At Our Lady & St Anne’s Primary School, our English curriculum is designed to develop children’s love of reading, writing and discussion and equip our children with the skills needed to be lifelong learners. We believe that children need to develop a secure knowledge-base in English, which follows a clear pathway of progression as they advance through the primary curriculum. Our carefully sequenced, broad and balanced curriculum, underpinned by inclusive practice, aims to provide our children with the opportunities to build on their own experiences as well as creating new experiences and developing new skills.
Our curriculum closely follows the aims of the National Curriculum to enable all children to:
- read easily, fluently and with good understanding
- develop the habit of reading widely and often, for both pleasure and information
- appreciate our rich and varied literary heritage
- acquire a wide vocabulary, an understanding of grammar and knowledge of linguistic conventions for reading, writing and spoken language
- write clearly, accurately and coherently, adapting their language and style in and for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences
- use discussion in order to learn; they should be able to elaborate and explain clearly their understanding and ideas, as well as being able to communicate their learning in all areas of the curriculum.
- are competent in the arts of speaking and listening, making formal presentations, demonstrating to others and participating in debate.
Our English curriculum is implemented through the use of rich texts and engaging pupils with a cross-curricular approach. Texts are often chosen to link with the topic’s pupils are learning about and these are used as a springboard to inspire pupils to read and write. We believe that choosing the right context and starting point to engage our children in their learning is vital in fostering a love for reading and writing.
Our English curriculum aims to provide many purposeful opportunities for reading, writing and discussion. We want all of our pupils to be proficient readers, writers, spellers and speakers, who can transfer their English skills to other curriculum subjects and who are prepared for the next steps in their education. Our English lessons develop pupils’ spoken language, reading, writing, grammar and vocabulary, teaching them how to write within specific genres and which structural and language features to include to be successful. Lessons focus on teaching specific spelling, grammar and punctuation skills to enable our pupils to apply the skills they have been taught to their extended writing and writing across the curriculum. We teach our pupils to speak clearly, to convey their ideas fluently and confidently and to ask questions.
At Our Lady and St Anne’s pupils are encouraged to read for pleasure and to read widely through our reading scheme and frequent use of the school library. Pupils continue to develop a range of reading skills, as well as a love of reading through the use of focus fiction, non-fiction and poetry texts during guided reading sessions as well as using the Reading Eggs online programme at home. Our guided reading sessions cover a wide variety of both fiction and non-fiction books which are age appropriate and help to advance the children’s comprehension skills. Throughout Key Stage 1 and 2 we use a wide variety of quality texts and resources to motivate and inspire our children. Children are immersed into the text through music, art, drama, discussion and role-play.
In school, we have a large percentage of pupils who have English as an Additional Language. Therefore, it is essential that the children are equipped with the crucial skills that enable them to understand the English language as soon as they enter school. Using the Read Write Inc approach to teaching phonics, we strive to give our pupils the very best oracy, reading and writing experiences from a very young age. Phonological awareness helps the development of reading by segmenting and blending sounds and the children will be provided with regular reading opportunities both individually and in groups. We ensure that children receive high quality phonic teaching on a daily basis throughout school using the Read Write Inc scheme. Children are assessed regularly and sessions are targeted to the children’s phonetic ability.
For our early readers and pupils not yet off the phonics program, home reading books are matched to the grapheme-phoneme correspondences pupils have been taught in their RWI sessions. All pupils who are ready, are then placed onto the reading scheme and regularly assessed so the books they are reading at home match the child’s reading ability. Once confident and fluent readers, the children then become ‘free readers’ and are allowed to chose their own books from a selection of age appropriate texts.
We also provide enrichment opportunities, such as hosting/attending author workshops, visiting local theatres, as well as participating in national events such as World Book Day and National Poetry week These experiences ensure that children benefit from access to positive role models from the local and wider locality as well as being inspired by what surrounds them. These additional experiences help us to enrich the curriculum even further and continue to deepen the children’s learning.
We develop our pupils writing skills using Jane Considine’s ‘The Write Stuff’ approach which encourages the children to build stamina and the ability to write at length, through structured teacher modelling which applies the skills set out in the English National Curriculum. The Write Stuff is based on two guiding principles; teaching sequences that develop and deepen the children’s prior knowledge and experiences and sentence stacking lessons which equip the children with the relevant skills needed to write in a particular style. Teachers prepare the children for writing by modelling the ideas, grammar or techniques of writing and providing them with scaffolds which not only ensure an inclusive whole class approach to writing but challenges and raises expectations.
All children from Nursery to Year 6 are provided with many opportunities to develop and apply their writing skills across the curriculum. Initially, pupils need to be able to form the letters needed and then be able to express their ideas using these letters. Through shared and guided writing opportunities, we equip children to develop the skills of writing clearly and legibly. When the child is confident with these basic skills, they work towards being able to write with a greater sense of purpose and learn to organize their writing according to this purpose. To support children in moving towards independent writing we provide a wide range of activities including the use of film and imagery, music, ICT, modelled, shared and guided writing, peer assessment and discussion. We provide varied and exciting opportunities for writing for purpose and we encourage pupils to see themselves as authors and poets.We have a range of extra activities which are used to promote English within the school including: encouraging extended pieces of writing in all curriculum areas, weekly class writers’ awards with pupils’ writing celebrated on our ‘Writing Hall of Fame’ board in the communal corridor and participating in able and talented writing events in local schools.