English has a pre-eminent place in education and in society. A high-quality education in English teaches 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. All the skills of language are essential to participating fully as a member of society; pupils, therefore, who do not learn to speak, read and write fluently and confidently are effectively disenfranchised.
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.
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 therefore ensure the continual development of pupils’ confidence and competence in spoken language and listening skills. Pupils are supported to develop a capacity to explain their understanding of books and other reading, and to prepare their ideas before they write. They are assisted in making their thinking clear to themselves as well as to others and teachers ensure that pupils build secure foundations by using discussion to probe and remedy their misconceptions. Pupils are also taught to understand and use the conventions for discussion and debate. All pupils are enabled to participate in and gain knowledge, skills and understanding associated with the artistic practice of drama. Pupils are supported to adopt, create and sustain a range of roles, responding appropriately to others in role. They 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. The statutory requirements which underpin all aspects of spoken language across key stage 1 and key stage 2 are also reflected and contextualised within the reading and writing domains which follow.
The National Curriculum programmes of study for reading at key stages 1 and 2 consist of two dimensions:
-comprehension (both listening and reading).
The teaching at Wadebridge Primary Academy focuses on developing pupils’ competence in both dimensions; different kinds of teaching are needed for each. Skilled word reading involves both the speedy working out of the pronunciation of unfamiliar printed words (decoding) and the speedy recognition of familiar printed words. Underpinning both is the understanding that the letters on the page represent the sounds in spoken words. Phonics is therefore emphasised in the early teaching of reading to beginners (i.e. unskilled readers) when they start school.
Good comprehension draws from linguistic knowledge (in particular of vocabulary and grammar) and on knowledge of the world. Comprehension skills develop through pupils’ experience of high-quality discussion with the teacher, as well as from reading and discussing a range of stories, poems and non-fiction. All pupils are encouraged to read widely across both fiction and non-fiction to develop their knowledge of themselves and the world in which they live, to establish an appreciation and love of reading, and to gain knowledge across the curriculum. Reading widely and often increases pupils’ vocabulary because they encounter words they would rarely hear or use in everyday speech. Reading also feeds pupils’ imagination and opens up a treasure-house of wonder and joy for curious young minds. It is our aim that, by the end of their primary education, where appropriate, all pupils are able to read fluently, and with confidence, in any subject in their forthcoming secondary education.
Please also refer to the attached documents at the bottom of this page:
• ‘We Are A Reading School’
• ‘Reading at Wadebridge Primary Academy: Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2’.
The ability to read and write well is a vital skill for all children, paving the way for an enjoyable and successful school experience. A systematic approach using a synthetics phonics programme is essential to early reading. At Wadebridge Primary, we follow the Twinkl Phonics Scheme (Based on Letters and Sounds) to teach early reading and early writing on a daily basis. Staff are trained in how to use this SSP. More information about Phonics can be found in the Phonics tab.
We believe that, in order to write high quality texts, children need to read high quality texts. It is our intention to immerse pupils within a text for them to fully understand the vocabulary and structure of the story.
At Wadebridge we teach writing using Talk 4 Writing, developed by Pie Corbett. Talk for Writing is an active and engaging process that enables children to imitate the language they need for a particular topic orally, before reading and analysing it and then writing their own version.
Talk 4 Writing has three stages: Imitation, Innovation and Invention, with the aim of the whole process being to create independent, enthusiastic writers.
Imitation: A typical Talk 4 Writing unit would be begin with a creative context, linked to their topic, as we know our children learn best when they are active, challenged and engaged. Through practical activities, children learn a model text, supported visually by a text map and physical movements. Children hear the text and say it for themselves before they see it written down. Once the children know the text well they 'read it as a reader'. This involves in depth discussions around the text, focussing heavily on vocabulary and oral comprehension. Reading comprehension strategies such as: summarising, imaging, predicting and making connections are taught explicitly. The next stage is 'read as a writer' which involves identifying the underlying patterns of both the overall organisation, as well as how the writer creates different effects. During these lessons, children practice specific skills which are found within the text. This could be work on sentence structure, punctuation or vocabulary. Children are given clear learning objectives for each lesson and success criteria to help them reflect upon their learning. Towards the end of this week, the original text is ‘boxed up’ (broken down into key sections) so that the structure becomes obvious, and can be used as a basic planning tool.
Innovation: Once the children have internalised the text they are ready to start innovating. Younger children and less confident writers alter their text maps and orally rehearse what they want to say. More confident writers use the boxing up planning tool, then turn their plan into writing. This process enables children to write their own versions of the original text and develop their ability to generate high quality vocabulary and sentence structures. Success criteria are provided to support the children through each writing genre, whilst encouraging the children to reflect on their own writing. Children can innovate the model text in a variety of ways including: substituting characters and settings, writing prequels and sequels, introducing flashbacks and writing from a different characters perspective.
Invention: Finally, children move into invention where they write the text type independently and apply what they have learnt across the curriculum to create an individual piece. This becomes a distance task which is assessed against the year group expectations.
During their time at Wadebridge, children gradually develop a bank of well-known texts, supplemented by picture books, novels, poems and non-fiction books. Each year, this develops the children’s living library of high level vocabulary and creative writing techniques, building on previous learning and giving children confidence as writer. In the same way, the ability to manipulate that bank of texts increasingly enables children to create new versions and become inventive, blending and experimenting.
We believe that all children should have opportunities to:
• Be immersed within a quality text.
• Be exposed to high quality texts including high level vocabulary.
• Develop a range of methods to communicate their ideas to an audience.
• Write from a range of genres across fiction, non-fiction and poetry.
• Write creatively drawing on their own ideas, interests and experiences.
• Write for a range of purposes.
• Use writing to demonstrate their learning through cross-curricular writing.
The programmes of study for writing at key stages 1 and 2 are constructed similarly to those for reading:
-transcription (spelling and handwriting)
-composition (articulating ideas and structuring them in speech and writing).
The teaching at Wadebridge Primary Academy develops pupils’ competence in these two dimensions. In addition, pupils are taught how to plan, revise and evaluate their writing. These aspects of writing are incorporated into the National Curriculum programmes of study for composition.
Spelling, vocabulary, grammar, punctuation and glossary
The two statutory appendices in the National Curriculum – on spelling and on vocabulary, grammar and punctuation – which provide an overview of the specific features that should be included in teaching the programmes of study, inform our teaching at Wadebridge Primary Academy. Opportunities for teachers to enhance pupils’ vocabulary arise naturally from their reading and writing. As vocabulary increases, teachers show pupils how to understand the relationships between words, how to understand nuances in meaning, and how to develop their understanding of, and ability to use, figurative language. They also teach pupils how to work out and clarify the meanings of unknown words and words with more than one meaning. Pupils are taught to control their speaking and writing consciously and to use Standard English. They are taught to use the elements of spelling, grammar, punctuation and ‘language about language’ listed in the statutory appendices. These do not constrain or restrict teachers’ creativity, but simply to provide the structure on which they can construct exciting lessons. The school follows the definitions provided in the non-statutory glossary in the national curriculum.
Throughout the programmes of study, teachers teach pupils the vocabulary they need to discuss their reading, writing and spoken language. Pupils therefore learn the correct grammatical terms in English and these terms are integrated within teaching.
The Approach to the Teaching of English at Wadebridge Primary Academy
Wadebridge Academy has adopted the National Curriculum programmes of study for English as a basis for our English curriculum. We have implemented the Pie Corbet style Story Telling Approach where there is a focus on oral retelling of stories, innovating those stories and then inventing our own. This method helps children to not only learn new stories and vocabulary, but develop their understanding of genres, sentence styles and working memory.
Every class in key stages 1 and 2 have a daily hour of literacy. Discrete phonics and spelling is taught daily. Additional time is also given to handwriting, individual reading, discussion and debate and listening to, and reading and reciting stories and poems. The reception class follows the Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum.
When planning and teaching the English curriculum the following elements are considered:
• Differentiation to meet the needs of all pupils including careful planning of work to include a range of teaching strategies with a balance between audio, visual, and kinaesthetic techniques
• Computing and cross-curricular links are made where appropriate
• The careful marking of work in accordance with the marking policy Equal Opportunities All children have an entitlement to participate fully in English, regardless of gender, race, age or ability, in accordance with the school’s Equal Opportunities Policy. Children for whom English is an additional language will receive additional support as appropriate.
The programmes of study for English are set out year-by-year for key stage 1 and two-yearly for key stage 2.
At Wadebridge Primary Academy the programmes of study are taught through fiction, non-fiction and poetry blocks lasting 2, 3 or 4 weeks. Additional elements of the English curriculum are taught discretely:
• daily phonics in FS and KS1
• daily spelling work in KS2
• weekly guided reading sessions
Long term planning identifies the blocks of Literacy that will be taught across the year groups aligned to the National Curriculum orders for English (2014). A ‘whole school genre coverage document’ ensures that all genres are covered, without too much repetition. Medium term planning is undertaken on a unit plan basis following the Read – Analyse – Plan – Write – Review teaching sequence over several weeks. Although we do not follow the ‘Storytelling’ approach, we use the principles of learning the features of a genre and rehearsing orally, as recommended in the National Curriculum. Carefully chosen texts stimulate and enthuse the children to read and write. The audience and purpose for any writing outcomes are clearly identified and when appropriate, link with our topics. Short term planning on weekly plans exemplifies the objectives for the week taken from the medium term plans. These plans show differentiation where appropriate and progression across the week. Additional plans outline the discrete areas of English that are taught in addition to the daily literacy lesson, e.g. guided reading and phonics and spelling. At the end of each week evaluation informs future planning. All plans are monitored on a regular basis by the Headteacher and the English Subject Leader.
Assessment and Recording
Assessment is crucial to the learning process. Children’s work is regularly assessed through observation, discussion, scrutiny of work and evaluating outcomes.
• End of year targets are set for each year group.
• Termly Pupil Progress Meetings are used to track the progress of each child in reading and writing across the year.
Teacher assessment is an integral part of good practice. Assessment is carried out on a daily and weekly basis. It involves identifying children’s progress against teaching objectives and targets, determining which children have achieved and moving them on to the next stage of learning. Where appropriate, additional support and interventions are identified for children not making the expected progress. Teachers annotate the weekly plans and record the progress of groups.
• Baseline in the Foundation year
• Phonics Screening Check in Year 1
• Year 2 NC tests
• Year 6 NC tests
The Academy recognises that at the end of each key stage, pupils are expected to know, apply and understand the matters, skills and processes specified in the relevant programme of study.
The following records are kept and used to support ongoing teaching and learning in English:
• Tracking attainment and progress in reading and writing using Arbor assessment system
• Guided reading records
• Spelling against year group specific word lists
• Reading records
Marking in English is part of the assessment process. Please refer to the Marking Policy.
Reporting to Parents
Parents receive regular informal or verbal feedback as to their children’s progress in English. Each child has a reading link book to record progress in reading at home and school. In addition, parents also have the opportunity each term to meet with the staff to discuss progress and to see work. Parents receive an annual written report at the end of the school year. This includes details of their children’s progress and areas for development. Where appropriate the national test results are reported.
Monitoring and Evaluation
In order to monitor standards and progress the following systems are in place:
• Each teacher meets with members of the leadership team six times a year to discuss progress in reading and writing. Particular attention is paid to children working below age related expectations, children with SEN, Children in Care and children eligible for Pupil Premium.
• The English Subject Leader is given time to monitor English through a range of activities which includes: analysis of tracking data for reading and writing, lesson observations, scrutiny of work, review of planning and interviews with stakeholders • Staff meet termly to scrutinise and level writing across the school
• SEN pupils will be assessed regularly by the class teacher and the SENDCO. Steps are taken to provide additional support where appropriate. The SENDCO and English Subject Leader meet regularly to discuss identified pupils.
• The school’s English action plan is part of the whole School Improvement and Development Plan and is updated annually by the English Subject Leader and Headteacher.
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