English has a pre-eminent place in education and in society. A high-quality education in English will teach pupils to speak and write fluently so that they can communicate their ideas and emotions to others and through their reading and listening, others can communicate with them. Through reading in particular, pupils have a chance to develop culturally, emotionally, intellectually, socially and spiritually. Literature, especially, plays a key role in such development. Reading also enables pupils both to acquire knowledge and to build on what they already know. All the skills of language are essential to participating fully as a member of society; pupils, therefore, who do not learn to speak, read and write fluently and confidently are effectively disenfranchised.
National Curriculum 2014
At St Patrick's Catholic Primary our English curriculum aims to ensure that all pupils:
be proficient in the use of language and oracy, able to articulate their ideas clearly, expressing opinions and debating their views.
read easily, fluently and with good understanding
read widely and often, developing a genuine love of reading
appreciate our rich and varied language heritage
write clearly, accurately and imaginatively, adapting language and style in and for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences
develop a love of writing and express thoughts and ideas creatively though the written words
re-read, edit and improve their writing
acquire a wide vocabulary, an understanding of grammar and knowledge of linguistic conventions for reading, writing and spoken language
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.
We ensure that our English teaching and learning provides purposeful opportunities for developing spoken language, reading and writing. We use quality texts and resources to motivate our children. All pupils receive a daily English lesson, which includes guided reading and writing. We also ensure that reading and writing are embedded and developed through all subject areas.
At St Patricks, throughout the Early Years and KS1 we provide high quality teaching and learning for daily systematic synthetic phonic sessions using the Read Write Inc. programme to ensure consistency in practice and delivery. Emphasis is placed on the application of sounds through reading phonetically decodable texts tightly matched to the phonics programme and encoding for spelling and writing.
Phonics is taught daily at a brisk pace
Children are taught in small groups appropriate to their level
Teaching is applied and reinforced throughout the day in other subjects
Progress is assessed and monitored through half-termly assessments
Our intention is that all children will keep up with the programme. However, any child at risk of falling behind will be quickly identified and targeted for additional intervention to enable them to catch up quickly.
Each session closely follows the Read Write Inc. guidelines
The phonics screening test is taken by all Year 1 children in June each year, with those children in Year 2 not achieving the threshold, targeted for further precise intervention to ensure rapid progress to close the attainment gap
All teachers and teaching assistants are well-trained and have a consistent approach to the teaching of phonics
Our reading programme in EYFS and Year 1 is tightly matched to our phonics teaching. As a school, we ensure that children read phonetically decodable texts until they have completed the Read Write Inc. programme. This enables the children to use their knowledge of phonemes to decode words. The teaching of high frequency words or harder to read and spell words at each stage of the phonics programme also supports the reading development. The children read a range of fiction and non-fiction books throughout school. The provision of books is meticulously organised, from when the children start in the nursery through to the end of key stage 2.
As the children develop their ability to decode phonetically and read fluently, the comprehension of text increases in importance with guided sessions focused on inference and deduction, developing a wider vocabulary and broadening the knowledge of authors, genres and themes. From Year 2, we use quality whole class texts, as evidence has shown that this approach to the teaching of reading supports the development of children’s comprehension skills, fluency and stamina. Teachers ensure that the text chosen is appropriate to the ability of the class and provides children with a range of questions to develop all areas of their comprehension skills: retrieval, inference, word meaning and writer’s craft. The long-term overview of whole class reading and guided reading texts ensures progression while embedding whole school values and diversity. Higher order questions extend the more able, with additional support and questions provided for children who are not yet ready to access the whole class text.
We encourage reading for pleasure by promoting acclaimed authors, sharing quality literature in story time and ensuring that book corners are stimulating with good quality texts that are age appropriate. Reading is at the heart of all curriculum subjects and we believe that every opportunity should be exploited to build stamina and provide independent learning opportunities through reading. All classrooms are learning resources with quality texts, engaging book corners, tabletop resources and working walls to support the learning process.
Our expectations for reading at home are ambitious, with all children expected to read at least three times a week. Incentives are set to encourage and reward children to read at home. We provide phonics workshops for parents to help them support their children as we acknowledge that our families are key partners in developing a love of reading.
We believe that children should be given the opportunity to embed their writing skills and deepen their learning. There is an emphasis on precision in all areas of writing: planning, composition, grammar, spelling, handwriting and re-drafting. Through modelled writing and guided writing sessions focusing on children’s precise next steps, children secure their knowledge of age-appropriate skills as outlined in the programmes of study for the national curriculum. Children are enabled to write clearly, accurately and imaginatively, adapting language and style in and for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences. Those children who are not on track to achieve the expected standard have precise and targeted intervention to accelerate and embed their learning.
The teaching sequence:
In EYFS and Year 1 we follow the Read Write Inc. Get Writing structure, which is closely aligned to the phonics lessons. From Year 2 we use a two- or three-week writing cycle that is used to allow children to practise age related skills and provide the opportunity to apply these skills to an extended piece of writing. The sequence includes:
Identifying the key outcome as outlined in the knowledge organiser
Identifying and commenting on the structural and language features of the genre
Text annotation/analysis using age-appropriate examples
Gaining the knowledge and skills to apply grammar, sentence and punctuation expectations
Planning an extended write
Peer/self-assessment along the journey
Redrafting and improving
Teachers will use modelling, guided writing, scaffolds and different levels of support to ensure successful acquisition of skills and knowledge for all children. We believe that every lesson is an English lesson and an opportunity to deepen learning.
Spelling, punctuation and grammar
We follow the programmes of study for each year group as outlined in the National Curriculum 2014, supported by the Babcock spelling programme. In the Early Years and Year One, spelling is closely matched to phonics teaching with daily sessions providing the children with the opportunity to practise and apply phonemes taught. Additional discrete spelling sessions are taught at Key Stage One to provide the opportunity to teach the spelling curriculum meeting National Curriculum expectations.
In Key Stage 2, there are weekly spelling lessons which are embedded through retrieval practice and written application. In addition to this, spelling, grammar and punctuation are taught daily through short starter activities and then developed and applied through the writing process. Dictionary and thesaurus work is also key to both the development of spelling and the widening of children’s vocabulary.
We follow the programmes of study for each year group as outlined in the National Curriculum 2014, supported by the Nelson handwriting scheme. There are discrete handwriting sessions throughout the primary phase, with teachers demonstrating the formation of the letters and correct joins. In addition, in all writing activities, handwriting is reinforced for children to apply the skills taught in discrete lessons.
We are passionate about igniting our children’s natural enthusiasm to read, developing children as lifelong learners who read for pleasure as well as to learn. Our investment in quality texts, both for the curriculum and class libraries, ambitious targets for reading at home and curriculum time, ensures that children become wide and fluent readers. Their command of language is developed through systematically increasing their vocabulary store while providing opportunities to discuss ideas, justify opinions, ask questions and use discussion and debate for a clear purpose. Curriculum visits are planned with thought, enabling children to experience visits to the theatre or meet real authors to raise aspirations, inspire and stimulate lifelong learning. Enrichment is further enhanced through a poetry week centred on National Poetry Day, World Book Day, as well as opportunities to perform and speak to a variety of audiences. Shakespeare Week is an annual opportunity to engage with the nation’s most famous playwright and every class performs an excerpt from his plays.
The impact of our English curriculum is to ensure that children leave St Patrick’s Primary School meeting the standards in all aspects of the English curriculum, at least in line with the end of KS2 expectations. They will be confident in the art of speaking and listening and using Standard English, able to write extended pieces of work and have the stamina and skills to write at length, with accurate spelling and punctuation. Children will have a wide vocabulary and be adventurous with vocabulary choices within their writing. Above all, they will be fluent readers with a genuine love of reading, able to talk about books that they enjoy with enthusiasm and knowledge.
A range of other activities take place across the year to measure the impact of learning in English, including daily marking of written work, frequent book looks, pupil interviews, staff meetings, annual reports to parents and learning walks. Assessment data is collected termly using NFER tests which is then analysed by the English lead. Statutory assessments in English take place in EYFS, End of Key Stage 1 and 2 and the Phonics Screening in Year 1 and these results are also reported to parents. External moderation of writing at the end of both key stages also validates our own judgements. All staff are encouraged to raise questions, seek support and request further training if needed in order to ensure everyone is confident in what they teach. Good practice is always shared between staff and all CPD is used to inform teaching and learning across school.