“Learning and growing together”
Early Years Department and Key Stage One
Pupils in this department are in their Reception year and go through until the end of year two. They learn through planned and purposeful play with a balance of adult-led and child initiated activities. Children are provided with access to a range of learning opportunities which are tailored to support all areas of learning using free-flow when appropriate and a shared outdoor area.
We follow the Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum and have a particular focus on developing skills within the three prime areas of Communication and Language, Personal Social and Emotional Development and Physical Development. We also develop knowledge and skills in the specific areas of Literacy, Mathematics, Understanding the World and Expressive Arts and Design. Each half term we plan activities around a specific topic which meets the pupils’ individual needs as well as their interests. Our aim is to facilitate learning through play.
Activities in the Early Years Department encourage play and exploration. Children are supported to actively learn and think critically in order to become effective and motivated learners. We strive to provide pupils with a wide variety of experiences and activities both in school and the wider community. At least once a term the children will experience an educational visit which links to the current topic they are exploring. Pupils will also have the opportunity to attend regular cooking, music and swimming sessions, as well as accessing specialist rooms such as the sensory studio. We promote outdoor learning for our pupils which is supported through a weekly session in our Forest School where they can experience and explore the natural environment. Above all, our team provide a safe, fun and nurturing environment in which all pupils can develop their individual personalities, talents and reach their full potential
The phonics schemes used with Key Stage One pupils are ‘Jolly phonics’ and ‘Letters and Sounds’. The Reading schemes used are ‘Dandelion readers’ and ‘Songbirds’ (these are usually introduced during the summer term where appropriate).
Pupils in the Early Years department are provided with lots of positive reinforcement and praise for good work and behaviour, as we understand that instant praise is really important for them. Where appropriate, zone boards are used as an incentive and rewards are offered at the end of the school day for those children who are at the top of the board in gold. A ‘star of the week’ is also chosen from each class group to reflect a particular achievement or progress; these children will receive a certificate to take home with them.
Key Stage Two
Pupils in this department are in years 3-6. In this Department pupils follow the National Curriculum and cover a broad range of subjects including English, Mathematics, Computing, Science, Design Technology, Art & Design, History, Geography, Music, Physical Education, Religious Education, Swimming, PSHE & C (Personal, Social, Health Education & Citizenship) and MFL (Modern Foreign Languages).
The dedicated and experienced team in this Department aim to make your child’s time as happy and fulfilling as possible. We build progressively on Early Years experiences and continue to provide the foundation on which your child will develop skills for life. We believe that pupils learn best in a happy, stimulating, caring and safe environment where high expectations allow both pupils and staff to achieve their best.
The general principles of the curriculum in Key Stage Two are that it should be broadly balanced, relevant and differentiated according to each pupils needs. The curriculum aims to provide progression and continuity in order to build on existing knowledge and skills. Our staff are always thinking about what we want pupils to achieve at each step along the way and how we can support parents and carers in helping their child achieve their full potential.
The curriculum offered is based on an individual child’s specific needs. The lessons planned throughout the school day are based on the National Curriculum but modified and differentiated to meet need. This is delivered through a variety of teaching and learning styles and multi-sensory approaches to acknowledge diversity of need. Specific teaching programmes are also incorporated into the school day based on individual need. These might include PECS, intensive interaction, music therapy, sensory sessions, TEACCH and 1:1 teaching sessions.
Pupils have access to a variety of reading schemes that enhance their reading opportunities, developing their skills whilst also giving them the chance to consolidate their knowledge. We follow the Letters and Sounds Phonics scheme and supplement this with the use of the Phase 2 to Phase 6 resource kits. Our reading schemes are cross referenced to the phonics scheme and so pupils have plenty of opportunities to build on their skills. Throughout Key Stage Two we use Oxford Reading Tree Phonics, Oxford Reading Tree Traditional Tales, Floppy’s Phonics, Lighthouse and Dandelion Readers.
We believe that communication is fundamental to everything that we do. We use various communication methods such as Signalong, PECS, Communicate in Print and objects of reference to enable pupils to understand and be understood. We also offer colourful semantics speech therapy programme.
There is a huge emphasis on praise and encouragement in KS2 and pupils receive rewards and certificates for achievements, behaviour and effort. We operate a zone board system that is linked to rewards in order to ensure pupils are supported to take responsibility for their own behaviour. Pupils also have the opportunity to achieve ‘Athlete of the Week’ and ‘Star of the Week’ award in assembly. They are able to choose a reward from the KS2 ‘Treasure Chest’ and have a Star Certificate to take home.
Communication with parents and carers is central to a full understanding of the development of each individual. Your child will be given a home/ school book in which anything important that has happened during the day will be written. Please use it to tell us anything you would like us to know about what your child has done at home. We also have parent’s evenings and parent engagement activities throughout the school year and your child’s annual review of their EHCP which all provide opportunities to gain a shared understanding of your child’s progress both in school and at home.
Pupils in KS2 will continue to work towards achieving their ‘Stanley’ awards during swimming sessions. By completing these awards, pupils will enhance and develop their swimming and water safety skills with the opportunity to achieve certificates and badges to recognise their progress.
Key Stage Three
Pupils in this department are in Years 7, 8 and 9. In Key Stage Three, staff focus on helping our young people become more independent as learners. Pupils continue to study the National Curriculum, differentiated to their individual needs. Subjects covered include English, Mathematics, Computing, Science, Design Technology, Creative Arts (Art and Music), Humanities (Geography and History), Physical Education, Swimming and PSHE&C. MFL is taught through language days where pupils have the opportunity to experience the language, culture, food, customs etc of a different country. Pupils with more complex needs are also provided with personalised learning opportunities such as access to the sensory studio, TEACCH, PECs and Forest School.
Regular enrichment trips and activities are planned as part of the curriculum to enable Key Stage Three pupils to extend their learning in different environments and under different circumstances and contexts other than the familiar school environment.
KS3 students collect merits for positive behaviour and effort. They can then spend these at the merit shop once a term. However, students can choose to save up their merits to spend on larger rewards the following term.
In Key Stage Three, we continue to promote a Total Communication environment where pupils are encouraged to use a variety of methods to support communication such as PECs, Signalong, symbols, CIP and objects of reference.
We value communication and working together with our parents/carers in order to meet the needs of all our pupil effectively and to support them in achieving their potential. Each pupil in Key Stage Three will have a home/school planner which is sent home on a daily basis. Parent/carers are invited to join us for termly parental engagement activities. There are also parental consultation evenings throughout the year.
Key Stage Four
Students in this Department are in years 10 and 11.
In this Department the curriculum has been designed to provide the students with the skills that they need to move from their starting points in year 10 to a defined destination. The curriculum is aimed at engaging and challenging students so they can enjoy learning and achieve their potential. The curriculum is designed to ensure that learners have access to personalised programmes of learning with flexibility built in to meet the needs of individual students.
When students arrive in Key Stage Four most of their learning is delivered in school through class teaching and specialist subject teaching. Students are assessed and follow two different pathways.
Students are based within a class group for some areas of the curriculum and then move into specific learning groups for accredited courses appropriate to their ability. Students at Entry Levels 1 to 3 follow a two year mixture of academic courses. Some students with more complex learning difficulties follow the Personal Progress pathway.
Please refer to the accreditation page of this website for further information.
All students in Key Stages 4 and 5 have a Transition Plan. Students are supported to develop a Transition Pathway where they start to focus on their own skills, abilities and interests to help them have ownership of what they may opt to do as they prepare for life after school. This is supported by school staff and the IAG advisor, Tom George.
Key Stage Five
At Key Stage 5 we aim to support students towards greater independence by providing a curriculum which offers balance, relevance, continuity and progression. Students follow the Open College Network West Midlands (OCNWM) which provides a framework for designing personalised learning programmes. The curriculum aims to meet the diverse needs of our individual learners by offering a wide range of subjects and experiences at Entry Level 1, 2 and 3.
Most students at Pitcheroak choose to stay on and access Post 16 provision, which is full-time and 5 days per week. Students can decide to remain at this setting for 1, 2 or 3 years. Core subjects are taught across the week: English, maths and ICT. Foundation subjects are taught alongside these: PSD (Personal Social Education), Communication Skills, Sex and Relationships Education, Creative options and Leisure. Students may also experience life and work skills, Food Technology, Team Enterprise, Work Experience and College Link Courses at Redditch and Bromsgrove Campus.
Students have regular meetings with our Careers Advisor who is able to support and review transition plans. Guidance is offered to students and their families to ensure end of school destinations are found.
Achievements are recognised and celebrated regularly in the 14-19 department. Students collect raffle tickets for positive behaviour and effort, which can then be used to select items from the merit shop every half term. Students are given the opportunity to either choose smaller items or to save their tickets for a bigger reward at a later date. When the students leave school they are presented with their Record of Achievement which contains all of their qualifications and certificates.