English and Maths
How do we teach English?
At Thorpedene, we believe that literacy and communication are key life skills. Through the English curriculum, we help children to develop the skills and knowledge that will enable them to communicate effectively and creatively through spoken and written language, and to equip them with the skills needed to become lifelong learners. We want children to enjoy and appreciate literature and its rich variety.
English is at the heart of all children’s learning. English enables children both to communicate with others effectively for a variety of purposes and to examine their own and others’ experiences, feelings and ideas.
‘Teachers should develop pupil’s spoken language, reading, writing and vocabulary as integral aspects of the teaching of every subject. English is both a subject in its own right and the medium for teaching; for pupils, understanding the language provides access to the whole curriculum. Fluency in the English language is an essential foundation for success in all subjects.’
Our English curriculum at Thorpedene gives all pupils a wide range of opportunities to develop their literacy skills, through a cross-curricular approach. All teachers plan and teach English so that children have a chance to develop and apply their literacy skills in a meaningful context. Children are taught in blocks of learning each half-term which includes poetry, narrative and non-fiction and these are linked with the year group’s topics.
As well as this, children have weekly spellings, punctuation and grammar (SPaG) lessons and a love of reading is fostered through guided reading, cracking comprehension, accelerated reader and whole class story sharing.
Parental engagement is important to us at Thorpedene and we hold workshops to demonstrate how we teach English and how you can support your children at home.
Our school has chosen Little Wandle Letters and Sounds revised phonics programme to teach early reading and phonics. Phonics supports the children with their early understanding of how to make the connection between the spoken sound (phoneme) and the written representatives (grapheme). Once the children have mastered the ability to blend these sounds together, they will be on their way to building fluency in their reading. The phonics programme teaches the children the sounds in a specific order and this is then supported by guided reading sessions, books and resources that you can also use to practise at home. Phonics is taught daily along with the guided reading sessions and the children will have access to all books via an online system. Workshops to support parents/carers with how this is delivered is held in the autumn term. All children will undertake a statutory phonic screening assessment in the summer term of year 1. Any children who do not pass will sit the retake the following year.
How do we teach Maths?
Maths is taught through building upon the pupil’s prior knowledge and teaching a robust understanding of current age-related expectation with a focus on memory retention, concepts and procedures.
Each lesson is divided up into parts including AfL tasks, daily times tables practice, teaching and learning, challenge and reflection adapted to the needs of the child.
Each year group has a range of curriculum objectives which have been carefully extracted from the National Curriculum to ensure that all year groups are making the necessary progression in knowledge, concepts and procedures before moving onto new or more complex content. Assessment is carried out daily with formal assessments completed termly.
Maths is contextualised and opportunities are provided for pupils to make connections between their learning how this will impact on them in later life. Opportunities are sought to apply Maths across the curriculum.
Maths is taught in ability sets and this provides a flexibility in planning so that gaps in pupil’s mathematical knowledge can be addressed. Gaps are addressed through careful planning and delivery in class as well as pupil conferencing in small groups, pairs or individually and bespoke intervention groups led by learning support assistants.
Our Maths co-ordinator identifies strong teaching and engages them with teachers for whom Maths is an area for improvement using coaching, modelling and mentoring to strengthen the teaching of Maths. Where necessary, CPD is identified for individuals, groups or whole school to further develop the effectiveness of teaching Maths.
Maths is monitored termly to ensure that we have a consistent approach to the teaching of Maths across the school through: learning walks, discussions with pupils, book scrutiny, assessment and data analysis.