Curriculum Intent for English
The English national curriculum states that:
“The overarching aim for English in the national curriculum is to promote high standards of language and literacy by equipping pupils with a strong command of the spoken and written language, and to develop their love of literature through widespread reading for enjoyment.”
We believe that exposing children to a rich variety of literature will create a steadfast learning platform, which will not only provide unshakable foundations for their linguistic development, but will also create an enthusiastic culture of reading within the school.
Our aim is to use year group-specific, well-chosen texts, covering a wide range of genres, which will facilitate the advancement of the children’s grammatical and lexical knowledge, as well as bolstering their capacity for spoken language through debate, dramatical work and discussion generated by the issues raised in each text.
We aim to follow as closely as possible the objectives laid out in the National Curriculum, namely 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.
At Oakhill, our intention is to place books at the core of learning for both Reading and Writing. Our programme of study has been created and adapted to maximise children’s progress at each stage of the learning journey, while closely following the aims stipulated in the National Curriculum. We have ensured that the children cover these objectives multiple times during each year and have the opportunity to apply their knowledge to the creation of a wide variety of written forms. They also have ample occasion to consolidate knowledge from previous years.
The National Curriculum states:
“Teaching them to develop as writers involves teaching them to enhance the effectiveness of what they write as well as increasing their competence. Teachers should make sure that pupils build on what they have learnt, particularly in terms of the range of their writing and the more varied grammar, vocabulary and narrative structures from which they can draw to express their ideas.”
At Oakhill, children are encouraged to be reflective learners who can assess the effectiveness of what they write from the outset. They are introduced from Key Stage 1 to Good For Writing (G4W), which provides them with the tools not only to create powerful and impressive written work, but also to understand the grammatical mechanisms that underpin the language, and to identify and analyse their usage of these linguistic devices in their own work. This is in line with the approach taken in the National Curriculum, which asserts:
“Pupils should be taught to monitor whether their own writing makes sense in the same way that they monitor their reading, checking at different levels”.
Teachers use our writing, spelling, grammar and punctuation progression documents to ensure appropriate and complete coverage of the curricular requirements.
In Reading and Writing sessions we make links, where appropriate, to other areas of the curriculum, such as History, Geography and Science, so as to allow children to augment their capacity for writing for specific purposes and audiences. As the National Curriculum sets forth: “These purpose and audiences should underpin the decisions about the form the writing should take, such as a narrative, an explanation or a description”.
Daily Writing lessons are planned to promote comprehensive coverage of the National Curriculum objectives, providing children with opportunities to plan, draft, edit and proof-read their work, which will have a link to a specific audience or purpose. In addition, they will have the chance to present what they have created to the rest of the class using appropriate spoken language techniques such as volume variation and intonation.
Daily Guided Reading sessions are also planned to conform to the relevant statutory curricular requirements. Through the use of carefully chosen texts, children are encouraged to expand their understanding and augment their engagement with texts through exposure to a wide variety of genres, forms and purposes, using dictionaries to check the meanings of words unknown to them, becoming more familiar with classic stories, myths and legends and being able to recount some of them, as well as interpreting and acclimatising to classic poetry.
Speaking and listening practice is extremely important, as it equips children with the vital tool of effective oral communication that will be required for success in the academic or work-related arenas they will find themselves in in the future. It also underpins the development of their writing and reading skills. The National Curriculum is quite clear that teachers should “use discussion in order to learn; [the children] should be able to elaborate and explain clearly their understanding and ideas”. These aims are met with the use of exciting and engaging texts that can be exploited to provoke lively and productive discussion from the issues raised therein. Strategies such as hot-seating, Conscience Alley, debates, work sharing with other pupils and with the rest of the class, summary and explanation of what has been read, collaborative editing and the spoken reading of poetry, all contribute to the children’s improvement in this very important area. Children also have, at certain times during the year, opportunities to rehearse, refine and perform for the wider audience of the local community, either in school or in the local Church.
Early Years reading and writing provision will be achieved through the methodical and detailed Read Write Inc. programme, which gives the children the best possible start to their reading and writing by developing their phonic understanding in the most accessible way possible. Through this scheme, children will quickly become fluent and speedy readers and spellers who can read aloud without needing to resort to convoluted strategies for working out appropriate sounds, quickly master the spelling and sounds of words they may never have seen before, and easily tackle common exception words.
Spelling will be delivered through Read Write Inc. phonics in Key Stage 1, which is developed upon in Key Stage 2 through the Read Write Inc. spelling programme.
In order to produce a desire to learn and a love for language in all of its curricular forms, we give the children the opportunity to be part of ‘enrichment days’, which include invitations to authors to come to school to share their work and undertake workshops with the children, World Book Day, in which children get to celebrate literature by becoming literary characters for the day and share and explore books they and their friends have read. We also intend to use such days to celebrate the works of Shakespeare and have external groups coming to school to perform to, share and engage the children in majesty of his work; Shakespeare plays a particularly important role in the Key Stage 2 syllabus.
To ensure that delivery of the English curriculum is of the highest standard and conforms suitably to our intent, policies and the National Curriculum, the following will be undertaken and monitored by the Literacy Coordinator and SMT:
- Action plan to highlight priorities and learning needs;
- Book audits;
- Lesson observations;
- Conversations with children to monitor their involvement, understanding and enjoyment of their English learning journey;
- Reading and Writing assessments and use of Entrust Skills Grids for Writing and NFER for Reading;
- Data analysis;
- Shared assessment moderation; and
- Quality teacher training sessions, where required.
At Oakhill Primary School, we aim for our children not just to become adept users of the language, but enthusiastic admirers thereof. Through the use of meticulously selected texts and engaging writing activities, we hope to produce in our pupils an eagerness to use language, to enjoy writing and creating and to be able to immerse themselves with ease into the fountain of knowledge that is reading.
Through an engaging text-based approach, we enable our children to become critical readers while exposing them to a panoply of varied and interesting lexical and stylistic authorial choices that they can then use in their own writing.
As a result of this method of teaching, meeting the grammatical requirements of the curriculum is no longer an arduous, mechanistic chore but is instead naturally embedded into the children's daily engagement with the texts, making grammar teaching more accessible, effective and enjoyable. The children set their own linguistic success criteria in what they all know as 'G4W' (Good For Writing), which produces confident, reflective writers who understand what is required from every textual genre.
We hope to inspire our children in our coverage of the curricular Reading strategies by using exciting book choices such as the non-fiction Corpse Talks and classic and modern poetry, as well as a wide range of powerful fictional texts such as The Boy in Striped Pyjamas, which allow us to explore fascinating and deeply moving themes such as the effects of conflict and the plight of children during World War Two.
In the Early Years, we have discovered the significant impact of 'Read Write Inc.' and how it helps to accelerate the children's ability to read from the very outset of their learning journeys.