English at The Hendreds
Our vision for English ensures every pupil is given a broad, balanced and relevant curriculum that takes into account the requirements of the National Curriculum. It is at the heart of our curriculum. We believe that the fundamental functions of language as a means of expressing feelings, communicating with others and engaging in the learning process, are crucial in underpinning life skills and all aspects of the curriculum. We therefore believe that all aspects of language need to be developed in as many different ways as possible in order to help children achieve a confident, fluent and appropriate use of language.
Our purpose is to enable children to
- Develop accurate listening skills
- Read with enjoyment and understanding for a variety of purposes.
- Write for different purposes in an appropriate style using spelling, punctuation and syntax accurately and confidently
- Communicate effectively
We believe that a high quality English curriculum should develop children’s love of reading, writing and discussion. We aim to inspire an appreciation of our rich and varied literary heritage and a habit of reading widely and often. We recognise the importance of nurturing a culture where children take pride in their writing, can write clearly and accurately and adapt their language and style for a range of contexts. We want to inspire children to become confident in the art of speaking and listening and to be able to use discussion to communicate and further their learning.
We believe that children need to develop a secure knowledge-base in literacy, which follows a clear pathway of progression as they advance through the primary years. Through our English Curriculum, we strive to teach the children how important their reading, writing, speaking and listening skills will be in the real world. By giving this context to their learning, the children understand the value of English to them now and in their futures.
Children in the Foundation Stage work towards achieving the Early Learning Goals. They experience a language-rich curriculum in which they are encouraged to explore the use of language through role-play, stories, rhymes and other activities.
English tasks are often closely linked to the topic being studied in our long-term curriculum plan for the foundation subject topics. This links texts studied and the genres covered to the overall topic being studied and enables important cross-curricular links to be made. The sequence of skills required for each year group is delivered within this.
Speaking and Listening
Our aim is to develop each child’s competence, confidence and enjoyment. We encourage our children to speak clearly and confidently and articulate their views and opinions. We have the expectation that children express themselves orally in an appropriate way, matching their style and response to audience and purpose. Our children have a range of opportunities to respond to literature, to give and receive instructions and to develop the skills to participate effectively in group discussions.
We provide a stimulating environment which arouses children’s interest and curiosity, and we provide good role models for pupils. We listen carefully and with respect and interest to what the children say, and extend their range by encouragement, explanation and interpretation to give all children equal opportunities to develop their speaking and listening skills.
In EYFS and Y1, the development of reading skills begins when children are introduced to phonics using Letters and Sounds. Children are assessed regularly and additional interventions offer support to those requiring it. Reading skills are developed through guided reading groups.
Although Phonics is the main way in which early reading is taught, we nurture a love of reading and books through using high quality reading texts to allow pupils to fully engage in reading for pleasure.
As readers become more fluent, we move towards embedding and deepening reading skills through
- The class novel where the teacher reads to the whole class and, through book-talk, encourages in depth discussion of characters, setting, inference, deduction and prediction. This approach nurtures a broadening of vocabulary and understanding of the writers’ craft in much more detail. In turn, this feeds into pupils’ writing skills, reflecting on how authors write.
- Guided reading where the book is selected by the class teacher at the appropriate level from our group book scheme (based on the Collins book banding system. Pupils have access to books which allow reading success whilst providing the right level of challenge to support reading progression).
- Individual reading where children can select from the high quality selection in the class library.
We recognise that writing draws on a wide range of skills, including: spelling, handwriting, composition and impact. We believe that ‘good readers become good writers’. To this end, we acknowledge that there is a close link between reading a wide range of high-quality books and the impact that this can have on the ability to write well.
We believe fluent handwriting is an essential skill required by all children. Modern italic handwriting is taught from the start of school and is continued throughout to Year 6. We believe that high expectations in handwriting not only raises standards in presentation, but also develops confidence, enabling the pupil to focus on the composition of what they are writing as opposed to the transcription skill.
Spelling and grammar form a crucial part of the writing process. We teach spelling and grammar discretely, and as part of English lessons. EYFS and Y1 children practise high frequency word lists and spelling pattern lists set out in the letters and sounds guidance. From Y1 onwards, spelling strategies are further developed through a range of activities: investigation, independent activities and games and the ‘look, say, cover, write, check’ strategy.