We recognise that our pupils come to school having had a wide range of mathematical experience.
We will build on that experience by giving each child a thorough grounding in the basic concepts, facts and techniques required to assist our pupils in developing the skills necessary to tackle mathematical situations they may encounter in everyday life. We recognise the pupils’ individual needs and through developing individual learning will help our pupils to build a positive self-image and a positive attitude to mathematics.
In Strathdon School we see the process of learning mathematics as primarily activity based and encourage the use of a variety of resources to achieve this:- Teaching staff, Structure apparatus, Construction material, Measuring equipment, Games and Puzzles, Workcards and worksheets, Computers, Calculators, TV and Radio, Text books, Local Environment, Drawing/modelling equipment, ‘Play’ areas in the classroom.
We regularly teach lessons on mental agility and problem solving. We use the ‘Heinemann’, ‘Tens’ and ‘Peak’ mathematics schemes as valuable tools to assist the achievement of mathematical understanding.
The Scottish Education Department has issued guidelines for Mathematics 5-14 which we in Strathdon base our programmes of work on.
The attainment outcomes in mathematics are; Problem solving and enquiry, Information handling, Number, money and measurement, Shape, position and movement.
Language is at the heart of childrens’ learning. Through language the pupils receive much of their knowledge and acquire many of their skills. Because language is central to childrens’ intellectual, emotional and social development it has an essential role across the curriculum.
In Strathdon we will build upon each child’s pre-school language experiences and will assist each child to build a knowledge of language, listen attentively, read with understanding, write fluently and legibly with accurate spelling and punctuation and be confident when talking.
In 2002 we introduced a new language programme throughout the school which is called ‘Literacy World’. This is a complete literacy programme for pupils from approximately P3/4 – P7. It recognises that effective literacy teaching exploits the links between reading and writing. Literacy World uses extracts from a range of quality literature to provide a coherent delivery of reading and writing objectives based around fiction, poetry and non-fiction with writing frames to support and develop children’s writing.
We have also developed our own language guide for the development of literacy in the early stages (pre level A).
You are most welcome to look at these language programmes or to discuss them further with either Lilian Field or Kathleen Paterson.
The 5-14 Scottish office guidelines provide the basis for our programmes of work. The attainment outcomes for language are; Listening, Talking and Reading Writing.
We recognise that children come to school having had a variety of pre-reading experiences. We aim to encourage activities at Playgroup to enhance this experience.
On initial entry to school and for as long as necessary according to each individual child we will provide a varied programme of activities to encourage matching, visual discrimination, left to right eye co-ordination and sequencing. We have a wide variety of games and resources with which to support this. From the very beginning we will encourage an interest in books and will hope to foster a love of listening to stories and also reading for personal enjoyment and information.
We will use an eclectic approach to teaching reading according to the child’s individual needs. From the first days at school children will be encouraged to take home a book to share with their parents. A communication booklet will accompany this where comments by teachers, parents and children will be welcomed.
We feel it is important when fostering an enjoyment of reading to give children an element of choice in what they are reading. This will be achieved by allowing children to choose books from our reading shelves, which are colour coded according to suitability for different reading levels. The range of books includes material from structured schemes such as the Oxford reading Tree, Storychest and Literacy World.
Children will be encouraged in the early stages to construct their own personal reading books which will initially be scribed by the teacher and illustrated by the child and will progress to being written and illustrated by the child through use of breakthrough to literacy and foundations of writing resources.
A daily silent reading session will take place where pupils will be encouraged to choose a book from the class library to look at quietly for a short time. A daily story time session will also take place where a relevant story will be shared with the group.
Reading in the upper stages shall be a means by which the children are led by the written word into a wider world of experience. The children will be reading for a purpose, for information, for interest and also to escape into a private world opened to them by a skilled writer.
This will be achieved by providing a lively and exciting reading environment and building upon skills acquired in the early stages. Our aim is to assist each child to develop into a confident, independent reader who can respond to a wide variety of texts in appropriate ways.
The children in the upper stages will, as in the early stages, feel as if they are in control of what they are reading. They will be given a choice of books from a large collection of novels and non-fiction texts available from our shared reading resource area, library or Literacy World.
The discussion of books read will be encouraged and the children will keep their own individual record sheets with their comments on books read. This process will be constantly monitored by the teacher to ensure continuity.
In conclusion, at this stage, we feel that reading to the children from quality literature, talking in an informal way about books they have read and using books from the library for reference as much as possible, will instil in the children a familiarity with the a written word. This will in turn open up many avenues along which they may explore both in personal reading and personal writing.
Through a large collection of carefully selected topics, which are fully aligned to the 5-14 guidelines, the children will encounter many aspects of a range of subjects; History, Geography, Modern Studies, Home Economics, Science, Technology and Health education.
Our aim is to develop each child’s knowledge and skills in relation to these subjects. To assist us with this we will use the Aberdeenshire guidelines on Environmental Studies and will provide opportunities for field trips whenever it is possible.
We follow a rolling programme of topics that cover all aspects of the knowledge and understanding and related skills which the pupils are expected to learn. During, and at the end of blocks of teaching, the pupils will be assessed on what has been taught.
We will inform parents each term of the topics which will be studied and we do value any input which parents and friends can give us e.g. specialist knowledge of a particular subject, artefacts which we may borrow etc.
All of the 15 Primary Schools in the Alford Academy catchment area offer pupils in the Upper stages an experience of European Language and culture as part of the curriculum.
In Strathdon School we currently offer French and German. The children are taught aspects of the language which will enable them to converse about various topics, e.g. themselves, their families and homes, the weather, clothes, parts of the body.
Much of the language will be taught through games, role play and songs but there will also be a certain amount of written work which will be for reference and to enable consolidation of their learning.
The aims of teaching French or German in the Primary School are as follows; -
• To introduce the languages in a stimulating manner, with emphasis on talking and listening.
• To deliver themes appropriate to the child’s experience.
• To raise awareness of culture and customs of France and Germany.
• To engender an interest in learning a foreign language.
• To provide opportunities for pupils to use their foreign language.
The pupils in P4-7 will be asked, in consultation with their parents, to choose whether they would like to learn French or German. They will then receive language teaching on one afternoon per week for approximately one hour in total.
When pupils transfer to Alford Academy they will be given the opportunity to study French or German in the First Year. Parents of pupils in P7 will be issued with a letter in late January or early February that asks them to indicate a language preference.
Alford Academy offers a diversity of Modern Languages and is well equipped and staffed to operate two classes of French and two of German in first year. As the majority of Primary Schools opted to learn French with the introduction of the Primary language programme, it is not always possible to guarantee that every pupil who studies French in P7 will be able to continue this language in first year at the Academy.
The schools in the Academy area accept that there will be situations where pupils will be directed to a modern language that is different from the stated preference. Where this happens, we will endeavour to keep all parties informed. Whilst this is not ideal, it is important that parents are fully aware of the situation which has been agreed by all the schools.
The following procedure will be used by the Academy to create class lists in S1;
Consideration of parents’ language preferences to create two French and two German classes.
Where there is imbalance of numbers the following points will be considered;
• Language being studied by older siblings
• Other factors identified in the parental return
• Guidance/house membership
• Other factors (advice from P7 teacher/learning support/other reports)
• Class sizes in S1 which should be similar for all four classes
• Factors which would help achieve a social cohesion in a class.
All of the schools recognise the value in introducing a Modern Language experience at an early stage and the value of the experience it provides for pupils. We hope that this information provides parents with a clear view of the activity and the issues surrounding transfer to the Academy.
Religious and Moral Education
Strathdon School is committed to providing pupils with a programme of religious and moral education through regular class activities and assemblies. One assembly is held on a weekly basis, taken by the Head Teacher, Lilian Field. We currently have no input from our local Church of Scotland minister but we hope this situation will be resolved in the near future. We follow the guidelines provided by the 5-14 Curriculum document on Religious and Moral Education.
'Religious Education is concerned with the development of the understanding of religion as a significant area of human experience. It is also an aspect of personal growth enabling the individual to explore questions concerning the meaning of life and the value of the individual interpreted in relation to that which is beyond man.’
‘Moral Education is the process whereby a person develops responsible attitude towards others and skills of moral judgement about what is considered right and wrong.’
Extracts taken from Religious and Moral Education 5-14.
In Strathdon School we have constructed a rolling programme in Religious and Moral education which will teach aspects of Christianity, Other World religions and Personal Search. This will be delivered through a variety of carefully planned lessons and supported by a collection of quality resources. At the end of blocks of teaching children will be assessed on their knowledge and understanding of the topics which have been taught.
Personal and Social Development
The aims of personal and social development are to help pupils to:
- ‘Have an appropriately positive regard for self, and for others and their needs.’
- ‘Develop life skills to enable them to participate effectively and safely in society.’
- ‘Identify, review and evaluate the values they and society hold and recognise that these effect thoughts and actions.’
- ‘Take increasing responsibility for their own lives.’
Extracts taken from Personal and Social Development 5-14.
In the Early Stages the children will have their reading books to share at home with their parents on a daily basis. In addition they may have language/maths games to play at home and spelling words to learn. When the pupils reach P4/5 then homework is set regularly. This consists mainly of reading, spelling , language/maths and when appropriate environmental studies investigations to complete.
The homework serves two purposes, the main one being that the child becomes accustomed to doing a certain amount of work on his/her own and to disciplining him/herself into setting aside a little time in the evening for personal study. This should stand the pupil in good stead for the continuation of this policy in Alford Academy. The second purpose is to allow the parents to share and discuss with the children the work which they are doing in school.
Maths homework is never of the type where the parent has to teach the child a method of doing something, this will have been fully covered in school and the work given will simply be to reinforce.
Parents are encouraged to share and take an interest in the homework but should not feel they have to correct mistakes made or do the child’s homework themselves. This creates a false impression of the child's ability to work on his/her own.
We would appreciate the support of parents with our homework policy in reminding the children that this is an important part of their education which should be completed and brought back to school at the arranged times.
Assessment and Reporting
In Strathdon School we aim to assess children in an on-going basis. Each child has a profile folder which contains information on standardised tests used, national tests used, samples of work from each level attained in English Language and Mathematics and formats for recording progress in different curriculum areas. This information is invaluable when making an assessment of which level each child is working on.
Confirmation of levels attained in English language and Mathematics is made through use of National Tests in each of these areas. Children will not be tested as a class, but as individuals when the level of work being produced is indicative that they have largely achieved a set level. Children will also be assessed in other curriculum areas.
Liaison with Parents
We feel that it is essential to a child’s educational development for parents and teachers to keep in touch on a regular basis. If parents have any queries or concerns relating to their child then it is very important that these are dealt with at an early stage. We are always happy and willing to discuss your child and will make every effort to be available at a mutually convenient time.
We aim to hold two liaison days during the session when parents are offered the opportunity to visit school, observe the children at work, discuss workbooks etc. with their child and also have time to consult with the class teachers on aspects of their child’s school life.
Written reports are sent out to parents during March / April. In recent years the formats for these reports have been revised by the authority, this revision is still in progress.
We hold an open evening during the Spring term when parents and children come along to participate in activities relating to different aspects of the curriculum. We aim to encourage as many members of the community as possible to attend our P.T.A. functions, school concerts and also to visit our school at any time.