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How we teach at Collingwood

Collingwood’s Curriculum Policy and School Aims, detailing subject by subject information on how we teach, can be found on the policies page of this website.

An overview of what is being taught this term to each year group can be found on the each Class Page on this website.


 pdf  CPA calculation policy Collingwood Primary

pdf  Collingwood’s Math Mastery Statement


pdf  Reading colour bands

 pdf National Curriculum Spelling Lists  (for Years 1-6)

How we teach phonics and reading:

We teach phonics as the main method for children to learn to read.  Phonics is taught daily throughout EYFS and Years 1 and 2 and in a systematic way across the school and is set within a rich English curriculum that develops speaking and listening, reading and writing skills.

Phonics teaching is multisensory. This means children will learn sounds by singing, moving, listening, writing, repeating, using magnetic letters, making shapes in the air, looking at pictures, playing games, using computers, making sounds, making choices and as many other ways as possible using their 5 senses. This is vital because children learn differently.

Close monitoring ensures that all phonics teaching is high quality and diagnostic assessment ensures that all pupils are making progress. If children fall behind, they are given intervention (specific small group or 1:1 support) to help them catch up as soon as possible.

What will this actually look like?

Collingwood uses a systematic phonics programme, published by the government, available free to all schools, called “Letters and Sounds”. We also use an internet based resource called “Phonics Play” which can be found on our pupil pages for parents and pupils to use at home.

Is this the only way that children are taught to read?

Absolutely not!  Phonics is the first step in helping children to crack the code of reading and writing. However, children also need to be able to recall words that can’t be decoded easily and also to be able to understand and engage with what they read.

Comprehension skills are developed through in depth discussion, with adults, texts takes place in small similar ability group “Guided Reading” sessions (Based on the Rigby Star programme) for younger pupils with additional whole class and individual discussion as children get older. Each guided session is led by an adult and focuses on developing a particular skill.

Individual reading, (using our coloured book bands until pupils become fluent readers) Paired Reading and “Reading Buddies” are also used throughout the school where children read the same book with or without an adult.

Our 3 O’Clock Read is specifically aimed at developing pupils vocabulary.

Over the course of each term children read many different genres of text and learn at least one, one off by heart using actions, sound effects and  drama.  Children are often given the opportunities to writing their own text based on what they have read.

How we teach writing.

Writing is taught daily in many lessons other than English.  We use “Cold tasks” at the beginning of a new genre of writing to assess what children can already do and “hot tasks” at the end to evidence how much progress they have made.   In between this, we analyse model texts, looking at structure, vocabulary, grammar, spellings, punctuation, genre specific features and effectiveness.  Children generate then use “success criteria” to self-assess and “purple polish” (improve) their own and each other’s writing noting what is “tickled pink” (good) and “green for growth” (needs developing).

Over the course of each term children write many different genres of text and are often given the opportunities to writing their own text based on what they have read.

How we teach spelling.

Spelling patterns are taught and used in lessons weekly.  (“No Nonsense Spelling” and use of National Curriculum exception words and age related spelling lists).  Pupils from Yr 1 upwards complete weekly spelling tests containing a number of words relating to the current patter and high frequency/exception words. There is an emphasis on pupils ability to recall and retain spellings.

How we teach Handwriting.

Pupils are taught “upstroke” in EYFS, enabling easier joining in later years. “Letterjoin” is used in KS1.

How parents can support their child at home:

We expect all children to read regularly to adults at home, and bring their book bag to and from school. As children get older it is increasingly important to discuss the exact meaning of new vocabulary and to question children so that they “read between the lines” and make interpretations and predictions rather than simply saying the words on the page correctly. Show your child that you read for different purposes (eg to find directions, instructions, information and for pleasure) and talk about your own likes and dislikes when reading.


 pdf The National Curriculum for Primary Schools in England.