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 every day, during the morning, for approximately 1 hour.
KS1 and Foundation Stage children follow the 'Read, Write Inc' scheme for both reading and writing. It is a very rigourous approach which aims to secure good reading (decoding) skills and good writing (encoding) skills as early as possible in order to allow greater focus on reading comprehension and writing composition further up school. As soon as your child enters our school in Foundation Stage, they will begin the Read, Write Inc scheme as part of their daily lessons. Once children have learnt the first set of letters, we will focus on blending them together to make words. At this point, they will begin to read very simple, decodable books and you will be able to support at home with this. All the children from Foundation Stage to Year 2, will be assessed each half term to see what progress has been made. The outcomes of these assessments will determine which group the children will be placed in. Where we feel a child is at risk of falling behind, we will implement 1-1 'keep up' sessions in order to address weaknesses.
From Year 3 upwards, children will participate in a number of whole class reading sessions each week with teachers. These sessions aim to improve the fluency of reading in order to ensure children have adequate skills to enjoy and understand what they are reading. Some children may also receive an additional small group, guided read where the teacher will support them to build on the reading skills. In addition to this, a small minority of children will receive more intensive 1-1 reading support.
Writing in KS2 is planned using a 'book led' approach. That means that teachers select high quality picture books that link in some way to the curriculum theme or an aspect of the curriculum that is being taught. These books are explored and studied in depth leading to planned opportunities to learn about various writing structures and grammatical conventions. Extended writing opportunites are also planned to allow children the opportunity to demonstrate their skills and understanding.
All our teachers have a strong knowledge and love of children's literature - from classic literature to literature and books from new authors. All classes are read to frequently and are exposed to a wide range of rich and varied books. Each class has a selection of good quality books that children can read and take home for their home reading.
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.
Teachers ensure also that lots of opportunities are given to children for writing in other curriculum areas such as history, geography and science.
Handwriting is given high priority at Astmoor and there are regular, planned handwriting lessons and opportunities for practice. Our exercise books have handwriting lines that support children with spacing and sizing of letters. After each school holiday, greater time is spent focusing on handwriting to ensure children get back into good habits quickly.
Maths at Astmoor is taught from Foundation Stage to Year 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 anchor 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.