Aims and objectives
Our English curriculum is underpinned by the values important to us and is embedded within our cross curricular approach to all curriculum areas. We aim to:
- Read for enjoyment and pleasure.
- To foster pupils’ abilities to read with fluency, accuracy and understanding.
- To encourage all children to become enthusiastic and reflective readers through contact with challenging and inspiring texts.
- To encourage pupils to read texts from a variety of cultures and traditions, encouraging pupils to read literature from a wide range of genres.
- To encourage pupils to write in response to a variety of stimuli – fiction, non-fiction, poetry.
- To increase the children’s ability to use planning, drafting and editing to improve their work.
- To encourage pupils to use correct punctuation and spelling, and understand the need for correctly formed handwriting.
- In the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) follow the curriculum in the prime area of communication and language and the specific area of Literacy.
- To develop good listening skills, forming an understanding of what they see and hear.
- To enable all children to have the confidence and skills to express their thoughts and feelings in a clear and logical manner to adults and to each other.
- To develop all children’s abilities to reflect on their own and others’ contributions and the language used.
- To develop the skills of performing to an audience by showing an understanding of intonation, tone, volume and action.
Teaching & Learning
The children are taught in class or group situations with every opportunity taken to promote cross curricular links. First hand experiences are used as much as possible to provide stimulus for writing and for developing speaking and listening skills. Ability groups may be used as a tool to focus teaching at specific stages of learning and individual interventions are used to ensure children meet or exceed their projected progress.
Speaking and Listening
The content of the speaking and listening element of English is an integral part of lessons. Opportunities can be created through activities such as role-play, small world play, message carrying, debating, instruction and explanation.
The EYFS follow the phonics scheme ‘Linking Letters and Sounds’, also we use the Jolly Phonics Scheme to support the daily teaching and learning of sounds. ‘Phonics Play’ is used to inform planning. From Key Stage One (KS1) the phonics curriculum is taught through using the ‘Phonics Play’ planning scheme for a structured progression. Ability grouping, for phonics, starts in Reception and continues until they become secure with their phonic knowledge.
The children take part in shared reading involving text, sentence and word level activities in a class situation. These texts will vary in genre and may also include electronic texts. All children read, individually or within a group, with a teacher once a week. Guided reading sessions will take a variety of forms depending on the identified focus or a focus on the development of comprehension skills. There are also many opportunities for independent quiet reading and text based activities through the carousel of reading.
Children take home a book of their choice from a selection from their classroom and a banded book from the school scheme within KS1. This is to encourage a love of reading through sharing a book with an adult at home as well as practising reading skills.
Within Key Stage Two (KS2) children use their guided reading text for follow up activities within school, however these texts are not sent home. KS2 children are able to choose a book to take home, levelled to their reading from the school reading scheme.
Thorpedene Primary School follows the ‘Penpals’ Handwriting Scheme. From Foundation Stage ‘Ruth Miskin’ resources are also used to support letter formation.
Children are taught writing skills from the beginning of the Foundation Stage. They are
provided with the skills with which to write through daily phonic lessons, regular dictation and handwriting/letter formation lessons. Pupils are taught the correct letter formation from the outset and misconceptions are picked up and corrected as soon as possible so that they do not hamper pupils’ progress. Tricky words and high frequency words, taken from ‘Letters and Sounds’, are progressively taught and as correct spellings become more familiar, a greater level of accuracy is expected as children progress through the school.
Children in EYFS are given the opportunity to write through continuous provision and teacher led planned activities. Children are encouraged to write and are given the confidence to ‘have a go’.
Teachers and support staff regularly model good story language and pupils are encouraged to speak and listen to others telling stories. This rich vocabulary is then used to stimulate pupils to write, starting with poetry and progressing onto fiction and then non-fiction. The exemplary modelling of good practice is one of the main roles of the class teacher.
In EYFS and KS1 non-fiction genres are taught with set structures known as toolboxes. These toolboxes have been adapted from Alan Peat’s approach. When writing fiction stories, children are also taught the Alan Peat structure through ‘Boxing Clever’.
These approaches are progressive and allow children to become familiar with different text types. In EYFS, genres are taught in response to children’s interests, giving children a sound knowledge of how to recognise the requirements for writing and have a secure grounding in the use of English needed to decode and encode in order to communicate in the written form. The development of their basic writing skills continues throughout KS1.
An integral and consistent approach to all English lessons is word generation (this can sometimes take the form 60 second word game) to enrich the children’s use of adventurous vocabulary, which is fed into their writing.
In KS1 and 2 children are shown high quality texts which they learn through story mapping. These texts are then used as a basis for children to formulate their own writing within that genre through the structured sequence of imitation, innovation and invention.
Children are encouraged to talk before they write so they have confidence to know what and how they will write. Technical skills, including grammar, punctuation, spelling and sentence construction are taught and reinforced regularly. Children are encouraged to use their growing handwriting and phonic awareness consistently within their writing.
Prior to a new genre being taught, children in KS1 and beyond will complete an AfL task (cold task). These tasks are written in Work Books with the learning objective typed on blue paper. These tasks should be marked in accordance with the marking policy, with a general writing next step for the individual’s needs as well as at least one further next step specific for the genre being taught. Children must understand their next step targets and have opportunities to reflect on these in subsequent lessons.
Each child’s progress is recorded on Target Tracker and updated half-termly. There is an opportunity, during the year, for parents to attend parents evening where progress will be discussed and appropriate targets shared. During the course of a year progress and attainment are given to parents in a written report. Assessments are made through teacher assessment and underpinned by national and optional tests at the end of the academic year.
There are a range of resources to support the teaching of English across the school. (PPA room)
Within classes children have access to dictionaries and thesauruses, the Internet and a variety of fiction, non-fiction and poetry texts.
Books for Guided Reading and big books for shared reading can be found in the Port’s English resource area; in Starboard they can be found in storage units in the corridors or within the school library.
All classes have a timetabled library session for the excellence and enjoyment of reading. KS2 children can borrow reading books using our ‘Junior Librarian’ system.
We believe that all children are entitled to broad and balanced access to English regardless of age, gender or race.
Children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) are supported in many ways; the work during English sessions is differentiated and may be supported by Learning Support Assistants and other adults.
The Inclusion Manager also works closely with class teachers and may provide support within the classroom as well as withdrawing groups for more specific interventions.
Children who are identified as being more able or talented in this area of the curriculum are given opportunities to extend their skills and confidence following the guidelines of our More Able and Talented policy.
Monitor, Evaluate and Review
The overview, progression and implementation of the curriculum is the responsibility of the Phase Leaders.
Phase Leaders support colleagues in their teaching, by keeping them informed about current developments in English and by providing a strategic lead and direction for this subject;
They produce a subject development plan that links to the School Improvement Plan.
Specially allocated regular management time allows Phase Leaders time to review evidence of the children’s work, and to observe English lessons across the school and complete tasks from the development plan.
The co-ordination and planning of the English curriculum is the responsibility of the class teachers:
This policy is subject to review in accordance with the school development plan.