The National Curriculum forms the basis for our English teaching. There is a seamless progression in knowledge and skills from EYFS through to Key Stage 1 and on to Key Stage 2. EYFS is the bedrock for Key Stage 1. In addition, through our long term and medium-term planning, teachers create engaging and purposeful learning with meaningful cross-curricular links. Our intent is that no child will be left behind. Our school values are embedded through our English curriculum. Literacy and story time texts are mapped out in conjunction with selected PSHCE texts which embed our Redhill values of respect, friendship, responsibility, empathy, honesty and independence and equality. The curriculum reflects the diversity that we value.
Curriculum and progression
We ensure that our English teaching and learning provides purposeful opportunities for developing spoken language, reading and writing. We use quality texts and resources to motivate our children. All pupils receive a daily English lesson. We also ensure that reading and writing are embedded and developed through all subject areas.
Our reading programme is tightly matched to our phonics teaching. In EYFS and KS1, children read daily in guided groups. As a school, we ensure that children read phonetically decodable texts until they have completed the end of phase 5 in the ELS programme. This enables the children to use their knowledge of phonemes to decode words. The teaching of high frequency words or harder to read and spell words at each stage of the phonics programme also supports the reading development. The children read a range of narrative and non-narrative books throughout school. The provision of books is meticulously organised, from when the children start in the nursery through to the end of key stage 2. Reading attainment is closely tracked through continuous assessment as well as summative assessment. The lowest 20% of readers are closely tracked through school with teachers and teaching assistants prioritising targeted intervention for these children to ensure they make accelerated progress. Our reading progression document sets clear expectations in terms of decoding, building fluency and comprehension for all year groups.
As the children develop their ability to decode phonetically and read fluently, the comprehension of text increases in importance with guided sessions focused on inference and deduction, developing a wider vocabulary and broadening the knowledge of authors, genres and themes. In KS2, we use quality whole class texts, as evidence has shown that this approach to the teaching of reading supports the development of children’s comprehension skills, fluency and stamina. Teachers ensure that the text chosen is appropriate to the ability of the class and provides children with a range of questions to develop all areas of their comprehension skills. The long-term overview of whole class reading and guided reading texts ensures progression while embedding whole school values and diversity. Higher order questions extend the more able, with additional support or differentiated texts and questions provided for children who are not yet ready to access the whole class text. There are daily guided reading sessions with an increased focus on building fluency, stamina and comprehension skills which includes our VIPERS questioning. The reading progression document, which sets clear expectations in terms of decoding, building fluency and comprehension, is used to inform planning. We encourage reading for pleasure by promoting acclaimed authors, sharing quality literature in story time and ensuring that book corners are stimulating with good quality texts in both the classroom and school library. Reading is at the heart of all curriculum subjects and we believe that every opportunity should be exploited to build stamina and provide independent learning opportunities through reading. Our expectations for reading at home are ambitious, with all children expected to read daily and for increased periods of time as they progress through school. All classrooms are learning resources with quality texts, engaging book corners, tabletop resources and working walls to support the learning process.
We believe that children should be given the opportunity to embed their writing skills and deepen their learning. There is an emphasis on precision in all areas of writing: planning, composition, grammar, spelling, handwriting and re-drafting. Through modelled writing and guided writing sessions focusing on children’s precise next steps, children secure their knowledge of age-appropriate skills as outlined in the programmes of study for the national curriculum. Automaticity frees up the cognitive load to enable children to write clearly, accurately and imaginatively, adapting language and style in and for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences. Those children who are not on track to achieve the expected standard have precise and targeted intervention to accelerate and embed their learning.
The teaching sequence:
The core of the writing curriculum is focusing on developing automaticity to free up the cognitive load with the text providing the vehicle for developing disciplinary knowledge and procedural skills. Key elements that need to be completed for the children to understand text and become good writers are:
Spelling, punctuation and grammar
We follow the programmes of study for each year group as outlined in the National Curriculum 2014, supported by the SSP programme. In the Early Years and Key Stage One, spelling is closely matched to phonics teaching with daily sessions providing the children with the opportunity to practise and apply phonemes taught. Additional discrete spelling sessions are taught at Key Stage One to provide the opportunity to teach the spelling curriculum meeting National Curriculum expectations. From Year 1, children are given weekly spelling tests based on words taken from phonics and discrete spelling lessons.In Key Stage 2, there are weekly discrete spelling lessons which are embedded through retrieval practice and written application. In addition to this, spelling, grammar and punctuation are taught daily through short starter activities and then developed and applied through the writing process.
We follow the programmes of study for each year group as outlined in the National Curriculum 2014, supported by the Nelson handwriting scheme. There are discrete handwriting sessions throughout the primary phase, with teachers demonstrating the formation of the letters and correct joins.
In addition, in all writing activities, handwriting is reinforced for children to apply the skills taught in discrete lessons.
Assessment informs next steps and ensures that any areas of weakness are tackled swiftly. We use AFL to ensure that teaching and learning is precise, enabling children to meet age-related expectations.
In daily phonics sessions AFL is continuous and vigorous with children quickly identified if in danger of falling behind with swift intervention put in place. Children are assessed using the half termly phonic assessment from the ELS programme. The phonics tracker and agreed expectations enable all teachers to know how children are progressing and supports the quick identification of children who are falling behind.
Children not on track and the lowest 20% through school, are tracked specifically on our whole school tracking document. Teachers deliver precise intervention to these children during guided teaching and assembly times.Statutory Assessment tests are completed at the end of KS1 and KS2 along with the Year 1 Phonics Screening Check. In Year 2 and Year 6, teachers use the teacher assessment frameworks to assess the children’s writing and as the basis for teacher assessment judgements. Standardised assessments tests produced by NFER are used termly in all years to support judgements in reading, spelling and grammar. All children complete 2-3 pieces of independent writing per half term to secure an assessment judgement. Teachers use assessment grids in the back of the children’s books to assess writing against age-related expectations. Assessment judgements are moderated by teams, across year groups and in cluster meetings between schools.
We are passionate about igniting our children’s natural enthusiasm to read, developing children as lifelong learners who read for pleasure as well as to learn. Our investment in quality texts, school and class libraries, ambitious targets for reading at home and curriculum time ensures that children become wide and fluent readers. Their command of language is developed through systematically increasing their vocabulary store while providing opportunities to discuss ideas, justify opinions, ask questions and use discussion and debate for a clear purpose. Curriculum visits are planned with thought, enabling children to experience visits to the theatre or meet real authors to raise aspirations, inspire and stimulate lifelong learning.To view our subject overview for reading, please click here.To view our subject overview for writing, please click here.
By the end of Key Stage 2 children will: