Subject Leaders: Rihula Sameer-Mour (Writing) / Lucy Noden (Reading)
Link Governor: Lynne Allan
Article 29 (Goals of education): Education must develop every child’s personality, talents and abilities to the full.
At Beaver Road Primary School, we recognise the crucial importance of studying the English language. Improved performance at reading, writing and spoken language will enable our pupils to express their thoughts and ideas more fluently, accurately and, ultimately, to their greater satisfaction. This will also help them to deal more successfully with other curriculum subjects, while enriching their lives beyond school. The teaching and learning of language skills are therefore, given a high priority in our school and where possible the creative curriculum and ICT will be used as tools.
Our overarching aim for English is to promote high standards of language and literacy by equipping pupils with a strong command of the spoken and written word, and to develop their love of literature through widespread reading for enjoyment.
We aim for our pupils to:
- 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.
In Reception through to Year 6, children are taught English within their classes. Through differentiation and the support of Teaching Assistants, all children will receive high quality teaching and appropriate support in order for every child to reach their full potential. Children may receive additional support if necessary outside of the English lessons. Children that have an ‘Access to Learning Plan’ or are identified as making less than expected progress may receive interventions both in and out of the classroom that focus on the child’s more specific individual needs.
A Learning Question and success criteria are a feature of all English lessons. Working walls are central to learning in the classrooms. Verbal feedback is given in lessons and marking identifies next steps for development as explained in the Feedback and Marking policy. Assessment informs planning and reference is made to the National Curriculum in medium term plans. The use of computing enables children to use and apply their developing skills in English in a variety of ways. We encourage children to use ICT as a resource for learning, whenever appropriate.
We provide a rich and varied experience for pupils to draw on in their writing and reading which should include the whole curriculum.
Speaking and Listening:
At Beaver Road, Speaking and Listening form the foundations of all learning in English and across the curriculum. A whole school approach is taken to fostering a love of language and an appreciation of the power of the spoken word. Beginning in the Early Years, we create and facilitate opportunities for conversation, discussion and talk around learning. In Key Stage 1 and 2, ‘Kagan’ Structures underpin learning and collaboration forms the basis of our teaching. As a result, all children are encouraged to be inquisitive and to share their thoughts confidently in a supportive environment.
Children are encouraged to develop effective communication and language skills to express themselves and interact with others. Language is viewed as the foundation for exploring and sustaining personal growth; it is closely linked to the development of self-esteem, emotional wellbeing and the ability to make a positive contribution to society. We aim for pupils to speak clearly, fluently and coherently and to be able to listen to others attentively with understanding, pleasure and empathy.
At Beaver Road, children are encouraged to explore and ‘play’ with language through drama, role-play and poetry. In all year groups, language forms an intrinsic part of learning to read and write successfully.
How do we achieve this at Beaver Road?
- Teachers and staff value Pupil Voice, giving children confidence in themselves as speakers and listeners and valuing their conversations and opinions.
- All adults understand the importance of Communication and Language and act as positive language role models, modelling vocabulary, diction, intonation and grammar.
- Planning is designed to provide children with the opportunity to talk and formulate their ideas. Teaching staff provide meaningful purposes and audiences for talk within a range of formal and informal situations and in individual, partner, group and class contexts.
- The school provides opportunities for children to present and perform in front of an audience, where staff, parents, carers, visitors and peers acknowledge children’s efforts and skills. This includes assemblies, class showcases, productions and performances.
- In following Talk4Writing, children are taught to “talk the text”, retelling stories with fluency and subsequently inventing their own.
- Children are provided with ample opportunities for exploring different kinds of language in both real and imagined scenarios. Such interactions include role-play, drama, debates, hot seating, interviewing and discussion.
At Beaver Road we strive to ensure that all children become successful, fluent readers by the end of key stage one and believe this is achievable through a combination of strong, high quality, discrete phonics teaching combined with a whole language approach that promotes a ‘Reading for Pleasure’ culture.
To provide consistent, high quality phonics teaching that ensures all children have a strong foundation upon which to tackle the complex processes of reading and writing.
To ensure that the teaching of synthetic phonics is systematic and progressive throughout the foundation stage, key stage one and key stage two for those children needing interventions to support phonetic knowledge and understanding.
To ensure that children have sound phonetic knowledge, understanding and skills so that they can decode words confidently and engage with higher order reading and writing skills.
Curriculum, Teaching and learning Guidance:
At Beaver Road, we follow the Letters and Sounds document’s principles and practice across foundation stage and key stage one – this is supported by teachers using elements from Jolly Phonics to support the effective delivery of phonics lessons by catering for all children’s needs.
Teachers use summative assessment to inform effective provision for all children, using this to plan and deliver well differentiated lessons that engage and challenge all children within the lesson. This summative assessment should inform the rate at which children progress through the phases and secure a sound understanding of phonetics.
All year one children take the ‘Phonics Screening Check’ - a statutory assessment required by legislation. Those who do not meet the pass mark will be given support and intervention programmes in year two to provide them with sufficient knowledge and understanding to re-take the ‘Phonics Screening Check’ and obtain a pass mark. Those children who do not obtain the required level set by the ‘Phonics Screening Check’ will receive phonics teaching in the first term of year three – which will be further supported throughout the year and across key stage two with a phonics and/or spelling intervention programme.
At Beaver Road, pupils have opportunities to undertake guided, shared and independent reading throughout the school. A diverse range of group reading books and a staged reading scheme are available. We do not use any one published scheme to teach reading, instead we believe that it is important to provide pupils with a selection of reading books and experiences from different genres and subject matter, therefore we operate using ‘book bands’ in line with Oxford reading tree complemented by thematic books.
When it is felt appropriate for individual children, they may become ‘free readers’ and choose from the class library and school reading corners. Reading age tests and half termly reading assessments are undertaken throughout the year to identify children who require extra support with their reading. Interventions are then put in place accordingly (see intervention timetable)
Staff are deployed throughout the school to work with children in order to improve their fluency, intonation, decoding skills and comprehension.
Home reading is encouraged and is an integral part of the child’s development. In order to have strong communication between teachers and parents/carers, each child has a school planner where both the staff and parents can write comments about how the child is progressing with his/her reading. Children have the opportunity to change their reading books when required and are always encouraged to select from a variety of fiction, non-fiction and poetry books.
Children have the opportunity to use books from the school reading corners for independent research. Reading challenges are offered within school and pupils are encouraged to undertake the annual county library reading challenge. An annual book week is held along with a book fair to further promote reading. Authors are welcomed into the school to promote books and the school have regular visits from the local librarian. Library visits also take place, to encourage the children of Didsbury to use their local facilities.
To develop our children as readers we enable children to:
• Learn to read following the guidelines of the Early Learning Goals and the National Framework for Literacy.
• Read for interest, information and enjoyment.
• Read a range of texts including fiction, non-fiction, playscripts and poetry appropriate to their ability, both in book format and on screen ICT texts.
• Read regularly at school and at home.
Talk confidently about their reading.
• Be able to use a full range of reading cues (phonic, graphic, syntactic, contextual)to read and be able to correct their own mistakes. Our teaching will however reflect that phonics should be the prime approach children use in learning to read.
See Reading Page for more information:
Each writing unit begins with a hook – Who is the writing for? A WAGOLL (What a good one looks like) is also shared so that all children understand what they are aiming for. The WAGOLL should be written collaboratively by the class teachers and pitched accurately for the needs of the children.
Some units of work are taught using the ‘Talk 4 Writing’ approach which has three phases:
Imitation – Talking the text - Children are given a framework, the language patterns become internalised.
Innovation – Adapting the framework learnt to create something new.
Invention – Creating something new
Other units of work are taught using three phases:
Reading phase – Key features of the genre are identified.
Toolkit phase – Spelling, Grammar and Terminology.
Writing phase – Planning, writing, redrafting, editing and publishing.
Throughout both teaching approaches shared writing is used regularly to support the children. These writing sessions have pace and involve everyone.
To develop our children as writers we:
- Treat children as writers, from the earliest stage, who have ideas that they will want to communicate, building on writing skills they have acquired and their knowledge of print from their environment.
- Provide experiences where the children can acquire confidence and a positive attitude to writing.
- Develop and sustain writing skills by providing opportunities for children to write for a range of purposes and audiences.
- Use guided writing sessions to model writing skills, teaching children how to compose, amend and revise their writing.
- Teach children to become critical readers of their own writing by using self-evaluation and checking their work independently for sense, accuracy and meaning.
- Teach grammar and punctuation in the context of children’s own writing, as well as through discrete lessons.
- Teach children to develop their ability to organise and present imaginative and/or factual writing and poetry in different ways.
- Teach strategies for spelling to enable children to become confident and competent spellers.
See Writing Page for more information:
Cross-Curricular Links and ICT:
Cross-curricular Links Teachers seek to take advantage of opportunities to make cross-curricular links where relevant. They plan for pupils to practise and apply the skills, knowledge and understanding acquired through English lessons to other areas of the curriculum.