The teaching of English is at the heart of curriculum provision at Thomas Gamuel Primary School. Children learn how to read, write and spell in Literacy and Phonics lessons every morning. If required, extra support is provided to pupils through intervention groups in the afternoons. Our writing lessons are 'skills-based' and are carefully differentiated to meet the needs of all learners. A love of writing is encouraged through engaging and lively texts and stories. Many pupils beginning their education at primary school have limited or no English, therefore, we aim to provide our pupils with opportunities to develop core communication skills in every lesson, regardless of the subject. Progress and attainment in writing at Thomas Gamuel is achieved through carefully tailored, high-quality lessons and resources.
Children at Thomas Gamuel learn Maths as a discrete subject for an hour a day, as well as in a cross-curricular way, such as during Maths Week when we use Maths in PE, art and other subjects.
We use the Primary Advantage Maths approach in which children learn to use concrete resources, such as counters, blocks, plastic money and number lines, to develop a strong understanding of Maths concepts. They then move on to using pictures to help them visualise a concept, before learning to handle numbers in the abstract.
Our aim is that all children enjoy Maths and see its value in the real world. As such we focus on Maths in a real-life context and fun, problem-solving activities. When children have shown a good understanding of the basic concepts, we stretch their learning by challenging them to explain their reasoning and show a depth of understanding, leading to mastery.
Mental Maths is an important skill, taught in short bursts every day. Children are taught strategies to improve the speed of their mental calculations. We emphasise the importance of learning times tables and number bonds.
Children have the opportunity to work on ICT in Maths at least once a week. As a school, we have a subscription to Maths websites such as My Maths. This site can be accessed by children from home, speak to your class teacher if your child needs their log-in details.
Homework for Maths is usually set once every fortnight (alternating with literacy), either in homework books or through online resources, such as My Maths. We also encourage parents to spend time every day helping their children learn the times tables and number bonds.
In Key Stage (KS1), children read with adults every day. Our specific classroom programme helps to move all children on in their reading. It is delivered initially to all children in KS1 while they are still reading on KS1 colour band levels. It helps children make accelerated progress by working with trained adults in small groups matched to their independent reading levels. This method has a proven track record of success in raising school reading standards in KS1. Each reading session lasts for 30 minutes. The children are assessed on a daily basis to ensure that they are supported and stretched to achieve their full potential.
Both in school and at home, we want to build a culture of reading for pleasure and purpose. Our approach to reading involves daily sessions incorporating clear adult modelling before the children applying these skills through partner work and independent reading. Children deepen their understanding of the challenging texts they read through the systematic use of a series of strategies and language stems. Our approach encompasses the key principles of effective reading provision and fully meets the requirements of the National Curriculum by creating a deep understanding of texts, developing an ability to express themselves about they have read and increasing children’s breadth of reading.
School leaders have been effective in identifying and providing suitable opportunities for pupils to take responsibility. Teachers of older pupils have high expectations for their attitudes to learning. This is preparing them well for the next stage of their education
Ofsted report, October 2016