Our English curriculum includes the components of spoken language, reading, writing, grammar, punctuation, spelling and handwriting.
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 language, and to develop their love of literature through widespread reading for enjoyment.
English is taught every day within the context of the theme wherever possible. The children are immersed in the text type or genre at the beginning of the units. They may explore themes through drama, sources of media or first hand experiences. The children will then read, explore features of a text and analyse the content to develop their reading skills. Talk is a fundamental part of our writing teaching. If children are able to tell a story or another genre prior to writing they can improve the quality of writing no end. We follow the principles of ‘Talk for writing’ in this phase. Following this children are given many opportunities to write for a range of audiences and purposes. They will edit, revise and improve their work using a variety of assessment approaches.
‘Standards in reading have been consistently above average by the end of Year 6 and these skills have been successfully built on to improve standards in writing. Punctuation and grammar skills are taught well so pupils’ progress in these areas is strong.’ Ofsted 2014
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. At Coupe Green we plan a range of activities and experiences to develop pupils’ confidence and competence in spoken language and listening skills. Pupils develop a capacity to explain their understanding of books and other reading materials, and prepare their ideas before they write. Writing is often taught using the teaching approaches in ‘Talk for writing.’ Pupils are taught to understand and use the conventions for discussion and debate. We use stimulating topics for children to debate in class as well as topical issues highlighted by the school council.
We have many productions at school where pupils participate in and gain knowledge, skills and understanding associated with the artistic practice of drama. Pupils are able to adopt, create and sustain a range of roles, responding appropriately to others in role. This and planned lessons give the children 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.
Reading consists of 2 dimensions word reading and comprehension.
Skilled word reading involves both the speedy working out of the pronunciation of unfamiliar printed words (decoding) and the recognition of familiar printed words. Underpinning both is the understanding that the letters on the page represent the sounds in spoken words.
Good comprehension draws from knowledge of vocabulary and grammar and our knowledge of the world. The children develop their comprehension skills through high-quality discussions with our teachers, as well as reading and discussing a range of stories, poems and non-fiction. Pupils are encouraged to read widely across both fiction and non-fiction to develop their knowledge of themselves and the world they live in, to establish an appreciation and love of reading, and to gain knowledge across the curriculum.
Our aim is to ensure that, by the end primary education, all our children are able to read fluently and with confidence.
Each week the children will have a guided reading session where they are grouped with children of a similar ability to read and discuss a text. Children are encouraged to read every night where they can choose a book from our reading schemes, library or read a book they have at home. The children have a home school diary to record their reading from home and school.
Reading Schemes – Website link parent support/Information about book bands
We use a range of reading schemes to give children the choice to read for enjoyment. Different schemes have varying focuses for example they may be predominately high frequency words or phonic based. By having a range of books the children can choose from, they experience a rich diet of books. We have books from Oxford Reading Tree (ORT), Collins Big Cat, Rigby Star and Bug Club, which is both hardback books and electronic. Children receive a hardback book and an electronic Bug Club book each week to read at home. The use of ICT and current and popular content aims to engage all readers. All our books are colour coded which allows the children to choose the appropriate level.
Phonics should be emphasised in the early teaching of reading. Children in Early Years and Key Stage 1 have a phonics lesson every day. We follow the progression of the Letters and Sound documents. Teaching is then enhanced using a variety of resources including Jolly phonic songs, practical resources and creative approaches.
The children begin by linking letters and sounds, learning the names of letters and joining sounds to read and write simple words. They then progress onto learning alternative sounds for letters or groups of letters. As they move through year 2 they become more accurate and confident with spelling where they will learn further spelling rules and variation in our English language.
Spelling is taught for five/six sessions over a two week cycle. The children investigate new spelling patterns, origins of words, explore new vocabulary, play a range of games and apply their new learning within a context.
Spelling homework is given weekly and follow a two week cycle. The first week the children will be asked to complete different tasks linked to the work they have been doing in class. This may be looking at new vocabulary or investigating language. The second week the children will have a formal spelling test.
In writing the children learn about transcription (spelling and handwriting) and composition (articulating ideas and structuring them in speech and writing).
Pupils are taught how to plan, revise and evaluate their writing. We engage the children through using exciting topics, basing writing on personal experiences and writing for a range of audiences. Writing down ideas fluently depends on good spelling ability. Effective composition involves articulating and communicating ideas, and then organising them coherently for a reader. This requires clarity, awareness of the audience, purpose and context, and an increasingly wide knowledge of vocabulary and grammar. Writing also depends on fluent, legible and, eventually, speedy handwriting.
We encourage the children to be very proud of their work and displaying children’s work is a very important part of what we do. Each half term the children will complete a piece of writing that will be displayed around school celebrating their work for the term. The children enjoy seeing their work and others which makes them feel valued.
Every week children are given the opportunity to write independently. This allows us to gain a true picture of strengths and areas that need developing. Writing is based on a variety of exciting topics to promote a love of writing. Each child has a writing portfolio where they collect pieces of writing which they take through school with them.
Grammar, vocabulary and punctuation
Children will be taught the key skills from the national curriculum. This will be planned within the text type/genre. However it may be taught discretely if teachers feel this is appropriate.
All children begin the process of learning cursive handwriting from Foundation Stage. This starts with developing motor skills and learning basic letter formations, before progressing to pre-cursive writing in Year 1 and developing full, joined cursive thereafter. We believe this raises standards in handwriting throughout the whole school, developing confidence, accuracy, fluency, writing stamina and presentation. Please see our handwriting policy for further details.
Basic Skills Quality Mark
In 2017 we achieved the Basic Skills Quality Mark for the second time. This is an award that celebrates and supports continuous improvement in literacy and numeracy. It is to recognise our provision, practice and performance, and demonstrates our whole school approach to improving standards in literacy and numeracy with evidence of the impact of its approaches.