English Curriculum Statement
The core elements of the English curriculum consist of listening, speaking, reading and writing. At Harold Wood Primary School we believe that reading and writing are essential life skills and we are committed to enabling our children to become lifelong readers, and imaginative and informative writers, which all begin with the building blocks of speaking, listening and understanding in EYFS.
At Harold Wood Primary School, our children are taught to be active listeners and confident, articulate speakers.
By the time our pupils leave Harold Wood Primary School, we envisage that they will be fluent, expressive readers who can comprehend a wide variety of texts. They will be able to recommend books to their peers, seek out books from a range of different genres including poetry and engage in discussion about authorial choices or impact on the reader. We want children to establish an appreciation and love of reading at all stages of their learning journey. We encourage our pupils to discover new information and develop their comprehension skills by reading widely using both fiction and non-fiction texts which (where possible) are linked to their topics across the curriculum. We also develop a love of literature through widespread reading for enjoyment.
We promote high standards of English by equipping the children with a strong command of the spoken and written word, developing the necessary skills required to write in detail and at length across a range of genres. We give the children the ability to write clearly, accurately and cohesively, adapting their language and style in and for a range of contexts and audiences. The curriculum will ensure that our children compose their writing effectively by forming, articulating and communicating ideas and then organizing them for a reader. They will have clarity and awareness of the purpose, audience and context of their writing. They will develop an increasingly wide knowledge of vocabulary and grammar to support their writing. We also ensure that our children have clear, fluent, and legible handwriting.We intend for our children to have developed a love of writing and to be able to confidently express their thoughts and ideas clearly and creatively through the written word, while building stamina for writing.
Children’s early English skills are developed with a focus on spoken grammar and vocabulary growth. At Harold Wood Primary School, children begin learning phonetic sounds in the EYFS using Floppy Phonics Sounds and Letters in daily phonics lessons. With the emphasis on teaching pure sounds and the ability to match sounds to letters, each class in EYFS and KS1 uses the same rhymes and actions to maintain consistency throughout. Children are taught the sounds (phonemes) and names of letters and match these to the written grapheme. Correct formation of writing letters is introduced alongside learning the sounds and the Read, Write Inc rhymes are used to support learning. To support their understanding, children are introduced to the technical language of learning phonics such as phoneme, grapheme, digraph, trigraph from the EYFS.
Phonics lessons are tailored to each year group and supplemented by using interactive activities such as Phonics Play. Children are taught tricky words (those that cannot be decoded) alongside the phonics lessons which is an essential tool to support early reading and fluency. Reading books are aligned in colour bands to the phonic stages being learnt.
Children continue with structured phonics lessons using Floppy Phonics Sounds and Letters which moves into learning spelling patterns. Children’s reading fluency becomes well-developed alongside questioning to ensure children fully comprehend the text they are reading. The children’s writing improves as children learn appropriate use of spelling, grammar and punctuation whilst also communicating, through the written word, text which is interesting and enjoyable to read.
The children are supported to link letters to sounds and are all the while encouraged to read with expression and fluency. They are questioned about the characters, events and details of the story to help them gain a comprehensive understanding of what they are reading.
In the EYFS, children are given different and varied opportunities to engage with stories throughout the day either in focused teaching sessions or within the well planned, literacy rich, continuous provision environment both inside and outside that is planned to support all of their literacy skills such as role play, small world activities, nursery rhyme and story baskets.
Children’s writing in the EYFS begins with lots of fine and gross motor control activities. There are daily Disco Dough sessions as well as fine and gross motor activities provided as part of the continuous provision in the inside and outside learning environments. Initially children are encouraged to record their ideas by mark making (leading to writing) with a variety of different tools both inside and outside. Daily name writing, leading to handwriting sessions are planned for all children. Once a child has mastered their name they can label, identify and take ownership of work and belongings. Children are taught to print letters which gives children both the opportunity and the feeling of success at being able to record their thoughts and ideas very early on in their literacy journey.
In the EYFS children take home a Bedtime Story book each week to share with their grown ups. They change their school library book fortnightly and have dedicated daily storytime sessions. To develop their speaking and listening skills each holiday (from the summer holiday before they start) the children take home their All About Me book to record their activities and return it to school to share their news with their classmates. This develops over the year from the adult recording the news to the children writing their own news. As part of their first homework task, children starting in the EYFS bring in an All About Me box which contains some favourite items to share with their class and teacher. Through open-ended questioning which develops over the year with the development of their own communication skills, children are able to share and discuss their news in their books and the items in their boxes.
Key Stage 1 and 2
Phonics and Spelling:
As they move through KS1, the children are extended to apply their phonics knowledge to the No Nonsense spelling scheme which continues throughout key stage 2.
Through the teaching of systematic phonics, our aim is for children to become fluent readers by the end of Key Stage 1. With decoding taught as the prime approach to reading, pupils will become familiar with this strategy and have the confidence to work out unfamiliar words in any new texts they encounter. Pupils will have the opportunity to develop their fluency and comprehension as they move through the school; accessing a range of texts independently.
As well as guided reading sessions being taught daily in KS1 and whole class guided reading sessions in KS2, children are given opportunities to read books at their own reading level, whilst giving them the key skills such as inferring meaning, finding evidence in a text, and maintaining a high level of stamina for reading and context behind the text.
Weekly library visits allow no glass ceiling to be placed on the children as they can choose their own text to read.
Daily English lessons allow children to apply their creative ideas and their skills in spelling, punctuation and grammar skills to a written context.
As well as using high-quality texts as a prompt for writing, we also use Talk for Writing from years 1 to 6 for some genres of writing. This enables children to extend their sentence structure, punctuation and vocabulary orally in order to consolidate their learning. Once a higher level of articulation and vocabulary skills has been acquired, the children are able to write accurately and coherently, whilst maintaining a level of creativity and freedom through adaptation.
We model and teach children to proof-read and edit their own writing. We encourage the children to be reflective in choosing their own next steps and this maintains a high level of motivation as children are able to see their progress happening in front of them. They are the driving force behind their own learning.
In the EYFS, ongoing assessment is through Development Matters and Early Learning Goals are assessed at the end of Reception using the Early Years Foundations Stage Profile.
Attainment in reading is measured using statutory assessments such as the end of EYFS, Key Stage 1 and 2 and following the outcomes in the Year 1 Phonics Screening check. Additionally, we track our own reading attainment through the use of symphony objectives plus ongoing teacher assessment.
Pupils will enjoy reading across a range of genres and will have a good knowledge of a range of authors.
Pupils of all abilities will be able to succeed in all reading lessons using a range of strategies for decoding words, not solely relying on phonics. They will be ready to read in any subject in their forthcoming secondary education.
Pupils will be able to communicate through writing as well as writing for their own enjoyment.
The percentage of pupils working at EXS and GDS within each year group will be at least in line with national averages and there will be no significant gaps in the progress of different groups of pupils (e.g. PPG vs Non PPG).