English at Ash Primary School and Nursery
'Every Child a Reader'
English, reading and writing are at the heart of our approach. We know that skills and knowledge in English are the keys to future achievement in many areas of the curriculum. From early encounters with stories and songs in the Nursery, to critical analysis of texts in year 6, we know that the English curriculum can be a powerful tool in development of every child's 'cultural capital'- the access they have to the ideas, concepts and references they need to be ready for life in modern Britain.
For any child who has English as an additional language, we support them to learn English swiftly and develop confidence in their speaking, reading and writing. For pupils with SEND, we ensure that every child has access to the tools they require to support their communication. This may include alternative recording methods, assistive technology, or support materials. We know that communication is the greatest gift we can give to every pupil in our school.
At Ash, we believe that a quality English curriculum should develop children’s love of reading, writing and discussion. We aim to provide many purposeful opportunities for reading, writing and critical analysis.
In the Early years, we aim for all children to associate books and singing, rhymes and mark-making with enjoyment, excitement and interest. We aim for every child to secure pre-reading and writing skills they need to engage with the next stage of learning.
Our curriculum follows the aims of the National Curriculum for English 2014 to enable all children to:
● read easily, fluently and with good understanding
● develop the habit of reading widely and often, for both pleasure and information
● 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, and engage with a variety of voices from an international and diverse literary canon
● write clearly, accurately and coherently, adapting their language and style 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.
● are confident speakers, with the skills to listen to others and critically evaluate a range of views
These aims are embedded across our literacy lessons and the wider curriculum. We will provide the means for children to develop a secure knowledge-base which follows a clear pathway of progression as they advance through the primary curriculum. Rigorous assessment and review will ensure that we are able to provide targeted support so that all children experience success in literacy; 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.
For our youngest children we deliver daily singing, reading and mark-making opportunities. We provide a diverse range of texts, singing and talking to our children regularly. This is supported in the range of provision in the setting. Books, songs, poetry and the written word are found indoors and out, and are adapted to ensure the interests of children influence the selection of texts.
Early reading is taught using the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds scheme, (please see our reading section for more information).
Once pupils can decode and read fluently, they further develop their skills during guided reading sessions planned to expose children to an increasing range of texts. We use a diverse selection of literature, poetry and non-fiction forms to ensure pupils access international voices, those of a range of authors, and to hear stories from other cultures and communities within the UK.
We use 'The Literacy Tree' to support our English planning and development, to ensure that beautiful and engaging texts are at the heart of all our work.
Pupils have regular opportunities to develop Oracy and dramatic skills. From re-enacting the sinking of the Titanic, to creating a poem based on the experience of a refugee, Ash pupils have access to practical and inspiring approaches to English.
In lessons teachers will;
- Reinforce an expectation that all pupils are capable of achieving high standards in English.
- Deliver a whole-class approach with appropriate support for those pupils who require this. The large majority of pupils progress through the curriculum content at the same pace. Differentiation is achieved through additional support and encouraging children’s individual flair and fluency.
- Focus on gaps in knowledge and developing a growth mind-set in order to ensure all children achieve.
- Use high quality texts, models and examples from the teacher which focus on skills to be taught. These texts are then analysed in depth with the children in order for them to learn and apply those skills.
- Teach grammar and punctuation skills explicitly until all children have a firm understanding of how to apply them in their own work.
- Use precise questioning in class to develop the children’s thinking and explanations, helping children to make literary choices in their writing.
- support pupils to review and retrieve concepts and skills over time, to ensure learning in class builds on prior knowledge
- extend and challenge pupils to think about, recall and apply the skills they are learning over time.
When planning literacy lessons, teachers make links to other areas of the curriculum to provide further opportunities to develop cultural capital and link concepts and viewpoints over time. Teaching blocks focus on fiction, non-fiction or poetry, in line with the 2014 National Curriculum and comprehension, grammar and writing are embedded in lessons. Lessons sequences build progressively towards an extended piece of writing. Handwriting is also taught within literacy lessons, and we are proud of the beautiful written work our pupils achieve.
Assessment for Learning is embedded in literacy lessons and children are active in reviewing the successes in their work and identifying, with support from their teacher, target areas for development to ensure a continuous and individualised approach to improving their work.
The organisation of the English curriculum has realised a community of enthusiastic readers and writers who enjoy showcasing their developing literacy knowledge and skills. Children are confident to take risks in their reading and writing, and love to discuss and share their ideas. Written outcomes in both English and other subjects evidence the high quality of work and the impact of varied and cross curricular writing opportunities. These enable children to write across a range of forms and adapt their writing for a range of audiences and with clear purpose.
We follow the National Curriculum. More details of rules that are taught, and the word lists/common exception words can be found here.