provide them with visual, tactile and sensory experiences to help them communicate what they see, feel and think.
Our children learn about artists, crafts people and designers both past and present and those from different cultures. They learn how to appreciate their own work and the work of others.
Arts Week, which usually happens in the autumn term, provides the perfect opportunity to explore art works from around the world and respond using a variety of media. The children then share their learning with parents through a gallery.
Through their design and technology work at Cotteridge School, we want to prepare pupils to be part of tomorrow’s technological society.
- We want them to believe in themselves, be self-motivated and respond to challenges.
- We want to provide the opportunities for pupils to be creative and problem solvers, working individually and as part of a team.
- We want them to combine thinking with practical skills.
- We want them to reflect on and evaluate their design and technology, its uses and effects.
At Cotteridge, we do this by offering pupils the opportunities to develop their capability to create products through combining their planning, designing and making skills with knowledge and understanding; by encouraging creativity and innovation through designing and making; and by developing children’s understanding of technological procedures and their manufacture.
Visits and visitors such as Lego Mindstorms and local secondary schools provide the children with exciting opportunities to apply their skills in fun practical ways. This encourages all learners to see how they can use their learning in a wide range of environments.
We aim to give the children the opportunity to widen their geographical knowledge and understanding. Geography is the study of the earth’s surface and of its climate, people and products.
Children use fieldwork, first-hand experience and secondary sources to find out about a range of places and environments, including their own locality, a contrasting area in the UK and a different locality in another country. Children explore views and opinions about local and global issues including sustainability, climate change, poverty, resource use and recycling. They develop and extend local and global links through communications and collaboration tools.
Sources used to explore the skills of geography include:
At Cotteridge School, history is taught through topics, which have historical themes and links within them. Historical skills, such as enquiry, developing a sense of chronology, understanding historical concepts and widening historical vocabulary are taught, encouraged and built upon as children move up through the school.
Pupil’s understandings of the wider world and local community in which they live is extremely important and children therefore have the opportunity to learn about a wide range of people, civilisations and places in history and the continuity or change of these over time, making links and comparisons throughout. Pupils are encouraged to not only know about historical events, but to also think about why these happened and the impact that they still have on us today.
History lessons are based around enquiry led learning, in which pupils aim to generate and answer historical questions using a range of evidence to do so – working as historians do. The regular use of artefacts, visiting historical sites and museums and working with visitors within school are all ways in which children can develop their understanding in order to further their enquiries. This process enables children to think critically about the information they are given and voice their opinions about the past, justifying their thoughts.
As a UNICEF Right’s Respecting school, links with children’s rights are also explored throughout the historical time periods we study.
The aims of the MFL programme at Cotteridge are to ensure that children begin Secondary school prepared to deepen their knowledge of French, ready to explore other languages on offer and, above all, to give them a life-long love of language learning.
At Cotteridge French is taught throughout years 3 to 6, as a requirement of the National Curriculum. Children are introduced to the French language in spoken and written form, and learn to reproduce its sounds and spelling systems. French is taught using a variety of techniques including games, songs, stories and rhymes which, as well as improving language awareness, also give the children an insight into French-speaking cultures around the world.
French at Cotteridge enables children to develop skills in four key areas – reading, speaking, writing and listening – and even singing about a range of topics! Children in year 3 begin by learning to introduce themselves and cover the basics such as colours, numbers and animals before moving on to forming simple sentences and questions. Various topics are covered during the course of Key Stage 2 as children’s language skills develop, including travel and weather, money and shopping, clothing, places in town and French food. Grammar is introduced gradually throughout the four years giving children a basic grounding in number, gender, some key verbs and an understanding of how pronouns and adjectives work. Finally in Year 6 we take a look at past and future tense.
To enable children to gain as much exposure as possible to different languages, occasionally we are lucky enough to have visits from language specialists who can provide children with introductory taster sessions in additional languages. In preparation for the transition to the juniors, one off sessions are delivered to the infants as an early introduction to MFL.
Cotteridge School puts singing at the heart of school life. This has been recognised by the award of the coveted SingUp Gold Award in July 2011.
Children in Year 2, 3 and 4 enjoy class music lessons with a visiting specialist from Birmingham LEA music service, as well as expanding their musical knowledge and composition skills with their class teachers. The Foundation Stage enjoy music-making with singing, rhythm and instruments as an integral part of their curriculum. They also use music as a starting point for introducing Makaton into their daily routines. Our creative curriculum gives us ample opportunities to use musical aspects of learning. We sing fantastically well in assemblies and SingUp Together sessions, as well as using songs to help learn about other topics.
The Year 4 to 6 choir rehearse each Thursday lunchtime, and regularly performs in school, in Gala concerts at the Symphony Hall, at the Sharing Concerts, and at Cotteridge CoCoMAD festival. The Infant Choir (Years 1 to 2) practice each Wednesday lunchtime and perform in front of the school and their parents.
Visiting music teachers give individual and group lessons in Guitar, Clarinet and Brass, children have opportunities to perform in school. We are participating in the Wider Opportunities whole class instrument learning programme for Year 4 who are learning to play the cornet and clarinet.
There is a considerable musical emphasis in the Key Stage 1 Christmas productions, Choir Concerts from Key Stage 2, Year 6 Leavers Production and in class assemblies.
At Cotteridge, Children have a fantastic range of opportunities in order to develop their skills, knowledge and understanding of a variety of sporting contexts to promote and maintain a healthy, physical lifestyle.
Through a minimum of 2 hours of PE per week, our children strive towards success, driven by our embedded School Games values of: Respect, Determination, Team-Work, Passion, Self-Belief and Honesty.
Across Key Stages 1 & 2, children actively participate and enjoy units such as Invasion, Net & Wall and Striking & Fielding games, as well as areas such as Dance and Gymnastics. Children are able to apply skills taught in inter-house competitions – which have included Basketball, Dodgeball and Hockey – in addition to a range of extra-curricular clubs (such as Football, Netball, Basketball Gymnastics, Cricket and Multi-skills) and regular inter-school competitions against other local schools.
Children in Years 2 and 3 swim for a two week blocks and are able to develop their confidence, technique and stamina throughout the duration of the unit.
At our school we follow the Birmingham Local Agreed Syllabus. The teaching of Religious Education is fun and engaging in order to deepen the children’s understanding of faith and belief.
For our very young children, religious ideas are best introduced through everyday experiences. Pupils find out more about themselves and their relationship with others, in conjunction with exploring the natural world and being introduced to customs, stories and celebrations. This lay the foundations for later religious insight, where the children are taught about Christianity, its beliefs and customs, as well as studying Judaism, Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism. Many of the activities we engage in are role-play, hot seating and creating religious stories. We use the Internet, visit places of worship and invite people to speak about their faith.
As a Unicef Rights Respecting school, we encourage our children to talk about their own beliefs and to be respectful to the beliefs and practices of others. We closely link many lessons to our multicultural society and British values.
Personal, social, health and economic education (PSHE) is an important and necessary part of all pupils’ education. At Cotteridge Primary, PSHE is taught mainly through P4C and under the umbrella of the UNICEF Rights Respecting Schools Award. Our children are aware of their rights as described by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. Discrete lessons are timetabled throughout the school year for sex and relationship education (SRE) appropriate for each year group.
Using the language of rights, we encourage children to develop in confidence to make safe and informed choices that ensure they have healthy lifestyles. Children take part in discussions through P4C enquiries, consider moral and social dilemmas enabling them to develop positive relationships and understand changing emotions. Through discussion of UNICEF rights, children are encouraged to respect the differences between people and become active citizens.
Evidence shows that well-delivered PSHE programmes have an impact on both academic and non-academic outcomes for pupils, particularly the most vulnerable and disadvantaged. PSHE Association
At Cotteridge School, we use the Philosophy for Children (P4C) approach to teaching and learning, to help children to develop into effective, critical and creative thinkers and to take responsibility for their own learning in a caring and collaborative way. We do this by providing practical ways of developing good thinking, questioning and communications skills.
During regular P4C sessions, children and their teacher share a stimulus, for example, a story, film clip, picture, they then take thinking time to devise their own questions and together the class chooses one question to enquire into further.
With experience, children’s questions get deeper and more thoughtful. The children’s discussions become more disciplined and focused yet, at the same time, more imaginative. The approach not only helps to develop creative and critical thinking skills but also encourages children to care more about what others say and develop the ability to recognize differences and explore these collaboratively.
The aim of P4C is to help children to develop the skills and dispositions that will enable them to contribute as responsible citizens of the future. This supports the schools ethos and values of creating a caring school and classroom environment where children learn to listen to and respect each other.