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English

From September 2014, a new primary  curriculum became statutory. 

The changes to the English curriculum are:

  • Stronger emphasis on vocabulary development, grammar, punctuation and spelling .
  • Reading is at the core of the whole curriculum with a significant emphasis on reading for pleasure both at home and at school.
  • Handwriting (not currently assessed under the national curriculum) is expected to be fluent, legible and speedy.
  • Spoken Language is given greater emphasis, with children being taught debating (KS2) and presentation skills (reciting poetry).

English is at the core of all our other subjects.  We wish to develop in our children a love of language both written and spoken that will go with them into adulthood.  We believe a high standard of speaking, listening, reading and writing skills will place our children at an advantage in their wider curriculum studies.

To achieve our aims, we endeavour to:

  • Create a safe caring environment in which all children feel encouraged to speak and listen as appropriate.
  • Give children access to a wide variety of stimulating literary texts, including both fiction and non-fiction.  Our core reading scheme is Oxford Reading Tree (supplemented with a range from Pearson at KS2) which runs from Foundation Stage through to the end of KS2. 
  • Hear children read on a regular basis and send reading books home daily along with a reading record for teacher and parental contributions.
  • Provide children with the opportunity to produce a range of written work developing skills across a variety of genre, eg – narrative, information and poetry.
  • Correct spelling and grammar in a sensitive and constructive manner.
  • Encourage children to develop a clear and legible handwriting style.
  • Maintain records of pupil achievement to assess their progress and build upon their success.

Reading: Word Reading and Comprehension

Our main objective is to foster in children a love of reading.  They will be encouraged to value books and read for learning and enjoyment, from a wide range of literary texts from all genres.

Children will be encouraged to read with fluency and understanding utilising a combination of strategies including phonic knowledge, graphic knowledge, contextual clues and sight vocabulary. Children’s awareness of syntax, punctuation, expression and comprehension will be developed and assessed through Guided Reading Sessions and individual reading. 

As well as reading to adults at school, children have opportunities to read to a reading partner from another class.  This encourages an enjoyment of reading and develops skills in both the reader and the listener.

Writing: Transcription and Composition

Our children need to develop a passion and skill for writing in which they feel comfortable in experimenting with different styles and formats.  From the Foundation Stage, all children’s attempts at writing, including emergent writing, are valued and built upon, so that children appreciate the importance of their writing in conveying meaning to the reader.

‘Big Writing’ is the development of the ‘writing voice’ through fast, fun, lively and predominantly oral activities.  Pupils ‘talk’ the ‘writing voice’, both within a dedicated ‘Big Writing’ lesson and at as many other points during the week as time allows.  In KS2, there is a weekly Big Writing session.  In KS1, the emphasis will be on verbally rehearsing writing and this will lead to regular Big Writing sessions as the year progresses.

As part of Big Writing, the children are taught specific writing skills (VCOP):

V  How to use interesting and ambitious vocabulary (known as ‘wow’ words).
C To experiment with and use a wide range of connectives.
O To experiment with and use more ambitious openers, including connectives and ‘ing’ words.
P To use the Punctuation Pyramid (particularly in KS2) to develop greater accuracy  in punctuation.

In KS1 and KS2 SPAG (Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar) is taught both discretely and as an embedded part of English lessons.

Spoken Language

Oral language has a key role in classroom teaching and learning.  Discussion and interaction can engage children’s imagination and foster creativity.

In our school the key areas are:

  • Speaking: being able to speak clearly and to develop and sustain ideas in talk.
  • Listening: developing active listening strategies and critical skills of analysis.
  • Group discussion and interaction: taking different roles in groups, making a range of contributions and working collaboratively.
  • Drama: improvising and working in role, scripting and performing, and responding to performances.

Talk is an underlying factor in the development of literacy, with children engaging by responding to text and explaining their choices and rehearsing their ideas in advance of writing.  In maths, answers can be discussed, data interpreted and relevant language can be developed.  However, all areas of the curriculum offer opportunities in this area and therefore it is necessary to teach Spoken Language explicitly across the curriculum.

To develop their Spoken Language skills, children will be encouraged to play active roles in class discussions.  They will be given opportunities to engage in role play and drama.  Children will be expected to listen to others and respond with sensitivity and respect to the talk of others.  They will have opportunities to speak in front of an audience, using language and techniques appropriate to the task.

In the Foundation Stage, children’s speaking and listening skills are developed across the curriculum as well as specifically in activities such as listening games, show and tell sessions, role play.