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 with the school using units from the International Primary Curriculum (IPC) to guide the learning journey. 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.
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.
At Cotteridge, we want children to enjoy Mathematics and to be able to apply it to everyday situations.
In 2010/11 we introduced a new scheme of work called Maths Makes Sense (MMS). This involves hands on, visual lessons that give all children strategies they can use throughout their school career. It has had a positive impact on standards already.
Maths lessons are taught every day but, in addition, some Maths is linked to topic work, for example pricing of food, cooking (to include weighing and measuring), comparing temperatures in the UK with those in other countries.
ICT is used regularly and all children are involved in Mathletics. This is a program that children can access at home where they can play Maths games against other children from all around the world. They can earn certificates as they progress through the different stages in Mathletics.
Children at Cotteridge achieve high standards in Maths and it is a very popular subject.
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 importance of computing in today’s education. We have a class set of iPads and laptops as well as an ICT Suite situated in the library. All classrooms, the nursery, after school club and the library have Interactive Whiteboards, All year groups have access to a digital camera and pupils use the iPads to support their learning.
The enjoyment and achievement of pupils in Computing is evident throughout Computing based lessons at Cotteridge School. Lessons are brought to life through subject specific software, coding, programming and web activities all of which provide interactive learning. Pupils are also taught the many uses of ICT, whether it is word processing, multimedia presentation, coding, programming, design work or email and Internet use. We also use iPads to support learning through play.
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 our programmable toys.
The junior hall is equipped with a screen and computer projector, which is a valuable resource for class assemblies, productions, school assemblies, hymn practice and parent meetings.
Cotteridge Primary School has a successful and valued Code Club run by the head of computing and two Computing expert volunteers. The club allows children to explore the depth and breadth of their talents and passion for Coding and programming.
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.
Through their designs and technology work at Cotteridge School, we want to prepare pupils to be part of tomorrows 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.
We will 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.
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 using a cross-curricular approach as part of the topics within the International Primary Curriculum (IPC), which can have a historical theme as their main focus, or have historical links where there is a geographic or scientific main focus. Historical skills, such as developing a sense of chronology and historical enquiry, understanding historical concepts and widening historical vocabulary are taught, encouraged and built upon as children move up through the school.
We aim to develop a child’s sense of identity and increase their understanding of the world and local community in which they live. 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. They are encouraged to not only know about events, but to also think about why these things happened and the impact that these events and changes still have on us today.
We employ a variety of learning contexts, which aim to develop children’s understanding and enthusiasm for history. These include regular use of artefacts, visiting historical sites and museums through school trips and working with visitors within school.
At Cotteridge French is taught throughout years 3 to 6, as a requirement of the new 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 traditional French stories and games. Grammar is introduced gradually throughout the four years, and by year 6 children have a basic grounding in the main tenses, some key verbs and understand how pronouns and adjectives work.
Children in the Juniors have the opportunity to learn Spanish in a fun environment at a lunch-time Spanish club run once a week. 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.
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.
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 Key Stages 1 and 2 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, Steel Pans, 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.
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.
Children at Cotteridge have fantastic opportunities to develop their skills, knowledge, understanding and applying all these into good practice to promote a healthy and physical lifestyle. We have two halls and two playgrounds plus the use of the local park, guaranteeing varied learning environments.
Children are expected to participate in a minimum of two hours physical education a week. PE activities include Games, Dance, Gymnastics, Dance, Athletics, Outdoor Pursuits and Swimming ensuring every aspect of the National Curriculum is covered.
Children in Years 3 and 4 will swim for a two-week block of consecutive days: ten lessons in all. Each lesson will last for 45 minutes, and the class will be divided into three groups. Research has shown that a higher percentage of children are actually able to swim from this method of teaching swimming than the traditional half an hour, once a week for one term per year.
Children in the scheme recently achieved a much higher standard of swimming ability and confidence than previously experienced at Cotteridge School.
At our school we follow the Birmingham Agreed Syllabus.
For the very young children, religious ideas are best introduced through everyday experience. Pupils find out more about themselves and their relationship with others as well as exploring the natural world and being introduced to customs, stories and celebrations. This lays the foundation for later religious insight, where the children are taught about Christianity, its beliefs and customs, as well as studying Judaism, Islam and Hinduism. Some of the activities we engage in are role-play, hot seating and creating our own stories. We use the Internet, visit places of worship and invite people to speak about their faith. We encourage our pupils to talk about their own beliefs and to be respectful of the beliefs and practices of others.
The teaching of RE is fun and engaging in order to deepen the children’s understanding of faith and belief.
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.