English underpins learning in every other subject. It is imperative, therefore, that we are ambitious for every child in our care, enabling them to develop skill and confidence in reading, writing, speaking and listening. It is absolutely imperative that we achieve this for all our children; failure to do so prevents those children from going on to play a full and active role in society, effectively disenfranchising them.
We have developed our English curriculum with the intention of achieving and even surpassing the following aims by the time children leave Year 6:
- Reading: every child will be able to read easily, fluently and with good understanding. They will be able to tackle any book that interests them and they will be choosing to read regularly, selecting books both for pleasure and for knowledge (see Reading Policy for details of how we achieve this).
- Writing: every child will have acquired a rich vocabulary and will be able to write correctly, using their skills in spelling, punctuation and grammar to engage their readers and to share their ideas with clarity. They will be able to adapt their writing to suit their audience and to write in a variety of different styles.
- Speaking & Listening: every child will be able to use discussion as a learning tool; they will be able to explain their ideas clearly. They will be confident in the art of speaking and listening, including making formal presentations and participating in debates.
These skills are all taught in our English lessons and further developed across the curriculum.
We teach English daily. Within each session, we include:
Grammar, spelling and punctuation
In EYFS and KS1, children are still learning phonics; i.e. they are learning how to decode the words they read. We use Read Write Inc (RWI) for our phonics teaching. As children move through KS1, they will finish their phonics programme and will move onto KS2-style English lessons as soon as they are ready.
At KS2, all our teachers follow long and medium-term curriculum planning written by the English lead. Teachers use this planning as the basis for their short-term planning, in which they decide how best to teach English to the individual children in their class, including any with special educational needs.
All children with special educational needs are included and supported to take part in our English sessions. If a child is still learning phonics at KS2, we ensure that they are also able to take part in the main KS2 English session. Often, this may mean they take part in the handwriting and whole-class reading section but they may then do their writing and grammar, punctuation and spelling work as part of their phonics learning. (Please see SEND policy for more details)
While children are learning phonics, they will be taught how to form letters as part of their RWI lessons. As they move through KS1 and up into KS2, they will learn how to join their letters using ‘Letterjoin’ resource. By the end of KS2, all our children will be able to write with legible, joined handwriting.
Grammar, Spelling and Punctuation
During their phonics journey, children learn grammar, spelling and punctuation as part of the RWI programme.
In KS2, children will spend 10 to 15 minutes of each English lesson learning and practising their grammar, spelling and punctuation skills. These sessions are fun, interactive and build confidence and skill through regular reviews of prior learning alongside a careful, progressive build-up of new skills. They are then supported to apply those skills in the written session.
Taught through RWI and then through Power of Reading, our reading curriculum is exciting, engaging and ambitious. For full details, please see our Reading Policy.
Children learn to write through RWI at KS1, through which they are supported to write words correctly using the phonemes they have been taught and gradually creating longer and more complicated written pieces as their phonics knowledge improves.
In KS2, each English lesson includes a writing session. All of these sessions use the Power of Reading text the children are currently reading as the springboard and inspiration for their writing. Written sessions include a range of approaches such as guided writes, group writes and ‘close’ writing (where the focus shifts to the careful creation of individual sentences, rather than a longer piece of work). On a Friday, children are asked to do an extended write that brings together all their learning from the week into one longer piece. This extended write can be a story, a poem or a piece of non-fiction.
We continuously assess the impact of our English curriculum and adapt, improve and change wherever weaknesses are found.
This is done in a variety of ways:
Monitoring of teaching
The English Leader monitors English teaching at least half-termly. This monitoring may involve lesson visits, work scrutinies, pupil interviews and learning walks. The English leader will also talk to teachers about their experience of teaching English in order to support with any difficulties and to develop the pedagogical approaches of each individual teacher.
During their phonics journey, children are assessed half-termly using RWI assessments. The results of these assessments are then used to place children in groups appropriate to their stage of learning and to determine when they are ready to move off phonics. Children who are still studying phonics at KS2 are assessed more frequently; this allows teachers to move them on more quickly where appropriate and to identify problems as soon as possible.
We use formative assessment (teacher assessments) to identify and plug gaps throughout the children’s journey from EYFS to Year 6. These are recorded on a programme called Target Tracker.
Termly, we assess children using the PIRA (Progression in Reading Attainment) standardised test, and the Rising Stars EGPS (GAPS) tests. The PIRA assessment is only used with those children who have finished phonics in order to avoid asking them to read grapheme-phoneme correspondences that they haven’t yet met. Following these assessments, teachers use gap analysis tools to identify next steps in learning.
We use the statutory summative assessment (SATs tests) for reading, as well as for Spelling, Grammar and Punctuation at the end of Key Stage 1 and 2.
Outcomes from standardised testing and carefully compared to outcomes of formative teacher assessment and termly pupil progress meetings with both the EHT and the English subject leader address the needs of individual pupils.
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