English Curriculum Intent
Our English strategy follows the 2014 National Curriculum. Our primary aim is 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 by ensuring that our curriculum is well sequenced and builds 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 which ensures that a range of genres are covered over the course of the year. We used a range of units from The Write Stuff by Jane Considine which we adapt to suit the needs of our learners.
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.
The focus is on children producing a piece of writing which works well as a whole and engages the reader whilst achieving age related grammatical objectives.
Throughout the teaching of English, 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 the purpose for writing where possible.
We have high expectations for handwriting and expect work to be presented to a high standard across school. Staff model our handwriting style and are familiar with the vocabulary to use when describing how to form letters.
Classrooms display a presentation poster that reminds children which level of presentation is required for a certain task. This is based on the idea that it is okay to not use 'their best' handwriting for all tasks, such as note taking or when working in a group on large pieces of paper. However, when asked to use their middle or highest level of presentation, for example, for work in an exercise book, or a published piece of writing, children are able to do so confidently.
In the early stages of reading, we teach children to decode words using phonic skills as our sole approach.
Systematic synthetic phonics are taught using the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised programme. Children are introduced to synthetic phonics at the start of their Reception year and children progress through the scheme to the end of Year One. We strive to ensure that children “keep up” rather than “catch up” and we offer early intervention when a pupil is making slower progress than expected.
We follow the Little Wandle scheme for reading 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. Children read in a group three times a week , using the same text, following a process of decoding, prosody and comprehension. Following the comprehension session, children will take the book home. At this point, it is expected that they will be reading the book at 90% accuracy and with a high level of fluency.
In Year Two and KS2, children continue to develop these skills through Guided Reading lessons which are taught as a whole class. Children develop further reading skills through comprehension lessons, 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.
Class teachers read a range of texts with children, including:
- a class novel (minimum one per term in all classes, often linked to topic or other learning; this promotes a love of reading; an exposure to more advanced vocabulary than children would normally get; engagement with a full text; and an interesting vehicle for other learning)
- extracts of texts, or poems that have been chosen for their cultural capital, topic or living and learning links or simply because they’re good texts or poems that children will enjoy
- picture books, because they allow children to more easily explore complete texts in greater depth (and therefore support mastery), including key issues and characters’ emotions
- non-fiction texts which link to topics or living and learning
In Key Stage Two, pupils have a weekly spelling lesson which focuses 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 the decision 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 their 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 tests 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 and SEN leads complete work scrutinies in English and engage with pupils in 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).
It is crucial for children to develop a life-long love of reading. Reading consists of two dimensions: language comprehension and word reading. Language comprehension (necessary for both reading and writing) starts from birth. It only develops when adults talk with children about the world around them and the books (stories and non-fiction) they read with them, and enjoy rhymes, poems and songs together. Skilled word reading, taught later, involves both the speedy working out of the pronunciation of unfamiliar printed words (decoding) and the speedy recognition of familiar printed words. Writing involves transcription (spelling and handwriting) and composition (articulating ideas and structuring them in speech, before writing)
We promote a love of reading and writing whereby children want to read and write spontaneously with enjoyment. Reception children have a Year Six buddy who they frequently read with. This sparks discussions about stories and texts which then provide inspiration for writing.
Children have frequent opportunities, either adult led or child initiated, to read and write both indoors and outside.