English Curriculum Statement
At Heytesbury Primary School, English and the teaching of English is the foundation of our curriculum. Our aim is to ensure every child becomes primary literate, progressing in reading and writing, as well as making progress in speaking and listening skills
Speaking and Listening
Our intention is that the children will be able to communicate effectively in a range of contexts and to a range of audiences. To enable this, we aim to increase the children’s vocabulary ranging from describing their immediate world, to developing a broad and rich vocabulary base to discuss a wider range of topics as well as abstract ideas and concepts. We also aim for the children to develop the necessary skills to listen to others, to share their own views and opinions and to challenge courteously the views and opinions of others.
We value reading as a key life skill and therefore ensure reading is a fundamental part of what we do starting with a secure development and understanding of phonics in EYFS. Our intention is to enable pupils to become readers for life, with an understanding that reading is the key to future success. We aim to develop the reading competencies (decoding, fluency, reading skills eg inference, make connections between texts, respond to texts orally and in writing, understand writer's style & intent) to access and explore texts; to create a language rich environment to support reading comprehension, and to foster a culture which promotes a love of reading to engage and inspire pupils and thus lay the foundations for future success. We also believe in the power of literature to open up worlds and foster empathy – our reading curriculum reflects this with books chosen to ensure that pupils are exposed to diverse cultures and experiences, and are given opportunities to read texts which feed their imagination and generates enthusiasm for reading.
Like reading, writing is also a key life skill. Our intention is to enable children to write with confidence and accuracy, incorporating a wide range of vocabulary as well as to write for a variety of purposes and audiences, whilst developing their own individual flair. This starts in EYFS with an exposure to quality fiction and rich vocabulary to ensure they can articulate their ideas orally as a precursor to writing. We make sure that pupils can see links between being readers and writers by using our class texts as stimulus and models for writing where possible. We want our children to be able to write with grammatical accuracy and be able to apply spelling patterns correctly using a neat handwriting style. We believe that all good writers refine and edit their writing over time, so we want children to develop independence in being able to identify their own areas for improvement in all pieces of writing, editing their work effectively during and after the writing process. We also want our pupils to be enthusiastic writers who enjoy using language creatively and sharing their work.
What is taught in English?
We follow the National Curriculum Programmes of Study for English as well as the Early Years curriculum for our youngest children. The former incorporates the areas of:
· Spelling, punctuation and grammar.
The Early Years curriculum incorporates:
· Communication and language
· Literacy – reading & writing
What will my child learn?
For reading, each term is driven by one or two focus texts. The books have been chosen carefully so that whilst they primarily support the learning of English, they may also link to learning in other subjects, for example, history or PSHE. Books are also chosen to ensure the children have experience of different literary styles, genre, authors and cultures, and include ‘old but gold’ texts, as a well as more recent children’s fiction.
Towards the end of Foundation Stage onwards, the children are also taught reading and comprehension skills in cohort reading groups across the week.
Until year 3, children have regular story-time; from year 4, story time is 3 – 4 times per week. We choose quality fiction to ensure that pupils are getting a rich and varied diet of literature, which promotes discussion and offers inspiration for their own reading habits. At times, the books to be read to the class are chosen by the children.
In writing, the children follow a writer’s journey. Firstly, children are exposed to a particular genre where they learn about particular key features and techniques, being exposed to what a good writing example looks like. Next, children are given a writing stimulus which aims to promote and encourage creativity. They explore and record their ideas through drafting, editing and proofreading, honing their skills through focused teacher feedback. At times, the children will present a ‘top copy’ of their work.
Throughout the process, spelling, punctuation and grammar are taught and woven into the writing. Early morning work tasks, as well as modelled and shared writing, ensure that skills are recapped and reinforced to embed and instil deeper understanding.
Handwriting, linked to our own handwriting policy, is taught from EYFS to year 3. Children in other year groups who need further handwriting development will be taught in small booster/intervention groups. Children from year 2 onwards may be awarded a pen licence - high standards of handwriting must continue to maintain 'this licence'.
Spellings are taught according to the rules and words contained in Appendix 1 of the English National Curriculum and in line with our spelling scheme of work. Y2 – Y6 teachers use Spell Frame to support their teaching and to provide activities that link to the weekly spellings. Children are given spellings to learn each week and are given a spelling test the following week.
Phonics & Early Reading. Phonics are taught from EYFS – Y2. We follow the ‘Letters and Sounds’. In EYFS, children begin reading with picture books. Once they are secure with the first set of phonemes and sight words, they begin reading phonically decodable books.
Each year, early in term 1, parents in EYFS & Y1 are invited to attend a workshop with the class teacher about phonics teaching and learning. This is followed up with parents observing phonic teaching in school. In this way, parents feel more able to support their child with early reading skills at home.
Speaking & Listening
The National Curriculum weaves the learning objectives for speaking and listening into the reading and writing objectives, therefore this aspect of English is planned within our scheme of work. In addition, high quality communication skills are promoted in the teaching and learning of all subjects as well as in day to day conversations.
Pupil Voice: through discussion and feedback, children talk enthusiastically about reading and writing and understand the importance of this subject. They can also talk about books and authors that they have enjoyed and can make reading recommendations.
Knowledge: pupils can make links between texts and the different themes and genres within them. They can recognise similarities and differences. Children understand the reading and writing process.
Skills: children are taught reading and writing progressively and at a pace appropriate to each individual child. Teachers subject knowledge ensure that skills taught are matched to National Curriculum objectives. .
Outcomes: at the end of each year we expect the children to have achieved Age Related Expectations (ARE) for their year group. Some children will have progressed further and achieved greater depth (GD). Children who have gaps in their knowledge receive appropriate support and intervention.