Meet the Leader:
Hello, I am Miss Wright and I am the English Lead at Prestolee. I have been given the fantastic opportunity to lead English, as a core subject, across the school. I am extremely passionate about reading and enjoy reading myself, in my spare time. Reading is at the heart of our vision statement and we strive to ensure all of our children can read and write, ready for their next phase of education. Our English Curriculum has been designed carefully and sequentially to ensure the pupils' of Prestolee receive a first class education tailored to meet their needs #everychildareader #everychildawriter
"When I read great literature, great drama, speeches, or sermons, I feel that the human mind has not achieved anything greater than the ability to share feelings and thoughts through language."
James Earl Jones
The Value of English within our Curriculum
English has a pre-eminent place in education and in society. A high-quality education in English will teach pupils to speak and write fluently so that they can communicate their ideas and emotions to others and through their reading and listening, others can communicate with them. Through reading in particular, pupils have a chance to develop culturally, emotionally, intellectually, socially and spiritually. Literature, especially, plays a key role in such development. Reading also enables pupils both to acquire knowledge and to build on what they already know. All the skills of language are essential to participating fully as a member of society; pupils, therefore, who do not learn to speak, read and write fluently and confidently are effectively disenfranchised. National Curriculum 2014
The English Curriculum is both a subject in its own right and the medium for teaching the wider curriculum. Fluency in the English language is an essential foundation for success in all subjects and provides the basis for effective language and communication, which are the stepping stones of early literacy development.
Reading provides the gateway to access of the wider curriculum and is the most important life skill children develop as part of their education. Studies show that reading for pleasure makes a big difference to children’s educational performance. Likewise, evidence suggests that children who read for enjoyment every day not only perform better in reading tests than those who do not, but also develop a broader vocabulary, increased general knowledge and a better understanding of other cultures.
Written communication is also an essential element of expression; the ability to articulate oneself through the written word provides an opportunity to share knowledge in a meaningful and effective way. Writing facilitates reflection, expression and enables individuals to compose their thoughts, therefore providing us with the framework for one of the most prominent methods of daily communication. In an electronic world where verbal communication has become less frequently used, learning to write in a cohesive, structured manner allows individuals to convey their thoughts effectively.
Children start to discover how the English language has developed over time and has contributed to our economy, society and culture. Studying the English Curriculum stimulates curiosity, fosters creativity and equips children with the skills they need in life beyond school. In summary, English is integral to all aspects of life and provides children with vital life skills.
Intent of the English Curriculum
Every Child a Reader
Every Child a Writer
The first two lines of our vision statement echo how important the English curriculum is within the climate and the values of our school. Our aim is to ensure that every child can speak, read and write confidently and fluently so that they can communicate their ideas and develop intellectually, socially, emotionally and culturally, ready to begin the next phase of their education and flourish as life-long learners.
Our English curriculum is based on the National Curriculum objectives and includes Reading, Writing, Spoken Language, Spelling, Punctuation, Grammar and Handwriting. Our ‘literacy-rich’ curriculum aims to motivate and inspire our children, through progressive and well-sequenced learning journeys, that engages and challenges all learners and provides them with a high standard of language and literacy skills. Reading, Writing and Spoken Language are embedded across the entire curriculum, enabling our children to embed these skills successfully across a range of subject areas. It provides a strong command of the spoken and written word, along with developing a love of literature, through widespread reading enjoyment.
English contributes to many other subjects, as a form of communication, and we value the importance in giving our children the opportunity to apply and use their reading and writing skills across the curriculum and in real life contexts.
Our pupils begin to learn to read and write as they enter the Early Years Foundation Stage. In Nursery, children have abundant opportunities to engage with books, poems, and rhymes which are supported with props and role play experiences. Nursery children are exposed to activities linked to sounds both environmentally and musically. In order to lay foundations for early reading and writing, our youngest pupils engage in physical and practical sessions to support phonological awareness, oral blending and segmenting.
Beginning in the Early Years Foundation Stage, and continuing into Y1, our children are exposed to the Read, Write, Inc. Phonics Programme which continues through into Key Stage One. Read, Write, Inc, Phonics is taught daily, in small ability groupings, based on reading progress. In Reception, the alphabetic code is emphasised so that pupils rapidly learn sounds and the letter, or group of letters, they need to represent them. Simple mnemonics help the children to grasp this quickly so they are able to progress onto blending the sounds they know into words. Pupils have frequent practice of reading high frequency words with irregular spellings (common exception words).
Pupils in the EYFS and KS1 read books that are closely matched to their increasing knowledge of phonics and the common exception words. This enables our children to experience success and gain confidence when reading. Re-reading and discussing these books with the teacher supports their increasingly fluent decoding. Alongside this, the teaching and learning team read a wide range of stories, poems and non-fiction texts to pupils, who are soon able to read these themselves.
Any pupils with Special Educational Needs or who have not completed the Read Write Inc. programme by the end of Y2 continue to access this until they can read. Daily One to One Tutoring is put into place to support these pupils further.
Once children are proficient in word reading, they begin to develop their reading fluency and comprehension skills. Reading Fluency is taught discretely at the beginning of every reading session following a six step model. This provides the children with opportunities to review and revisit a text to build their reading fluency. The class teacher surveys the text, providing an analysis to support children’s understanding of an author’s decision making to support the reader to read fluently. Children then have the opportunity to practice, rehearse and perform.
Children in Y2 and beyond, continue to have daily reading lessons which focus primarily on practising reading fluency and developing reading comprehension skills. During these reading lessons pupils use reciprocal reading techniques when engaging with class novels, read a wide variety of different text types including fiction, non-fiction and poetry, read aloud and perform to others, study vocabulary and read and answer a variety of different comprehension questions linked to the KS2 reading domains. Children have the opportunity to observe modelled answers explained by their teacher and are taught skimming and scanning techniques to develop their comprehension skills.
Reading lessons linked to the ‘book based’ writing curriculum or the wider curriculum subject content are carefully planned and delivered to provide a context for learning and a deeper understanding of an author’s style or the context/culture in which a particular book is set. Teachers pre-teach relevant facts, vocabulary and cultural literacy, especially when the children are unlikely to have encountered the subject matter before. This provides our children with the vocabulary and understanding to comprehend and interpret a variety of different texts.
Embedding the alphabetic code early in a child’s education means that pupils quickly learn to write simple words and sentences. Our youngest children are encouraged to compose each sentence orally until they are confident to write independently. Pupils write at the level of their spelling knowledge. The quality of the vocabulary they use in their writing reflects the language they are exposed to through experiencing a book based curriculum and print rich environment.
Children in the Early Years are taught to write for meaning with lots of opportunities to write for different audiences and purposes; creating lists, labels, letters and stories for others to read and enjoy. Our children are taught to write alongside the teaching of phonics and benefit from observing quality modelled, shared and guided writing both as a whole class or part of a small group.
Children in Key Stage One, access RWI Phonics which incorporates both reading and writing. The children have opportunities weekly to produce pieces of writing linked to the Story Book they are reading, within their differentiated phonics group. In addition to this, we feel our children need opportunities to write for a real purpose. The teacher plans for their children to write about real events and in many cases uses a story book as an additional stimulus to this from our book based English curriculum.
Children in Early Years and KS1 often take part in ‘Talk for Writing’ lessons which encompasses the development of spoken language and preparing sentences verbally before writing, planning through images and actions and producing written narratives as a final outcome. The RWI strands of ‘hold a sentence’, ‘build a sentence’ and ‘using Fred fingers to spell’ are also reflected within whole class English lessons as well as during wider curriculum subjects.
As our children progress from the RWI phonics scheme, we begin to build upon the basic sentence structure, punctuation, handwriting and spellings which have been fully embedded and developed within KS1. Teachers begin to plan English learning journeys using books from their year groups Literature Spine, as a stimulus for writing. Grammar and Punctuation National Curriculum objectives are weaved into English learning journeys giving them a real purpose and context for learning. Writing for a real purpose and audience also remains a focus throughout KS2 and these opportunities are carefully planned within English learning journeys.
As a result of our carefully planned and sequenced English Curriculum, our attainment at the end of each KS is consistently ‘At’ or ‘Above’ national standard in Reading, Writing and Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar. Children at our school enjoy reading for pleasure and discuss books with excitement and interest. Children enjoy writing and use the features of different genres and text types accurately, writing for different audiences and purposes. Our children are proud of their work and have the same high standards as our teaching team has of them. Evidence in children’s books suggests that our English curriculum is progressive at every stage with a particular focus on developing children’s language and vocabulary throughout the school. Our children are prepared for the next stage in their Education not only at the end of each Key Stage but at the end of each academic year.