The aim of English teaching in our school is to equip all children with the ability to enjoy reading and writing, as well as enabling them to use reading and writing skills to gather and present information in a wide variety of ways.
Every child in Key Stage 1 has an English lesson each day. These lessons are within the classroom and are differentiated to suit the needs and abilities of all pupils. Lessons are linked as much as possible to the topics being covered – chosen by the children. Many of the lessons are linked to a book.
All genres and writing styles in the National Curriculum are covered once while the children are in this Key Stage. The topics are predominately taught linking in (as much as possible) with the overall topic being covered within the class, e.g. ‘funny bones’. It is up to the class teacher to decide when and how each genre and writing style is taught as well as how much time is spent on each one, depending on the rate at which the children understand it.
Phonics is taught five times a week in short, snappy, twenty minute lessons where the children are in targeted ability groups. Phonics lessons include the teaching of different phonemes and graphemes, and then using this knowledge in reading and writing. Schemes in use are Letters and Sounds, Phonics Play, and our own school schemes.
Reading in this Key Stage is taught through all subjects and in discrete lessons or sessions. The children have a guided reading session each week in very small differentiated groups and are heard to read their reading book with an adult. The children are encouraged to read whenever possible at home. We use Oxford Reading Tree for reading book stages, but will suggest other books to children as appropriate.
Speaking and listening skills are taught within the Literacy lessons and can take the form or discussion or role-play activities. Children take part in a poetry reading competition which involves the whole school.
Assessment in this area is ongoing using a range of Teacher Assessment strategies. Each term the children write an independent piece linked to areas they have studied. This piece is leveled and moderated to ensure an accurate assessment is obtained.
Each week, every child takes home a list of spellings to practise. These spellings are chosen to match the ability of the child and stretch their spelling knowledge. At the end of each week, the children have a spelling test. Homework is given to the children as and when the teacher feels is appropriate.
At Key Stage 2, the children are taught within their class groups and targeted ability groups. The activities provided cover the National Curriculum objectives, and activities are tailored to the ability of each group of children. This allows us to accommodate the range of abilities which we have within our classrooms. Pupils are placed into targeted groups using levels obtained from independent writing and continuous teacher assessment. Progress in all classes is reviewed at the end of each half term.
All genres and writing styles in the National Curriculum are covered at least twice while the children are in this Key Stage. The topics are predominately taught linking in (as much as possible) with the overall topic being covered, e.g. Egyptians. It is up to the class teacher to decide when and how each genre and writing style is taught, as well as how much time is spent on each one, depending on the rate at which the children understand it.
The children work in targeted groups across the whole of this Key Stage. These groups are smaller than class sizes and the lessons are taught in twenty minute sessions, three times a week. The activities covered are a range of fun, quick activities to improve the children’s spelling, punctuation and grammar abilities. Opportunities to apply this knowledge are given by class teachers during other lessons.
The teaching of reading is an aspect that is particularly important to us. Comprehension strategies are taught throughout all lessons using texts which are linked to topics being studied, whenever possible. Discrete comprehension skills are taught during at least one lesson per week and many opportunities are given for children to practise the skills they have learned.
For Guided Reading, children are split into small ability groups within the classroom where they practise comprehension skills, as well as reading with an adult once a week.
Each week, the teachers plan activities to cover at least one Speaking and Listening objective. This is usually taught within English lessons, often using discussion, presentation or drama activities. Children take part in a poetry reading competition which involves the whole school, and Y5-6 children have the opportunity to plan and lead their own assemblies.
Children are assessed directly against the objectives from the National Curriculum Programmes of Study. This assessment is done by the teacher informally during lessons and also as written independent tasks.
In Year 6, the children complete a written activity each week and are given feedback to push them further. These pieces of writing are assessed together to gain an accurate level at the end of the year.
Spelling, punctuation and grammar tests are given within each group at the beginning and end of each half term to check progress.
Homework is given to all children when the teacher feels it is appropriate. This enables parents to get involved with their children’s learning.
All children are given spellings each week to practise at home. A spelling test is given each week.
Children are encouraged to read at home each night and record this in their reading diaries. Each week, the number of times that children have read is recorded, and Learning Points awarded. At the end of each term, the house which has earned the most Learning Points wins a prize or treat.
Click a Key Stage below for more details of the opportunities we provide for our children, and the lists of learning objectives to which we teach.