English National Curriculum
The overarching intent for English is to promote high standards of language and literacy by equipping pupils with a strong command of the spoken and written word, and to develop their love of literature through widespread reading for enjoyment.
The national curriculum for English aims to ensure that all pupils:
- 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
- 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
- Are competent in the arts of speaking and listening, making formal presentations, demonstrating to others and participating in debate.
English at St. Catherine's
We believe that the ability to read fluently is the doorway to almost all other learning. Consequently, learning to read and then reading regularly and widely is at the heart of our curriculum design. At St. Catherine’s foster a ‘we love reading’ ethic alongside regular interactive reading sessions, focusing on ways to teach the mechanics of reading and the magic of the written word. This combines reading fluency and comprehension. In Key Stage 1 we use Read Write INC to develop decoding skills and then reading linked to appropriate phonic material. All teachers have had relevant training to deliver this. Guided reading is delivered daily across the school and additional 1:1 reading promotes reading fluency for pupils. From Year 2 pupils are able to access Accelerated Reader which supports reading and the development of comprehension skills through the use of comprehension quizzes. Pupils are able to read a broad and varied selection of books from the school library which is linked to the Accelerated Reader system which promotes reading enthusiasm. Reading has a high profile across school with all teachers reading a class novel/book to pupils for 15 mins daily and every Weekly Achiever identified by the class teacher receives a book reward ensuring that all children by the end of Year 6 will have a library of books they have selected to read at home.
At St. Catherine’s we use “The Write Stuff” to cover our writing requirements. This approach combines grammar teaching and writing composition in well-paced, bite-sized chunks which are highly didactic. Closely modelled sessions with a sharp focus, underpinned by success criteria ensure all children can achieve while “deepening the moment” provides challenge and extra opportunities for creativity.
Writing is focused using three lenses The ideas lens from the children’s perspective is known as the FANTASTICs that captures the nine ideas for writing. The grammar lens is known as the GRAMMARISTICs and the technique lens are known as the BOOMTASTICs.
The lesson is split into “learning chunks”. Each “learning chunk” has three distinct parts for a writing lesson; Initiate, Model, Engage. Initiate is a time to inspire pupils. This needs to be short but effective. Model is the bridge between ideas gathering and articulating the thought processes of a writer at work. Engage is the opportunity for pupils to showcase what they can do within particular writing parameters The Purpose of this type of lesson is to help pupils remember, build on prior learning, to scaffold ideas and to practice key aspects.
Children are encouraged to write creatively and showcase their learning at the end of each unit in their Publishing Book.
Phonics and Spelling
In early years we use Read Write Inc as our preferred scheme for the delivery of phonics. The teaching of phonics begins in Reception, where sounds are introduced at a rate of one a day throughout the autumn and spring term. Sounds are consolidated in the summer term. This knowledge is built upon in Year 1; more complex sounds are introduced and reinforced throughout Year 2. All children are grouped within their year group to ensure that the correct resources and teaching expertise are available to them and so that they are able to learn at an appropriate pace in small groups.
During the summer term in Year 1, children nationwide are tested on their phonic knowledge. This test helps us to identify children who have gaps in their phonic knowledge and may need support in Year 2 to develop reading and writing skills. The test is very low-key and the children are not aware that they are being tested. Parents are informed as to whether their child has achieved the national expectation within the child’s end-of-year report. Additional tuition in phonics will be given to those children who did not achieve a pass during Year 2 and they will be tested again in the summer term.
Spelling in KS2 is supported by The Write stuff with spelling teaching sessions and spelling investigations in addition to regular spelling tests of the compulsory spelling words in each year group.
Reading and writing permeates throughout the whole of our curriculum. We are aware of the need to be able to write for a range of purposes and audiences. This is particularly captured through our writing opportunities in Come and See, History and Geography where the children can showcase their learning in these subjects using a range of different genre. Our wider curriculum seeks to embed writing by ensuring that children produce a piece of writing at the end of a topic.