English and Maths at Astmoor
At Astmoor Primary School we believe that English is a fundamental life skill. Teaching English is more than just 'equipping children with the skills to speak, read and write'. We believe that English is the key to communicating with others and expressing themselves in all areas of their lives. All elements of our English lessons are designed to ensure that children leave our school being able to read fluently, speak properly (using a wide vocabulary) and to write to a good standard.
English is taught daily at our school for approximately 1 hour. In Foundation Stage, it is broken up into shorter sessions that are spread throughout the day. In addition to this, children also have spelling/phonic lessons every day and a guided reading lesson each week.
KS1 and Foundation Stage children follow the 'Letters and Sounds' programme of phonics. Children are grouped according to ability so that teachers can target their specific needs. As children progress, they may be moved into a different group with a different teacher. Children are continually assessed to check what they have learned and how they are progressing. During the Spring Term, we offer the opportunity to take part in parent/child after school phonics sessions to support parents and carers to understand how to help children progress. All Year 1 children are tested on their phonics skills during the summer term through a simple phonic check activity.
Once children move into KS2, they begin to follow a 'Read, Write, Inc' programme of spelling activities. These are short, daily lessons designed to support children in learning about the main spelling conventions we use. Children are also given a short word list to be practised at home, ready for a spelling test on Fridays.
From the earliest possible age, we encourage reading and a love of books in everything we do. Teachers read daily to children and expose them to a wide variety of fiction and non-fiction books.
In Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1, most children read from books that have been banded according to difficulty and challenge. They become increasingly more difficult as children progress through the bands. They are expected to move through the bands in a timely manner with many children moving on to 'free choice' books by the end of Year 2 or start of Year 3. Reading at home regularly is key to helping children succeed with their own reading and we ask for the support of carers and parents in ensuring this is done.
In September 2020, we are embarking on a new way of teaching writing which will be book led. Each class will focus a new, high-quality picture book each half term that links to our whole school theme. Writing opportunities will be linked to these chosen books and will include spelling, grammar and punctuation development at age appropriate stages. In addition to the chose class books, we will also have a whole school book that we will focus on for one week each half term. This book will link to themes of social and personal development as well as moral and ethical issues.
Teachers ensure also that lots of opportunities are given to children for writing in other curriculum areas such as history, geography and science.
Maths at Astmoor is taught in Years 1 - 6 using a Singapore style approach called 'Maths No Problem'. This approach allows children to build knowledge and skills over time by revisiting concepts in a carefully designed way. Daily lessons focus on an achor task which is explored in detail at the start of the lesson. Children record their thinking and learning in their journals and practice their skills in workbooks specifically designed for each year group. We also have a daily focus on maths fluency skills in all classes to ensure that children are continually developing this aspect of their maths.