English Curriculum Intent
Engage: English at Pewithall is learnt through a range of high-quality texts, and other exciting stimuli such as: film clips, artefacts, visitors and real life experiences. The English curriculum is carefully planned to provide a high-quality education that teaches our pupils to speak, read and write fluently so that they can communicate their ideas and emotions to others effectively.
Excite: A broad and balanced curriculum makes reading and writing opportunities exciting. All children read and write for a clear audience and purpose. We provide exciting opportunities to support learning, including visits, visitors and learning outside the classroom.
Empower: All children experience a progressive curriculum that encourages a passion for literacy, ensuring that our children are equipped with the skills they need in order to apply their learning to become lifelong learners.
English Curriculum Implementation
At Pewithall Primary School we believe that English is vital in enabling our pupils to communicate effectively and access all curriculum areas. We have a creative, focused and structured approach to our English curriculum.
We follow The Literacy Company’s ‘Pathways to Write’ which develops vocabulary and writing skills through a mastery approach. Reading is taught through weekly differentiated guided reading sessions, opportunities for individual readers and reading age/phonics level appropriate reading books are sent home three times a week. Grammar, punctuation and spelling is taught both thematically and discretely as is most appropriate. Synthetic phonics is taught from EYFS to the end of KS1 and beyond where necessary using Supersonic Phonics Friends programme of progression.
The development of these English skills are key to ensuring that pupils can access the whole curriculum effectively, allowing our children to achieve their full potential.
English Curriculum Impact
At Pewithall we aim to prepare children for their reading journey by developing their phonic knowledge and skills. We follow Supersonic Phonic Friends, a detailed and systematic programme for the teaching phonics. Taught from Reception, with the aim of our children becoming fluent phonics decoders by the end of Key Stage 1. For those children who need to consolidate their knowledge and skills further, Key Stage 2 provides support based on individual children's needs.
‘Pupils should be taught to read fluently, understand extended prose (both fiction and non-fiction) and be encouraged to read for pleasure.’
National Curriculum, July 2014
Through discussion and reflection with parents, peers and staff, children develop the skills and strategies that they need to become competent and fluent readers. We ensure that reading is at the centre of our learning. Children read widely and often and are able to apply their reading skills to a variety of situations for a variety of purposes.
'Pupils should develop the stamina and skills to write at length, with accurate spelling and punctuation.'
National Curriculum, July 2014
All children write and communicate effectively. Writing outcomes across the curriculum illustrate the school’s high expectation and children write for a variety of different purposes and audiences. Writing is engaging, meaningful creative and technically accurate.
Phonics at Pewithall primary School
We use Supersonic Phonics Friends programme to provide daily engaging and active phonics lessons. In phonics, we teach children that the letters of the alphabet represent sounds and that these are put together to make words. The children learn to recognise the different graphemes that they will see when they are reading or writing.
Our phonics teaching starts in Reception and follows a very specific sequence that allows our children to build on their previous phonic knowledge and master specific phonic strategies as they move through school. As a result, all our children are able to tackle any unfamiliar words that they might discover. At Pewithall we also model these strategies in shared reading and writing both inside and outside of the phonics lesson and across the curriculum.
We have a strong focus on the development of language and language skills for our children because we know that speaking and listening are crucial skills for reading and writing in all subjects.
How we Teach Phonics
At Pewithall we:
Teach children that phonics helps us to read and write.
Follow a specific lesson structure and teaching sequence (revisit & review, teach, practise, apply) which promotes independence, resilience and success in all our learners.
Ensure that all phonics teaching is delivered with pace and passion.
Include an active element to all lessons that ensures participation for all learners.
Ensure that children take home a book that matches their phonic ability
Invite all parents to attend phonics and reading workshops to support their children with the development of their child’s phonics skills.
Many words are phonically regular, however, there are some exceptions, which the children know as tricky words.
Phonics and Reading Books
When the children are starting to learn the phonic code it is important that the books they read are closely matched to the letter sounds they are learning. The books should give the children confidence and help develop fluency, we want our children to feel confident and a sense of achievement.
From Year 2 onwards the children are taught phonics alongside spelling patterns and rules.
Classrooms are well resourced with phonic working walls and resources which are readily available empowering children to independently make correct spelling choices.
Assessment of Phonics
We track our children throughout each phase to monitor both achievement and progress.
Our main emphasis on the assessment of phonics is on how effectively the children are able to apply their learning into reading and writing. This provides the evidence that the phonic learning is fully embedded.
If necessary further support through targeted interventions is provided for children to enable them to keep up with the phonics programme.
Additional support for phonics is also put in place for those children in KS2 that still require support.
Phonics Screening Check
Year One Children participate in the statutory phonic screening check. This is discussed with parents and carers at the phonics meetings.
Reading at Pewithall Primary School
At Pewithall Primary School we value reading as a key life skill and ensure reading is a fundamental part of what we do. Everything else depends on it, so we are putting as much energy as we possibly can into making sure that every child learns to read as quickly as possible. All children from the moment they start with us in Reception are exposed to high quality texts across the curriculum, reading skills are taught explicitly in all year groups and reading is given a high profile throughout school.
How we Teach Reading
We deliver bespoke grouped reading for every pupil at least once a week as well as individual reading. In our shared and grouped reads, there is a clear teaching focus with the opportunity to master key reading skills in each session. There are follow on reading tasks to enable pupils to evidence the skills they have mastered independently.
Reading Books in School
Reading a variety of books develops good habits and independence. In school we provide a range of reading materials. These include high quality story books, newspapers, levelled reading material, library books, information books, etc. Through reading a range of books children develop preferences and use the different styles and vocabulary in their own writing. Children are provided with recommended reading lists for their age.
At Pewithall every classroom has an inviting reading area in which children are able to independently chose and read books for pleasure. The school library is accessible to all pupils at lunch time.
Reading books are sent home three times a week. This is an opportunity for children to gain confidence in reading and develop a reading routine.
Through the teaching of systematic phonics, our aim is for children to become fluent readers by the end of Key Stage One. This way, children can focus on developing their fluency and comprehension as they move through the school.
The children in Key Stage 1 read a range of high quality scheme books, including Lighthouse and Big Cat books. These books are carefully levelled to match the child's phonic skills. Children should be able to read these quite easily, gaining confidence and fluency and aiding comprehension.
As the children progress into Year 2 and on through the school they become more confident at decoding. The books we provide are still levelled for the children, this ensures the books are of a suitable challenge. At this point we are fostering a love of reading and children will have more flexibility in what they can choose.
Progression in Reading Skills
Guided reading sessions allow pupils to develop their reading skills. The core elements of each session are prediction, developing pupils' vocabulary and retrieval.
Follow on activities are provided following each group session for pupils to complete independently (or with adult support if needed)
Writing at Pewithall Primary School
At Pewithall Primary School we plan learning in a thematic approach using our English curriculum texts as a driver. We follow The Literacy Company’s ‘Pathways to Write’ scheme which provides high quality texts and further embeds our mastery approach.
Aims for Writing
To enable children to write in a variety of styles and forms, be it narrative or non-fiction.
To enable children to successfully write for a wide range of purposes and audiences.
To encourage children to confidently write for enjoyment, independence and success.
Children take part in a variety of planned writing activities, both within English lessons and across the curriculum.
How we Teach Writing
We use Pathways to Write to drive our writing curriculum. Children learn about the purpose, structure and language features of a variety of writing genres. The teaching of writing and use of compositional skills are grounded in a rich experience of reading and reflecting on quality written texts. The texts are often used as models for writing. When appropriate, cross-curricular links are made.
Children are given regular opportunities for telling, retelling and refining texts as a preparation for writing. We encourage the process of planning, saying, writing, checking and editing writing.
Planned teaching sequences include shared, guided and independent writing. We prepare children for the transition from shared to independent writing by use of teacher demonstrations-‘modelling’ writing, teacher scribing and supported composition.
Extended writing opportunities are regularly planned for across the curriculum. This encourages the children to be creative and flexible with their writing skills, applying what has previously been taught; e.g. writing a narrative set in Ancient Egypt or writing an explanation of how a volcano erupts.
Handwriting at Pewithall
At Pewithall Primary School we support our pupils handwriting skills using Letterjoin handwriting programme fonts. In EYFS and year one pupils are taught Letter Join Print Plus font, with lead out lines and in Year 2 pupils start to progress with Letterjoin cursive font. As pupils enter KS2 they are equipped with skills for cursive writing and these skills continue to be reinforced throughout their time at Pewithall. Handwriting is taught thematically and discretely as is most appropriate. Pupils have access to Letterjoin website and handwriting home learning for extra support and reinforcement.
Drama at Pewithall
At Pewithall we offer opportunities for pupils to have drama sessions. This supports confidence in speaking and listening and allows our pupils to engage with literacy texts in creative ways. Drama enables children to express themselves creatively and imaginatively and to make sense of the world around them. It is also a way that children can communicate effectively with others. At Pewithall Primary School we believe that all children should be given the opportunity to use drama in all areas of the curriculum in order to develop their ability to listen to others, share ideas, think creatively and work confidently and cooperatively with their peers. We also strongly believe in the power of performance and the importance of all children participating in shows and assemblies for a formal audience.