Rationale- What has informed our curriculum design in English?
The 2014 National Curriculum states that:
‘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.’
At Pomphlett Primary School, we believe that it is essential that these aims are embedded across our English lessons and the wider curriculum, and that these should be planned through a structured, well organised, English curriculum in which skills and knowledge are taught discretely and applied across all subjects. Learning should provide many purposeful opportunities for reading, writing and discussion using a wide variety of texts and resources to motivate and inspire our children.
Our English curriculum is designed to promote the aims of the National Curriculum and, in particular, children’s language and literacy skills. We want children to take pride in their reading and writing across the whole curriculum and therefore teach all children to read and write clearly and accurately. As children become more confident writers, we want them to learn to adapt their language and style for a range of contexts. Speaking and listening is recognised as an essential part of learning English and most importantly, in the development of thinking skills, self-confidence and communication. As a result, we believe in the development of oracy across the curriculum.
Intent- What are our aims?
The overarching aim for English in the National Curriculum is to promote high standards of language and literacy by equipping pupils with a strong command of the spoken and written word, and to develop their love of literature through widespread reading for
enjoyment. The national curriculum for English aims to ensure that all pupils:
- Read easily, fluently and with good understanding
- Develop the habit of reading widely and often, for both pleasure and information
- Acquire a wide vocabulary, an understanding of grammar and knowledge of linguistic conventions for reading, writing and spoken language
- Appreciate our rich and varied literary heritage
- Write clearly, accurately and coherently, adapting their language and style in and for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences
- 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
At Pomphlett, these aims are central to our curriculum and are broken down into the following areas:
We want our learners to:
- Listen and respond appropriately to adults and their peers
- Ask relevant questions to extend their understanding and knowledge
- Use relevant strategies to build their vocabulary
- Articulate and justify answers, arguments and opinions
- Give well-structured descriptions, explanations and narratives for different purposes, including for expressing feelings
- Maintain attention and participate actively in collaborative conversations, staying on topic and initiating and responding to comments
- Use spoken language to develop understanding through speculating, hypothesising, imagining and exploring ideas
- Speak audibly and fluently with an increasing command of Standard English
- Participate in discussions, presentations, performances, role play, improvisations and debates
- Gain, maintain and monitor the interest of the listener(s)
- Consider and evaluate different viewpoints, attending to and building on the contributions of others
- Select and use appropriate registers for effective communication
Reading is an integral part of the school curriculum and a fundamental life skill that impacts on all areas of learning. We aim to equip our pupils with the knowledge and skills needed to:
- Read a range of texts across the curriculum to support their acquisition of knowledge
- Enjoy a wide variety of texts and recommend these to others, expressing preferences by giving reasons for these
- Read words accurately and fluently, applying age-appropriate knowledge of phonics, common exception words, root words, prefixes and suffixes
- Understand a wide range of vocabulary across the curriculum
- Make comparisons within and across books and to ask questions to clarify understanding
- Draw inferences from texts read and to justify these with evidence
- Summarise the key ideas about a text and participate in discussion about the range of texts studied
- Distinguish between fact and opinion and provide reasoned justification for their views
Writing (including spelling grammar and punctuation)
We want every child will learn to write by being given real and exciting materials and opportunities. We use real life scenarios to inspire children to write creatively. We aim to share texts that will inspire children to emulate different writing styles. From Foundation – Year 6 we encourage children to read their work for enjoyment, to read it aloud to others and provide audiences for writing. We want children to have an understanding that writing has a real purpose and that word choice and style can bring about change.
The programmes of study for writing at key stages 1 and 2 include the following:
- Transcription (spelling and handwriting)
- Composition (articulating ideas and structuring them in speech and writing)
We aim to equip our pupils with the knowledge and skills needed to:
- Spell words with a high level of accuracy appropriate for their age applying the phonic and spelling knowledge that they have acquired across the curriculum
- Efficiently use a word bank, dictionary and thesaurus (where appropriate) to support the writing process
- Write legibly, fluently and with efficient style
- Write for a specific purpose, planning what they are going to write and then orally rehearsing this before writing
- Share compositions with others, including reading these aloud and reflecting upon what has been achieved
- Extend vocabulary, including and the use of figurative language in their writing
- Control their speaking and writing consciously and use Standard English to communicate ideas effectively
- Understand and use grammatical terminology in order that they have a shared vocabulary in which to discuss their writing.
Implementation - How do we teach English?
Oracy skills are taught, both discretely, and throughout the whole curriculum. At Pomphlett, we use a variety of teaching and learning approaches to teach these across the curriculum, including:
- Providing opportunities for drama and role-play
- Providing opportunities for children to develop their listening skills through conversation
- Promoting small group and class discussions on specific topics/areas of the curriculum
- Providing opportunities to speak in front of a larger audience, for example during an assembly
- Giving the children the opportunity to speak to unfamiliar people with a real purpose
- Allowing the children to participate in ‘show and tell’ sessions
- Playing a range of games with the children to encourage effective use of oracy skills
- Providing opportunities for the children to become a storyteller for an authentic audience
- Providing opportunities for the children to present to an audience, chair a discussion and hold class meetings
- Encouraging the children to talk for a specific purpose, e.g. to persuade or to entertain
- Encouraging children to work in groups to collaboratively solve a problem
- Encouraging class and group debates and providing opportunities for children to make speeches in front of an audience
We carefully plan when to incorporate these approaches within teaching and learning in order to promote children’s communication and thinking skills, understanding that that the articulation and discussion of ideas promotes conceptual development. As a result, children are involved in a range of stimulating activities across the curriculum, where their language skills are developed as they interact with their peers and adults in a range of exciting activities.
Whilst specific reading, writing, and speaking and listening activities are taught discretely, we recognise that none of these can be taught in isolation, and to this end, reading is taught across the curriculum and has a central role in children developing an understanding of texts and being able to write using these as models.
We teach children the mechanics of reading (decoding words) as well as how to understand a range of texts (comprehension).
Teachers in the Foundation Stage work to the objectives set out in the Early Learning Goals which underpin their curriculum planning. In Key Stages 1 and 2, the National Curriculum Programmes of Study statements are covered at least once in each key stage. During the school year, teachers may include short term themes in their planning, which promote favourite authors, popular titles or any aspect of the world of children’s literature and reading for pleasure. All classes use Pie Corbett’s Reading Spine titles throughout the year.
Early Years Foundation Stage
In the Early Years Foundation Stage, children are given opportunities to become immersed in an environment rich in print and with many possibilities for communication. They use communication, language and literacy in every part of the curriculum and are given opportunities to speak and listen and represent ideas in their activities.
Reading stories to the children enables them to see how books and stories work. Systematic synthetic phonics and knowledge of high frequency words is taught on a daily basis, using the Essentials Letters and Sounds programme.
Key Stage One and Two
In Key Stage One, we build on previously learned skills from the EYFS in a language- rich environment, so that children begin to read a range of texts independently and with enthusiasm. Guided and shared reading are employed to improve the knowledge, skills and understanding of reading. Children in Years 1 and 2 are also taught phonic skills using Essential Letters and Sounds.
In Key Stage Two, children read a range of texts and respond to different ‘layers’ of meaning, both literal and inferential. They explore the use of language in a variety of texts.
The school ensures the children have a choice of both fiction and non-fiction texts, reflecting different cultures and gender choices. There are also books relevant to the topic/theme being studied each term. Teaching strategies aim to enhance children’s motivation and involvement in reading and to develop their skills through the following:
- Shared reading
- Guided reading
- Reading with other children
- Reading with an adult
- Reading aloud (child and adult)
- Independent reading
- Building phonic skills
- Comprehension activities
- Tasks related to the text
Our reading books include a range of commercially produced schemes which are supplemented with a range of age appropriate paperbacks. The reading schemes give children the opportunity to practise their developing reading skills with texts which have appropriate vocabulary and sentence structure related to assessment focuses. Children also have access to a range of other books, with varying levels of difficulty, which they are encouraged to read for pleasure and information. Children are also taught to read ‘High Frequency Words’ out of context and Y1 need to be able to read nonsense words for the phonics check, which takes place during the summer term.
Links with other areas of the curriculum
Reading skills are also taught across different areas of the curriculum to ensure our children can give critical responses to the questions they meet in their learning for science, geography, history, PSHCE and other subject areas. Their understanding and appreciation of a range of texts should bring them into contact with their own literary heritage, as well as texts from other cultures.
Writing (including grammar and punctuation)
At Pomphlett, writing is taught and learned in specific, meaningful and effective contexts. Children write for a variety of audiences across the curriculum and all writing has a purpose which is shared with them. Our writing curriculum is carefully structured to ensure that concepts are taught through a carefully scaffolded approach so that children can gradually improve their writing. Knowledge and skills are revisited in a variety of contexts to promote a deep understanding of the writing process. Our reading and writing curriculum is carefully linked and children study texts, in depth, to understand how authors have structured their work, used different writing techniques and made vocabulary choices. They then use this knowledge as a model for their own writing. Within lessons, to develop children’s writing skills, we use the following approaches:
- Shared and guided writing
- Complementary grammar and punctuation activities
- Modelled and shared writing
- Guided writing
- Independent or paired writing
- Sharing and reflecting on their writing
- Cross-curricular writing tasks
- Handwriting activities
To support children in the acquisition of writing skills we will:
- Provide frequent opportunities to write
- Promote an awareness of adults writing in a variety of contexts for many purposes
- Provide regular demonstrations of the writing process
- Model, draft and discuss many aspects of writing with children
- Provide opportunities to reflect on the writing process
- Give children time to refine their writing through editing and revising
- Provide children with opportunities to share their writing
- Set individual targets for writing and assist children in reviewing their targets (and
- setting personal ones where appropriate)
- Surround children with a print-rich environment that they have helped to create
- Reward and celebrate children’s efforts and achievements in writing
- Teach computing skills that support effective and efficient electronic communication
- Teach grammar discretely and as part of the writing process
Writing in the Early Years Foundation Stage
In the Early Years, children are encouraged to attempt their own emergent writing and their efforts are valued and praised. As their phonic knowledge increases, this will be reflected in their writing. At the same time, their knowledge of key words is supported through reading and writing activities, including shared reading and writing.
A wide variety of opportunities are provided for children to engage in writing activities. Amongst these are:
- Shared writing
- Role-play (e.g. an office or restaurant)
- Making books
- Writing letters
Through engaging in these activities, children become aware that writing is used for a range of purposes. They distinguish it from drawing, and learn the left to right convention of writing in English. A variety of resources are used to encourage the development of the fine motor control which is essential for good handwriting. These include playdough, cutting, threading and tracing.
Writing in Key Stage 1
a) Shared Writing
Through shared writing, the teacher demonstrates specific writing skills, sometimes acting as scribe. The basics of how to form a letter, spell a word, leave a space or put in a full stop are demonstrated, followed later by the more sophisticated strategies of modelling the planning, drafting or proof-reading of writing. The teacher may also demonstrate writing in a particular genre. Shared writing will teach children how to:
- Generate imaginative and informative ideas through discussion and questioning, and record these ideas in notes/ plans/ drafts
- Structure ideas in writing through the use of appropriate language, sentence structure, punctuation, sequencing and lay-out
- Develop specific word level skills of spelling, handwriting and punctuation
- Refine writing to make it clearer and better suited to its audience and purpose
- Develop technical terms and vocabulary for understanding and discussing writing
- Publish and present written texts for others to read and use
b) Guided Writing
Guided writing sessions are used flexibly to provide a bridge between shared and independent work. During these sessions the teacher or TA may scribe for specific children or support children writing independently or in pairs. They may focus on:
- Planning a piece of writing
- Supporting work in progress
- Evaluating and improving writing
c) Independent Writing
Children will be given frequent opportunities to write independently so that the skills demonstrated during shared writing and supported during guided writing will be transferred into their own writing. Since accurate, fluent and independent writing is dependent on a secure grasp of phonics, a high priority is placed throughout EYFS and KS1 on daily systematic phonics teaching. This gives children the strong and essential foundation upon which all their future development as writers will be built. Motor skills continue to be developed through targeted small groups as necessary.
Writing in Key Stage 2
a) Shared Writing
Through shared writing the teacher will model the writing process with the children. This may include:
- Demonstrating planning strategies (e.g. concept maps, writing frames)
- Using a familiar text as a starting point for writing
- Teaching the structural characteristics of a particular text type
- Teaching the purpose and use of punctuation
- Playing with language and exploring different language choices
- Modelling higher level sentence constructions (e.g. connectives, complex sentences)
- Demonstrating revision strategies (e.g. checking for meaning, reordering to improve structure, rewriting to improve clarity or to enrich language)
- Demonstrating editing strategies (e.g. checking punctuation and spelling, using writing targets)
Shared writing is broken up into chunks and interspersed with opportunities for the children to apply the lessons immediately in their own writing. Sometimes modelling just a sentence or two will be sufficient.
b) Guided Writing
During guided writing the teacher as ‘expert’ guides learners at an appropriate level by:
- Giving feedback on previously composed independent writing
- Modelling how to use individual writing targets or comment constructively on another writer’s work
- Demonstrating a specific stage in the writing process
- Developing or reinforcing skills taught in shared writing
Teachers will plan guided writing sessions flexibly, where they feel they will best meet the needs of their class. At other times, teachers may instead support children individually during their independent writing.
c) Independent Writing
During independent writing the children compose without direct teacher support. As children move through KS2, they will be expected to write regularly and at increasingly greater length, developing crucial writing stamina alongside other skills. Independent writing, both within English lessons and across the curriculum will involve:
- Using the imagination and expressing ideas
- Applying skills learned in shared writing and guided writing
- Focusing on individual writing targets
- Revising work in the light of feedback from teachers or peers
- Commenting constructively on other children’s writing
- Editing and proof-reading to improve transcriptional features
- Preparing work for presentation
Impact: How will we know this?
As a result of our English provision, we are continuing to develop a school of passionate readers and writers who enjoy developing literacy skills alongside their peers. They are confident to take challenges in their reading and writing, and enjoy discussing and sharing their ideas.
In our learners we expect to see:
- An exceptional talent for listening attentively so as to understand what is being said
- Use of a rich and varied vocabulary that gives clarity and interest to conversations
- Clear speech that can be easily understood by a range of audiences
- An excellent grasp of the rules used in English conversation, such as tenses and the grammatical structure of sentences
- A highly developed ability to tell stories that capture the interest and imagination of the audience.
- An enthusiasm for initiating and joining in conversations
- Respect for others when communicating, even when views differ
- Excellent phonic knowledge and skills
- Fluency and accuracy in reading across a wide range of contexts throughout the curriculum
- Knowledge of an extensive and rich vocabulary
- An excellent comprehension of texts
- The motivation to read for both study and for pleasure
- Extensive knowledge through having read a rich and varied range of texts
- The ability to write fluently and with interesting detail on a number of topics throughout the curriculum
- A vivid imagination which makes readers engage with and enjoy their writing
- A highly developed vocabulary and an excellent knowledge of writing techniques to extend details or description
- Well-organised and structured writing, which includes a variety of sentence structures
- Excellent transcription skills that ensure their writing is well presented and punctuated, spelled correctly and neat
- A love of writing and an appreciation of its educational, cultural and entertainment values