English Curriculum Statement

English is a core curriculum subject taught daily throughout the school and underpins all areas and subjects and, as such, is taught discretely through its main components as well as across the whole curriculum and through a wide range of extra-curricular activities.

We aim that children develop the knowledge, skills and understanding necessary to communicate purposefully and creatively. Structured, well-planned and progressive activities (applied through topic themes and work) allow children to develop as readers and writers with a strong emphasis on building confidence and enjoyment of all aspects of literacy.

National Curriculum expectations are followed in year groups with a focus on the development of vocabulary and the skills of speaking and listening running through all areas of learning. Each year group plans as a team with differentiated lessons appropriate to all children in each class.

Teaching and learning of synthetic phonics is the main focus for Early Years and Year 1 children in particular. Children are encouraged to tackle phonetically de-codeable texts independently and, initially, to cover areas of comprehension such as prediction, inference and prior knowledge through teacher-led activities such as shared and guided reading.

Throughout Key Stage 1 (and Early Years) phonics is taught using: Letters and Sounds; Jolly Phonics; BBC phonics resources; West Sussex Spelling Units of work and Phonics Play.

Reading Schemes used are, but not exclusively, Oxford Reading Tree, Usborne, Big Cat (Collins) and a large selection of 'real books'.

Further reading skills are taught through structured, daily guided reading sessions which focus on reading strategies and the understanding of texts; these sessions encourage debate and discussion in small, similar-ability groups. A wide range of high-quality books of varying genre is always available as well as on-screen texts, comics, magazines etc.

Children take reading books home each day and communication between parents/carers and teachers is maintained through each child’s reading journal.  Reading for pleasure is encouraged in many ways throughout the school with various activities and events such as whole school reading with parents, story-telling sessions, book clubs and the sharing and celebrating of books in general.

Children are encouraged to become independent and confident writers. They are given a wide range of activities which enable them to develop writing skills for a variety of purposes. Most writing experiences are applied through topic activities with specific skills such as handwriting, spelling and presentation taught explicitly and developmentally.

Spelling, punctuation and grammar (SPaG) is taught weekly in Key Stages 1 and 2; integrated through all the children’s work enabling them to apply their knowledge and understanding in a variety of practical and appropriate contexts.  Each year group has specific spellings to learn; these are taught alongside phonics lessons in Key Stage 1 and through targeted groups in Key Stage 2. Spelling strategies are taught and expanded upon through planned opportunities allowing children to use spelling patterns in other writing work.

Our practices have been developed through a whole-school approach agreed by all members of staff. This ensures a consistent use of vocabulary used by all staff when teaching and describing the formation of letters and words. Joined-up writing is expected by Year 2; specific activities are set for those who need extra help with fine-motor skills if deemed necessary ensuring all children develop a neat, legible style of writing.

Drama helps children gain the confidence to express their ideas and opinions in a variety of settings and for a range of audiences. It can take the form of role-play, speaking ‘in public’ i.e. as part of a production or in an assembly, or as an integral part of topic work within the classroom. Children are given opportunities to create and develop a range of roles and to respond to others in improvised or devised situations.