At Chuckery we believe that a quality English curriculum should develop children’s love of reading, writing and discussion. We have a rigorous and well organised English curriculum that provides many purposeful opportunities for reading, writing and discussion. Our curriculum closely follows the aims of the National Curriculum for English 2014 to enable all children to:
· be competent in the arts of speaking and listening, communicating their understanding and ideas clearly and using discussion in order to learn.
· have secure phonic knowledge in order to decode words easily, read them aloud fluently and spell words correctly.
· be confident, enthusiastic, independent and reflective readers who develop a habit and pleasure for reading
· write at length clearly and coherently, adapting language and style in a range of contexts, purposes and audiences.
· know and understand a range of grammatical terms and use these correctly.
· take pride in the presentation of their work.
The Early Years Foundation Stage
English in Early Years is based upon the Foundation Stage Profile strand of Communication, Language & Literacy. Communication, language and literacy depend on learning and being competent in a number of key skills, together with having the confidence, opportunity, encouragement, support and disposition to use them. This area of learning includes communication, speaking and listening in different situations and for different purposes. It involves being read a wide range of books, reading simple texts themselves and writing for a variety of purposes. To give all children the best opportunities for effective development and learning in communication, language and literacy, teachers should give particular attention to:
- Providing opportunities for children to communicate thoughts, ideas and feelings and build up relationships with adults and each other.
- Incorporating communication, language and literacy development in planned activities in each area of learning.
- Giving opportunities to share and enjoy a wide range of rhymes, music, songs, poetry, stories and non-fiction books.
- Giving opportunities for linking language with physical movement in action songs and rhymes, role play and practical experiences.
- Planning an environment that reflects the importance of language through signs, notices and books.
- Providing opportunities for children to see adults writing and for children to experiment with writing for themselves through making marks, personal writing symbols and conventional script.
- Providing time and opportunities to develop spoken language through conversations between children and adults, both one-to- one and in small groups, with particular awareness of, and sensitivity to, the needs of children for whom English is an additional language, using their home language when appropriate.
Speaking and Listening
The National Curriculum for English reflects the importance of spoken language in pupils’ development across the whole curriculum – cognitively, socially and linguistically. Spoken language underpins the development of reading and writing. The quality and variety of language that pupils hear and speak are vital for developing their vocabulary and grammar and their understanding for reading and writing. Teachers should therefore ensure the continual development of pupils’ confidence and competence in spoken language and listening skills. Pupils should develop a capacity to explain their understanding of books and other reading, and to prepare their ideas before they write. They must be assisted in making their thinking clear to themselves as well as to others and teachers should ensure that pupils build secure foundations by using discussion to probe and remedy their misconceptions. Pupils should also be taught to understand and use the conventions for discussion and debate. All pupils should be enabled to participate in and gain knowledge, skills and understanding associated with the artistic practice of drama. Pupils should be able to adopt, create and sustain a range of roles, responding appropriately to others in role. They should have opportunities to improvise, devise and script drama for one another and a range of audiences, as well as to rehearse, refine, share and respond thoughtfully to drama and theatre performances. Statutory requirements which underpin all aspects of spoken language across the six years of primary education form part of the national curriculum.
- Phonics and reading fluency
At Chuckery we realise that the first stage to becoming a successful reader is the ability to decode and read fluently at an age-appropriate level. It is only once children can become less pre-occupied by decoding that they can begin to comprehend texts.
Across EYFS and KS1, we use the ‘Read Write Inc’ phonics programme to teach early reading which is delivered by trained teachers and teaching assistants. After a foundation of learning to recognise and make a range of different sounds in nursery, reception children begin to learn the first 31 phonic sounds. This is taught at a rapid pace as children are introduced to 1 phoneme per day throughout the first term. The teaching of this is multi-sensory and active, using the wider school environment such as the Early Years outdoor area to ensure purposeful learning is taking place. Letter sounds are sent home as they are introduced in class to consolidate learning and to keep parents/carers up-to-date on the progress being made in school. Tricky words are introduced gradually as ‘red words’ for the children to learn at home and in school. Children are continually assessed during and at the end of this period and if secure move onto set 2 and 3 sounds as appropriate. Intervention activities will be in place for those children who are not secure with the set 1 sounds to target any gaps in phonic knowledge so far. Children will continue to follow the programme into Year 1.
In Year 1 children have daily RWI lessons that continue to build on the skills learnt in the Early Years Foundation Stage and continual formative assessment will help target any gaps in phonic knowledge. This will be addressed in class through intervention programmes and supported individual or group work.
At the start of Year 2 some children continue to revise the Set 2 and 3 sounds, by continuing the RWI programme.
For children that enter KS2 with some gaps in their phonological awareness, interventions such as direct phonics and precision teaching are provided in order for them to ‘catch up’. Truggs assessments are also used in year 3 and 4 in order to identify children that are still struggling with aspects of reading fluency.
In the Early Years Foundation Stage, the teaching of reading comprehension is initially done as shared reading with the class teacher or teaching assistant. Children then begin to participate in small guided reading sessions.
In key stage 1, children are taught comprehension as part of the ‘Read, Write, Inc’ programme and receive supplementary comprehension lessons as part of their ‘mini-adventure’ and through discussion around their class novel.
In year 2 and KS2, reading sessions occur daily and last approximately 30-45 minutes. Year 2 use CGP texts and questions while the rest of Key stage 2 use ‘Bug Club Comprehension’ reading scheme to support their planning. Children are taught comprehension skills through a whole class reading lesson. These sessions focus heavily on the comprehension and understanding on the text. The school adopts a ‘thirsty reading’ approach to the teaching of reading. Children first focus on understanding any new vocabulary, making predictions and understanding the questions before any reading of the text is done. Questions from a range of reading domains are answered with a particular focus on retrieval, inference and word choice. This scheme is used as a starting point for teachers, and, where necessary, teachers may choose to adapt their planning to further meet the needs of the children.
- Enjoyment for reading
All children take home a decodable reading book which they can choose themselves from a selection within their own reading level. These are brought into school daily and a reading record is kept to monitor the number of times that the child has read either independently or to an adult at home. Rewards are given within class to promote reading at home. Throughout the week children are also heard read within school by a number of different adults and are asked questions from a range of different strands taken from the national curriculum. A record is kept of these to help inform teacher summative assessments.
Every class has a class novel – a quality text that is read daily for the enjoyment of ‘listening’. This is displayed on the classroom door and in the library. Teachers use this opportunity to model fluency and to further support comprehension and understanding. We enrich our reading experiences by providing focused events, such as World Book Day, Roald Dahl Day, National Poetry Day etc. The school’s library is vibrant and well stocked. Children visit the school library once a week where they can discuss, review and recommend books with the school librarian.
At Chuckery, we follow ‘The Write Stuff’ approach to writing. This teaching approach enables all learners, regardless of ability, to engage and access new learning. This approach to writing is taught from the summer term in Rec to Year 6.
Structure of a Unit
A unit consists of the following lessons:
• Experience/knowledge days
• Sentence stacking
• Skills lessons
• Editing lessons
The aim of an experience day is to provide children with a rich experience which they can use to develop and enhance their future writing. These lessons can range dramatically in structure and content. An experience day may include drama, research or language development.
Sentence stacking is the fundamental approach that underpins The Write Stuff approach to writing. This is an opportunity for children to develop their ideas, their language choices and to understand how to bring their ideas to life on a page. The ideas of writing are broken down into three categories: the ideas, grammar, techniques. During a lesson, there will be three sentence stacks (20 minutes each). Each sentence stack will follow the following structure: initiate, model, enable. During the initiation phase, a stimulus may be used to spark intrigue and a technique will be chosen to build a sentence from. Language will be shared and developed as a class and recorded in books. This is an open discussion between the teacher and children. Language is shared, discussed, accepted and rejected. During the modelling phase, the teacher will model the construction of a sentence at the front of the class using the ideas and language that was developed as a class. The teacher will think out loud during this phase so that the children understand the thought process behind constructing a sentence.
During the enable phase, children have the opportunity to construct their own sentence using their ideas. Children are encouraged to think independently, use ideas that they feel are powerful to make their writing their own. The idea is that they can develop ownership of their sentence. Some children may ‘deepen the moment’ which involves deepening the idea that they are currently focused on – they do not move their writing on, but instead, deepen this moment/point further. Children’s work is shared at the end of each sentence stack to allow their ideas to be celebrated and also as a chance for the teacher to pick up on any errors or misconceptions. Children, including those with SEND, will be provided with additional support during sentence stacking lessons. They are to be provided with initial ideas and sentence structure prompts.
These lessons can be used in two ways: to prepare children for future sentence stacking lessons or to act on feedback from a previous sentence stacking lesson. These lessons are to focus in deeper on a particular skill that would be unable to be taught fully during a sentence stack.
In these lessons children respond to the teacher’s marking or feedback in order to further improve their writing. The teachers will provide feedback in three areas: basic skills (punctuation and grammar), re-writing/re-phrasing, developing further. Children will edit their work with a purple pen. Peer feedback will also be used to help children identify how they could improve their work.
These sessions provide children with the time needed to write up their final pieces in neat.
Cross Curricular links: As well as teaching English as a discrete subject, teachers seek to take advantage of opportunities to make cross-curricular links. We plan for pupils to practise and apply the skills, knowledge and understanding acquired through English lessons to other areas of the curriculum. In this way expectations of the standard of speaking, listening, reading and writing remain consistently applied. In addition, subject matter from other curriculum areas is often used as content or stimulus for speaking, listening, reading and writing.
In EYFS and Year 1 spelling is developed through the systematic teaching of phonics using the RWI scheme. In addition, we teach weekly spelling lessons using the Rising Stars Spelling scheme. Children from Year One to Year Six are taught and practise all the statutory word lists within lively sessions. Every child is supported as they progress from phonics with a rigorous learning pathway that builds knowledge year on year. We ensure spelling teaching is fun and enjoyable and allow opportunities for the children to explore spellings in context.
The children in Key Stage One and Two, will receive spellings every week to learn at home. These are tested at the end of the week during a spelling test in the classroom. Spellings are in line with the National Curriculum and the Statutory Spellings Lists. In addition, children have opportunities for: dictionary and thesaurus work; the use of word banks and vocabulary displays; to identify and use spellings within a context.
Teachers follow the guidance set out in the handwriting policy. Children are initially taught letter formation in early years alongside the RWI programme where each letter has its own rhyme (e.g. around the apple and down the leaf). Once children have understood how to form each letter they move to precursive handwriting, teaching them to add a whoosh before each letter. After this, children are taught to join letters in line with the progression document set out in the policy. Our aim is to ensure that children write legibly, fluently and at a reasonable speed
Assessment and feedback
Teachers make formative assessments throughout the school week and record these in their class feedback books. This information directly informs future planning. Summative assessments are made twice a year. NTS reading tests are carried out in order to help teachers make these summative judgements (alongside other information from reading records) and identify gaps in knowledge which will help inform future planning. After every published piece of writing, teachers identify which children are demonstrating age related skills and are therefore on track to meet end of year expectations in writing. These judgements are moderated in school every term.
Feedback, where appropriate is mostly verbal and follows the guidelines set out in the feedback policy. Feedback to children enables them to know what their next steps are in their learning and how they could further improve it.
Pupils identified as needing extra support in English will be given the appropriate help in the classroom. Providing for pupils with special educational needs should take account of each pupil’s particular learning and assessment requirements and incorporate specific approaches which will allow individuals to succeed, such as using texts at an appropriate level of difficulty and planning for additional support. It is up to teachers to:
- provide a differentiated English curriculum to meet the needs of all the children through the continuity of experiences.
- set suitable learning challenges for individuals or small groups of children.
- respond to pupils diverse learning needs.
- liaise with the SENCO to ensure that provision is made for all children with SEN.
- relate activities for SEN children to their individual targets and personal plans.
- overcome potential barriers to learning and assessment for individuals and groups of pupils.
- identify vulnerable groups who are not making expected progress, and provide appropriate support.
In English, children make good progress from their own personal starting points. By the end of Year Six they are able to: read fluently; understand what they read; write clearly and accurately and adapt their language and style in and for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences. Our children acquire a wide vocabulary and have a strong command of the written word which can be applied across the curriculum. Most importantly, they will develop a love of reading and writing and be well equipped for the rest of their education.