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English

Intent

At Wanstead Church School, our English curriculum is designed to inspire every child to be a reader, writer and speaker and to shine in each of these areas so they can confidently access all other subjects in our curriculum.

 

We develop Wisdom, Compassion and Strength in our English curriculum:

 

Wisdom: Our English curriculum inspires a love of reading and writing. In writing lessons, the curriculum ensures children apply structural knowledge and grammatical features to create purposeful written work whilst ensuring spoken language underpins strong writing and reading skills. Our children are taught to behave as authors and to succinctly transfer between being a reader and writer. With a rigorous approach to the teaching of early reading, Wanstead Church School ensures children become fluent readers while developing a love for reading. Our children are taught to write fluently and appropriately for the purpose, audience and form of the piece.

 

Compassion: Our English curriculum provides children with the opportunity to develop critical thoughtfulness, through reading in particular, preparing them to better understand the world around them and be able to shine their light for others. Children at Wanstead Church School are taught to respect differing forms of communication and are immersed in a variety of diverse and inclusive literature and learn to ask and consider deep questions about life, literature and language. Our children learn to fluently communicate their ideas and emotions with others.

 

Strength: Our English curriculum allows all children to feel included and represented in lessons. Children are invited to share their spoken language skills across the school day, including during Collective Worship both in the church and school hall. Our children learn resilience and courage through debating, reading aloud, performing and discussing so that they can communicate effectively in the wider world and share their light with others.

 

Reading Implementation

 

Reading is taught and experienced through the following:

 

Foundation Stage:

  • Teaching of phonics using Bug Club Phonics Scheme (daily 10-20-minute phonic sessions)
  • Children have experience with fiction as well as non-fiction books
  • Big book sharing, audio books, story reading, film, guided reading, and independent reading are all part of the children’s daily experience
  • Reception children have reading partners in KS2, with whom they read once a week
  • Teachers inform parents through the reading diaries of progress made and vice versa

 

Key Stage 1:

  • Teaching of phonics using Bug Club Phonics Scheme (daily 20-30-minute phonic sessions)
  • Children regularly engage in shared reading, independent reading and story time
  • Each child has a weekly reading session that is designed to support their love of reading and learning of their yearly objectives. Teachers keep records of their focused observations from these sessions
  • Teachers use texts that are stimulating and inspiring
  • Film, taped stories, poetry, plays, reading games, word building and non-fiction books contribute to the development of reading ability and comprehension
  • Reading diaries are given to parents to record a child’s reading achievements at home
  • Timetabled group intervention for those needing support with their development of phonics and early literacy skills take place throughout the week
  • In Year 2, children experience whole class reading lessons throughout the summer term in preparation for KS2.

 

Additional provision across EYFS and KS1:

Where a child has been identified as not on track to achieve Age Related Expectation, intervention is put in place through 1:1 reading support and small group phonics activities. Children who do not pass the Phonics Screening Check in Year 1 are immediately identified for planned intervention to help them reach the expected standard by the end of Year 2.

 

Key Stage 2:

  • Daily 20-minute phonic sessions for Year 3 (during the first half of the autumn term) including recap and review of Phase 6 of Bug Club Phonics
  • Reciprocal reading as a whole-class is implemented 4 times a week to strengthen children’s comprehension skills. The children focus on their predicting, clarifying, summarising and questioning skills through a variety of class-based tasks, planned specifically for the needs of the children with focussed observations from these sessions being recorded as appropriate
  • Cracking comprehension lessons are taught once a week to support answering comprehension style questions
  • Independent reading opportunities throughout the week as well as whole class story time at the end of each day (a daily DEAR (Drop Everything And Read) session) where children enjoy being read to as a class by an adult.

 

Additional provision across KS2:

Where a child has been identified as not on track to achieve Age Related Expectation, intervention is put in place through 1:1 reading support and small group reading activities.

 

Throughout their school life, children at Wanstead Church School engage with rich and thought-provoking texts that encourage a love of reading. These texts are regularly adapted to suit the needs of the children; teachers consider language, representation and diversity when mapping out class books alongside the Subject Leader.

 

Reading Impact

We measure the impact of our curriculum through the following methods:

 

  • Throughout the school day there are opportunities for teachers and support staff to talk to children about their reading and to hear them read.  Discussion helps children develop and extend their understanding and response. It is clear that children enjoy reading regularly, for information and for enjoyment. Children discuss books with excitement and interest.  
  • The quality of reading experiences is evaluated by learning walks, drop-ins, child conferencing and book scrutiny.  These inform future areas for improvement and the impact of new initiatives.
  • Continuous formative assessment, supported by termly summative assessment, informs the class teacher’s professional judgement regarding each child’s attainment and progress.   This information is uploaded onto Target Tracker and closely monitored by the Subject Leader and Senior Leaders. 
  • Statutory assessments at the end of Reception, Year 2, and Year 6, as well as the Phonics Screening Check in Year 1, show that our children consistently achieve above national expectations.
  • The school engages proactively and frequently with external advisors to continually review and develop the effectiveness of the teaching of reading at Wanstead Church School.

 

Writing Implementation

The school believes that English skills are vital to the development of children so they are prepared for their future life. A range of writing genres are studied throughout the year in all year groups. A variety of resources are used to promote a writing culture where the children are encouraged to be authors who are writing for a purpose and an audience.

 

The teaching of writing in our school allows children to: 

 

  • show high levels of achievement and exhibit positive attitudes towards writing 
  • use and understand language as speakers, readers and writers 
  • be competent, confident and independent in the use of language in their writing 
  • have an awareness of different audiences and purposes for writing 
  • apply their grammatical knowledge in their writing 
  • apply their phonetic and spelling knowledge in their writing 
  • apply the English language effectively in all areas of the curriculum.

 

We promote the status of written work by providing opportunities for children’s writing to be published, read aloud and displayed. We acknowledge the importance of talk and drama to support writing, and through it we aim to build children’s confidence and generate enthusiasm for writing in order to develop their range of skills. Children learn through shared writing, modelled writing and various independent writing activities (extended writing, creative writing) as well a range of teaching strategies so that they can:

 

Foundation Key Stage: 

  • attribute meaning to their own marks, drawings, letters and words 
  • know that print conveys meaning 
  • write letters with the correct formation 
  • write their name and other key words 
  • begin to write longer pieces with support and independently 
  • begin to use story maps to retell and create stories

 

Key Stage 1: 

  • recognise that using pictures, letters, words or phrases communicates meaning 
  • write independently in complete sentences, with correct punctuation (capital letters and full stops) 
  • produce simple, clear and coherent chronological and non-chronological writing 
  • produce fiction, non-fiction and poetry, writing for different purposes

 

Key Stage 2: 

  • express themselves clearly and precisely 
  • write for a range of purposes and audiences, selecting the appropriate form 
  • write neatly in cursive script, punctuate appropriately and spell accurately 
  • understand the appropriate use and purpose of an increasing range of written forms
  • understand how their writing can enable them to remember, communicate, organise and develop their ideas and information

 

Teachers plan a sequence of lessons that explore quality texts and give children the opportunity to practise their skills. Teachers model these skills and children practise these through planning, editing, and publishing. The school uses a writing cycle to scaffold the teaching of writing. Grammatical structures are taught within writing cycles to aid understanding and purpose.

 

Handwriting

Our handwriting teaching (taught as individual lessons) empowers children to:

 

  • practise both gross and fine motor skills
  • use a good writing posture
  • use the correct pencil grip (whether right or left handed)
  • learn and practise the correct formation of individual letters
  • learn and practise letter joins.

 

Handwriting is taught in line with the National Curriculum and the school uses the Nelson handwriting scheme.  Joined handwriting is taught from Year 2. Children are awarded a Pen Licence in Celebration Assembly when they are able to form and join their letters correctly.

 

Handwriting is taught as an explicit area of the curriculum whereby the teacher models and demonstrates the formation of specific letter shapes and joins systematically.  Links between letter shapes and sounds are emphasised in the early stages to ensure a holistic approach to emergent writing and phonics.  Supervision is required for the ‘practice’ of handwriting to secure correct letter formation.

 

From Year 3 onwards, as children become increasingly confident and independent, they are introduced to the use of black handwriting pens. Children are encouraged to make corrections neatly by crossing out errors with one straight line.

 

Spelling

The National Curriculum includes spellings list for each Phase which are taught explicitly in class and practised as homework while being reinforced and embedded throughout the curriculum. In Reception and KS1 (and KS2 where necessary) children take home key words (High Frequency and Tricky Words) to help develop their phonic and spelling knowledge. The school uses Spelling Shed to support the teaching of spellings from Year 2 onwards.

 

With built-in scaffolding and support, the games on Spelling Shed allow children to practise their spellings at their own level. Teachers enjoy the flexibility of being able to choose pre-made lists or create their own bespoke lists to cater for their children’s individual needs. Within the lesson, children start by seeing and hearing the word before selecting the letters they need. As the difficulty increases, the support lessens and children spell the words using a keyboard. Many games support phonics word lists which enable younger children to use their evolving phonemic awareness to build words with graphemes. The scheme of work gives an organised progression through the Spelling and Grammar objectives outlined in the English National Curriculum.

The weekly spelling programme includes the following:

 

  • A weekly lesson plan with printable resources;
  • Editable teaching slides;
  • Online assignments for children to complete in school or at home.

 

Weekly spelling tests are completed in class and spellings are monitored within the children’s work across all subjects.

                                                                                                                                               

Writing Impact

We measure the impact of our curriculum through the following methods:

 

  • Throughout the school day there are opportunities for teachers and support staff to talk to children about and review their writing.  Our children can confidently write for different purposes and audiences and use the features of different genres and styles.  Our children discuss their work with excitement and interest and a clear understanding of the audience and purpose. 
  • The quality of writing experiences is evaluated by learning walks, drop-ins, child conferencing and book scrutiny.  These inform future areas for improvement and the impact of new initiatives.
  • The subject leaders continually monitor the impact teaching is having on the children’s learning through child voice and Key Stage meetings.  We moderate in Key Stages, across the school and externally with local schools to ensure accurate assessment.
  • Continuous formative assessment, supported by at least one termly ‘final write’ that is assessed against the writing Key Assessment Foci, informs the class teacher’s professional judgement regarding each child’s attainment and progress.   This information is uploaded onto Target Tracker and closely monitored by the Subject Leader.
  • Moderation of Year 2 and Year 6’s children’s writing skills is carried out with other local schools to ensure accurate statutory assessments are made.
  • Attainment and progress are reported to parents regularly.
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