The development of English is fundamental in all areas of the curriculum and therefore is given high priority. The four language modes: speaking and listening, reading and writing (including spelling and handwriting), are interdependent. The purpose of language is communication; therefore we teach pupils to speak and write fluently so that they can communicate their ideas and emotions to others, and through their reading and listening, others can communicate with them.
Speaking, Listening and Drama
Spoken language underpins the quality and variety of language that pupils hear and speak. It is vital for developing children’s vocabulary and grammar and their understanding for reading and writing. As a school, we ensure the continual development of children's confidence and competence in spoken language and listening skills. Children are given opportunities for exploring their thinking skills through discussion, debate, drama and role play. In order to do this, the basic skills have to be mastered and the opportunities to develop these skills must be consistent, progressive and well balanced in line with the National Curriculum. Periodically, throughout the school, classes are involved in a wide variety of creative activities that enable children to develop their language experiences that in turn supports creative writing and drama. With close links to the church, regular opportunities to demonstrate these skills are woven in to the school year, reflecting the Christen calendar, local community activities and achievements in school.
Reading is the most vital skill learnt in the early years of school. Through reading, pupils have a chance to develop culturally, emotionally, intellectually, socially and spiritually. There are two strands of reading; being able to read words and being able to understand the meaning of words and sentences. We aim to teach children to become fluent independent readers and to develop a love of literature and books. We understand and recognise that pupils will develop at a different rate therefore strategies and approaches are adapted to meet the needs of each child. Our phonics approach is based on the most effective ways that children learn to read and write. Emphasis is also put on children learning the high frequency words to support their reading and writing.
We use various reading schemes and use a colour code system whereby all children can be matched with text appropriate to their reading age level. The school has a well-stocked library from which children choose and enjoy books. Parents are actively encouraged to be involved in the process of reading with their children and books are regularly taken home to be enjoyed together.
We aim to make children competent, confident writers, to enable them to use the written word to communicate effectively. Opportunities for fiction and non-fiction writing occur throughout the curriculum. In this way they begin to understand that writing takes different forms for different purposes. We encourage children to edit and improve their writing, focusing on their spelling, punctuation and grammar.
We actively seek to provide opportunities for outside visitors to visit our school to stimulate and enthuse our learners in the writing process. Children are actively encouraged to complete an extended piece of writing each term that is celebrated in class. Annually the children are involved in the BBC’s 500 words writing completion. Their efforts are celebrated in school by the unique opportunity to hear their stories read by a local professional story teller.
Handwriting is taught as a single lesson in our curriculum to develop the correct formation of letters. In later years, children are encouraged to join their letters together. Although handwriting is taught separately, children are expected to use fluent and legible handwriting in every lesson.
Spelling, vocabulary, grammar and punctuation
Children follow our structured phonics scheme from entering school in Reception. This scheme teaches children to blend, segment and manipulate sounds in words independently. There are many different spelling strategies that we teach children to help them to decode spellings effectively. Spellings are also used to enhance children’s vocabulary and the children are encouraged to use these newly found words in their everyday writing.