English is a core subject within the National Curriculum and has a high profile across the school. Wherever possible, English is taught through a cross-curricular theme, making learning more meaningful to children and allowing pupils to transfer skills of speaking and listening, reading and writing to other curriculum areas.
Spoken language is taught via a variety of Speaking and listening activities, including group collaboration and drama work throughout the school. Children develop confidence in explaining, justifying and experimenting with their ideas; deepening their understanding and providing a wonderful platform on which to build creative writing opportunities.
The school has an excellent range of reading materials to suit different ages, abilities and interests. Books are banded to suit the reading ability and interest age of pupils in the Infants. This allows pupils to read from a range of authors and schemes. Children read regularly with an adult, within a small guided group, concentrating on the enjoyment, understanding and response to a particular book or extract. Guided books include books from the Rigby Star scheme. KS2 pupils use the Accelerated Reader Programme and have access to a wide range of reading books which they can then quiz on to check comprehension.
We greatly value the role of parents/carers in furthering the reading taking place in school and believe this to be an important partnership. Children take home a reading book and are expected to read at least three times per week as part of their homework; discussing their reading in order to develop effective comprehension skills. Each child also has the opportunity to practise their library skills and visit the school library regularly, where they are able to borrow one book of their choice from an incredibly comprehensive and exciting selection.
Children are taught to recognise the phonics necessary to become proficient readers through ‘Letters and Sounds’. This programme teaches phonetic knowledge in an ordered and thorough way, equipping children with the necessary tools to become independent and confident readers. Children enjoy a variety of games, making learning fun eg Phonics Play. Our expert Reading Recovery teacher, Miss Gent, works to support 1:1 reading mainly with Y1 pupils on the programme. Parents/Carers are invited to weekly Fun Phonics Fridays in Foundation Stage and Phonic sessions in Year One.
From Foundation Stage onwards, children are taught a cursive style of writing. Phonics skills and knowledge of letter patterns are taught in a structured way, incorporating a wide range of teaching styles to best meet the needs of all learners. Children are encouraged to become writers from the beginning of their education, through the process of emergent writing. Spelling is taught through the Letters and Sounds programme and the Support for Spelling programme and pupils are taught to spell the high frequency words. Our cross-curricular approach is successfully enabling pupils to use their literacy skills in a variety of exciting and real contexts. We ensure that writing is for a purpose and for a particular audience. Whether that is producing a poem for the school website or a piece of information for a class book, children are able to see a purpose for the task in hand and remain more motivated as a result.
Great importance is attached to guided writing. Children work regularly with an adult, within a small focus group. Through on-going teacher assessments, each child’s exact learning needs can be addressed and specific strengths or areas for development can be targeted effectively.
We believe that learning should be fun and are passionate about the wonder and inspiration to be found in well-loved books. Confident readers create confident writers. Once a love of literature has been fostered, the sky is the limit!