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Curriculum Overview

Alder Brook Curriculum Tree Illustration

Curriculum Statement

The primary need of the pupils at Alder Brook is Social, Emotional and Mental Health. We have a personalised curriculum to meet the needs of these pupils. We teach both the core and foundation subjects of the National Curriculum with an SEMH focus at the heart of all that we do. We also have focused SEMH sessions e.g. breakfast time, nurture sessions and a whole class therapeutic session each week. We aim to give pupils a range of experiences of the wider world in the form of educational visits, visitors to school and through reading, discussion and the internet



It is our intent at Alder Brook that all pupils, by the end of their primary education, will have developed a love of reading. Our aim is that they can read fluently, with confidence and show a secure understanding of what they have read. Children will experience accelerated learning in all areas of the curriculum, which will develop positive self-esteem and aspirations for the future. All pupils will experience reading a range of stories, poems and non-fiction text and be able to support learning in all areas of the curriculum with their reading skills. We aim for children to develop their imagination and use of vocabulary through reading widely and being read to. We aim to establish a love of reading which will support them in gaining knowledge about themselves and the world in which we live.


At Alder Brook all pupils are baselined to assess their reading ability, within two weeks of entry. We are currently using PIRA reading assessments. Pupils also have a dyslexia screener. If a child is identified as having dyslexia they are supported with appropriate interventions. These would be in the form of Toe by Toe dyslexia support materials, Word Wasp, coloured overlays for screens and texts, precision teaching and work directly in front of them as well as on the screen, in whole class or group sessions. We are currently introducing phonics screening for pupils in Key Stage 1 and any pupils in Key Stage who are experiencing difficulties with reading. All children will also be assessed using the first two hundred high frequency words.

Reading is taught using a range of resources. The daily reading books are a combination of schemes that have been chosen to meet the needs of the children at Alder Brook. These include PM Benchmark, Collins Big Cats, Oxford Reading Tree and Rising Stars Reading Planets.

Each pupil has a 1:1 reading time with an adult every day. During this time the adult hears the child read, discusses the text and unfamiliar vocabulary. The children are also questioned using Blooms taxonomy and the Blank level questioning.

All teaching of reading is recorded in a pupil’s individual reading journal. This includes daily 1:1 reading with an adult and a record of the questions and responses. We are currently trialling having a half termly focus for questioning so that children experience similar questions related to a range of material in order to be secure in how to respond. We are currently using Blooms Taxonomy for questioning in individual reading.

Where appropriate pupils will also be supported with the blank level questioning.

Once automatic decoding has become embedded and reading is fluent, pupils will assess a weekly standalone comprehension session. In this session the children will read a short text either independently or with an adult. They will then answer questions in their reading journal. This sessions will cover a range of texts. The materials we are currently using are The Literacy Box and texts that are related to study in a range of areas of the curriculum.

Twice a week pupils have a guided reading session. Where possible, this is related to a theme they are studying in class. During these sessions pupil will discuss the text, read passages aloud and respond to questions. The questions focus on a developing a range of reading skills. These are; decoding (for pupils who do not have a secure phonics knowledge), literal comprehension, reorganisation, making inference, language for effect and themes and conventions. Adults can scribe answers for pupils in these sessions, if appropriate. As a whole school we have a half termly focus for questioning. This will give opportunities to answer similar types of questions in a range of ways.

Each class has a daily reading for pleasure session where an adult reads to the children or children can select a book and read to themselves. During the adult led session the adult models correct intonation and the group can discuss unfamiliar vocabulary and their responses to the text. The books read in this session will include books related the current topic, age appropriate texts and familiar favourite stories. The texts read are recorded in the back of the children’s reading journal. We have a range of recommended texts for each age group and children will become familiar through these by reading them and being read to.

Each day children who are developing their phonics knowledge will have a session which focuses on their current phonics target. We aim for pupils to close gaps in phonics and accelerate progress. We are currently following the 6 phonics phases using letters and sounds. We also use a range of other resources to support this.

Reading Progression follows the national curriculum guidelines. Pupils are encouraged to read for pleasure, be motivated to read and develop and understanding of a range of vocabulary. Pupils have opportunities to listen to stories that are beyond the level at which they can read independently.

Children have opportunities to develop their reading skills throughout all areas of the curriculum in the form of reading for research, reading to gain subject knowledge and reading for pleasure within a subject.

Each classroom has a reading corner with a range of books for all ages and abilities. There will also be a theme to a range of books which could be linked to something the children are studying or a chosen author. Children are given opportunities to relax and read any of these books during playtimes, story time golden time. Every half term pupils are given the opportunity to select a book to take home and keep. This is because many of our pupils do not have access to books at home. We also encourage pupils to visit the local library and they can take books from school home if they wish to.


Pupils who are not age related will make accelerated progress in reading. We aim for pupils who are age related to deepen their understanding in reading and for this to be reflected in progress in all areas. Skills developed in reading will be used to support learning in all areas of the curriculum. Self- confidence and self-esteem will be improved. Children will enjoy reading and being read to. Through reading, children will gain a greater knowledge of the world and have wider opportunities throughout life.



At Alder Brook, we aim to give all pupils cultural capital, in the form of knowledge, behaviours and skills, which will enable them to be aspirational and succeed in life as a fulfilled and valued member of society. Our intent is that all pupils can talk confidently and clearly about their thoughts opinions and ideas. They will be able to listen carefully to others and respond appropriately. Pupils will have a high level of self-esteem and develop resilience in writing. Children will develop their imagination and extend their range of spoken and written vocabulary. In writing, pupils will be able to present and broadcast a range of ideas, in a wide range of forms and with an awareness of different audiences and purposes. They will be able to communicate these ideas showing accurate use of grammar, punctuation and spelling, on paper and on screen. Pupils will have a positive attitude to writing and endeavour to present work neatly.


At Alder Brook we provide an ambitious and coherently planned literacy curriculum that is embedded throughout the school.

Our literacy curriculum is sequenced and adapted to ensure that all pupils, including disadvantaged and those with SEND, accumulate knowledge, skills and attitudes that prepare them for future learning and employment. We aim to increase fluency and independence as pupils develop the ability to apply what they know across the curriculum.

All pupils are screened for dyslexia in the first few weeks of arriving at Alder Brook. Pupils also receive a speech and language assessment if there are thought to be any additional needs. Further assessments involving EP or Learning Support Service take place if it is felt necessary. Pupils are baselined using the assertive mentoring ladder which uses the National Curriculum writing objectives. Pupils also receive a phonics assessment to inform planning and teaching.

At Alder Brook, children are given opportunities to have memorable experiences in the form of visitors into school, visits to local areas, the arts etc and some visits which are further afield. These give experiences of the wider world and are a stimulus for discussion to develop vocabulary and extend writing opportunities.

Speaking and Listening

All staff aim to model Standard English to pupils. Children are provided with opportunities to develop their speaking and listening skills.

We aim for pupils to acquire a wide range of vocabulary, an understanding of grammar and knowledge of linguistic conventions for reading, writing and spoken language.

Pupils can talk clearly and confidently about their thoughts, opinions and ideas, listening carefully to others so that they can refine their thinking and express themselves effectively.

Pupils are provided with opportunities to gain experiences of the wider world, through trips and visitors to school.


We support pupils in being able to write clearly for a range of purpose. Also we develop neat handwriting and use of accurate punctuation. Pupils develop spelling strategies and a knowledge of spelling patterns.

Pupils can write and present ideas in a wide range of forms with an awareness of different audiences. Each year group will cover a range of appropriate genre, with a focus on developing skills for writing.

Pupils are given regular opportunities to write. Skills are modelled, there are shared writing experiences and opportunities for independent writing. Pupils are encouraged to read their work to themselves or an adult and edit to improve vocabulary choices and sentence structure. Children use the spelling strategies they have learnt.

Grammar is taught as two focused sessions each week and a third session where knowledge is assessed in order to inform future planning.

Spelling is taught and practiced daily as part of each child’s IPP. Precision teaching is used throughout the school. Pupils are supported to learn how to spell a word, what it means and be able to use it in a sentence.

Our writing follows the National Curriculum. We use a thematic approach as a stimulus and this can cover either a half term or a term.

The theme and genre are the vehicle through which we engage children in writing in order to teach them the key skills as stated in the national curriculum.

A cycle of writing will generally last three/four weeks.

This is broken down into stages:

Stage 1

Children will produce a short piece of unsupported writing to assess prior knowledge. This will be assessed using the National Curriculum objectives. This will then inform planning of the unit of work for each individual child. Achievements will be recorded on a ladder at the start of the unit.

Children are introduced to the genre of writing. They will have opportunities to read and be read to so that they become familiar with the type of text. During this stage the children will be introduced to vocabulary and spellings that are relevant to the topic and linked to their stage. Grammar and punctuation related to the style of writing is also introduced. Composition of the text is also looked at and shared. Throughout the unit presentation and handwriting will also be addressed.

Stage 2

This stage will look at familiar texts and make changes to it .The focus will be on planning and use of the features in stage 1. Grammar sessions will be linked to the children’s individual targets. Concepts will be modelled by adults and used by the children. Objectives on the genre ladder will be looked at.

Stage 3

Children will plan and complete a piece of writing in the style of the genre. They will proof read, edit and re-draft. They will make improvements to vocabulary and grammar. Editing and re-drafting will also be used to check spelling and punctuation Pupils may also present their final piece using ICT. They will share their work with the group, through reading sections aloud and showing and discussing their work. Children will be encouraged to write part of the final draft to show development of handwriting.


Pupils are formally assessed in writing within two weeks of entering Alder Brook. Writing is assessed using the National Curriculum objectives. From then onwards children are assessed regularly to inform planning and identify gaps in pupils knowledge and understanding. Assessment takes place in the form of live marking, discussion and formal marking. At the end of each term a formal stage is recorded for each child in writing. They also complete a formal grammar assessment at the end of each term.

In addition, pupil progress meetings are completed half termly to monitor progress. This is done between the class teacher and literacy lead. During this session quality of work , knowledge and understanding , evidence of increased stamina for writing, intervention strategies and pupil progress are discussed. This is recorded formally on a class pupil progress sheet.

Pupil progress is carefully monitored and if pupils are not making expected progress, additional support is put in place.

Through formal and informal lesson observations, quality of teaching is monitored. Triad lesson studies share good practice and provide professional development. Staff are given regular in house CPD and opportunities to access relevant external courses. The literacy lead also works closely with the Local Authority SIP and external literacy experts.


The impact of the teaching of writing at Alder Brook is measured in a range of ways. Pupils will make progress in the formative assessments and close gaps in knowledge. This will then be reflected in the end of term summative assessments. Children will develop positive self-esteem and a sense of achievement when writing. They will become independent writers that can spell accurately and use appropriate grammar. Pupils will be able to use a wide range of vocabulary in both written and spoken language enabling them to communicate effectively. Having a positive attitude, secure knowledge and skills in writing, will enable pupils to have opportunities in life and make a valuable contribution to society.



It is our intent at Alder Brook that all pupils, by the end of their primary education, become confident mathematicians who are fluent in the fundamentals of mathematics. They will be able to problem solve by applying their knowledge to a variety of routine and non – routine problems. They will be able to reason mathematically by following a line of enquiry using justification or proof, using maths.

We want all pupils to have a love for learning and to feel pride in their achievements. Our intent is to raise self – esteem and engage pupils in their learning by making it fun and interactive. Within the maths sessions we ensure there is an appropriate pace so that pupils are engaged and progress is made.

We follow the National Curriculum for maths and use a spiralling approach ensuring that the strands are repeated throughout the year, each time building upon prior knowledge and understanding to ensure secure and long lasting understanding of maths.

We strive to give pupils the skills to problem solve and be fluent in number. Pupils will make accelerated progress and be confident in maths and will be able to use the skills in everyday life e.g. finances, telling the time. These skills can then be transferred in their futures to give them the opportunity to have a successful career.


At Alder Brook all pupils are baselined using Puma to assess their mathematical ability, within two weeks of entry. At the start of each of the strands every child is baselined to enable teachers to identify gaps in knowledge and skills. They then plan specific individual interventions and lessons to support accelerated learning.

Maths is taught daily through a variety of practical activities, outdoor learning and trips related to real life problems solving. Within the maths sessions we include recall of information and understanding, new learning input with opportunities to demonstrate new understanding and daily number based learning.

Mathematics is taught through teachers planning for each individual pupil as well as using a range of resources and intervention programmes.

Maths based interventions are also included each morning during the Earlybird sessions at the start of every school day.


The impact is measured and recognised through formative assessments such as comparing baseline and end of strands tests and teacher assessment at the end of each session. At the end of every term pupils are assessed using published testing resources which then informs future interventions and planning to close the gap further.

In addition, pupil progress meetings are completed half termly for evidence of knowledge and understanding, quantity to evidence stamina increase, quality to show increase in confidence, ability as well as knowledge and understanding.

Through informal and formal lesson observations quality of teaching the subject is monitored and need for career professional development responded to. Further CPD is completed through Triad lesson study with teachers working in groups observing one another and giving support and advice.

Finally, through monitoring attendance and number of high level incidences and restrictive physical interventions we are able to track and review individual pupil’s engagement to school life including maths.


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.


Personal, Social and Health Education


We aim to meet the specific SEMH needs of each child through the delivery of our PSHE curriculum. Our learning opportunities focus on fostering the social, moral, spiritual and cultural development of each pupil to help them own good mental and physical health and wellbeing.

We are committed to providing a nurturing environment in which each child can begin to understand and manage their emotions independently enabling them to self regulate calmly and safely. The children will learn the importance of taking responsibility for their choices and to respect rules and boundaries. Our curriculum teaches that the foundation for achieving healthy and fulfilling relationships is valuing self and others and as a staff we promote and model socially appropriate behaviour and have the same expectation of our pupils.

Through PSHE the children will become aware of wider social issues which impact us and begin to develop their knowledge and curiosity. We seek to provide exciting opportunities for the children to aquire vital life skills such as independence and resilience and form positive attitudes towards new experiences and challenges they encounter.

We wish to inspire all our children to have aspirations and the belief that they can accomplish their goals and make a positive contribution to our society now and in the future.


The PSHE curriculum is delivered through a variety of approaches. All staff follow a THRIVE method of practice which encourages a trusting relationship to build between staff and children through attuning to and validating the pupils experience. Termly SDQ assessment highlights where specific areas of need exist and these can be targeted through a tiered approach of Wave Interventions. All children access Breakfast sessions each morning which have a discussion focus based on the core themes set out in the National Curriculum. A discreet weekly PSHE lesson teaches these themes in depth and provides activities and experiences which embed the learning topic. Visitors are regularly invited into school to further reinforce our lessons and where possible we arrange trips out of school to provide the children with real and hands- on experiences.

Children who require further support will have a one to one personalised Nurture programme which focuses on an SEMH area of need. For a small minority of children who are identified as needing more specialist intervention a school counsellor is available to provide a course of child led therapeutic sessions.

All PSHE activities and experiences are kept in a book called My Journey which tracks 11 branches of learning that we have identified as being at the core of our PSHE and personal development curriculum.


Our objective is for the PSHE curriculum to have a full and encompassing impact on the whole child. This will be evidenced through improved SDQ scores which highlight increased self esteem and positive social interaction, we will also see a reduction in RPI’s and pupil Support Plans will be modified to reflect progress. The children will be able to understand and articulate their needs and thoughts freely and respectfully and be empathic to the opinions and beliefs of others. PSHE lessons and specific interventions will result in the children having the skills to develop and maintain more positive and meaningful relationships and this will be demonstrated in their ability to self regulate and reflect on their choices. The pupils will be able to transfer their improved mental and emotional well being to the home and wider community and feel a sense of purpose and belonging.

There will be a desire for pupils to learn and engage in their lessons with children quickly moving back into mainstream or other appropriate specialist settings.


Physical Education


At Alder Brook we aim to develop a fun, high-quality physical education curriculum that inspires all pupils to succeed and excel, developing the individuals abilities in competitive sports and other physically demanding activities which will help them cooperate and collaborate with others. We will provide opportunities for pupils to become physically confident and build their character and identity in a way, which will build a foundation to enable them to have a love of physical activity throughout their lives. Our children will have opportunities to compete in positive competition and sport and other activities that will help embed values such as resilience, teamwork, determination and self-discipline. P.E at Alder Brook is a vital component of the curriculum, which if successful the pupils will lead healthier lifestyles, a balanced diet, a positive attitude and resilience to persevere with activities that may be once have felt too difficult. In addition, this will also help children appreciate their own and others strengths and weaknesses in sport. As a school, we are passionate about the need to teach children how to work in a team and independently, this will hopefully embed lifelong values such as fairness and respect.

“Sports do not build character. They reveal it.” – Heywood Broun


Pupils at Alder Brook take part in weekly P.E lessons which are taken off the Primary P.E Passport app and recently have brought in the daily mile, which is done once a day for 15 minutes. Our P.E curriculum includes various different sports which all ensure children develop confidence, resilience and appreciating others strengths and weaknesses. As a school we are part of a cluster, which organize out of school competitions for children who do not otherwise access sport. These include, bench ball, American football, dance, athletics etc. This is an inclusive approach, which aspires to encourage pupils to not only have healthy physical development but also a positive feeling of well-being.

Throughout the school, qualified swimming instructors give children lesson once a week for six weeks. This allows children to swim competently and confidently over a short distance. All the pupils learn different techniques such as front crawl, back crawl and breaststroke. Moreover, the children that can swim confidently are given the opportunity to perform safe self-rescue in deeper water.

Also in addition to the internal school P.E lesson, the pupils have access to outdoor activities. In the Autumn 2018 -Spring 2019 using the sports premium funding the school attended horse-riding lessons at Carrington Riding Centre. This gave the pupils half hour riding and half hour lesson on grooming and looking after the horses. This helped the pupils care, nurture and build a relationship with the horses.

Furthermore, to this, in the summer term 2019, KS2 attended water sport lessons at Helly Hansen Water Sport Centre at Salford Quays using Sports Premium funding. The children took part in one lesson per week for six weeks, during this the pupils took part in kayaking, bell boating, paddle boarding, raft building, sailing and canoeing. This helped the pupils build their resilience with the activities, confidence in water and working safely in a team.

Also, in the spring term 2019 we had Shale Sharks come in for 6 weeks to do a SEMH provision ‘Tackle your emotions’ which was based on an hours practical and an hours theory where they did various activities to help them understand their emotions. We have booked for Shale Sharks to come in in the summer term 2020 to deliver an intervention called ‘Sharks on wheels’, which is an intervention where physically able children learn to play rugby in a wheel chair.

Every year, year 5 and 6 go on a residential for 3 days where they take part in outdoor activities that they cannot access at home. In the summer term 2019, we went to Lledr Hall where we engaged in orienteering, canoeing, high and low ropes, mining and scavenger hunts. Throughout the trip, the children were encouraged to use the P.E values by working team and as an individual. Each child thoroughly enjoyed this.

Throughout the school day, physical activities are used in different lessons or for individualized strategies for the children. For example, fine and gross motor skills, corner games in maths and literacy, yoga and fitness videos are used as strategies for some children to de-escalate.

Progression in P.E is monitored through P.E passport; we have only recently started this so this will be fully embedded by summer 2020.


Our curriculum aims to improve the children’s SEMH needs and wellbeing. This not only from the sport that is taught but also from the P.E values that are embedded in to each activity such as resilience, teamwork, determination and self-discipline. Our impact is therefore to inspire all children to succeed and excel in sports by providing an inclusive approach whether it be competitive or non-competitive this will allow them to build their resilience, character and become physically confident.

Our goal is for children to have a physically active life and have access to a wide range of activities whether that be in school or out of school in order for them to live a happy and healthy lifestyle.

The Arts


At Alder Brook we aim to develop a high quality, fun and creative curriculum that inspires all pupils to be confident, resilient and positively engaged. Through this they will be able to express themselves through real life experiences, enhance sensory needs and improve self-esteem. It is our intent to engage, inspire and challenge pupils to be able to be inventive, creative and gain a wider knowledge of the arts. As pupils progress they should be able to use a range of materials and have a deeper understanding of art and design.


At Alder Brook Art and Design is taught on a weekly one- hour basis and is linked to our class topic. Through this thematic approach, National Curriculum objectives are covered. Each area of learning is covered by the end of the half term. Each strand will be taught as a focus throughout one half term, drawing will be a continuous thread which will be visited alongside each strand. There are two oral strands and two evaluation strands which will be visited at the end of every unit taught and used to assess pupil progress.

Each half term we have an educational trip where we visit museums, art galleries and places of historical interest. We also have an artist who comes in to teach a theme which is focused on each class topic. The artist uses a variety of materials and looks at different media to build knowledge and includes experimental learning.


We aim for pupils at Alder Brook to experience and develop their enjoyment of the arts. They will gain a range of experiences which will support them in making aspirational choices in the future.

The Humanities


Through teaching humanities at Alder Brook, we intend to develop children’s knowledge of the wider world and local history and geography. They will ask questions and research the answers to develop an awareness of different places/themes or how things have changed overtime.

In history, the pupils will have opportunities to develop a sound chronological understanding of the past; investigate and compare beliefs, behaviour and characteristics of people; use evidence to explain past events; compare a wide range of primary and secondary sources and discuss the reliability of those sources.

In geography, the pupils will have opportunities to ask geographical questions; investigate, collect, record and analyse the evidence; use a range of maps and atlases; identify significant places and environments and take part in field work.

In addition, they will address contemporary issues such as the environment and the impact of their carbon footprint.

As a result, we hope to develop a curiosity and fascination of the world and the people in it, therefore inspiring our children to travel.


Currently, we use the Cornerstones curriculum when delivering humanity lessons. Each year group has specific projects based on the National Curriculum programmes of study. All projects engage pupils by providing memorable experiences, explore concepts and themes in greater depth and develop essential skills.

Each project is taught in conjunction with English. The pupils will complete three pieces of cross-curricular writing and participate in a weekly topic lesson.

History and geography lessons are taught using a range of sources like artefacts, photographs, video clips, reading materials, timelines, maps, atlases, compasses and artwork. Pupils also use ICT to research and gather information (search engines, websites and Google maps etc). In addition, cross-curricular Art and DT projects support learning in humanities as children design air raid shelters for use during World War II, make Mod Rock Tutankhamun death masks and design and build large bug hotels for the school grounds etc.

Pupils also make use of the local environment for field trips, for example, The Bridge Water Canal and Worsley Woods. The pupils have travelled further afield to Ordsall Hall, The Titanic Museum in Liverpool and National Trust properties. Every year, the Year 5 and 6 pupils have the opportunity to experience a residential holiday at Llder Hall in Wales where they participate in activities like orienteering, hiking and canoeing in the Welsh National Park.

During each topic, pupils build on key skills found on Alder Brook’s KS1 – KS2 progression ladders for history and geography. Historical skills include chronological understanding, a range and depth of historical understanding, historical enquiry and historical interpretation. Geographical skills include geographical enquiry, direction/location, using different styles of maps and map knowledge.


As a result, pupils will have a broader understanding of the world in which they live in, know key historical events/people and understand chronological order. They will know what it is to be a responsible citizen and will show respect for other people’s countries and cultures whilst knowing how to reduce their carbon footprint and effect climate change.

Through studying humanities, pupils will have the ability to think critically, reflect, debate, discuss, evaluate and be independent learners.

They will feel a pride in their local area and culture, but also have a longing to travel and broaden their horizons.

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.