Intent of our English Curriculum
In our school, we develop our children’s Catholic values and beliefs through the processes of listening, oracy, reading and writing. Underpinning the English Curriculum are the Catholic Social Principles, which the children children reflect on, thinking how best we can live as Jesus showed us. The children will use this “moral compass” to guide them throughout their school life here at St Albans and St Stephens. Their literacy skills help them to communicate their beliefs by writing letters, holding discussions and reading Scripture. Furthermore, we nurture the children’s talents giving them the confidence to express themselves with compassion to become leaders and advocates for our world.
We strive to help our children develop into articulate and imaginative communicators, who are well-equipped with the basic skills they need to become life-long learners; English learning is key in this.
We aim to ensure all of our children develop a genuine love of language and the written word, through a text-based approach. Careful links are forged across the curriculum to ensure that children’s English learning is relevant and meaningful: where possible linking our reading, writing and the topic that we are covering in History and Geography. We ensure that children develop an understanding of how widely writing is used in everyday life and, therefore, how important and useful the skills are that they are learning.
Regardless of key stage, all our writing is written with purpose and with an audience in mind. We have created a writing curriculum that investigates a range of models of writing. This gives the children access to imitate different styles and genres, thereby appreciating the qualities of good writing. From there the process takes the children on to crafting their own versions through planning, drafting, reviewing and finally publishing their work.
Our intentions in writing are for children to:
· Write for a purpose
· See themselves as real writers
· Take ownership of their writing
· See writing as an interesting and enjoyable process
· Acquire the ability to organise and plan their written work
Implementation of our English Curriculum
We teach the National Curriculum objectives, supported by a clear skills and knowledge progression. This ensures that skills and knowledge are built on year by year and sequenced appropriately to maximise learning for all children. We aim to develop the children’s ability to produce well-structured, detailed writing in which the meaning is made clear and which engages the interest of the audience / reader. Attention is paid to the formal structures of English: grammatical detail, punctuation and spelling. Teachers clearly model writing skills and display support material on working walls. Children have weekly opportunities to write at length, in extended, independent writing sessions throughout the unit of work – applying their taught skills. Throughout the process, teachers pay particular attention to differentiation to ensure all children achieve their best.
We teach writing through a text-based approach, choosing a text that will engage, inspire and motivate. As well as reading a wide variety of genres, children are given frequent opportunities to develop their skills by writing in some of those different genres. At the end of a unit children’s work is published and displayed on the wall or in class books. This allows every child to have a written piece of work which can be seen and celebrated by all, as well as knowing they are writing for a purpose and being seen as real writers. Pupils are taught punctuation and grammar skills, appropriate to their year group, within our text based approach to planning, allowing opportunities to identify, practice and consolidate grammatical understanding, whilst also being immersed in a text. Children then apply the grammar and punctuation skills that they have learnt in their extended pieces of writing.
Spelling: Spelling is taught regularly in focused sessions within each class using Read Write Inc. Children are taught spelling rules and are encouraged to apply these rules in their writing. Spellings are sent home in each year group as part of the children’s homework; the pupils are then tested on these words in their weekly spelling tests.
Throughout our school we use Little Wandle as our phonics scheme.
Your child will choose a book to bring home from our school library. This will be changed once a week. Books should be stored in a school book bag (which can be purchased from the school office). The emphasis should be on enjoying books with your child. Relax and share the story—you may be surprised at how much you both get out of your shared sessions.
We provide a phonics handwriting/reading session for parents on a regular basis – do try to attend if you can as this will help you support your child. The Book Trust is full of useful information to encourage reading and has age-related book suggestions for regular reading or presents.
From Reception, we use Little Wandle and our School handwriting scheme of Pen Pals to support letter formation from early years. We will concentrate on teaching formation of letters and will first introduce those letters which are formed in a similar way. Please do not teach your child to write in capital letters. When children first start school they only use a capital letter for the beginning of their name. Your child will be learning to write cursively, i.e. learning joined up writing, from Year 2. Research has shown that cursive writing aids spelling later on. It also supports older children when they are writing at length.
The Year 1 Learner
The Year 2 Learner
The Year 3 Learner
The Year 4 Learner
The Year 5 Learner
The Year 6 Learner
Impact of our English Curriculum
By the time children leave our school they will:
· Have experience of a broad and rich writing curriculum
· Make good progress throughout their key stage assessments (Phonics Screening in Year 1; end of Key Stage 1 results; end of Key Stage 2 results)
· Have a love for of reading and writing and choose to do both for enjoyment
· Be able to produce written work in all areas of the curriculum to a high standard
· Be confident to write for a range of different purposes
· Be ready for KS3 learning
Impact is clearly seen in the children’s books as progress is evident week by week in their independent extended pieces of writing. We use child-led book-looks to inform assessment and our children are able to talk with confidence and enthusiasm about their work. Furthermore, our Pupil Voice shows us that not can our children can express themselves fluently and with poise, but that they love books!
Through reading, children learn about the lives of those whose experiences and points of view are different from their own. Our children have the opportunity to experience a range of writing styles and genres through a carefully considered curriculum, which allows them to access a range of genres that progress year on year. This then inspires the children’s writing, which is supported by progressively teaching skills to improve their knowledge of language, usage, grammar and vocabulary. Moreover, our curriculum links all elements of literacy; including spoken English as well and reading and writing.