Choosing the right school for your child is probably the most important decision that you will have to make as a parent.

The Coombes Primary School aims to give your child the very best primary education, preparing them for their future life in secondary school and beyond.

Book a Tour of The Coombes

We hold a regular tour of our school every Wednesday at 11am. Before arriving, so that we can prepare for your tour please contact the office to schedule a visit.

Phonics in The Coombes School

Phonics is important because it helps children to acquire the knowledge and skills necessary for reading and writing. Working with phonemes and segmenting and blending gives children an understanding of the alphabet code and how it relates to reading and spelling. (Phonemes are small units of sound within words, segmenting is breaking down words into phonemes to help with spelling and blending is building up words from phonemes to help with reading).

Phonics teaching, particularly in the early years, is taught in a 'multi-sensory' way so the activities are fun and interactive across all areas of learning and play. For the youngest children the emphasis is on experiencing sounds and introducing phonemes ready to make words but as the children progress the emphasis switches to more formal teaching linked to reading, writing and spelling.

In Foundation and Year 1 the children are encouraged to do a wide variety of activities to familiarise them with the sound: 'eat' it, chalk it outside on the paving slabs, feel it through textured letters, sing songs about it and make objects connected with the sound e.g. making a snail for the 'ai' sound.

Initially the children are encouraged to listen to different sounds; for example, everyday sounds, sounds made by shaking a bag of stones, different tones of voice and instrument sounds. In this way the children can tune into sounds, listen and remember them and develop their vocabulary and comprehension by talking about them. Rhythm and rhyme is very important, as is alliteration in order to develop an understanding of the sounds of words and syllables. Eventually the children will experience segmenting and blending where different phonemes are sounded and joined to create simple words.

From Year 1 onwards the children have a discreet phonics session every day, usually about 15 minutes, where new sounds can be introduced, revisited or consolidated. The children start to have a spelling book where the words will be related to the phonic sounds learnt that week. Alternative spellings for different sounds and families of sounds are introduced to widen the children's knowledge and understanding of the language.

Later in the school some children will still have discreet phonics sessions tailored to their individual needs in order to help them with their fluency and competence in reading, writing and spelling.

Drama

Drama does not solely lend itself to the performance of a play; it is used to develop speaking and listening skills, to inspire and stimulate pieces of writing, to improve confidence, to gain a better understanding of emotions and body language, as well as to have some fun!

Through encouraging creativity in Drama and allowing the children to build a deeper understanding of their own creative processes, motivation and self-esteem can be increased.

Drama at the Coombes is incorporated wherever possible across the whole range of subjects taught and is inclusive, enabling children of all ages and abilities to experience success.

Within the foundation stage a rich variety of opportunities are provided for child led and initiated imaginative play, including themed role play areas, small world play, puppets, dressing up and using the outdoor environment for stimulus. Children are encouraged to explore being different characters and to think about how they might act and feel.

In Key Stage One Drama is used to bring the curriculum to life! Teachers often act in role both informally e.g. role play of a playground incident, and formally e.g. acting out a specific story for Literacy work. Children then use these experiences to enhance their understanding, develop empathy, it also encourages critical thinking skills and independent learning.

In Key Stage Two Drama is used in a similar format as Key Stage One, moving onto more performance and evaluation work, both self and peer. Both year 4 and year 6 put on performances where the children fully immerse themselves with writing, directing, rehearsal and the final performances. Drama is also continually used not only in Literacy but across topic work to deepen understanding and creativity.

We at the Coombes are very fortunate to have strong links with Reading University and their Drama department who regularly come in to the school for specific projects and productions. We also make use of Drama companies and puppeteers to run workshops for the children to take part in.

Hardwriting at The Coombes School

At The Coombes we teach children to form their letters with a cursive script right from the beginning of their time here. We took this decision because on-going research clearly shows strong links between using a joined handwriting style and the development of more confident writers, improved spelling skills and writing fluency.

We have recently introduced 'Letter-join' as the consistent teaching programme for handwriting. This is a web-based programme which provides a variety of interactive whiteboard resources for use as a teaching tool in lessons. It also allows teachers to design and print patterns to trace/practise, key word or letter string lists, spelling practice sheets, captions, labels, etc.

In recent years several local schools have introduced cursive writing into the Foundation Stage and have seen significant improvements in both handwriting and presentation skills as the children progress through the key stages.

We believe it is important that children take pride in their work and take responsibility for their efforts; self-esteem and confidence are critical to reaching potential. If presentation skills and handwriting are poor, it is difficult to motivate children to improve once bad habits have been adopted. By introducing a consistent handwriting programme and supporting children with the appropriate resources right from the beginning, we are confident they will have developed the mechanical skills of writing as they approach upper juniors. Our teaching can then focus upon developing the techniques, quality and breadth of language use rather than the surface features.

Your support and encouragement are essential to ensure the children talk about their writing, their learning and their developing skills at home as well as in school so that we can celebrate their progress and achievements together.

Reading at The Coombes

by Emily Cooke (Subject Leader)

At The Coombes reading is at the heart of everything we do. The ability to read gives access to the whole curriculum and beyond and enables our children to become confident, independent learners. We strive to encourage children to become passionate about reading and we want them to become life-long readers. We encourage children to read a variety of texts e.g. fables, myths, comics, songs, poems etc. At our school the children are given plenty of opportunities to engage with a range of stories and texts through many ways, such as songs, drama and art. This encourages children to explore, engage and find a genre, author that they can appreciate. As you walk through the school it is clearly evident, from the cosy story circles to the story trails, how much opportunity the children have to enjoy a good read. Through the use of books and stories we are able to foster the spiritual, intellectual, physical, artistic, musical, social, emotional and moral development of children and adults which is key to the school's mission statement.

Every child's journey with reading will be different and the early stages of reading will begin even before they join The Coombes. Obviously children progress at different rates and so the teaching of reading is tailored to the child and their ability. On a daily basis children interact with reading, whether this is independently, one to one, or as a group reading session. Reading can begin with recognising patterns of marks that make up letters and words. Children are exposed to this when singing songs, sharing a book, or noticing texts across the school. When children develop strategies to read texts they are encouraged to take a reading book and a library book home to enjoy every evening. As your child becomes a more able reader they can collectively share books and explore themes, settings, characters and writing styles. Throughout each child's reading experience stories are used in every aspect of the curriculum and can be enjoyed and explored in a collection of ways.

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