English

The Curriculum at Lord Blyton Primary School

The Intent, implementation and Impact of our Curriculum – English.

Intent

At Lord Blyton Primary School, English and the teaching of English is the foundation of our curriculum. Our main aim is to ensure every single child becomes primary literate and progresses in the areas of reading, writing, speaking and listening. 

Staff at Lord Blyton feel it is essential to highlight and be aware of the differing groups of learners and vulnerable children in their class.  Once this information is acquired, teachers can plan and teach personalised English lessons which focus on the particular needs of each child.  We recognise that each child has their own starting point upon entry to every year group and progress is measured in line with these starting points to ensure every child can celebrate success.

English at Lord Blyton will not only be a daily discrete lesson, but is at the cornerstone of the entire curriculum.  It is embedded within all our lessons and we will strive for a high level of English for all.  Through using high-quality texts, immersing children in vocabulary rich learning environments and ensuring new curriculum expectations and the progression of skills are met, the children at Lord Blyton will be exposed to a language heavy, creative and continuous English curriculum where reading and writing are intrinsically linked.   This will not only enable them to become primary literate but will also develop a love of reading, creative writing and purposeful speaking and listening.

At Lord Blyton, our vision is for creativity to be at the helm of our English curriculum and for children to learn new skills in a fun and engaging way.

Implementation

With these aims in mind and to provide consistency in our phonic teaching to further improve results, from September 2019 Lord Blyton began to follow the Sounds Write approach to teaching phonics in EYFS, KS1 and for those children who required further phonic intervention in KS2. We also revamped our library provision, emphasising reading for pleasure and providing our children with new, up to date reading books written by modern as well as traditional authors.

Reading

We have a systematic, synthetic approach to teaching phonics in EYFS and KS1 following the Sounds Write programme.  We place great importance on speaking and listening in our Early Years and we follow Phase One of Letters and Sounds  in our Nursery provision.  We focus on sound discrimination, rhythm, rhyme, oral blending and segmenting, sound talk and enhancing our children’s vocabulary.

We follow a text-based learning approach during English lessons.  Core Texts have been chosen for each year group but there is scope for change if necessary. KS1 usually use one copy of a text whilst sitting on the carpet area, whilst KS2 have class sets of the text wherever possible. A wide range of effective questioning will be used during class discussions to challenge, probe and extend children’s understanding and learning. We analyze the text either responding in writing or completing some explicit vocabulary teaching using words from the text.  Teachers model writing objectives during whole class teaching and Guided writing sessions will be used to meet specific objectives for individuals or groups. Opportunities will be provided to reflect and edit their work whilst drafting – teachers gauge when these times are best. Opportunities will be given to act on marking. In years 1 – 6 teaching will take place as a daily lesson but in Foundation Stage elements may be taught throughout the day.  High standards and general English subject knowledge will be reinforced continually throughout all subjects.

Spellings are to be taught in separate spelling sessions but also continuously throughout the school day.  All children are to be taught their year group word list, whilst also revising previous year’s lists.  Through Sounds Write lessons in KS1 and spelling sessions in KS2, children are to be taught their year groups spelling patterns.  We have additional streamed Sounds Write intervention for children where extra support is required throughout KS1 and 2 (e.g. those children who did not pass the Year One phonics screening test or the resit in Year 2).

Handwriting

All children in EYFS are taught to hold a pencil correctly and form all letters correctly. All children from Reception onwards are taught to use the pre-cursive handwriting script following the Twinkl handwriting programme.  All letters start from the same entry point on the line and the pencil should not leave the page for each word.   From year 2, children are expected to join up their writing.   All staff should model the handwriting cursive script when they write for any purpose within the classroom.  All children should be expected to write in this style of handwriting whenever they write, in all subjects.  From Summer term in Reception the children are to use English books containing tramlined handwriting paper.  This will continue throughout Years 1 and 2 and until the children are forming their letters correctly (ascenders and descenders correctly formed).  Children will then progress onto normal lined English books when their handwriting and presentation is at the expected standard for their age.

Writing including Grammar, Punctuation and Spelling

In line with the new national curriculum, we ensure that each year group is teaching the explicit grammar, punctuation and spelling objectives required for that age group.  As well as teaching the objectives, teachers are able to embed the skills throughout the year in cross-curricular writing opportunities and aim for all children to achieve the objectives at the expected level and that some children can achieve at a greater depth standard.  In this sense, assessment of writing is also more fluid as teachers can assess against a set framework.  All year groups use the same format for assessing writing, reading and GPS which have been produced in line with the end of Key Stage assessment frameworks as published by the Department for Education.  We record our assessments and track progress on our ITrack system.

In order to expose children to a variety of genres which helps to utilise and embed the writing skills, teachers use a variety of recommended texts to plan, structure and teach their English lessons.  This plan is designed to show progress, teach the pertinent year group objectives, apply and consolidate these skills and develop vocabulary.  Writing is taught through the use of a quality text, which exposes the children to inference, high-level vocabulary, a range of punctuation and characterisation.  Each text is purposefully selected in order to promote a love of reading, engagement and high quality writing from each child.

Speaking and Listening

By the time our pupils leave Lord Blyton we aim for our children to be confident, fluent speakers who are able to use a wide range of adventurous and ambitious vocabulary in the correct context.  We aim for our pupils to give well-structured descriptions, explanations, presentations and narratives for different purposes, including for expressing feelings.  Our pupils will make reference back to their original thoughts when their opinions have changed and give reasons for their change of focus. They will maintain attention and participate actively in collaborative conversations, staying on topic and initiating and responding to comments with confidence.  They will be able to consider and evaluate different viewpoints, adding their own interpretations and building on the contributions of others.

We aim for our pupils to become good listeners who can follow instructions and ask and answer sensible questions in all lessons.

Teaching and Learning in English at Lord Blyton Primary

Our teaching and learning strategy in English at Lord Blyton School is based upon the 2014 National Curriculum for English.  We teach children by year groups, although we do differentiate tasks to suit pupils who are working below age-related expectations.  This will enable those pupils to develop basic skills, as well as their confidence and independence at a more manageable pace.  We have also identified those pupils who would benefit from additional English support and they follow interventions such as Boo Baskets in Nursery, REAL project, Colourful Semantics and Talk Boost in Nursery, Blast in Nursery and Reception, Project X, Lexia, Reading Eggs, One to One reading and phonic support and Listening Skills.

Reading is not only celebrated in classrooms at Lord Blyton, around school you will find displays which celebrate authors, children’s favourite books and children’s work based upon texts. In addition, throughout the school year the importance of reading is enhanced through World Book Day, author and poet visits, parent reading workshops and a range of trips and visits which enrich and complement children’s learning.

As we believe consistency and well-taught English is the core of a valuable education, at Lord Blyton we ensure that the teaching of reading and writing is purposeful, robust and shows clear progression for all children. 

Impact

The impact on our children is clear: progress, sustained learning and transferrable skills.  We aim that by the end of KS2 all of our children have made considerable progress from their starting points in EYFS.  With the implementation of the writing journey (including mastering of the Phonic Code) being well established and taught thoroughly in both key stages, our children are becoming more confident writers.  By the time they are in upper Key Stage 2, all genres of writing are familiar to them and teaching can focus on creativity, writer’s craft, sustained writing and manipulation of grammar and punctuation skills.

Our children also become more confident, fluent readers and they realise the importance of reading for pleasure along with reading for information and knowledge. 

As all aspects of English are an integral part of the curriculum, cross curricular writing standards have also improved and skills taught in the English lesson are transferred into other subjects; this shows consolidation of skills, progression and a deeper understanding of how and when to use specific grammar, punctuation and grammar objectives.  We hope that as children move on from us to further their education and learning that their creativity, passion for English and high aspirations travel with them and continue to grow and develop as they do.