Culmstock Primary School
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At Culmstock Primary School, we aim to develop confident and articulate children who have the literacy knowledge, skills and understanding that will help them make sense of the world around them as they develop. We want our children to grow up developing a love for reading and writing, where they relish opportunities to do so in a variety of contexts.

We use the National Curriculum as a basis for developing our children’s reading, writing, speaking and listening skills; the curriculum aims to ensure pupils:

  • read easily, fluently and with good understanding
  • develop the habit of reading widely and often, for both pleasure and information
  • acquire a wide vocabulary, an understanding of grammar and knowledge of linguistic conventions for reading, writing and spoken language
  • appreciate our rich and varied literary heritage
  • write clearly, accurately and coherently, adapting their language and style in and for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences
  • use discussion in order to learn; they should be able to elaborate and explain clearly their understanding and ideas
  • are competent in the arts of speaking and listening, making formal presentations, demonstrating to others and participating in debate


    At Culmstock Primary School, we deliver daily dedicated literacy lessons where we employ a range of techniques to engage the children in their literacy learning.

    In Early Years, the children develop their literacy skills through the early learning goals. The foundations of literacy are taught during small guided groups which the children then build on through independent activities where they are encouraged to explore and discover the different areas of literacy. The children are given continuous access to reading books, listened to regularly and offered opportunities to practice and embed their writing skills around the classroom.

    Throughout the rest of the school, literacy is taught through carefully planned sequences (drawing on well-known literature and authors) which develop vital skills in reading, writing, spelling and grammar. The children are encouraged to write short pieces regularly, putting the skills they learn into practice, and building up to longer pieces. In addition to these literacy sequences, the teachers plan specific grammar lessons for pupils to learn and apply their skills, as well as applying their knowledge acquired to other areas of the curriculum.


    We aim for our children to develop a love of reading and to become confident and fluent readers who are exposed to and enjoy a broad range of authors and genres, both fiction and non-fiction. This is supported by our daily guided-reading sessions where we alternate between small groups and whole class reads and the children are given opportunities to develop their skills in reading, summarising, questioning, inferring, clarifying, predicting and responding. All our classes enjoy regular stories from their teachers, so that all children have the opportunity to hear age-related reads from varying authors. Our children are given the opportunity to regularly visit the KS1 books, KS2 books and the school library, where they can self-select books so that reading can be supported at home and they continue to enjoy reading with their families.

    Speaking and Listening

    Across the curriculum, we encourage our children to talk and listen for a range of purposes and audiences. Through activities within class our children explain, explore and develop their communication skills so that they are ready to progress through life.


    Culmstock Primary School prides itself on their excellent phonics teaching where children are exposed to a systematic delivery and assessment programme throughout the Early Years and KS1. Our class teachers work closely together to deliver the programme and regularly have over 90% of their pupils passing the statutory KS1 Phonics screening.

    Spelling and Grammar

    Spelling and grammar are carefully built on year by year throughout Culmstock Primary School, closely following the spelling patterns and grammatical terms laid out by the National Curriculum. Children encounter daily discreet spelling lessons, which are closely linked to work set on Ed Shed, that allow them to become more competent spellers. The children have access to a variety of resources such as word mats, sound charts, dictionaries and have a go sheets, which help them to make more suitable spelling choices. Grammar is taught throughout our literacy sequences, as well as during weekly discreet grammar lessons.


Meeting the aims of the National Curriculum at Culmstock Primary School

Our principle intention is to give all children access to equitable classrooms; classrooms where they can all participate and be influential and classrooms where they are encouraged and supported to develop a deep connected and sustained understanding of the mathematics being explored.  We want to provide pupils with the fluency and confidence to carry out a range of mathematical problems and solve them by utilising reasoning and problem solving skills in each and every lesson. Pupils in Culmstock Primary School display significantly more positive approaches to maths and are developing attitudes that embrace challenge. We have developed a culture of continuous improvement towards mastery and have been steadily improving our teaching of mathematics.


In maths lessons children are expected to relish challenges; embrace their mistakes as part of the learning process; value the importance of effort; respond carefully to feedback and take inspiration from others. We believe in challenge and have a high expectation of pupil’s response to challenge.


Teachers plan in advance the models, visuals and manipulatives that will be used to scaffold children who may struggle to grasp the concepts and challenge questions for those who grasp them quickly. Sequences will be altered and adapted on a daily basis as a result of children’s grasp of the concept. In Key Stage 2, Elicitation tasks are used to assess children’s prior knowledge. This information is then used to ensure that children are given the appropriate level of challenge in lessons.  

Depth of learning

We have ensured that teachers are aware of and cater for the need for depth of learning as an essential part of maths. Lessons build on mathematical concepts across a time period and teachers make links across mathematical topics and are continuing to develop variation in their teaching to maximise clarity and depth of learning. We maintain on-going formative assessment that recognises depth and breadth of understanding.

Mental Fluency

We have recognised the need for increased mental fluency and arithmetic skill in our children and have timetabled additional time and invested in mathematical resources to achieve this. We are focusing  heavily on number bonds in KS1 and times tables in LKS2 (in preparation for the incoming multiplication test at the end of year 4). We are introducing afternoon mental maths games/sessions to deliver this.

Small step learning and mastery pedagogy

Pedagogy at Culmstock  Primary school focuses on breaking down learning into small steps and utilising teaching for mastery techniques such as: Discussion – the answer is only the beginning, Ping-Pong style – small steps providing sufficient scaffold for all pupils to access, Repetition and chorusing, Sharing and analysis, Attention to mathematical relationships; Precision in the use of mathematical  language and speaking in full sentences and carefully chosen examples and representations to draw out the structure and essence of the concept(conceptual variation).


Teachers will use questioning throughout maths lessons to elicit children’s understanding and promote and challenge children to greater and deeper understanding of concepts. Questioning will be both open and closed to underpin their questioning and challenge children.  Maths sessions are expected to be discursive and responses are expected in full sentences using mathematical vocabulary. Questions should be precise and develop mathematical thinking.

Developing reasoning and understanding

Children will always be encouraged to explain reasoning throughout maths lessons and this will permeate the lesson. Reasoning is a key part of maths and we embrace this challenge at Culmstock  Primary School. Children will be scaffolded through the use of stem sentences and explicit links between representations and language.  

Problem Solving

All groups of children in the school will be expected to problem solve. Teachers will utilise key contextual questions and challenge in lessons that are pitched at the age related expectation. Learners who take longer to achieve this are scaffolded to work within the expectations of the given learning objectives.

Challenge for More able

Challenge focuses on breadth and depth of understanding and expects the children to apply their knowledge in challenging scenarios. Children are given tasks that enable reasoning and marking will elicit this reasoning through problem solving tasks.

Responsive Teaching

In maths all work is expected to be marked. Where necessary teachers will intervene immediately to enable pupils to make progress in their learning. Any intervention/response from the teacher will be signalled according to our agreed marking code and will consolidate their thinking or encourage them to make progress.

SEND Pupils

Where children are working significantly below the expected age related requirements of the curriculum scaffolding and targets are set in lessons. In discussion and collaboration with the SENDCO and parents, each child with specific SEND difficulties will have targets that are agreed and monitored every half term to ensure progression.

Teaching and Learning Maths in the Classroom

At Culmstock, our principle aim is to give all children equal access to maths, to be in classrooms where they can all participate and where they are encouraged and supported to develop a deep understanding of the mathematics being explored.  We want to provide pupils with the fluency and confidence to carry out a range of mathematical problems and solve them by using reasoning and problem solving skills in each and every lesson. We encourage positive approaches to maths and are developing attitudes that embrace challenge.


We have developed a culture of continuous improvement towards mastery and use the mastery approach to teach mental fluency, to develop reasoning and understanding and problem solving. 


Times Tables

Times Tables are an essential element of mental fluency and we have a whole-school focus on learning them. We use Times Table Rock Stars to consolidate in class learning. Your child will have a login and they are encouraged to play this at home as well as during opportunities in school.

Children are encouraged to use manipulatives to explore and explain their learning.


At Culmstock, we look for ways for children to apply their mathematic learning in practical and real-life situations. For instance, KS2 competed in the RAF Museum Cosford sponsored ‘Fly to the Line’ contest to investigate gliders then design, build and test one. One group reached the regional final at Aerospace Bristol and enjoyed a fun day out learning more about how planes fly and even going on Concorde itself!



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