English

Intent

The National Curriculum forms the basis for our English teaching ensuring continuity and progression. In addition, through our long term and medium planning teachers make sure that the content is engaging with meaningful cross-curricular links.

Our intent is to enable children to:

  • read easily, fluently and with good understanding
  • read widely and often, developing a genuine love of reading
  • appreciate our rich and varied language heritage
  • write clearly, accurately and imaginatively, adapting language and style in and for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences
  • develop a love of writing and express thoughts and ideas creatively though the written words
  • re-read, edit and improve their writing
  • confidently use the essential skills of grammar, punctuation and spelling
  • be proficient in the use of language and oracy, able to articulate their ideas clearly, expressing opinions and debating their views.

Implementation

We ensure that our English teaching and learning provides many purposeful opportunities for reading, writing and discussion. 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 developed further in other subject areas.

At Redhill we teach phonics with fidelity to a systematic synthetic phonics programme to ensure consistency in practice and delivery. Throughout the Early Years and KS1 we teach phonics daily to the whole class. Emphasis is placed on the application of sounds through reading and writing.

  • Phonics is taught daily at a brisk pace
  • Teaching is extended beyond the dedicated time and is applied and reinforced throughout the day in other subjects
  • Progress is assessed and monitored through the use of continuous AFL strategies and through individual assessments
  • Agreed half termly phonic expectations are tracked using the SSP assessment tracker
  • Our intention is that all children will keep up with the programme. However, any children at risk of falling behind will be quickly identified and targeted for additional intervention to enable them to catch up quickly.
  • Each session includes the essential - revisit and review, teach, practice, apply and assess
  • The phonics screening test is taken by all Year 1 children in June each year, with those children in Year 2 who did not achieve the threshold targeted for further precise intervention to ensure rapid progress to close the attainment gap
  • All teachers and teaching assistants are well-trained and have a consistent approach to the teaching of phonics
  • Reading books are closely matched to the ELS phonics programme.

Reading

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 tricky words at each stage of the letters and sounds programme also supports the reading development.  The children read a range of book banded 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 can 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, 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 have introduced whole class reading, 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 provide 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 text ensures progression and coverage. 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.

All children should read widely for pleasure and for information across all areas of the curriculum. Reading is interwoven through all subject areas. The library is used to develop independent research and to provide all children with a quiet and well-resourced area to read for enjoyment.

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. We ensure that reading is at the heart of all curriculum subjects and believe that every opportunity should be exploited to build stamina and provide independent learning opportunities through reading. Reading is interwoven through all subject areas. Our expectations for reading at home are ambitious with all children encouraged to read daily and for increased periods of time as they progress through school.

Writing

We believe that children should be given the opportunity to embed their writing skills and deepen their learning. Because of this, particularly in the early years and KS1, the children work on a smaller range of genres but have the opportunity to apply their learning across other curriculum areas. 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. We expect children to be able to master a range of writing styles confidently, effectively and accurately.  Those children who are not on track to achieve the expected standard have precise and targeted intervention to accelerate and embed their learning.  We believe that every lesson is an English lesson and an opportunity to deepen learning.

All classrooms are learning resources with quality texts, engaging book corners, table top resources and working walls to support the learning process.

The teaching sequence:

The core of the writing curriculum is focusing on learning key skills and the text provides the vehicle for learning.

Key elements that need to be completed in order for the children to understand text and become good writers are:

  • Reading, comparing and evaluating a range of texts
  • Identifying and commenting on the structural and language features of the genre
  • Text annotation/analysis
  • Practising of key skills related to the text type
  • Planning an extended write
  • Extended writing
  • Peer/self-assessment along the journey 
  • Redrafting and improving

Teachers will plan to use different approaches, strategies, level of support or activities for different abilities each lesson.  This secures learning for all children daily.

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 opportunity to teach the programmes of study around word families, prefixes and suffixes as outlined in the programmes of study. 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 investigative in their approach, so that children can find rules and exceptions. These rules are applied through sentence level work. In addition to this, spelling, grammar and punctuation are taught daily through short starter activities and then developed and applied through the writing process. Discrete grammar sessions are taught when appropriate.

Handwriting

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 ensure that they apply the skills taught in discrete lessons.

Assessment

We have developed our own assessment materials to assess children’s writing, based on the age related expectations for each year group.  Children will complete 2-3 pieces of Independent Writing per half term which should secure an assessment judgement. A judgement will be made for each piece of work, with teachers ticking and dating the assessment grids in the back of the children’s books.    

Assessments are moderated by teams, across year groups and in cluster meetings between schools.

In Year 2 and Year 6, teachers use the interim assessment information to assess the children’s writing and as the basis for teacher assessment judgements.

Impact

By the end of Key Stage 2 children will:

be fluent readers with a genuine love of reading
be able to talk about books that they enjoy with enthusiasm and knowledge
be confident in the art of speaking and listening
enjoy writing across a range of genres
have a wide vocabulary and be adventurous with vocabulary choices within their writing
be able to effectively apply spelling rules and patterns they have been taught
meet or exceed standards set by the end of key stage expectations.

The impact of English lessons is measured by:

lesson observations, book scrutiny, learning walks and pupil voice
moderating pupils’ work in phases and clusters across schools
tracking pupils and discussing concerns in pupil progress meetings