The English Curriculum at Woolaston Primary
At Woolaston Primary we recognise that literacy and communication are key life skills. Through the English curriculum, we will help children to develop the skills and knowledge that will enable them to communicate effectively and creatively through spoken and written language and equip them with the skills to become life-long learners. We believe that reading is at the heart of the curriculum and is fundamental to learning in all other subjects. We consider the ability to read an essential life skill and we aim for all children to be able to read easily, fluently and with good understanding, in turn becoming enthusiastic and confident life-long readers. It is our intention to immerse our pupils in high quality texts to instil a love for reading, a passion for discovery and to develop their creativity and imagination. We recognise the importance of nurturing a culture where children take pride in their writing, can write clearly, accurately and coherently, and adapt their language and style for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences. At Woolaston Primary the children develop a secure knowledge-base in English, which follows a clear pathway of progression as they advance through the National Curriculum. We believe that a secure basis in literacy skills is crucial to a high quality education and will give our children the tools they need to participate fully as a member of society.
Speaking and Listening
Spoken language underpins the development of reading and writing. The quality and variety of language pupils hear and speak are vital for developing vocabulary and grammar and the understanding linked to reading and writing. We want to inspire children to be confident in the art of speaking and listening and use discussion to communicate, organise their ideas and develop further their learning. Pupils are also taught to listen to, value and respect the ideas and opinions of others and accept that these may differ from their own. There is a focus on the development of vocabulary across the school and new words encountered in books are discussed and explained in order to encourage the pupils to use them independently.
Pupils are regularly given opportunity to listen and respond to adults and their peers.
Staff in EYFS and Key Stage 1 will praise good interactions and speech whilst modelling correct sentence formation.
Key Stage 2 teachers enhance speech and language abilities through debates and detailed discussions (expressing themselves confidently and coherently, voicing their opinions and rationalising other people’s points of view).
A secure phonic knowledge is key to children’s success as both readers and writers and at Woolaston we develop and secure phonic knowledge through daily Read Write Inc phonics lessons. As they progress through the scheme pupils are taught to decode words using a range of increasingly complex sounds and we teach pupils to read common exception words using flashcards to develop sight vocabulary. Classes across the whole school have phonics or reading lessons from 9 – 9.30 every day.
We recognise the importance of nurturing a culture where children take pride in their writing, can write clearly and accurately and adapt their language and style for a range of contexts. Teachers produce carefully designed writing sequences which map out text-led learning journeys, with a clear starting point, development and modelling of skills and a final written piece to show learnt skills and knowledge. As the pupils progress through this sequence of lessons they explore the chosen genre identifying the key features for themselves in order to develop success criteria they can use in their independent work. Pupils are then given opportunities to plan their own writing using graphic organisers and to learn and apply the grammar features required for the genre. Extended writing tasks are completed over three days to ensure pupils have sufficient time to organise their ideas and write creatively and to help develop their resilience and stamina. Once the pupils have completed their written tasks the pupils have time to edit and revise their work by moving around editing stations. Finally, pupils present finished work to share with an audience such as another class or their parents. All writing tasks are designed to challenge all learners with support in place for those moving at a slower or faster pace.
Handwriting is an essential life skill and it contributes to reading fluency because it activates visual perception of letters. It assists success in other subjects, because good handwriting has a positive impact on showing communication, knowledge and learning. Our pupils are taught accurate formation, correct starting points, awareness of size, legibility and writing stamina. Pupils in EYFS are taught correct letter formation as they learn the initial sounds and whilst pupils are following the Read Write Inc scheme they are not expected to join their handwriting. However, once the children have learned all the phonic sounds they will begin to join their handwriting to improve the pace and fluency of their written work.
We strive to ensure that our pupils' progress is in line with or exceeds their potential when we consider the varied starting points of all our children. We measure this using the assessment criteria outlined on Insight, NFER testing for reading, and STA Assessment guidelines, whilst always considering the age-related expectations for each year group. We monitor weekly spelling tests, so we can adapt teaching to individual needs. As part of the Read Write Inc scheme pupils are tested every 6 weeks to monitor their progress and to ensure they are learning the phonics at the appropriate level. Their Read Write Inc levels are compared against the termly milestones for each year group to ensure pupils are attaining at the expected level. Those pupils not attaining at the expected level receive additional support through intervention sessions. Once the pupils complete the Read Write Inc scheme their reading is assessed termly using the NFER reading test and PM Benchmark kit to identify if pupils are working at the expected level and to monitor progress. Again those pupils not attaining at the expected level will receive support through intervention. In writing, we monitor and check progression of skills throughout the year through termly writing assessments. These assessments demonstrate what the children can do independently and are used in moderation sessions with our partner school to identify the level the pupils are working at. All teachers will also moderate pupil’s writing in a whole school staff meeting using the STA exemplification materials. The English subject leader and senior leadership team will complete book scrutiny’s and participate in professional discussions to identify the impact of teaching and learning.
Our English curriculum will ensure pupils:
The English curriculum at Woolaston Primary supports the development of vital reading, writing and oracy skills and helps to prepare our pupils for life beyond primary school and throughout their educational journey.