English Curriculum Statement
The 2014 National Curriculum for English aims to ensure that all children:
- 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 How Wood Primary School we are dedicated to developing every child’s abilities to reach their full potential by following a clear progressive pathway. A high-quality education in English develops children’s oracy skills and their ability to read and write fluently to enable them to communicate their ideas, views and emotions to others. They are able to express themselves creatively and imaginatively in order to become enthusiastic and critical readers of stories, poetry and drama, as well as of non-fiction and media texts. Through the use of engaging, diverse texts children gain an understanding of how language works by looking at its patterns, structures and origins. They use their knowledge, skills and understanding to develop their writing for a range of real world purposes, by embedding literacy across the curriculum
In Key Stage One and Two we have a daily fifteen-minute teacher led read which is linked to a current topic or lesson. This models fluency and expression while allowing children of all reading abilities to access high quality texts. Every class has access to the main school library as well as their own class library stocked with a wide selection of diverse books and authors. All children begin their reading journey using the school reading scheme and progress through the levels at their own pace until they become free readers. Children are supported throughout their learning journey with their choice of texts and are encouraged to challenge themselves with a range of authors and text types.
As a school we also have A Sentence a Day as part of our early work, which helps to develop sentence structure and a deeper understanding of grammatical terms. We follow the HfL English Scheme, but endeavour to link our learning with other areas of the curriculum to add context. We focus on writing skills linked to fiction, non-fiction and poetry texts in line with the 2014 National Curriculum.
All lessons are sequenced to allow for the development of the writing skills needed for each genre. This leads up to a final piece of extended writing where the children are encouraged to show off their learning. In Key Stage Two, there is focused time to edit and improve their writing using red pen. Using Assessment for Learning success is celebrated, and developments are identified ensuring continuous improvement and progress. Discussions are welcomed and encouraged to develop oracy skills. There are also opportunities for role plays, freeze frames, class assemblies and school plays to develop oracy for an audience. Spellings are tested regularly (on a weekly basis) and are taught within the content of the English lesson and cursive handwriting is taught from Year 2 and children are expected to join their handwriting to promote pride in their presentation.
We are continuously developing our provision to ensure our children: read for genuine pleasure, are enthusiastic writers, discuss and share their ideas confidently and know how to improve and adapt to achieve their full potential. Regular learning walks and book looks monitor and assess our implementation and evidence high quality writing opportunities across the curriculum.
By the end of Key Stage Two, we aim for a child to be able to:
- Read easily, fluently and with good understanding and comprehension skills.
- 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 oracy.
- Appreciate our diverse 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 clearly explain their understanding and ideas.
- Be competent in the arts of speaking and listening, making formal presentations, demonstrating to others and participating in debates.
Reading and Phonics at How Wood School
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 word.
At How Wood Primary School, we aim to ensure that all pupils:
- develop the habit of reading widely and often, for both pleasure and acquiring information
- have a wide vocabulary, an understanding of grammar and knowledge of linguistic conventions needed for speaking, reading and writing
- read fluently with good understanding
- develop their love of literature
At How Wood Primary School and Nursery we promote a love of books and reading. We have a well-stocked library with a diverse selection of books as well as book corners in every class containing age appropriate texts and books that follow the children’s interests and current learning topics.
In the Early Years Foundation Stage, children are gradually introduced to reading through modelling and sharing books. They are given an individual reading book when the teacher feels they are ready and this aligns to the sounds that they have learnt.
We have a variety of core reading scheme books which ensures there is a range of choices within each colour band that are suited to each learner’s needs. Parents/carers are encouraged to share books, read to and listen to their child read at home on a daily basis.
Further Information for Parents and Carers
Good comprehension draws on the ability to decode and understand words alongside knowledge of the world. Comprehension skills develop through exposure to high quality texts and the opportunity to build oracy skills alongside this. At How Wood we teach comprehension alongside our Guided Reading lessons. Children are exposed to a range of stories, poems and non-fiction texts. They read, discuss and learn together as a whole class.
The teaching of phonics begins in the Early Years Foundation Stage and is guided by ‘Letters and Sounds’. The children are taught phonics in a planned progression through phonic phases to ensure that all sounds are covered. At How Wood Primary School and Nursery we use systematic synthetic phonics to teach the children to read and spell by developing the children’s understanding of phonological awareness, phonemes (sounds) and graphemes (letters). Teachers use a hybrid approach based on regular informal assessment and knowledge of the children to plan thorough, well structured and engaging phonics lessons to ensure that all children make progress.
We ensure that our teaching is consistent in approach, vocabulary and resources across all year groups. It is essential that the children are taught the correct short or pure phonic sound to support their learning. Please watch this clip for a demonstration.
Pupils in Nursery follow Phase 1 phonics. The main purpose of Phase 1 is to develop children’s listening and communication skills and increase their vocabulary.
If children do not fully develop these skills it can mean that they may struggle to hear the individual sounds in words, which can mean that they will find it harder to spell and blend sounds for reading.
Phase 1 is made up of seven interlinking strands;
- Environmental sounds
- Instrumental sounds
- Body Percussion
- Rhythm and rhyme
- Voice sounds
- Oral blending and segmenting
These strands are integrated into all areas of learning through a language rich provision.
Pupils in Reception follow Phase 2 and Phase 3 phonics. Within these phases the children learn the letters of the alphabet and the sounds they make as well as some vowel sounds.
Pupils in Year 1 follow Phase 4 and 5 phonics. This includes learning blends and alternative spellings.
Pupils across Reception and Year One participate in a daily phonics lesson.
Phonics lessons follow a specific structure in line with Letters and Sounds.
- Revisit and Review previous phonemes taught and ‘Tricky Words’ *
- Teach a new phoneme
- Practice reading and writing words with new phoneme and ‘Tricky Words’
- Apply what they have learnt in the lesson through games, activities and dictations
* Tricky words/common exception words are the words that cannot be decoded or follow the phonic rules taught. E.g. said, was, the, come. Therefore children need to learn these words by sight.
The children’s phonics is assessed regularly so that we can direct our teaching to cover any gaps in the children’s phonics skills. Therefore, we can ensure progress for all and provide early additional phonics support as needed.
At the end of Year One, the Government’s National Phonic Screening Check is completed with their class teacher. This is an assessment where the children’s phonetic knowledge is assessed through their ability to read both real and monster words. Those children who are not successful in achieving the required passmark will continue to revisit specific phases in the ‘Letters and Sounds’ programme in Year Two and they will then re-sit the check in Year 2.
In Year Two, children continue to build upon their foundation of phonic knowledge as they cover Phase 6 through the Year 2 National Curriculum for Spelling. We plan for this using Schofield and Sims resources. Spelling rules and patterns are taught in the same style through daily phonics lessons.