At Park Road we believe that a quality English curriculum should develop children’s love of reading, writing and discussion. We aim to inspire an appreciation of our rich and varied literary heritage and a habit of reading widely and often. We recognise the importance of nurturing a culture where children take pride in their writing, can write clearly and accurately and adapt their language and style for a range of contexts. We want to inspire children to be confident in the art of speaking and listening and who can use discussion to communicate and further their learning.
We believe that children need to develop a secure knowledge-base in English, which follows a clear pathway of progression as they advance through the primary curriculum. We believe that a secure basis in literacy skills is crucial to a high quality education and will give our children the tools they need to participate fully as a member of society.
Speaking and Listening
We give a high priority to ensuring that our children become confident and competent in the spoken English language. In EYFS, there are opportunities for speaking and listening through our continuous provision, we use ‘Show and Tell’ and imaginative play to develop the children’s confidence in speaking and listening from the very beginning of their school journey. Their speaking and listening skills are further developed through drama and role play focussed learning activities. Throughout KS1 and KS2, every class has a planned termly drama experience in their English curriculum and we use video and sound recording to help develop speaking and listening skills. We teach children to discuss and debate issues and present their ideas and work to others. Our broad and balanced curriculum provides many opportunities for speaking and listening in varied contexts. Most lessons encourage some form of discussion and our children are taught to respect and value what others say. In every year group there are opportunities to perform. We have Christmas and Easter plays and concerts that every child takes part in and at the end of Year 6 all children take part in their staged production. By performing in these ways we develop the confidence and experience of children in performing to an audience with real purpose and meaning.
High quality phonics teaching is essential in the development of our early readers and so we have a leader for phonics and a phonics intent statement.
We are passionate about reading and we promote a reading culture throughout school. Our children enjoy using the library and home reading books are changed as frequently as required for each child. We have a number of different book schemes grouped into colour bands. This ensures that children can be given the breadth of reading experience they need and it allows them to expand their vocabulary and fluency at a pace that is appropriate for them. Teachers work with individual readers and guided reading groups. Reading the same book in a group encourages discussion and aids the development of vital comprehension skills. We ensure that children read and discuss a range of high-quality books, including stories, poems and non-fiction and give them the opportunity to reflect on characters, settings, vocabulary and events within a story or text.
We think it is important for children to develop a love of learning and we encourage them to read widely; this develops their vocabulary and knowledge of important grammar rules, as well as providing them with an appreciation of the world and encouraging them to be independent readers and therefore independent learners. We aim to provide children with the skills and confidence to read competently and confidently across all subjects, in preparation for high school and later life.
Emergent writing starts in our EYFS and children begin to form letters as soon as they are ready. In Reception, they write a little every day and are given lots of opportunities to practise their writing for various purposes. Handwriting is practised regularly throughout the school and children are encouraged to present their work well. Once children can join their letters well, we think it is important for them to develop their own style of handwriting which is fluent and legible and with which they are comfortable writing at length.
We send lists of spellings home for the children to learn from Reception through to Year 6. In Reception and KS1, spellings are linked to high frequency words and the phonics being taught and KS2 are given weekly spelling lists based on the year group expectations. Classes from Year 1 upwards are taught grammar, punctuation and spelling strategies discreetly in daily lesson starters and this is recorded at least twice a week in GPS books. These skills are then re-visited during lessons and applied during extended writing tasks.
Considerable thought is put into our planning so that children learn to write in a wide variety of genres and make use of a number of interesting and exciting stimuli, providing rich experiences and opportunities for children to write for real life purposes and for a variety of audiences and we encourage pupils to see themselves as authors and poets. . To support children in moving towards independent writing we provide a wide range of activities including the use of film and imagery, music, ICT, modelled, shared and guided writing, peer assessment and discussion. Many of our planned writing tasks are based around a class novel or topic. The children are given opportunities to proof read and re-draft their work; we teach them how to identify mistakes and make improvements to their writing. Our extensive use of ICT also motivates the children to extend their writing and edit it to make it the best that it can be.