The overarching aim for English in the national curriculum is to promote high standards of language and literacy by equipping children with a good command of the spoken and written language, and to develop their love of literature through widespread reading for enjoyment.
The national curriculum for English aims to ensure that all children:
• 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 Brook Community Primary School we recognise the importance of the English language as the medium in which a major proportion of thinking and learning take place. Outstanding English teaching has the potential to enhance learning in all aspects of the school’s work, and as such we strive to equip all of our children with the skills to accurately and coherently develop and express their thoughts and both written and spoken language.
Children begin their learning through the development of phonic knowledge. At Brook Community Primary School we use the ‘Letters and Sounds’ programme to teach phonics in EYFS and KS1, and ensure that phonic knowledge is used in interventions across the school for those who require it.
We teach children to:
• decode letter-sound correspondences quickly and accurately, using phonic knowledge
• read a growing range of words on sight
• understand what they read
• read aloud with fluency and expression
• spell quickly and easily by segmenting sounds in words
Reading is embedded in our approach to teaching English through the use of high-quality texts around which we structure our schemes of work. Reading skills continue to be taught throughout the school in a variety of ways, with shared reading, paired reading, one-to-one reading, comprehension and guided reading sessions all contributing to the development of reading skills. Children access a wide variety of reading materials in class libraries, the school library and through our carefully-selected teaching texts. Teachers are reading roles models, who demonstrate and encourage a love for reading which inspires and motivates the children at our school.
For those children who require additional support in their reading, we have staff who have been specifically trained in the ‘Switched On Reading’ intervention to progress their reading and comprehension abilities.
Across the school, every child is seen as a writer. Through the use of a high-quality teaching text, opportunities for a wide range of writing styles are identified and developed, with children writing for a range of purposes and audiences. Teachers teach and model how to trial ideas, plan, use talk for writing, develop aspirational vocabulary, use reference materials, and edit and redraft a text. Teachers set high expectations which lead children to develop a variety of powerful sentence structures, interesting vocabulary, genre-specific features and figurative language in their own unique voice as writers.
Grammar, punctuation and spelling
Grammar, punctuation and spelling skills are embedded within the teaching of English, with relevant examples of grammatical features, punctuation and spellings highlighted within the teaching text. These skills can also be reviewed in short, discrete, focussed activities before being applied in writing activities. Phonic knowledge underpins our spelling teaching, where children are also taught to understand the role of morphology and etymology. Spelling lists linked to age-related expectations are sent home to be practiced for weekly testing.
Children begin with being taught pre-cursive script which develops into a fluid cursive script in KeyStage1 and continues to mature and develop in KeyStage2, with high expectations of presentation across the curriculum and throughout the whole school.
Assessing and tracking progress
We use the PM Benchmark assessment resource to assess children’s fluency and comprehension in reading. This allows us to accurately match children’s reading skills to the appropriate book banding and to track progress effectively. We use our in-school tracking system to record teacher assessments and track progress in reading, writing and GPS. Judgements are quality-assured with intra-school and inter-school moderation. Children are encouraged to reflect on their own learning, and the learning of their peers, using teacher feedback to inform children of their next steps.