The teaching of English is an essential aspect of our school’s work. Our English curriculum develops pupils’ abilities to listen, speak, read and write fluently for a wide range of purposes so that they can communicate their ideas, views and emotions to others. We aim to inspire our pupils to express themselves creatively and imaginatively. As they become enthusiastic and critical readers of stories, poetry, drama, non-fiction and media texts, they develop culturally, emotionally, intellectually, socially and spiritually. At our school, pupils will:
- Develop a love of reading and a desire to read for enjoyment
- Learn to read with confidence, fluency and understanding
- Develop a growing vocabulary and an understanding of grammatical conventions
- Appreciate a range of text types, genres and our literary heritage
- Develop their confidence and competency in speaking and listening in a range of situations
- Develop technical vocabulary and use their creativity, imagination and critical awareness to articulate their understanding and ideas
- Write for a range of purposes, adapting their language and style depending on the context and audience
- Develop strategies to take responsibility for their own learning including self-assessment and editing
The English curriculum is delivered through discrete lessons focusing on specific skills and knowledge, and learning is clearly sequenced so that pupils revisit and recall previous learning. English pervades every subject and links are constantly made with other curriculum areas so that pupils continually develop their spoken language, vocabulary, reading and writing skills. Pupils use a range of differentiated physical and electronic resources to enhance their learning in English.
We encourage our pupils to speak clearly and confidently so that they can articulate their views and opinions. They learn to express themselves orally in an appropriate way, matching their style and response to audience and purpose. Our pupils develop their spoken language skills through a range of opportunities such as talk-time and talk partners; group reading activities and discussions about texts; opportunities for circle time, debates, presentations, role play, drama and school performances; contributions during assemblies and school events; opportunities to express thoughts and feelings during PSHE & C activities.
The development of vocabulary is key to learning across the whole curriculum as it allows pupils to access a wider range of words when writing and for them to understand and comprehend texts effectively. Our pupils are provided with spelling lists and key words to learn which are applied to their writing tasks. Working walls are used to display key words linked to topics and subjects. Pupils are expected to use correct vocabulary orally and in written tasks, and the effective use of dictionaries and thesauruses is developed. A range of texts are used to explore vocabulary choices and the effect they have on the reader.
There are two aspects of reading development – reading/decoding and comprehension. From EYFS, pupils are given opportunities to develop their communication, language and literacy skills on a daily basis in both adult-led and child-initiated activities. Pupils learn to read confidently and fluently through daily phonics in EYFS and Key Stage 1, as well as regular reading to adults in school and at home. Pupils develop comprehension skills during guided reading activities, and they study a text which is more challenging than their independent book with a range of tasks to complete. Pupils gain experiences through a range of texts in a variety of genres, and they use their reading skills to support them in all areas of the curriculum. They are given opportunities to read widely through independent books, class texts and the school library, and they are encouraged to read for pleasure during quiet reading time. Pupils enjoy listening to whole class texts which are read by an adult every day. Reading is celebrated through the school’s reading reward scheme and during whole school assemblies.
There are two aspects of writing development – transcription (spelling and handwriting) and composition. The school’s writing overview ensures appropriate and effective coverage of different text types and genres across the year groups. From EYFS through to Year 6, pupils develop the stamina and skills to write at length. They are taught to use accurate spelling, punctuation and grammar through discrete lessons and within other lessons as appropriate, and they are given opportunities to write in a range of styles for different purposes. High quality texts, teacher modelling and collaborative writing are used to demonstrate good practice. Pupils write to support their understanding and consolidation of what they have heard or read across the curriculum. Success criteria grids are used in writing tasks for pupils to self-assess, and written work is marked using the school’s marking code (see feedback policy). Pupils are provided with next steps, and they are given time to edit and improve their work. Cursive handwriting (see handwriting policy) is taught from Year 1 and pupils are expected to apply this in their written work. Writing is celebrated on the writing wall and during whole school assemblies.
Pupils are assessed according to the criteria set out in the Early Years Foundation Stage and National Curriculum for Years 1 to 6. In EYFS, regular observations and assessments of learning are recorded using Learning Journeys and the school’s Early Years online monitoring system. Pupils are assessed at the end of EYFS using the Early Years outcomes for ‘Listening, Attention and Understanding’, ‘Speaking’, ‘Comprehension’, ‘Word Reading’ and ‘Writing’. In Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2, the school’s electronic tracking system is used for planning, tracking and assessment, and provides clear progression through the skills and knowledge needed in each year group. Formative assessment is ongoing; teachers monitor pupils’ learning throughout every session and adapt their practice and planning accordingly. Formal assessments in English are carried out, tracked and monitored at least termly. Summative assessment is tracked on the school’s electronic tracking system and used to measure pupil progress. Pupil progress is monitored by the Head Teacher and teaching staff in order to identify gaps in learning or slow progress. Teaching staff attend moderation sessions organised by the local authority and with the local cluster of schools. End of Key Stage assessments are analysed by the English Leader and Head Teacher, which then feed into the SEF and SIP. Parents are informed of their child’s progress in English through parent/teacher consultations, written reports and informal discussions throughout the year. Monitoring of the subject is carried out by the English Leader, Phonics Leader, Head Teacher and Link Governor. A variety of methods are used, including lesson observations, learning walks, planning scrutinies, book scrutinies and pupil conferencing.
Our pupils receive a deep and rich English curriculum which allows them to develop their spoken language, vocabulary, reading and writing skills. Through high standards of language and literacy, pupils develop a strong command of the spoken and written word. Progression of knowledge and skills is clearly sequenced and cumulative, ensuring pupils build on prior learning so that they understand and can apply this to future learning across the whole curriculum. Our English curriculum prepares pupils for their lives beyond primary education in order for them to contribute fully as a member of society.