English Curriculum Intent
Our English strategy follows the 2014 National Curriculum. Our primary aim to increase children’s confidence, enjoyment and ability in reading, writing and communication. We ensure that we provide all children with depth, breadth and ambition in their learning – ensuring that our curriculum is well sequenced and building on knowledge and skills gained as children progress through school. We promote a love of reading and writing whereby children want to read and write spontaneously with enjoyment. We strive for our children to develop a passion for English to aid them in later life and to enable them to become lifelong learners.
We aim to teach the skills of writing and a love of writing so that our children:
- develop enjoyment and pleasure in writing
- have opportunities to write for a range of real purposes and audiences
- understand the skills and processes that are essential for writing: thinking aloud and re-reading their writing to check their meaning is clear
- when spelling, have opportunities to practise using both their phonics knowledge and develop independent spelling strategies
- when writing, form their letters correctly and confidently, writing with a joined fluent style
- know and use grammar terminology to talk about their writing and how it helps a reader to understand and enjoy what they have written.
English is taught in a carefully developed sequence of learning; ensuring that a range of genres are covered over the course of the year. Teachers begin by deciding on the skills that they want to teach the children based on formative and summative assessment. A WAGOLL, which showcases the main features of the chosen genre, is created based on the main writing outcome and forms the main part of the learning journey. This immerses them in the genre. Children go on a learning journey working through the following:
- The reading phase will display key features of the genre, questions linked to the reading question stems, prediction, sequencing and key vocabulary.
- The Toolkit phase will feature spelling, grammar and terminology to support pupils during the writing phase. This includes teacher modelling, shared, guided and independent writing to support the children with developing the skills they need to become proficient writers.
- The writing phase will feature the WAGOLL and planning, drafting, editing and publishing information. The focus is on children producing a piece of writing which works well as a whole and engages the reader.
Throughout the teaching cycle, we give children writing opportunities that will support their main writing outcome and we expect the learning journey to be reflected in children’s books – this means that something is recorded in books frequently. Teachers keep focused on the purpose of the children’s writing and value it when it is finished, giving them feedback linked to their purpose if possible.
We have high expectations for handwriting and expect work to be presented to a high standard across school. We are consistent in our approach to handwriting throughout school and this is modelled by all staff when modelling writing and in books. Discrete handwriting lessons take place and children are expected to implement this approach in all written work.
In the early stages of reading, we teach children to decode words using phonic skills as our sole approach.
“Synthetic Phonics' is taught using the Letters and Sounds programme. Children are introduced to synthetic phonics in our Reception Class and children progress through the phases during Reception and Key Stage 1 (Year 1 & 2). Sight reading and tricky words and introduced in Phase 2. Pupils are put into groups for phonics lessons based on the phase that they are ready to access. We strive to ensure that children “keep up” rather than “catch up” and we offer early intervention when a pupil is making slower progress. We use a wide range of teaching techniques and resources in our daily phonics lessons and aim to make lessons fun and interactive whilst building on previous knowledge each session. We use Big Cat Collins Reading Scheme and ensure that each child is given a reading book with the relevant sounds that they are learning at that time. The books are varied in their genres which encourages a love of different texts. Guided reading is taught in small groups across KS1 and builds on the phonics knowledge.
Once decoding is grasped, our focus for developing reading is understanding and comprehension. In KS2 this is done through Guided Reading which is taught in small groups and as a whole class. Children develop further reading skills through comprehension lessons, during the reading week, by reading independently and with an adult and by enjoying a class novel. Books and texts are specifically and carefully chosen for each class ensuring that progress is built on and so that a range of genres and authors are covered.
In KS2 pupils have a weekly spelling lesson which focusses on spelling patterns as well as learning the Common Exception Words for each year group. Phonics intervention is implemented in KS2 for those pupils who still need to access the phonics curriculum. This is a targeted intervention based on the individual need of the child. Phonics assessment continues across KS2 until staff are confident that children are secure in their phonics knowledge.
We want children to enjoy reading at both home and school and for parents to be on board with reading with their children. Our approach to reading in KS2 is that all pupils can access a class selection of Recommended Reads that cover a range of genres. These are high quality texts which have been carefully chosen to challenge and engage our pupils. We encourage children to read for pleasure by choosing a book that engages them and that they can share with an adult. Once a book is completed, children complete a task in their reading journal. They are encouraged to talk about the book with their peers and discuss the books once read, making decisions if to recommend to a friend or not.
Speaking and Listening:
Not only do we encourage our children to become confident readers and writers but we value performance and the speaking and listening strands of the National Curriculum. We nurture confident children who engage in deep conversations and debates about topics and important issues. Children question each other in a challenging, yet respectful way, to further understanding and explore meaning. Drama is used to develop children’s expression and confidence and all children get the opportunity to perform on the stage during their time at school. We teach children to present clearly and use intonation and expression to capture an audience and entertain.
Through our high quality teaching of English, we aspire for all children to reach age related expectations or above by the end of each year group.
In each lesson, teachers assess pupils understanding through marking and feedback and verbal communication. Teachers then assess if pupils have met the objective and then act appropriately through small group catch up, 1:1 support or an additional lesson on a skill.
English is assessed termly (half termly for SEN) and data is recorded on to the Insight tracking system. Reading is assessed through both reading comprehension test and through teacher knowledge gained during other reading sessions. Writing is assessed based on at least two pieces of writing that have been taught over the course of the term. Phonics assessments are done for all children in KS2 at the end of each phase. These are passed to KS2 and continued with specific children. Children in EYFS are assessed through adult led activities and observations.
In addition to formative and summative assessment, the English lead and SEN lead completes work scrutiny in English and engage in pupil discussions about their learning.
What our children will learn in EYFS
At our school the progression of Knowledge and Skills in English at EYFS is taken from the Prime Areas of Communication and Understanding and Movement and Handling and the Specific Area of Literacy from the non-statutory guidance for Early Years Outcomes (formerly known as Development Matters) that underpin assessment of children’s Learning and Development towards the EYFS Profile Early Learning Goals within Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS, 2012).
The following information shows the typical range of development (40-60 months) grouped into three broad steps (Beginning, Developing, Secure) and suggesst an order in which some of the skills can be taught. This is based on the typical needs of children in our EYFS. This information also assists assessment as to whether children are working at the beginning, developing, working securely or have achieved the standard described by the ELG statements, and therefore, plans for their next steps.
We promote a love of reading and writing whereby children want to read and write spontaneously with enjoyment.