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. All skills covered through English lessons are developed and transferred across the curriculum.
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.
When the children start in Reception we use the Essential Letters and Sounds (ELS) programme to teach and secure their phonic skills. Books have been purchased to match closely to their phonic knowledge. Once children are secure with their phonic skills they move onto our colour coded selection of books, matched to their reading and comprehension levels. 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.
Handwriting is taught as a single lesson in our curriculum to develop the correct formation of letters. We base our handwriting on the Penpals approach and font, introducing letter formation and joins progressively across the school. 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.
How can parents help with English learning at home?
Engaging children in rich conversation using clear sentences that stimulate conversation about the world around them will help to develop your child speaking and listening skills. This in turn will develop your child’s enquiring mind helping them to engage in learning.
Reading and writing are all around us, road signs, street names, labels; we are almost reading all of the time without realising it. Just think how much reading you do on a trip to buy groceries. Everyday activities provide opportunities to read and discuss written words with your child.
From playing 'I spy', thinking about initial sounds, to reading the instructions to make a jelly, all help with developing reading skills.
In addition to playing games and highlighting how much reading there is around us, we encourage you to read as often as possible at home with your child. This may be in a book from school or one chosen from home. Please see this one-page guide to helping your child read with questions to ask them about the book being read.
Writing can be supported at home, through providing children with real opportunities to put words on paper, writing a birthday card, list of party guests, a new song or a story to share. Supporting your child with school home writing activities that can be found periodically in The Star, all help to develop the fluency, content and quality of written work.
We base our handwriting on the Penpals scheme and font, introducing letter formation and joins progressively across the school. Encouraging the correct pencil grip and letter formation at home will help with fluency in writing. For more information go to Penpals Primary support and download the parent pack here.
Handwriting can also be encouraged at home by entering the Queen Mother annual handwriting competitions, this is publicised in the Star during the Spring Term.
Spelling can be supported through the online learning platform we use, this is detailed below:
In Early Years and Year 1, phonic and spelling activities are sent home to encourage children to
recognise common sounds and words.
Homework tasks are set using the Spelling frame-learning platform from Years 2 to 6. All activities set link directly with spelling rules taught in lessons and are aligned with the National Curriculum expectations for each year group.
National curriculum expectations for phonics and
spellings can be found in the centre pages of your
child’s reading diary.