The study of English develops children’s ability to listen, speak, read and write for a wide range of purposes, including the communication of their ideas, views and feelings. Children are enabled to express themselves creatively and imaginatively, as they become enthusiastic and critical readers of stories, poetry and drama, as well as of non-fiction. Children gain an understanding of how language works by looking at its patterns, structures and origins. Children use their knowledge, skills and understanding in speaking, reading and writing across a range of different situations.
The teaching of English at Thorpe CofE Primary School, will be based on the national curriculum programme of study and shaped by our intent, implementation and impact aims.
Our intent is that children will:
- read fluently and confident, building on secure early phonics and reading skills
- develop the habit of reading widely and often, for both pleasure and information and become enthusiastic and reflective readers.
- 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, adapting their speech to a wide range of circumstances and demands;
- be competent in the arts of speaking and listening, making formal presentations, demonstrating to others and participating in debate.
English is a core subject in the National Curriculum. We use the most recent Government legislation as the basis for implementing the statutory requirements of the programme of study for English.
Long Term Planning - Our yearly teaching programme identifies the key objectives in English that we teach to each year.
Medium Term Planning – Our medium-term plans, which are based on the National Curriculum and link to other curriculum areas, give details of the main teaching objectives for each term. These plans define what we teach, and ensure an appropriate balance and distribution of work across each term. The subject leader is responsible for keeping and reviewing these plans.
Short Term Planning – Class teachers complete a weekly (short-term) plan for the teaching of English. This lists the specific learning objectives and expected outcomes for each lesson, and gives details of how the lessons are to be taught. It also includes details of what learning adaptions are made for individual children. These plans are evaluated, following formative and summative assessments and the information used to inform next steps to support or challenge children’s learning.
Early Years Foundation Stage
The teaching of Literacy is termed as a ‘Prime’ area of learning: ‘Communication and Language’ as well as a ‘Specific’ area ‘Literacy’. It is part of the Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum.
The children work towards achieving the early learning goal at the end of their Reception year across the subjects. Achievement will be assessed within the context of the Early Years Foundation Stage Profile. We give all children the opportunity to talk and communicate in a widening range of situations, to respond to adults and to each other, to listen carefully, and to practice and extend their vocabulary and communication skills. They have the opportunity to explore sounds, words and texts, to enjoy them, to learn about them, and to use them in various situations.
Reading and Phonics
Early Reading Strategy
We are determined that all children will learn to read fluently as a result of making the very best start with their reading in Reception, Year 1 and Year 2.
All children learn to read through decoding (phonics). Therefore, in Reception and KS1 children will have daily phonics lessons to enable them to learn phonemes (sounds) and to blend these in order to decode words quickly and fluently. We use the Rising Stars Rocket Phonics scheme as our systematic synthetics phonics program (SSP). During daily phonics sessions, children will focus on decoding skills by learning 2 phonemes a week alongside common exception words linked to that phonic phase. Please see attached Teaching and Learning Overview for the sequence of sounds. During phonics sessions, children will apply their knowledge of sounds, both for decoding and encoding. Corresponding sounds will be used for letter formation in their pupil practice books, which accompany every phase.
‘Big Books’ are a significant part of the Rocket Phonics Scheme. These are stories read by the teacher or as a whole class that contain the phonemes being taught. Skills such as of decoding, introduction of new vocabulary, making predictions and comprehension skills are included. These skills are developed and extended during weekly, small group guided reading sessions. All reading books used either in guided reading or for reading at home, are matched to the children’s phonics ability. Children will read books which contain the phonemes they have already learnt to encourage fluency and both reading and writing of the sounds taught.
It is our aim to hear Reception children read twice a week to an adult in school and once a week in Year 1 and Year 2 although children requiring additional support will be heard more often as our ‘frequent readers’.
Year 2 continue with Rocket Phonics Next Steps, consolidating the sounds and focusing on spelling and writing as well as incorporating aspects for the National Curriculum’s requirements for Year 2 such as extending the children’s understanding and use of more complex sentence structures.
Key Stage 2 children requiring continued phonics teaching, will also follow the Rocket Phonics scheme. This will be delivered in small groups as an intervention. Children will continue to have reading books that are matched to their phonic ability. This will be set up and embedded during Spring 2023.
Alongside, the importance of learning to read we are determined to ensure that children have the opportunity to develop a love of reading and have planned our curriculum to place reading as a core skill across all subjects.
Reading for pleasure is facilitated through our school library, with each child able to access and take home fiction and nonfiction books they select themselves. Our class libraries also develop interest in the topics being studied. These are added to with authors and books that the children show enjoyment in. Further school events such as world book day, author visits and theatre performances challenge and extend a love of reading throughout the children’s time at Thorpe.
Our curriculum in English and across other subjects, places a key focus on reading skills. English units are inspired by Pie Corbett’s Talk for Reading and Writing sequences and organised into three week blocks, driven by a high quality text. During the first week of the unit, teachers ensure the main teaching and activities enable children to read as a reader for comprehension and read as a writer for text structure and key features. Knowledge of vocabulary is extended by exploration of meaning and context and repetition. This focus is carried through into other core and foundation subjects.
Guided reading in KS2 is delivered as a whole class and follows the VIPERS model (Vocabulary, Inference, Predict, Explain, Retrieve and Summarise / Sequence). Texts are linked to the English or foundation subject themes for that week and promote not only these skills but a discussion of wider current affairs.
Phonics will be assessed every half term using the Rocket Phonics assessment activities. This will inform class teachers about when to move children to the next phase of sounds. Children will need to demonstrate a 95% accuracy in order to move to the next phase. All Year 1 children and those in Year 2 who did not achieve the pass mark, take the Phonics Screening Check in June.
Children’s reading in years 3 – 6, for those who have secure phonics knowledge, will be assessed using PM Benchmarking. Benchmarking enables the class teacher to gather evidence of attainment, gives confirmation of assessments made during whole class guided reading and ensures the children are on track to meet the requirements of the national curriculum. All children who are receiving phonics teaching in KS2, will also be assessed using the half termly Rocket Phonics assessment activities.
English units are inspired by Pie Corbett’s Talk for Writing, organised into three week blocks and driven by high quality texts. The curriculum has been planned for cohesion, so writing units make links to science or foundation subjects, where appropriate, to consolidate and extend children’s knowledge and skills. Use of different genres or styles of writing, grammar and punctuation skills have been sequenced across both KS1 and KS2 to ensure coverage and progression in skills.
Each three week block has a specific grammar focus and genre or style of writing focus. Independent writing each week follows the three stages: imitation (week 1), innovation (week 2) and independent application (week 3).
Week 1 – Imitation
Writing is stimulated by a purpose for writing and a high quality text, which may come from an existing text or be written by teachers to fit a particular purpose. It is pitched above the children’s level and will exemplify the structure, language and tone which the children will need to use when writing. The children internalise a ‘text map’ of the story supported by drama and comprehension activities. Then the text is analysed in greater detail and the children ‘box up’ the text to identify the language patterns and techniques used by the author.
Week 2 – Innovation
With a secure knowledge of the core text and language features, children are guided to create their own versions of the text usually with a ‘twist’ or change. A new setting or character. Writing is developed over several days and follows a similar pattern with the creation of a text map and older children ‘boxing up’ their writing. Teacher’s use of shared and guided writing enable the children to act on feedback, writing effectively to meet the success criteria and purpose. Editing and improving a piece of writing, is an ongoing process and may involve peer editing with a partner.
Week 3 – Independent Application.
During this week, children independently apply the skills and knowledge they have been taught and practised. Writing takes place over several days with the teacher guided the planning, drafting and editing of their final piece which will be used to show the progress made within the unit.
Assessments against the national objectives are made at the end of each 3 week writing block. Evaluations of progress and attainment are recorded on assessment grids within the children’s English books. Children’s work is marked with a next step ‘Think Pink’ comment or verbal feedback is given. When there is no written work for a lesson, the adult working with the group gives verbal feedback and discusses observations with class teacher.
In KS1 and Reception, spelling is delivered through the Rocket Phonics Programme.
In KS2, all children follow the national curriculum objectives for spelling and these are delivered in school through the ‘No-nonsense Spelling’ Programme and use of Spelling Shed at home. Assessments are completed weekly, with a focus on the application of the spelling rule during independent writing. Assessments of Grammar, Punctuation and Spellings are made termly using the ‘GAPs’ assessments as well as being assessed at the end of each 3 week teaching block for English.
All children will make good or better progress across the English curriculum and will transfer their skills and knowledge to other curriculum areas. Teacher assessments of knowledge and skills will be regular and moderated within the school and across the GRACE partnership. Impact will be seen when children apply previous knowledge and skills to new learning. This will indicate that knowledge is well embedded and has been taught in a progressive and meaningful sequence.
- SEN, Gifted and Talented, Vulnerable Groups
At our school we teach English to all children, whatever their ability and individual needs. English forms part of the school’s curriculum policy to provide a broad and balanced education to all children. Through our English teaching we provide learning opportunities that enable all pupils to make good progress. We take all reasonable steps to meet the needs of those pupils with special educational needs, those with disabilities, those with special gifts and talents, and those learning English as an additional language (EAL). For further details see separate policies: Special Educational Needs.
- Health and Safety and Safeguarding
English lessons follow the school guidelines for health and safety and the safeguarding of all pupils.
- Monitoring and review
We have an identified English governor who is invited to meet with the subject leader annually to discuss SATs analysis, Teaching and Learning and subject developments. The English governor and subject leader jointly report their feedback to the Children’s Learning Committee.
Monitoring of the standards of children’s work and of the quality of teaching and learning in English is the responsibility of the Headteacher, Governors and subject leader through lesson observations, learning walks and work scrutiny. The work of the subject leader also involves supporting colleagues in their teaching, being informed about current developments in the subject, and providing a strategic lead and direction for English in the school. The subject leader gives the Head and Governors an annual report, revised policy and action plan, in which s/he evaluates strengths and weaknesses in the subject, and indicates areas for further improvement.
Rocket Phonics Programme Overview Reception and Year 1
Rocket Phonics Programme Overview Year 2