At Curbar, English equips pupils with skills and articulacy that will enable them to understand and influence the world as they grow. These skills include the ability to interpret and to express meaning from a range of sources and in a variety of contexts, and to understand and develop complex ideas. Our aim is for pupils to find, long after their time with us, that the English skills they have developed will continue to widen their options and underpin their successes, whatever their future path in life may be.
English is an overarching discipline; it is the medium through which meaning and expression is conveyed and the gateway to other branches of learning. Our English curriculum encompasses the National Curriculum to ensure all pupils experience and develop high standards of language and literacy, equipping them with a strong command of the spoken and written word, and to develop their love of literature through widespread reading for enjoyment.
At Curbar Primary, we strive to develop the full potential of all our pupils so they become confident readers who can derive huge enjoyment from books and literature. Phonic skills are essential to developing competent and fluent readers so it is important that they have secure understanding of letters and sounds. For the teaching of phonics, we will be following the systematic approach of ‘Little Wandle’. During the Reception year, our children are provided with numerous and varied opportunities to hear and say sounds. As children progress through school, they will learn all sounds and the corresponding letter groups. This consistent and rigorous approach will provide our children with the foundations to become proficient and enthused readers with a passion for books, literature and vocabulary.
Reading at Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2
At Curbar Primary School, we want to foster a lifelong love of reading and books through sharing exciting and important literature with a range of genres, texts and authors. We believe reading opens up a new world for children and gives them the opportunity to explore new ideas, visit new places, meet new characters and develop a better understanding of the world and its people. Reading is a key life skill and we strive to embed a culture of reading into the core of what we do. Our children love words and building their understanding of vocabulary will give them the word power they need to become confident readers and successful speakers and writers. We will provide opportunities for children to read both independently and aloud. Our class reading learning and book studies will also allow the children to reflect on a book in depth and discuss and share ideas within the class under the guidance of a teacher. Reading and quality literature is implicitly interwoven into our curriculum. We immerse our children with quality texts as a means to inspiring and informing their writing through our curriculum.
At Curbar Primary School, we aim for our children to leave the school able to communicate effectively in writing – and enjoy being able to express themselves in this way. We have undertaken a multifaceted approach to writing, whereby many subject areas include the opportunity for pupils to express their thoughts in a range of written styles and contexts. Through our teaching sequence for writing we: immerse our children in a genre of writing; analyse and identify the skills necessary to be successful; teach the skills (often linked to grammar and punctuation); draft and improve our writing. We write for a purpose. It is important that our children are exposed to a range of exemplar texts, from across different genres, different cultures and different themes, to embed ambitious vocabulary choices and secure expectations of writing across the curriculum. Handwriting and spelling is also taught regularly across school to enable the children to become fluent and legible writers who have developed a proficient level of spelling.
Communication & Language forms the core of the Curbar EYFS Curriculum. Children are immersed in a vocabulary rich environment, across both indoor and outdoor classrooms, and staff model a broad range of words, songs and rhyme in order to develop our children as early readers. Speaking, Listening and Understanding skills are modelled, taught and practiced daily through high quality interactions, questioning and conversation. Word Reading and comprehension is modelled by staff and children are encouraged to explore, revisit and practice their newly acquired knowledge and skills via a combination of open ended, imaginative provision alongside enhanced provision challenge activities. Word Reading, Comprehension and writing is modelled by staff daily. Children are encouraged to write in all areas of the curriculum; writing tools and resources are available in all areas of learning around the indoor and outdoor learning environments as an invitation to mark-make and scribe meaning and purpose to marks and writing.
Developing a love of reading is at the heart of our work within the EYFS. Children enjoy a daily ‘story time’, which is often enhanced with the use of story props and forms the basis of our book talk sessions. Children are encouraged to develop their communication skills through discussion of texts and daily ‘news’ sharing times. Our daily phonics sessions through Little Wandle are key to enabling children to quickly develop their skills in blending and segmenting sounds and children have consistent opportunities to practise these skills through engaging opportunities available within both the indoor and outdoor provision. Children have a variety of adult and child-initiated learning opportunities. As well as a Writing Area, which provides children with a range of materials with which to experiment and practice mark making/letter formation (and eventually practice taught skills), other Learning Zones are enhanced to provide children with the opportunity to read and write in a range of contexts. A range of resources in the outdoor area, including a writing shed and mud kitchen provide children with valuable and exciting opportunities to engage children in writing for pleasure. Adult initiated activities in EYFS are linked to stories, poems and nursery rhymes. Children learn that writing can have a range of purposes and they begin to explore the features of different types of writing.
At Curbar Primary School, Early Reading starts with our Little Wandle phonics programme, which is taught daily to all Reception, Y1 and Y2 pupils. During the phonic programme, they learn all the phonemes (smallest units of sound i.e. k) and the corresponding graphemes (how those sounds are represented by letters i.e. k, c, qu, ck), so that they can segment and blend words for reading and writing. Each week, children will learn common exception words (tricky words) – these are words which are not decodable using phonic knowledge – as well as a variety of phonetically decodable words incorporating the sound being learnt. This learning continues into Key Stage 2, if necessary and it is also supported by interventions for any children not making expected progress. As part of our phonics sessions, once children have learnt Set 1 (single letters), they are exposed to reading short sentences and then phonetically decodable books (Ditty Books). This is so that fluency – pace, expression and accuracy – is explicitly taught and developed. We read books three times, so that the first read is decoding the words; the second read is improving fluence and the third read is to improve comprehension.
Only Little Wandle books are used to support early readers and all these books are matched to the Little Wandle sounds, so that children can practise the sounds they are learning or have learnt whilst reading. Stage books are accessed by children until they are competent, fluent readers.
In KS2, if we feel children still need support with their reading fluency, we have a range of high interest books to inspire reluctant or struggling readers and target support Children in KS2, who need more support with fluency, will access a fluency intervention programme, which will allow children to work with the teacher in small groups following the same guidance as KS1 – the first read is decoding the words; the second read is improving fluence and the third read is to improve comprehension.
We also have volunteers, who visit the school to provide additional opportunities for children to read.
Pupils should have two books to take home each week a targeted reading book and a library book chosen from their weekly visit. . We encourage parents and pupils to record their reading in reading record so we can maintain parent-teacher communication but also so we can see the frequency of reading and the type of books children have read. Children are provided with merit stickers for every three times they read.
All classes have daily Whole Class Reading sessions which are based on book talk in EYFS and in KS1 and KS2, this progresses to working on comprehension style questions or diving into and analysing a text, image, video or song.
Furthermore, reading for pleasure and developing a love of reading is important at Curbar, so all classes have a daily story time, where the teacher reads a high-quality book to the class for enjoyment – these books are organised in our reading spine (Please see Reading Spine Overview). We recognise the value of adults (both in school and at home) reading aloud to children, in order to improve their grasp of story language; enthuse them with a love of books and inspire them as writers. We also hold monthly ‘Read Together’ sessions, where parents can read with their child in school and it provides an opportunity for parents to access the school library. Pupils also have numerous daily opportunities to access books and read independently in class.
In our English lessons, we follow a teaching sequence of writing , which is: Immerse, Analyse, skills, Plan, Write and Review.
In class, this is an example of how it might look:
By using this sequence, we aim to develop the children’s ability to produce well-structured, detailed writing in which the meaning is made clear and which engages the interest of the reader. The sequence culminates in every child writing an extended piece of text and this final piece may be as a class, in groups, in pairs or individual depending on the ability and stage of the children. Each half term, we aim for all children to have a minimum of two final pieces of writing.
The writing sequence allows teachers to model writing strategies and the use of phonics and spelling strategies in shared writing sessions, as well as giving pupils time to explore these strategies for themselves. We always aim to publish the children’s writing in one form or another – either in a class book, on a blog or in a letter.
Furthermore, each half term, each class will cover three types of genre/purpose, usually a fiction (to entertain); a non-fiction (to persuade/to inform) and a poem/rhyme (to entertain or express feelings). As a school, we have organised all the genres of writing into a progression document so the progression of skills and knowledge develop over time.
Pupils are also given the opportunity to allow their creative ideas to flow more freely during ‘Writing for Pleasure’ sessions, which take place every two weeks in KS2 and every half term in KS1. During these sessions, pupils are engaged in writing using an interesting picture or video and they are then given the freedom to write in any style, genre or layout that they choose. As well as this, pupils are also given the opportunity to use technology for their writing.
At Curbar, we teach a semi-cursive style of handwriting, which means we teach children to join but we do not teach children to lead into a letter.
In the Early Years, children develop their fine motor and gross motor skills through various activities to ensure their muscles and movements are well-developed in order to start writing. They are then taught the skill of holding a writing tool and they start by making pencil control patterns. During phonic sessions, children are taught to form individual letters, which is further practised in class.
From KS1 upwards, children receive three handwriting sessions a week, which follow a set scheme for practising letter joins. Our handwriting sessions start with a warm up of pencil control activities, then we introduce or recap a letter join and then we introduce three statutory words to practise using our joined handwriting. Sessions may also involve dictation of sentences to practise handwriting in longer pieces and to improve the speed.
Depending on the age, ability and fine motor development of a child, teachers may use specially designed guide lines to support children in forming letters accurately. However, most teachers will teach handwriting using the children’s writing book lines.
Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar
At Curbar, teachers are well-equipped to seize the opportunities to enhance pupils’ vocabulary, that arise naturally from their reading and writing. ital Vocabulary, which as it says is vital for each lesson, is introduced and discussed at the beginning of each lesson. As vocabulary increases, teachers show pupils how to understand the relationship between words. Vital vocabulary also underpins our spelling lessons, so that spellings taught are meaningful and used in a context.
We believe it is important that pupils learn the correct grammatical terms and that these terms are integrated within all teaching. Pupils are discreetly taught grammatical terms through two weekly grammar and punctuation sessions, which are linked to the text type that is being covered during the daily English session. Teachers also take every opportunity to highlight the spelling, grammar or punctuation focus, whether that be during reading sessions or even a different curriculum subject. Teachers assess and plan using the Longstone Milestones, which are statements taken from the National Curriculum to ensure progression across the school. As well as this, pupils are taught to use Standard English and this is modelled throughout the day in all lessons.
Towards the end of Y2 and in KS2, spellings are taught discreetly twice a week by using the vital vocabulary and the statutory word lists. Vital vocabulary lists are created based on vocabulary the children need to know for the writing purpose but they will also include statutory spelling patterns and common exception words. Children are taught to say the spelling word; to write the spelling word and to understand what the word means. Pupils, who access phonics teaching, also have spellings lists, which focus on the graphemes they are currently learning. In KS1, the spelling lists are based around the graphemes being taught over the half term and a list of various words is sent home for parents to use at home and the same list is covered during spelling opportunities in school. In KS2, a vital vocabulary list is sent home, which compiles 12-18 words, that parents can use at home and the same list is covered during our spelling and writing lessons. We have moved away from weekly spelling tests, as we feel the children using their spellings in a meaningful context is more beneficial. We now assess children’s spellings in their pieces of writing.
Assessment for learning will take place on a continual basis using techniques such as regular written marking and feedback, teacher observation and on the spot verbal feedback, group discussions, questioning and formative and summative assessments. Marking and feedback will take place in accordance with our ‘Marking and Feedback’ policy. Reading, writing and spelling, punctuation and grammar is assessed using the National Curriculum descriptors (see Curbar Milestones) and they are tracked using the Tracker + programme. This then shows the gaps and informs teacher’s planning. The subject leader and teachers will work within and across year groups and with other schools to monitor, evaluate and compare assessments.
Phonic knowledge is assessed using the Little Wandle phonics tracker, which clearly shows the gaps in graphemes. This then informs teacher’s planning and the organisation of phonic groups. Fluency is assessed using 1:1 reading opportunities and fluency assessments, which are carried out once a term. Alongside this, each class teacher will ask children to complete a written comprehension during each half term, which will also aid teacher’s reading assessment. Termly PIRA and Testbase progress tests are used to asses children from Y2 -Y6 in reading, punctuation, spelling and grammar. This provides staff with standardised scores and reading ages as well as being a useful diagnostic assessment to plan for next teaching steps.
Writing is assessed against the Curbar Milestone statements, which have been taken from the National Curriculum and a best fit judgement is made. Cross curricular writing will also be used to inform assessment. Writing assessment is validated using moderation resources and meetings.
Children’s progress in English is also assessed using nationally prescribed tests with the Phonics Screening test taking place at the end of Year 1 and children in Year 2 and Year 6 undertaking SATs tests in reading, spelling, punctuation and grammar and teacher assessment in writing. End of Key Stage Assessments are analysed by the Subject Lead and Head teacher and fed into the School Improvement Plan and performance management where appropriate.
Reporting to parents will occur annually in the form of a written report at the end of the year, and through termly Parent Consultation Meetings.
Please click on the English Milestones (progress steps) below:
Please click on link below:
At Curbar, we promote pupils’ SMSC development through English in the following ways: