Our English Curriculum: Learning together, having fun
Even the Gruffalo has fun learning together!
Our aim is that all pupils will become fluent readers and creative writers who make effective decisions about the use of the English language.
Children embed and apply their understanding of both spoken and written language across the curriculum, through a wide range of activities. These inspire the children to develop a love for reading, broaden their vocabulary and furthers their understanding of grammatical features so that they become competent, fluent writers.
In Reception and Year 1, we use Read Write Inc to teach Phonics. Children are taught through discreet lessons, and explore phonemes (letters) and graphemes (sounds) on a daily basis. Please go to our phonics page to find out more.
From year 2-6, our children are taught through a comprehensive spelling programme called ‘No Nonsense Spellings’; we teach children spelling rules through this programme, identifying patterns and grammatical features such as prefixes, suffixes, plurals and homophones, alongside the teaching of the statutory spellings from the National Curriculum, as appropriate for their age and ability. Our children are set weekly spelling lists to learn based on the rule they are learning, and are tested in these each week.
We are extremely passionate about developing a culture of reading in our school. Children are taught the essential skills of reading (decoding and comprehension) through short daily lessons focusing on our VIPERS (Vocabulary, Infer, Predict, Explain, Retrieve and Summarise). We use a range of genres and texts to support our comprehension and skills-teaching, including our class novel, which is often linked to our current topic or theme in each class. These frequent lessons support our pupils’ ability to retain and develop the understanding of different texts and their purpose.
Our culture of reading helps cultivate a deep love and pleasure for reading across different genres; we have a wide range of books and a small but well-stocked library (The Snug) where children can borrow books to enjoy both in school and at home.
Children are taught the essential skills of reading (decoding and comprehension) whilst also using a rich and varied range of literature to further extend their knowledge and vocabulary. Our culture of reading helps children to foster a love of books and encourages them to read for pleasure.
As part of our English curriculum, each class undertakes a novel study each half term where they dig deeper into a novel to find hidden meanings and to be transported into the world of that novel. This allows the children’s imagination to go wild, as their writing tasks revolve around that particular novel.
See our Recommended Reading lists on each of our class pages.
Please visit Books for Topics (external link) for more suggested reading.
Visit the Oxford Owl website (external link) which has over 100 free e-books for you to enjoy with your child.
Please visit our 'Reading for Pleasure' page found in the children's section.
Through high-quality teaching, our children learn how to articulate their thoughts and points of view clearly and effectively for their audiences. We provide our children with a wide exposure to vocabulary, thus ensuring that they broaden their creativity with the English language. As a school, we continue to set high standards for our children so that they can continue to achieve highly, and develop as creative and skilled writers.
We present our children with vast opportunities for writing, including a variety of extended pieces for different audiences and purposes. Writing lessons aim to inspire and unlock the creativity of the children by using a variety of stimuli, including: author visits, visual literacy, novel studies, community connections, school trips, and cross-curricular links.
Spelling Punctuation, Grammar and handwriting are taught discreetly as well as collectively across the curriculum and children are expected to apply these skills in all aspects of their writing. Through regular feedback, we encourage children to edit and refine their work, which gives them a sense of accomplishment when completing their final work.
Through the Jane Considine ‘The Write Stuff’ programme, (see links below for further details) our children are exposed to a wide range of broad vocabulary and grammar skills, with short writing units focusing on different genres and purposes, to ensure we maximise vast opportunities for our children to develop as keen, articulate writers.
To unlock their creativity, our pupils are exposed to a variety of stimuli, including: author visits, experience days (as part of our Writing programme), visual literacy, class novels and cross-curricular links where possible.
We use 'Letter-join' to teach handwriting. It is an on-line handwriting resource and the lesson planners are the basis of our teaching approach as they cover all the requirements of the National Curriculum.
Handwriting is a basic skill that influences the quality of work throughout the curriculum. By the end of Key Stage 2 all pupils should have the ability to produce fluent, legible and, eventually, speedy joined-up handwriting, and to understand the different forms of handwriting used for different purposes. Our intention is to make handwriting an automatic process that does not interfere with creative and mental thinking.
We aim to develop a neat, legible, speedy handwriting style using continuous cursive letters, which leads to producing letters and words automatically in independent writing; establish and maintain high expectations for the presentation of written work; we want pupils to understand, by the end of Year 6, the importance of neat presentation and the need for different letterforms (cursive, printed or capital letters) to help communicate meaning clearly.
Children learn to write letters correctly right from Reception, through the Read Write Inc programme. They see and hear the letter name and sound and practise through a series of progressive steps using visual and auditory clues.
The video below shows you how your child will learn at school. You can also visit the dedicated handwriting page in the children's area (link below) as this enables them to access their homework.
Maisie Mountain Mountain
After many 'free flow' exploratory experiences, where children can rehearse writing in their own way, they are introduced to cursive letter formation whereby the letters are written the same but we start to write them on the line and we encourage a 'flick' at the end. Teachers expose children to cursive writing right at the start when they create displays, instruction sheets and when they write on dry-wipe/interactive boards, for example; this continues all the way through school. We also use a special font when creating worksheets for all children across the school and one which they can use themselves.
This then leads into beautiful joined-up writing.