Our aims for English is to ensure that by the end of KS2 all pupils:
· read easily, fluently and with good understanding
· develop the habit of reading widely and often, for both pleasure and information
· acquire a wide vocabulary, an understanding of grammar and knowledge of linguistic conventions for reading, writing and spoken language
· appreciate our rich and varied literary heritage
· 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
· are competent in the arts of speaking and listening, making formal presentations, demonstrating to others and participating in debate
The English curriculum is underpinned by two core values – that all children should be competent readers and that all children should be able to articulate their ideas. We believe that in order for our children to become successful writers, they must first be able to speak well and read with fluency and confidence.
Children enter the school with very low starting points in Reading, Writing, Speaking and Understanding. Just over 50% of all cohorts outside of EYFS achieved or exceeded the ELGs for Speaking, Understand and Reading and Writing whilst 45% of all children achieved it for Writing. We are also aspirational to provide challenge to all pupils.
These percentages are not distributed evenly throughout year groups but highlight the fact that our children, even after making accelerated progress in EYFS, enter Key Stage 1 well below the national average.
However, we do not believe that our children will make progress in writing until they are competent readers and speakers.
Reading is an essential part of our whole curriculum. Children read extensively in all other curricular areas – from following instructions in DT, to reading religious texts during Religious Education. We believe that children should read frequently and widely.
Children actively and enthusiastically engage with books, labels and information on displays throughout the school.
Books and iPads are used daily for research within other subjects. Children are encouraged to read for pleasure with each class having dedicated library time and there being an embedded system for borrowing and returning books. We ensure that all our pupils are benchmarked so that our staff are fully aware of the children’s levels. Home reading books are phonetically decodable to facilitate independent reading especially for those children who are not read with at home. Within the school we value reading, children are read to daily to promote a love of storytelling and all staff share their experiences of reading with the children.
The environment is print-rich and children are actively encouraged to contribute their own writing and read their peers’ work. We use ‘Talk for Writing’ as an invaluable teaching methodology, encouraging our children to say it before they write it. Underpinning this is a systematic and comprehensive approach to spelling, punctuation, vocabulary and grammar whereby children are exposed daily to the English language and encouraged to experiment and manipulate language.
Children are required to learn set spellings each week and apply those within their own writing. Where children require further support, phonics is continually taught until such a point the children are ready to progress.