Our over-arching aim at Knowle Primary School in English is to develop articulate speakers, inspired writers and avid readers, who can apply their knowledge of English, to communicate successfully in an ever-changing world.
For our school, reading is our main English priority and we believe this is the foundation for the rest of their learning to build upon across the curriculum. We have been heavily focusing on our Early Reading and have dedicated a lot of time and resources to embed strong and reliable reading skills from Nursery and upwards. We aim to:
• develop understanding and skills to become independent, enthusiastic readers.
• allow children to access age-relevant texts
• understand that language they have acquired, may be relevant across all areas of their learning and to apply that language where possible.
For teaching Early reading, we use Read Write Inc Phonics. This teaches children to read accurately and fluently with good comprehension. They learn to form each letter, spell correctly, and compose their ideas step-by-step.
Children learn the English alphabetic code: first they learn one way to read the 40+ sounds and blend these sounds into words, then learn to read the same sounds with alternative graphemes.
They experience success from the very beginning. Lively phonic books are closely matched to their increasing knowledge of phonics and ‘tricky’ words and, as children re-read the stories, their fluency increases.
Along with a thought-provoking introduction, prompts for thinking out loud and discussion, children are helped to read with a storyteller’s voice.
In 2019, we made a pledge as a school that every child would be heard read by an adult every week. In addition to this, the lowest 20% of readers in each class are read with daily each week to enable their reading fluency and comprehension to catch up with their peers.
To help choose appropriate books, we use Accelerated Reader (AR). This is a reading management and monitoring programme that aims to foster independent reading. The internet-based software assesses reading age, and suggests books that match pupils’ needs and interests. Pupils take computerised quizzes on the books and earn AR points as they progress.
Our aim at Knowle Primary School is to develop children’s ability to produce well-structured writing with appropriate detail, in which the meaning is clear and the interest of the reader is engaged. Our approach to writing aims to instil the importance of transcription and composition, as required in the National Curriculum.
We want children to:
• develop understanding and skills to become independent, enthusiastic writers.
• enjoy using language in different contexts and have the confidence and ability to do so.
• develop a fluent, legible handwriting style and take care with the presentation of their work.
Throughout the school, teachers are flexible in their selection of teaching models for English but also following teaching of writing as set out in Storytelling. In EYFS, KS1 and KS2, Storytelling allows children to develop their story language and learn how to structure stories so that the meaning is clear. Story maps provide children with invaluable opportunities to express their own ideas and develop their own characters and plots. Children in all Key Stages are given daily opportunities to write in a range of contexts, for a variety of purposes, and have regular opportunities to write at length in extended independent writing sessions. Our long term planning for English, discussed and decided as a LAT, covers the range of text types set out in the National Curriculum, ensuring a breadth of coverage. We have a display in every classroom on washing-lines which demonstrates the progression each child is making, and they can ask for pieces of work that they are proud of to be photocopied and added to their own personal portfolio. We also have a whole-school display around a topic which is updated termly. This allows visitors to see the writing progression across the whole school.
• Write in a variety of contexts including in discreet English lessons, through the creative
curriculum, through topics and cross-curricular writing and through the Foundation Stage
• Study language, through shared texts
• Learn compositional skills – drafting, grammar, punctuation
The two statutory appendices in the National Curriculum – on spelling and on vocabulary, grammar and punctuation – which an overview of the specific features that should be included in teaching the programmes of study inform our teaching.
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 children are then given opportunities and are expected to use a range of spelling strategies and apply them in their independent work.
In every year group, spelling is taught daily, focusing on the expected common exception words for each year group. We have recently adopted ‘No Nonsense Spelling’ which is taught from Y2-6 on a fortnightly focus on a spelling pattern.
Children in Foundation and Year 1 have phonics for 45 minutes daily and use their newly learned sound knowledge to apply this in their spelling in sessions and in whole-class learning across the curriculum.
At Knowle Primary School, we are determined that every child that leaves in Year 6 will have accessed and experienced detailed, precise and dynamic teaching of all expected grammar objectives. If these are not achieved at the expected time, then these will be revisited and covered in consequent year groups.
We use Nelson Grammar which enhances and embeds essential grammar skills for Years 1-6. It is fully matched to the latest UK curricula to help children meet the higher expectations.
It has clear planning with one page lesson plans, including child-friendly explanations to introduce grammar concepts and answers for all the pupil materials.
There are in-built assessment and regular check-ups recap learning and monitor progress. There are also practice papers to help children prepare for the SATs.
It provides differentiated worksheets to offer extra support for struggling children, and challenge and stretch for high-achievers.
Speaking and Listening:
In our school we endeavour to combat a major issue of gaps in language and vocabulary effecting the cultural capital of our children. We seek opportunities to develop the Oracy skills of our pupils and increase the potential for improving their knowledge of speaking and listening.
We intend for pupils to:
• be articulate speakers and good responsive listeners in a variety of situations.
• evaluate their own and others’ contributions through a range of drama activities.
• develop abilities to reflect on their own and others’ contributions and the language used.
• enjoy using language in different contexts and have the confidence and ability to do so.
In our English lessons, using Storytelling embraces the children developing and using their speaking and listening skills. We do this in a range of ways:
• stories, songs and poems
• reading aloud
• storytelling learnt stories
• imaginative play and role play
• describing events, observations and experiences
• hot seating
• giving reasons for actions
• explaining ideas and opinions in discussion
• reflecting and responding to others
• planning for writing
• predicting and investigating in small groups
• presentation to different audiences
English is led by a team that comprises an English subject leader, Read Write Inc manager, and Headteacher. A governor has specific responsibility for English and the team will update the curriculum governors on priorities and progress in English. The English subject leader monitors, evaluates and provides feedback on planning, lesson observations, book trawls and reading levels and progress. Alongside our SLT, we also work with all English Leads from across the LAT to ensure consistency, quality assurance, and moderation of our assessments.
Overall Impact in English:
In the EYFS, children’s achievements are ongoing and are assessed against the Early Learning Goals. Levels are no longer used to assess children and instead teachers in KS1 and KS2 will make judgement about the children’s reading and writing in relation to age related expectations as set out in the new curriculum. Assessment for learning is well established throughout the school and the use of questioning, observation and marking will continue to be key parts of formative assessment. Statutory assessments take place at the end of Year 1, Year 2 and Year 6. We use NFER assessments for all other year groups in the Autumn and Summer. Assessments are recorded three times a year on ‘Insight’, and carefully analysed to make sure that all children and groups are progressing well and achieving their potential.
Assessment for learning underpins teaching and learning in English. Children’s work is regularly assessed through observation, discussion, scrutiny of work and evaluating outcomes.
• Termly Pupil Progress Meetings are used to track the progress of each child in reading and writing across the year.
• Pupil Trackers are updated regularly electronically.
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.
• End of year screening in Reception.
• Writing baseline in Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2.
• Creative writing tasks are levelled at the end of every unit and progress is tracked.
• Phonics screen in Year 1
• Year 2 NC tests.
• Years 3, 4 and 5 optional tests (NFER)
• Year 6 NC tests.
• Spelling Test of the National Curriculum Must Learn Words – spelling and reading.
• Tracking in reading and writing against targets.
• English writing and Reading Masters books.
• Phonics check through Read Write Inc assessments - spelling and reading.
• Reading records.