Curriculum – English
It is the main aim of the school to ensure that its pupils are confident and effective communicators and to nurture a love of the English language, whether in spoken or written form. Children need to acquire basic skills, legible handwriting, phonic knowledge for reading, as well as sentence and composition. We have a strong focus on synthetic phonics and grammar as a result of recent legislation.
Speaking and Listening
Our youngest pupils are encouraged to re-tell favourite stories and rhymes, to talk about their own experiences and to listen carefully to others. Provision is made for pupil to gain real life experience of talk through role play (serving customers at a Chinese take away or selling tickets for trips to a dinosaur park, for example!). As pupils progress through the school, these skills are further developed to help them to question, debate and present balanced arguments. Talk is recognised as an important thinking tool.
We are keen to encourage a lifelong love of reading. Our recently refurbished libraries are warm and inviting spaces with a wonderful range of fiction and non-fiction books to appeal to all pupils. Pupils follow a systematic phonic programme to learn the letter sounds and how they blend together to make words. Shared and guided reading is taught across the school. Within guided reading, an adult works with a small group of pupils to develop their understanding, fluency and expression. Parents are encouraged to take an active interest in their child’s reading progress through the “Home Reader” system, in which children bring home books daily and comments are recorded in a reading diary.
Pupils have lots of opportunities to write for different purposes and audiences. Within guided writing an adult works alongside a small group of children – lots of time is spent talking about the writing process, rehearsing orally and practising different writing techniques. Pupils are taught correct pencil grip and letter formation from an early age. The school implements the Penpals Handwriting programme, and handwriting is taught formally throughout the school.
Pupils begin using a pen in Year 4, once they have developed a fluent joined style.
In the early stages, pupils are taught to recognise letter shapes and sounds. When they are ready, they are encouraged to independently write the letter sounds they can hear in words and are praised for their efforts. As the pupils progress they are encouraged to look for common letter patterns and strings in words. The children are encouraged to collect banks of words with common letter strings as a resource and they are taught to use a dictionary and a thesaurus effectively.