Latchford St James CE Primary School – Subject Overview
English at Latchford St James CE Primary School
At Latchford St James CE Primary School, we believe that English teaches us how to communicate and understand the world around us; it gives children confidence and a way to express their emotions, opinions and ambitions. Our English curriculum as a whole is sequenced to develop the acquisition of knowledge and skills. We believe that a quality English curriculum should develop pupils’ love of reading, writing and discussion.
We aim to inspire an appreciation of our rich and varied literary heritage and a habit of reading widely and often. We recognise the importance of nurturing a culture where children take pride in their writing, can write clearly and accurately and adapt their language and style for a range of contexts. We want to inspire children to be confident in the art of speaking and listening and the use of discussion to communicate and further their learning.
We believe that children need to develop a secure knowledge-base in English, which follows a clear pathway of progression as they advance through the primary curriculum. We believe that a secure basis in English skills is crucial to a high quality education and will give our children the tools they need to participate fully as a member of society.
Our aims are embedded across our English lessons and the wider curriculum. Teachers adapt the Literacy Company’s Pathways Schemes for reading and writing as appropriate to their classes, but also ensure that cross curricular links with concurrent topic work are woven into the programme of study. Our curriculum closely follows the aims of the National Curriculum for English 2014.
The national curriculum for English aims to ensure that all pupils:
- read easily, fluently and with good understanding
- develop the habit of reading widely and often, for both pleasure and information
- acquire a wide vocabulary, an understanding of grammar and knowledge of linguistic conventions for reading, writing and spoken language
- appreciate our rich and varied literary heritage
- write clearly, accurately and coherently, adapting their language and style in and for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences
- use discussion in order to learn; they should be able to elaborate and explain clearly their understanding and ideas
- are competent in the arts of speaking and listening, making formal presentations, demonstrating to others and participating in debate
Children initially learn to enjoy reading and books through a structured programme of phonics teaching. Phonics is taught through a specific programme called Letters and Sounds. It is taught daily throughout EYFS and KS1. Children are taught how to sound out letters and develop other strategies to help them to read new words. They develop the skills to read a range of fiction and non-fiction material fluently, critically and with understanding. They reflect on the meanings of texts and evaluate how effective they are. In KS2, we build children’s confidence with more challenging texts and focus on understanding reading material at a deeper level – inferring meaning when answers are not always obvious.
At Latchford St James, our English units of work always focus on high quality texts and begin with a ‘learning hook’ to promote engagement from the children as well as motivating them to learn. The children are given many opportunities to write in different contexts and across different genres: shopping lists in emergent handwriting in Reception to diary entries, autobiographies and PowerPoint presentations in Year 6.
When the children first come to school, they learn to experiment with writing and to understand the value of it. We then use a programme of phonics, combined with teaching the spelling of common words, to enable our learners to write independently. As they progress through school, they learn to punctuate and improve their handwriting. Through our ‘Pathways to Write’ programme, which is based on some beautiful and thought-provoking picture books and texts, children are taught to master the skills of writing by focusing on particular techniques throughout a unit of work. As a result, the children are given many opportunities to practise and apply these skills until they have mastered them. As they become more confident, children are taught to write in different contexts, for different purposes and to apply language rules and traditions for effect.
Children at LSJ have a love for reading and writing. They enjoy showcasing their developing English knowledge and skills and are keen to share their ideas. Impact is measured by:
- regular summative and formative assessment (including NFER, Phonics Assessment, Reading Plus assessments, PM benchmarking
- identification of early support and intervention
- learning walks, pupil observations, discussions around work within school books, data analysis, conversation with parents, reading with children and through progress meetings.
- end of Key Stage statutory assessments in reading
- half termly writing assessments using The Oxford Writing Assessment materials and National Curriculum expectations
- spelling, punctuation and grammar (SPaG) is assessed at the end of each term using NFER tests and weekly spelling tests from Spelling Shed materials
- moderation of writing within clusters of schools
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