English is both a subject in its own right and the medium for teaching across all subjects. We believe that fluency in the English language is an essential foundation for success in all subjects and our teachers develop pupils’ spoken language, reading, writing and vocabulary as integral aspects of the teaching of every subject. We aim to develop in pupils a love of books and literature that will not only support their learning across the curriculum but also enrich their lives. We teach children the craft of writing in order to develop their confidence and skills, not only for now but in their future lives. We strive to foster in pupils the confidence, desire and ability to express their views and opinions both orally and in writing so they become effective communicators. We want pupils to value and celebrate diversity in culture and language through books.
Reading and Phonics
We have a systematic and synthetic approach to teaching phonics in EYFS and KS1 following the Read Write Inc programme. Regular training ensures that staff are equipped to teach with the expertise and skills required to promote excellent progress. Phonics is taught daily in Reception and Year 1 and for those children who require further intervention in Year 2 and beyond into KS2. We place great importance on speaking and listening in our Early Years and teach different aspects and levels of phonological awareness in our Pre-school provision.
Guided Reading begins in Reception with those children who are ready to read in small groups. This continues in Year 1 and Year 2 with pupils continuing to develop their independent reading and comprehension skills. In EYFS and Year 1, we follow a continuous provision model and the class book often forms the basis of various independent activities in the role play corner and on the small world and creative tables. Whole class reading starts in KS2 with a mixture of class books, poetry and non-fiction articles. A wide range of effective questioning will be used during class discussions to challenge, probe and extend children’s understanding and learning. We analyse the text either responding in writing or completing some explicit vocabulary teaching using words from the text.
Reading for pleasure is of utmost importance. We continually refresh our class libraries prioritising quality over quantity and providing our children with new, up to date and diverse reading books written by modern as well as traditional authors. Pupils are read to at the end of the day and at Parents’ evenings we give out reading lists for each year group. There is a book swap for KS2 pupils in the playground every Wednesday and a ‘borrow a book’ scheme where pupils are able to borrow a bag containing a brand new book and hot chocolate sachet. Around the school we have displays which celebrate authors, children’s favourite books and recommendations from teaching staff. In addition, throughout the school year the importance of reading is enhanced through World Book Day, author and poet visits, parent reading workshops and a range of trips and visits which enrich and complement children’s learning.
We use the Literacy Tree planning from the The Literacy Curriculum which follows a whole text based approach. A two or three week planning sequence focuses on one book and continually develops skills leading up to an extended piece of writing. This curriculum immerses children in a literary world, creating strong levels of engagement to provide meaningful and authentic contexts for learning. They encounter a wide-range of significant authors and a variety of fiction, non-fiction and poetry. Assessment for Learning is embedded in literacy lessons and children are active in reviewing the successes in their work and identifying, with support from their teacher, target areas for development to ensure a continuous and individualised approach to improving their work.
Spelling, Grammar and Handwriting
Spellings and Grammar are taught in separate sessions but woven into English lessons where appropriate. We follow the No Nonsense Spelling scheme and for Grammar. All children in EYFS are taught to hold a pencil correctly and form all letters correctly. From year 2, children are expected to join up their writing.