English Curriculum -
The English curriculum is an ambitious curriculum meeting the needs of all learners and contextualised in the community we serve.
At Severnbanks Primary School we work to ensure that all children have access to an English curriculum which prepares them for life-long learning, acquiring knowledge and skills to take with them on their learning adventure.
Teachers use a text enhanced approach to teaching English. We use CLPE Power of Reading: a book based approach to Literacy.
At Severnbanks, we actively plan for children to make connections in their learning, providing choice and challenge in enjoyable lessons to engage children to lead and flourish in the learning process. We aim for children to become fluent and confident in reading and writing demonstrating the ability to decode, comprehend, use vocabulary and sentence to entertain, persuade and inform. Children acquire a solid English understanding through, planned spoken language activities, rich vocabulary environment, purposeful writing opportunities, quality text and reading experiences.
Our English curriculum allows opportunities for children to demonstrate our school values, vision and curriculum drivers by: showing teamwork, respect and kindness when working with others in a class, group or pair to listen to one another and share ideas and resources; working with resilience to learn key sounds/ words and overcome misconceptions and apply knowledge to reading and writing; thinking with creativity and curiosity to solve comprehend and write creatively using appropriate vocabulary, sentence and structure. Pupils are encouraged to be independent when learning and know how to use resources to support their own writing. Our teaching of the English curriculum promotes that pupils aspire to be readers and writers and achieve.
Throughout our lessons, children are given the opportunity to listen to and articulate their mathematical thinking with others, developing their use of language and appropriate mathematical vocabulary. They learn to make connections with one another and the wider world to identify and develop their mathematical thinking and understanding to prepare them for the next stage of their learning adventure.
How English is taught in our school
English activities form the bedrock of the curriculum for all of our classes on a daily basis.
Our Foundation Stage pupils are encouraged to, and increasingly expected to, speak in full sentences to adults in school and the daily curriculum has a strong emphasis on building the vocabulary of our children.
Phonics lessons are taught daily. Daily lessons follow the weekly content grids of our chosen programme- Rocket Phonics. Learning is reinforced and applied in context throughout the day.
Reading practice sessions are timetabled.
The children will listen to a wide range of stories, poems and non-fiction texts, rhymes and singing sessions which will be planned to develop the children’s vocabulary for a minimum of 2 x 15-minute sessions a day.
Alongside our phonics policy the children are taught comprehension skills using ‘Cracking Comprehension’ and Tony Whatmuff reading strategies.
Writing is taught through regular planned adult-led English sessions. The focus of these sessions is planned to support children in meeting their Early Learning Goals for English by the end of the year.
On a daily basis, children are encouraged to attempt their own emergent writing and their efforts are valued and praised. As their phonic knowledge increases, this will be reflected in their writing. At the same time, their knowledge of key words is supported through reading and writing activities, including shared reading and writing. The children are encouraged to look at spelling patterns and to focus on key words. A wide variety of opportunities are provided for children to engage in writing activities.
Alongside the planned sessions, learning is enhanced throughout the classroom environment to encourage use of English learning in their child-initiated play.
Throughout the Early years the children take part in Talk for Writing activities. This approach uses high quality model texts to introduce the children to different story/text types which they then learn off by heart and scrutinise with a writer’s critical eye.
They learn the underlying structures and the process of planning using story maps. Through fun activities that help them rehearse the tune of the language they need, followed by shared writing to show them how to craft their writing, children are helped to write in the same style.
A variety of resources are used to encourage the development of fine motor control which is essential for good handwriting. These include playdough, cutting, threading and tracing.
Key stage 1
Our Key Stage 1 pupils are encouraged to, and increasingly expected to, speak in full sentences to adults in school and the daily curriculum has a strong emphasis on building the vocabulary of our children.
Phonics lessons are taught daily. Daily lessons follow the weekly content grids of our chosen programme: Rocket Phonics . Learning is reinforced and applied in context throughout the day.
Reading practice sessions are timetabled.
The children will listen to a wide range of stories, poems and non-fiction texts, rhymes and singing sessions which will be planned to develop the children’s vocabulary for a minimum of 1 x 15-minute sessions a day building to 20 minutes in year 2.
Alongside our phonics policy, the children will be taught comprehension skills using ‘Cracking Comprehension’ as a whole class lesson. This allows the class teacher to build reading comprehension skills with the class, read and listen to texts, highlight relevant evidence and form the answers to questions. The Tony Whatmuff strategies for developing comprehension and book talk are used as whole class.
Writing is taught through regular planned adult-led English sessions. On a daily basis, children are encouraged to attempt their own writing and their efforts are valued and praised. As their phonic knowledge increases, this will be reflected in their writing. At the same time, their knowledge of key words is supported through a wide variety of reading and writing activities.
The children are encouraged to look at spelling patterns and to learn their spellings on a weekly basis with a focus on key words and patterns.
Throughout Key stage 1 the children become used to using a book as a stimulus for their writing. This approach uses high quality model texts to introduce the children to different story/text types which they sometimes learn off by heart and scrutinise with a writer’s critical eye.
They learn the underlying structures and the process of planning using thinking maps. Through fun activities that help them rehearse the language they need, followed by shared writing to show them how to craft their writing, children are helped to write in the same style. During year 2, children are introduced to ‘Sentence of the day’ exercise. This activity allows children to re-visit and rehearse areas of spelling, punctuation and grammar that are not currently being taught, and which embed and rehearse key ideas for the year group.
A variety of resources are used to encourage the development of fine motor control which is essential for good handwriting.
Key Stage 2
In key stage 2 the daily curriculum has a strong emphasis on building the vocabulary of our children. On a daily basis, children will be given a variety of opportunities to develop their spoken language skills. For example, they may take part in talk partner work, discussion and debate, question and answer sessions and guided learning opportunities.
There are daily guided reading sessions where whole class guided reading takes place.
The children are taught comprehension skills using ‘Cracking Comprehension’ as a whole class lesson and guided reading on a fortnightly cycle alongside Tony Whatmuff strategies.
The children will listen to a wide range of fiction, poetry, plays, non-fiction, reference books and text books for a minimum of 25 minutes a day.
Writing is taught through regular well planned adult-led English sessions. Through shared and guided writing, the teacher will model the whole writing process with the children. Children are given frequent opportunities to write independently so that the skills demonstrated during shared writing and supported during guided writing will be transferred into their own writing.
Throughout Key stage 2 the children will often use a book as a stimulus for their writing to further enhance their understanding of different story/text types.
Grammar and Punctuation will often be taught as a discrete lesson. The children will then often be expected to illustrate the skill that has been taught within their writing. In Key stage 2 children are given a ‘Sentence of the day’ exercise daily. This activity allows children to re-visit and rehearse areas of spelling, punctuation and grammar that are not currently being taught, and which embed and rehearse key ideas for the year group.
Children receive teaching/modelling spelling sessions, which covers key spelling rules and conventions. Alongside this, the year 3 and 4 statutory spelling list and the year 5 and 6 statutory spelling list are taught alongside the spelling programme.
Children are encouraged to take pride in all their work and the way it is presented across the curriculum, maintaining standards whatever the subject they are writing about and their handwriting is expected to be legible, and cursive in Key stage 2. We follow the Write Path handwriting programme.
Inclusion, Quality First Teaching and Intervention:
Our English curriculum is intended to promote inclusion within classrooms because it emphasises full-class instruction and a range of groupings: sometimes mixed-ability grouping and sometimes ability groups. Children who are slower to grasp key concepts will be provided with a greater degree of scaffolding, and this is a key part of our approach from EYFS to Y6. Some children will need a higher level of adult support to access the teaching material and to demonstrate their learning and this is indicated on work through the use of marking codes.
When accessing reading and writing activities, some students will require a more structured approach, while some children will be able to work independently and initiate their own ideas.
We use pre-teaching and same day intervention flexibly, according to formative assessment. In some circumstances (e.g. children joining the school in later years where specific gaps are identified, or children with a specific need identified through my plan + / EHCP provision), particular interventions such as ’ Speed up’ (Handwriting) may be used.
Every child in Year 2 or above who cannot read at age-related expectations will receive urgent targeted support so that they can access the curriculum and enjoy reading as soon as possible.
When a child is working at a level significantly different to that of their peers, a more personalised yet ambitious English curriculum is planned for by the class teacher (following discussion with the subject lead) and is tailored towards meeting the identified student’s specific needs.
At Severnbanks, we recognise that all English teachers are SEND English teachers and we plan for and deliver inclusive English lessons, using scaffolds, questioning and support where appropriate to enable all students to access the learning and to achieve.
- Reading aloud fosters a love of books in children, and helps children get hooked on books.
- Our children say that they enjoy being read to, and that having someone read to them stirred their interest in the book. They also enjoy being given the opportunity to read aloud themselves. Children enjoy reading books in their shelter at lunchtimes.
A reading environment
- All classrooms have clearly thought out reading corners/areas and much emphasis has been placed on not only how they look, but how accessible, welcoming they are and stocked up with good quality, appropriate books. Teachers ensure that these book corners are tidy and accessible, with displays changing frequently.
- Staff themselves play a big part in this as they are part of the environment as well. Teachers and other staff promote reading for pleasure simply by having a copy of a book or magazine they are reading on their desk and by being ready to discuss it with the children if they ask what they are reading.
- Reading incentives are a big part of how we encourage children to read and these range in style depending upon the class.
- Our Library is a wonderful, physical place to study and read and it can be a haven for those who find the bustle of break-times overwhelming or need time out to recharge.
- For children who do not have books at home they can find the books they need to develop and improve their reading skills and become readers for life in our library.
- All children can try out a range of authors and perhaps find a new type of book that they haven’t considered before.
- The library is used regularly throughout the week.
Additional reading opportunities to make reading fun which teachers regularly try to include in their reading curriculum.
- Reading to a partner
- Paired reading with children from another class/ reading buddies
- Reading in different environments- outside in the woods, under tables, in the hall on cushions.
- Reading like a teacher- in small groups
- Read to a reading dog
- Performance- playscripts/ poetry
- Book picnic at lunch times
- Simple instructions to follow to make something- Christmas decoration.
- Treasure hunt – follow the instructions
- Create an audio story for the book corner
- Film children reading
- Magazine reading
In addition, we ensure that the children are given a range of experiences during the year such as a visit to Cheltenham Literacy festival and an author visit to inspire children’s learning. We also celebrate World book day often having a book week with a theme such as fairy stories or poetry or books that have diversity as their central theme. When staffing allows, we like to offer a book club after school allowing children to listen to stories and discuss the themes while enjoying water and biscuits.
We strive to develop spoken language skills through the taught curriculum, the hidden curriculum, playtimes and lunchtimes, extra-curricular activities and the whole ethos of the school.
Respectful and productive relationships between all who form part of the school community are crucial aspects of this ethos. As a staff, we therefore foster good communication amongst ourselves and with our pupils, their parents and carers, and with the wider community. We place a high priority on supporting the development of good speaking and listening skills amongst our pupils.
At Severnbanks School we pride ourselves on our yearly plays which are performed to parents for all year groups. All children are involved and able to shine in their own way.