Intent for English:
The overarching aim for English in the national curriculum 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.
At Oakfield Primary School, one of our key curriculum drivers is for pupils ‘to be an effective communicator’. We recognise the importance of developing communication skills and vocabulary as key to pupils being effective learners and able to access the broader curriculum. The teaching of key basic skills is a focus for early learning in school where teaching begins with supporting children to communicate by speaking and listening well. We prioritise early reading so that children develop fluency, confidence and a love of reading. We embed reading, writing and communication skills through a cross-curricular learning approach so that learning takes place within a firm context. Our curriculum has been developed to introduce and explore new vocabulary and activities are planned to ensure that pupils get the opportunity to apply and revisit this new knowledge. We want children to marvel in the richness and diversity of language, to appreciate and enjoy the power it commands when mastered.
In Early Years Communication and Language Development is a Prime Area of Learning. Through this area of learning children develop their confidence and skills in expressing themselves; and to speak and listen in a range of situations. Literacy is a Specific Area of Learning including Reading and Writing. Through this area of learning children are taught to link sounds and letters and to begin to read and write.
We have introduced 'Little Wandle' Letters and Sounds Revised in Reception and Year 1 classes as our systematic synthetic phonics programme. We are currently continuing with 'Letters and Sounds' programme in Year 2 and 3 and, where appropriate, as an intervention strategy for older pupils to develop reading and, to some extent, spelling skills through learning how to segment and blend phonemes.
During our reading lessons in English, we concentrate on developing comprehension skills and this has greater emphasis in Key Stage 2. We teach reading strategies with a focus on using prior knowledge to broaden and develop pupils’ use of vocabulary across a range of subjects. Pupils learn how to:
Teachers model and teach specific reading skills across the curriculum. Across the school, each classroom displays our reading skills poster and pupils have access to reading skill cards. These are referred to whenever an opportunity to apply them arises.
As a school we focus on developing fluency but also a love of reading. In our Reception classes adults read to the children throughout the day to develop a love of books. We have collated 100 books appropriate to different age groups. These books have been specially selected because they expose pupils to a variety of genres, authors and writing styles at an age appropriate level and hook them into reading. Key Stage 2 pupils are encouraged to use a reading journal as a way to respond to text they are reading in their own creative way.
At Oakfield Primary School, in Key Stage 1 and 2, planning for English is based on the English programmes of study from the National Curriculum with a strong emphasis on the Pie Corbett, ‘Talk for Writing’ approach. This provides continuity and progression throughout the school as well as a consistency of approach within classes of the same year group. When writing a new genre, pupils first learn a text before imitating it, then moving on to innovating and finally inventing their own.
We have developed our own ‘Writer’s Toolkit’ which outlines the features of different text types to support teaching and learning within lessons. We encourage pupils to ‘choose their own resource’ in lessons to support them when working independently. We believe that making links with other subjects gives a meaningful context for the work and provides opportunities for consolidation of skills and cohesion of understanding through application in other areas. A writing book is used across subjects to encourage these links. Teachers will plan opportunities to develop communication, reading and writing, for pupils to write for ‘a real purpose and audience’ through their thematic work.