We want our children to love reading and writing, to enjoy it for its own sake, but also to recognise its importance and value. We want to help them become successful communicators in order to help them negotiate the path of life and fully realise their potential. Our aim is to make English as enjoyable, stimulating and creative as possible whilst teaching the fundamentals needed for Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening.
Writing is an integral part of our curriculum. All children from Foundation Stage to Year 6 are provided with many opportunities to develop and apply their writing skills across the curriculum. It is our intention that pupils develop a clear understanding of the writing process in order to establish themselves as an author in their own right. We foster pupils' interest in writing and offer a reason and context for writing which enables the children to write for purpose and audience. Pupils are taken on a writing journey which builds their knowledge of writing for context and purpose and allows for opportunities to explore a variety of genres, planning, drafting and re-drafting their writing. To establish this, pupils develop their knowledge of genre features, audience, language and effective composition. It is our intention to broaden our pupils' exposure to high level vocabulary to allow pupils to apply their understanding of this, and grammatical features, within and across the English and wider curriculum. Our intention is that pupils learn to understand the relationships between words, word meaning, implied meaning and figurative language within writing lessons, whilst ensuring that children are supported in their spelling strategies. We intend that pupils will be taught to control their speaking and writing consciously and to use correct Standard English.
The pupils engage in daily English lessons that are progressive and support skill development. Teachers plan and deliver a sequence of lessons that explore quality texts and give pupils the opportunity to practice writing and reading skills. Teachers model these skills on regular basis and planning, editing, publishing and ICT based tasks can be planned in as part of the teaching sequence. As part of our enriched curriculum, the development of English skills are planned for and reinforced in the broader curriculum delivered throughout school.
Handwriting sessions are taught regularly to the children and follow a cursive programme. The children have separate handwriting books and are expected to apply this cursive script into their daily writing.
Assessment for learning strategies are used on a daily basis. These allow a picture to be built up of the pupils’ progress, any areas of strength or weakness which can then be rapidly addressed. Children complete independent writing pieces within a unit of work, which are assessed against our writing criteria. Analysis of the data impacts upon teachers planning so pupils’ needs can be addressed.
On-going formative assessment takes place within each writing session and, against success criteria, children evaluate their own work. Children develop independence and use ‘purple polishing pen’ times to make corrections or enhance the content; there is regular opportunity to do this. In cases where children are identified as making slower than expected progress in English, high quality interventions are put in place to address gaps in learning.
The following is a glossary of the grammar, punctuation and spelling terminology we use with the children. You can also find information at: https://www.theschoolrun.com/primary-grammar-glossary-for-parents
Below is also an example of the Upper Key Stage 2 toolkit children use when writing.
Reading is given a high priority in our curriculum as it is the ability to read and understand which opens up learning for children. We believe the development of children’s vocabulary is a vital tool in learning and understanding the full curriculum. We strive to make reading as much fun as possible through activities such as visiting authors as well as sharing high quality books for enjoyment on a weekly basis. Different text types are carefully selected, across all year groups, so that children are systematically exposed to a variety of genres. We plan carefully to ensure our chosen texts and books have links to other areas of the curriculum. This enables us to ensure there are meaningful connections in the pupils’ learning and that we are utilising all available opportunities to enable children to recognise purpose and organisation as well as increasing their exposure to language and vocabulary.
Mastery in phonics is the foundation stone to children being able to access a broad range of fiction and non-fiction texts, across the curriculum. This is achieved by teaching phonics systematically daily. Starting in Early Years, parents are invited to workshops and practical sessions to demonstrate letter to sound correspondence and promote consistent use of the school’s scheme – ‘Letters and sounds’. We employ a range of strategies to close the gap within the cohort and also nationally, including precision teaching and web-based support.
Children are expected to read at home and the school reading scheme (made up from Phonics Bug and Oxford Reading Tree) is carefully matched, in the first instance, to children’s phonic phases. We also have an online subscription to Bug Club to engage readers at home through the use of technology. As children become more fluent, we help them make book choices, which are organised on a book banding system ensuring the children read books appropriate to their level. Children who have moved on from the reading scheme have access to the school’s free reader book selection.
Whole Class Reading takes place within English lessons to provide enriching experiences through more challenging texts. Staff use the carefully planned question stems and, where possible, children use reciprocal reading strategies. Teaching the whole class means that all pupils can read with the teacher more often, moving faster through more or longer texts and benefiting from the teacher’s expert explanations, modelling, questioning and feedback.
Teachers also share stories with the class displaying an enthusiasm for reading and setting a positive example as a reader. Children are encouraged to enhance their reading through the school’s weekly library loan service where books are also colour banded and authors are highlighted and shared with the children to encourage a wider experience of reading.
Pupil progress is monitored and tracked through ongoing assessments and through three key assessment points during the year. The on-going formative assessment takes place within each reading session against the assessment focuses. This includes: teacher observations, questioning, discussions and marking and feedback. From these outcomes, and those from the end of term assessments, work is planned to address misconceptions and gaps in learning to ensure that the curriculum effectively meets the needs of all pupils.