English is important: it is the basic mode of communication in our society and is a world language. We want our pupils to have high aspirations for their future and, to do this, they need proficiency in language and communication skills. We support this through an ambitious curriculum with motivating writing stimuli and high quality literature.
We additionally raise aspirations through our 40 Book scheme. It introduces children to a broader range of authors and a wide spectrum of experience. Where possible, we ask authors to come and talk about their careers; this year KS2 had a talk from Jacqueline Wilson and Caroline Lawrence!
Reaching Our Potential
Reaching our potential in English is being a confident and proficient reader with a life-long reading habit. In Reception and Year One, we have a very comprehensive Phonics and Early Reading programme that is guided by Essential Letters and Sounds (a government affiliated programme). Once our pupils become fluent readers, they continue reading to learn in small groups with books that are organised into colour bands.
In Key Stage 2, most pupils transition from learning to read to reading to learn. As a class, they are introduced to high quality, engaging texts that support their curriculum and introduce them to esteemed authors. The texts have been carefully chosen to link to areas of the curriculum and celebrate diversity. In order for pupils to reach their potential, we understand how important it is to keep reading for pleasure at the heart of all sessions.
The strategies taught in reading lessons are formatively and summatively assessed so that all children can reach their potential. For those who require further support, we have an intervention programme from Year 2- 6 that targets comprehension skills such as inference, vocabulary and retrieval. In Reception and Year 1, we target fluency with a ‘Keep Up’ phonics intervention provided by Essential Letters and Sounds. We recognise that some pupils will need to go at a different pace than their peers and ensure that these pupils follow a reading programme that best reflects their needs.
In writing, we support children to reach their potential by teaching writing skills explicitly and systematically. Teachers plan engaging writing opportunities by linking them to first-hand experience (talks, trips, storytellers etc) and the wider curriculum. Texts that are used in reading lessons are often linked to writing and children gain exposure to both modern and classic texts. We want our children to be confident, enthusiastic and effective writers who are willing to take risks in written work and understand the purpose of writing.
In order to reach their potential in writing, we believe it is important to have an understanding of how to use grammar correctly. We explicitly teach children grammar and encourage them to use it in the context of a piece of writing. Likewise, we believe good handwriting is an essential skill. To support this, there is an emphasis on fine motor skills from the Early Years. Reception and Year 1 focus on correct letter formation in their phonic lessons and consolidate it in handwriting sessions. Years 2-6 follow the Nelson Handwriting scheme that is modelled in our classroom fonts.
Learning to Live Well Together
Bedtime stories and Hot Chocolates at School!We learn to live well together through our shared ‘40 Book’ scheme. This is a school program in which every class has 20- 40 high quality, age appropriate texts that have been chosen by their classmates before them or their teachers. The pupils are paired and both children read the same book over a one or two week period (depending on the length of the book). They then have the opportunity to share their thoughts with each other and the children in their class. The children are taught the importance of caring for the books; they are well read so it is important to look after them for the next reader!
Pupils learn to live well together through a number of whole school events over the school year including: World Book Day, Hot Chocolate Story evening, the Book Fair, visits to Waterstones etc. Our pupils also learn to support each other through annual drama performances such as:
- The Key Stage One Nativity Performance
- The Year 6 Production
- The Year 4 Poetry Performance
- Class Assemblies (one per year)
- The Year 5 Carol Concert
We learn to live well together by supporting our community so that everyone is a teacher of English. We do this by holding training events for families such as:
- Reception and Year 1 phonic workshop
- Early comprehension workshop
- Speaking and Listening workshop by CLCS