Literacy and numeracy are the focus of our morning lessons and it is during these morning classes that all remedial support takes place. During the afternoon the children study history, geography, science, religious studies, information technology and spoken Italian in their form groups. These form groups are age appropriate and have a maximum size of eight.
Our pupil profiles are constantly changing. Timetables are therefore reviewed every six weeks.
At our latest Ofsted inspection (in May 2012) Calder House was rated as "OUTSTANDING" in every single one of the seven performance categories.
"The quality of education is outstanding and the school fully meets its aims, being particularly successful in reintegrating pupils back into mainstream education." Read more>>
Admission and fees
Find out more about entry to Calder House: click here to download details of our admissions proceedure and current fees.
Every pupil at Calder House has a personalised timetable designed to meet his or her individual needs. No two children face the same difficulties. This is why, at Calder House, no two timetables are the same. The example below should give you a good idea of how a typical school day is structured. Click on the different elements within the timetable for more information about each one.
Children are expected to arrive at 08.30 for registration. Once registered they make their way to their classrooms and for supervised reading until the bell goes.
At the start of each week the headmaster holds a whole school assembly. The children listen to the address, sing a hymn and take a moment for quiet reflection. It is a great way to bring the whole school together at the start of the week.
The school is divided into four houses, named after the first four children to attend the school. During the week the children may be awarded house points for good behaviour or for kindness towards another child. The head boy and the head girl count the house points up each week and the totals are read out. The house with the most house points at the end of the term wins the much sought after House Cup! There is also an award for the child who has won the most house points during the term.
The Friday assembly gives each class an opportunity to present an assembly to the rest of the school and to their parents. Parents then usually stay for a coffee and informal chat with the headmaster. During the Friday assemblies children are awarded their Merit Certificates and any other Certificates they may have won. Merits are awarded for any exceptional piece of work. After gaining 10 merits a child is awarded a Bronze Certificate, 25 merits gain a Silver Certificate and a child who gains 50 merits will be awarded a Gold Certificate. There is also an award for the child who gains the most merits during the term. Our ethos is to encourage and reward success while ensuring everyone has an equal opportunity to shine.
This 20-minute period each week gives the children an opportunity to discuss any issues which may be concerning them. It also gives the class teacher time each week with his/her own class. The school also follows a programme to help the children develop a positive attitude towards themselves and to the others in their class.
This is a continuation of the circle time earlier in the week. It allows the teacher extra time to help prepare the children for their assemblies and other class activities.
Pupils have reading lessons twice a day. We use remedial reading systems and a cumulative reading scheme to achieve age appropriate fluency and reading for meaning. Reading age is formally tested twice yearly to monitor progress.
Pupils are split into groups based on their current spelling age. Each week the children are given a list of words that follow a particular spelling pattern. We use a number of structured teaching approaches designed to suit different learning styles. Pupils are tested weekly and periodically, and we specifically work to ensure the use of learned spellings transfers to the children's own creative writing. Ten minutes spelling homework is set on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings to help them embed the spellings in their long term memories. We test formally for spelling age twice yearly to monitor progress.
In addition to their daily reading and spelling lessons each child has a daily English lesson, which follows the National Curriculum and focuses on creative writing and comprehension. The children are grouped according to their current National Curriculum level and reading age. The maximum class size is eight and an assistant will support the teacher whenever there are eight children in a group or as required.
Pupils are taught maths every day in a group which is usually determined by their current Maths Age and National Curriculum level. The maximum class size is eight. We also have a specialist group for Dyscalculic pupils who have not responded well to a visual approach to maths teaching. An assistant will support the teacher whenever there are eight children in a group or if the teacher requests a helper. As with other subjects we follow the National Curriculum in Maths and pupils have about 15 minutes maths homework every night.
Break time is a chance to run around, play games and have fun in the play-barn or wooden fort. Breaks are always supervised by at least two members of staff who ensure that children play safely and play together. At Calder House no-one gets left out on the sidelines or is made to feel like second-best.
In addition to their core maths lessons, pupils receive extra maths as required to support specific “pen and paper” topics (e.g. negative numbers, symmetry, fractions and bar charts) as opposed to mental maths (e.g. times-tables), which we look at in other classes.
Mental arithmetic is treated as a separate strand within the National Curriculum and represents a specific area of difficulty for some of our pupils. Consequently pupils receive extra support as required to help them improve their mental maths - for instance learning their tables and developing automatic recall of number bonds.
1:1 Language Support
We have a full time speech and language therapist who works on a 1:1 basis with pupils who require language support. This support might be aimed at improving word finding skills, auditory memory, or taking meaning from text. It may also involve working with children in small groups to support social skills such as turn taking or active listening.
1:1 Dyslexia Support
All English curriculum subjects are taught by specialist teachers but we have an additional specialist who works on a 1:1 basis with the children supporting her class colleagues. This support can involve extra work on phonic encoding and decoding skills for pupils who are underachieving in literacy, support for specific areas of maths, or simply make up lessons missed through illness.
Calder House's physiotherapist works with pupils who need to improve gross motor skills. These may include proprioception, dynamic and static balance, postural stability, hand eye coordination, extension work, midline crossing and body awareness. All of these key skills underpin performance in the classroom as well as on the games field and in the playground. With guidance and encouragement measurable improvements can be seen not just in ability but also self-confidence.
Fine Motor Skills/Handwriting
Calder House's physiotherapist works on pupils' fine motor control where, for example, pencil control and poor handwriting are an issue or a child has difficulty managing rulers, scissors or stencils.
Visual Memory: These sessions help children remember things they see – for instance, remembering shapes or patterns particularly in the correct order. A good visual memory is useful for example when copying from the board, and a good visual sequential memory helps both in spelling and reading. We help pupils address both these issues using a variety of strategies. Auditory Memory: Much teaching in primary classrooms is verbal. Pupils have to remember what they have heard – which is particularly difficult for those whose literacy skills are poor and who therefore cannot easily make a note. Our children are taught strategies to help them remember what they have heard (making visual clues, classifying envisaging in the mind's eye) and encouraged through active listening to develop their auditory memories.
Visual Sequencing: pupils may be able to recall shapes and symbols they have seen but not the order in which they appeared – with an obvious impact upon, for example, spelling. Auditory Sequencing: pupils may remember things they have heard but in the correct order – impacting on tables and all forms of learning by rote as well as listening comprehension and the ability to follow verbal instructions. Calder House is able to offer a range of resources to help pupils improve their sequencing skills.
Difficulties here result not just in poor mapping skills, understanding of data which is visually presented like graphs and charts but even more disabling untidy work set out badly on the page, uneven handwriting and poorly formed letters and numerals.
Pupils have lunch together in age-appropriate groups. A member of staff reads a story to each group while they are eating – one of the ways in which we expose pupils to the best of both classic and contemporary children's literature. Afterwards there's another opportunity to let of steam in playground or go to various clubs.
At Calder House this core subject focuses on investigating and evaluating: the two weekly lessons are supplemented with Science fun days, and pupils progress through the National Curriculum culminating in Year 6 in the end of Key Stage Sats examinations.
Our small class size means we are able to supplement the classroom lessons with out of school activities including visits to museums where pupils are able to take part in living history enactments. Our art department works with the history teachers to facilitate model making and other visual aids so pupils are not dependant on the written word to remember what they are learning.
Lots of field-work, aerial maps of our school and links with schools in the UK and abroad help to make this subject relevant and enjoyable.
Calder House promotes a healthy lifestyle though Personal Health and Social Education lessons and encourage pupils to value and respect themselves and others. In non-denominational Religious Education lessons we promote a basic understanding of the tenets of the main religions of the world, marking and respecting festivals and visiting different places of worship.
This core subject is very popular and taught as a discrete subject in our technology suite. There is a radio link to our interactive whiteboard enabling teachers to access the internet for class lessons across the curriculum using this facility.
Our music teacher gives class music and singing lessons. Pupils are encouraged to enjoy performing for their parents and friends at a number of events arranged throughout the year.
These subjects alternate throughout the year to give all an opportunity to enjoy demonstrating their creativity and learn new techniques and skills.
Italian is easier and more fun to learn than most European languages. It is taught to all but the very youngest class at Calder House and is designed to give pupils a first taste of success in learning a second language.
Drama lessons culminate in a major school production once a year. We also take the English Speaking Board examinations, which support the speaking and listening element of the National Curriculum. And year after year Calder House's pupils gains top marks in these exams!
We teach swimming for half the year at a heated indoor pool which is very close to the school. Pupils take the ASA swimming badges and the National Curriculum proficiency badges.P.E. and a variety of team games focus on developing physical skills and team spirit leading to friendly matches and events with other schools. We hold our own fun Sports Day every summer.
From 1530-1550 every Friday afternoon we have ‘Golden Time'. During the week the children choose an activity that they want to do for the final 20 minutes of the week. It is the reward for the week's hard work and good behaviour.
At home time each pupil receives back their homework bag into which their class teacher has placed the evening’s homework. Homework is aimed at reinforcing the work done during the day and usually comprises some maths, spelling and reading. Homework should never be a struggle and if we have got it wrong parents are asked to let us know immediately. Homework should take no longer than 30 minutes in total and our contact book ensures that communication between home and school about the night’s homework is clear and immediate. Homework not only reinforces work done in school but the fact that a pupil sees they can do it away from the teacher’s help builds confidence. It is all part of encouraging pupils to take responsibility for their own learning. It should never be a battlefield and we support pupils and parents to ensure that it is not. The school day ends at 16.00. Pupils stay in our care until they are actually dismissed into the care of the adult collecting them. They are never left unsupervised at the school gate.