English has an unparalleled place in education and in society; it’s at the heart of all learning and the key to future success. To become successful learners and thrive in later life, a high quality education in English is crucial.
We strive to ensure that all pupils can speak, read and write fluently. Through reading in particular, pupils have the opportunity to develop culturally, emotionally, intellectually, socially and spiritually which will help them to become responsible citizens and participate fully as members of society.
At Moorlands, we believe that a high-quality English curriculum should develop our children’s love of reading, writing, speaking and listening. We have a rigorous and well-organised curriculum that provides many purposeful opportunities for each of these aspects of English. Our curriculum closely follows the aims of the 2014 National Curriculum for English, which is to enable all children 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
● become competent in the art of speaking and listening, making formal presentations, demonstrating to others and participating in debate.
These aims are embedded across our English lessons and across the wider curriculum. We will provide the means for children to develop a secure knowledge-base in English, which follows a clear pathway of progression as they advance through the primary curriculum. Rigorous assessment and review will ensure that we are able to provide targeted support so that all children experience success in English; 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 members of society.
Early reading is supported through the Read Write Inc scheme. Regular training and development days ensure that staff are equipped to teach with the expertise and skills required to promote excellent progress, as well as a love of reading. Reading for Pleasure is absolutely central to the ethos of the school and is considered to be the bedrock of our approach to education. Each class’s timetable is organised to enable regular access to the school library, which has an up-to-date and diverse selection of books in order provide quality reading materials for all children. The pupils also take part in organising and developing their classroom reading environment and staff are supported in developing their knowledge of children’s literature. We work hard as a school to encourage a culture of ‘book talk’. In Key Stage Two, children are taught a wide range of strategies to improve their reading comprehension and to help them develop deeper reading skills through the use of VIPERS.
When planning English lessons, teachers make links to other areas of the curriculum to provide further context for learning. Teaching blocks focus on fiction, non-fiction or poetry, in line with the 2014 National Curriculum, and reading comprehension, grammar, spelling and writing are embedded in lessons. We use Talk for Writing as our model for teaching writing. Lessons sequences themselves build progressively towards extended pieces of writing. Handwriting, based around the Letter-join scheme, and spelling, based around Spelling Shed, are taught within English lessons when possible. Writing outcomes across the school are recorded in English books to promote a high level of pride and presentation across all written work.
To enrich and further develop the English curriculum, the school takes part in a wide range of initiatives, including judging book and poetry awards and supporting the Summer Reading Challenge. Children also take part in poetry and creative writing competitions and performances, which are regularly celebrated in whole school assemblies. Assessment is embedded in English lessons and children are active in reviewing the successes in their work and identifying, with support from their teacher, target areas for development to ensure a continuous and individualised approach to improving their work.
Through the delivery of a knowledge rich curriculum children in EYFS build a focused and sequenced body of knowledge which students are able to remember. Story is at the heart of our curriculum as it is essential children develop a life-long love of reading and it acts as a ‘gateway’ into all other areas of learning. They explore a range of high quality texts including fiction, non fiction, poetry and wordless books. The children learn about story structure, characters and settings, they map stories and by using a ‘talk for writing’ approach use actions to retell them. ‘Helicopter stories’ are used to give a purpose to their writing and storytelling. Non fiction texts are used to investigate and discover information, whilst the children learn to write in various styles i.e. postcards, instructions and stories.
By the time children leave Reception they will be expected to;
- Demonstrate understanding of what has been read to them by retelling stories and narratives using their own words and recently introduced vocabulary;
- Anticipate – where appropriate – key events in stories;
- Use and understand recently introduced vocabulary during discussions about stories, non-fiction, rhymes and poems and during role-play.
Children start their phonics journey in our Nursery where they explore: environmental sounds; instrumental sounds; rhythm and rhyme; body percussion; voice sounds; alliteration; oral blending and segmenting; before beginning the Read Write Inc Phonics programme followed by the rest of the school.
In Reception the children follow the Read Write Inc sequential phonics scheme which allows us to deliver a robust phonics curriculum to the children. Phonics begins on day 1 in reception with a recap of phase 1 phonics focussing on the sounds children hear and identifying them. They will then move on to phase 2, 3 and 4 spending time building skills such as phoneme and grapheme recognition, word blending and word segmenting. They will apply their phonics knowledge on a daily basis both in their adult led work and in their play. By the time children leave Reception they will be expected to;
- Say a sound for each letter in the alphabet and at least 10 digraphs;
- Read words consistent with their phonic knowledge by sound-blending;
- Read aloud simple sentences and books that are consistent with their phonic knowledge, including some common exception words.
- Write recognisable letters, most of which are correctly formed;
- Spell words by identifying sounds in them and representing the sounds with a letter or letters;
- Write simple phrases and sentences that can be read by others. Fine Motor Skills
- Hold a pencil effectively in preparation for fluent writing- using. The tripod grip in almost all cases.
The organisation of the English curriculum, has created a community of enthusiastic readers and writers who enjoy showcasing their developing literacy knowledge and skills. Children are confident to take risks in their reading and writing, and love to discuss and share their ideas. Outcomes of work in both English and topic books evidence the high quality of work and the impact of varied and cross-curricular writing opportunities. These opportunities enable children to write across a range of forms and adapt their writing successfully, always considering its context, purpose and audience.
Pupils’ progress through phonics is assessed every half term using the Read Write Inc. assessments. Pupils are then assigned to the most appropriate group for their current attainment.
In addition, PiXL reading assessments are used at regular times throughout the year to track and analyse progress in all year groups for reading. These assessments are used to populate question level analysis grids which allow teachers to analyse results forensically to inform planning for the cohort as a whole and for individual groups of pupils. These PiXL tests are also standardised so that results can be compared to other schools nationally.
Pupils’ writing is continually monitored and assessed against the National Curriculum and tracked using the PiXL writing descriptors. Internal moderation activities take place regularly, enabling teachers to compare their own judgments to either confirm or adjust them. External moderation meetings are attended regularly by teaching staff from all year levels.