English is the medium through which everything else is taught and is therefore integrally linked to all other curriculum areas.
We aim to foster a love of the English language through speaking and listening, reading and writing across the curriculum so that our children use it confidently and creatively to communicate their ideas.
By the end of key stage 2, our children should:
▪read easily, fluently with confidence and a good understanding
▪develop the habit of reading widely and often; for both pleasure and information
▪acquire and use a wide vocabulary, an understanding of grammar and knowledge of linguistic conventions for reading, writing and spoken language
▪appreciate our rich and varied literary heritage
▪write clearly, accurately and coherently, adapting their language and style in and for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences
▪use discussion in order to learn; they should be able to elaborate and explain clearly their understanding and ideas
▪be competent in the arts of speaking and listening, making formal presentations, demonstrating to others and participating in debate.
How we teach English:
We use a variety of teaching strategies so as to engage all learners. We plan the curriculum using the Early Learning Goals as set out in the revised Early Years Foundation Stage Profile and 2014 English Programmes of Study for Key Stages 1 and 2.
We teach English in daily lessons across the school, making links with other areas of the curriculum whenever possible. We follow a Mastery approach to English through the programme ‘Pathways to Write.’ Units of work are delivered using high quality texts and children in all year groups are given varied opportunities for writing. Skills are built up through repetition within the units, and children apply these skills in the writing activities provided. Many opportunities for widening children’s vocabulary are given through the Pathways to Write approach and this builds on the extensive work we do in school to provide our children with a rich and varied vocabulary. You will find the end of year expectations for writing, reading and spoken language for each of our year groups here: Reception, Year 1, Year 2, Year 3, Year 4, Year 5 and Year 6.
How we teach Reading:
Children in Year R and 1 have a daily phonics session following the Letters and Sounds scheme. Children in Year 2 and 3 are taught phonics alongside spelling rules as they move into Phase 6. From Years 2 to 6, children are taught reading through the ‘Pathways to Read’ scheme which promotes a mastery approach to learning. This breaks down learning into small sequential steps allowing time for pupils to become competent. Each week a whole class shared reading session follows a four-part structure: predict, clarify vocabulary, read and retrieve, and read and explain. Pupils extend their learning through linked group reading sessions and independent follow-up activities. Independent reading sessions take place in each class every day, and older children also act as reading buddies for the younger children in school. Our books are drawn from a wealth of real reads and a range of schemes which are colour coded following the book band system and include phonically decodable books. Schemes which form part of our well-stocked library include Oxford Reading Tree, Rigby Star, Rigby PM, Collins Big Cat and Phonics Bug. We also use the Accelerated Reader programme. Over 1000 titles from our library are linked to online AR quizzes which check how well children understand what they are reading. Each AR book is matched closely to the reading ability of each child through STAR tests. The programme rewards children with points for each book they successfully quiz on and allows teachers to track progress and identify children who need extra support. We are fortunate to have several volunteer readers who read with children individually in all classes, sharing books together to develop speaking and listening skills.
How we teach Spelling:
Spelling practice is timetabled regularly in all classes with additional practice set as homework. Children use Look, Say, Cover, Write, Check, Spelling Shed and other ‘Spell Well’ activities to help them learn word lists for a weekly test. These lists often link to a spelling rule that is being taught but also include words that children need to learn, e.g. common exception words or words for a particular class topic.
How we teach Handwriting:
Regular practice of handwriting is timetabled in all classes. Children are taught to use a cursive style and shown how to join letters from Year 1. Once they demonstrate a consistent joined style with correctly formed lower case and capital letters, children begin using pen for writing.
Children are assessed against their year group expectations in reading, writing and GPS (grammar, punctuation and spelling) through ongoing formative assessment and in end of term summative assessments. Summative assessments include tests of reading age, year group expectations and national end of key stage tests (SATS).
The role of parents:
Parents are encouraged to support their child by attending open evenings and helping their children in reading and learning spellings.
Reading at home is vital – initially with an adult then increasingly alone. Reading at home with parents, grandparents or brothers/sisters should be seen as an enjoyable activity which fosters a love of books. Reading and the enjoyment of reading is a fundamental aim and the key to success at school.
Children in key stage 1 and 2 have spelling words to learn each week for their homework. These link to a particular rule or topic that is being taught in class. A spelling leaflet is available to help parents support their children at home.