Intent: Our vision for English
English is at the heart of our teaching and learning and is essential to unlocking children’s potential in all areas of the curriculum. At St. Teresa’s our vision is to shape our children to become leaders of tomorrow. We want all children to be confident, capable and independent in reading, writing and oracy to aid their success in all aspects of their life. We aspire to instill a lifelong love of literacy for all pupils by developing and nurturing their skills from the EYFS to Year 6.
Implementation: How we teach English
Our English curriculum is designed to ignite every child’s passion for reading and writing and promotes language development equipping children with effective oral communication skills.
At St Teresa’s our curriculum provides pupils with opportunities to be fluent, confident readers. We promote a culture of reading across all subjects effectively developing children’s knowledge and comprehension skills.
We value working in partnership with parents and the significant impact they have on their child’s success as readers. In the Nursery pupils take home books from the class library. In Reception and KS1 pupils take home reading books from our phonics programme, ‘Sounds-Write’ and from a selection of banded books. In KS2 pupils continue to take home banded reading books and books from their class library. We use creative ways to promote reading with all pupils being members of the ‘St. T’s’ 100 book club. KS2 pupils form a lunchtime book club. Texts read in class are often closely linked with our topic based curriculum to ensure strong cross curricular links are fostered.
Reading is not only celebrated in classrooms and in our school library at St Teresa’s, around the school you will find displays which celebrate authors, pupil’s favourite books and pupil’s work based upon texts. In addition, throughout the school year the importance of reading is enhanced through World Book Day, author visits, a bedtime reading event, parent reading workshops and a range of trips and visits which enrich and complement children’s learning.
At St Teresa’s, teachers promote writing and look for ways to inspire and motivate pupils so that they see themselves as ‘writers’. Teachers establish the purpose and audience for writing and make teaching objectives explicit to pupils so they know why they are studying a particular text type, the kind of writing activities they need to undertake and what the expected outcome will be.
All National Curriculum requirements of grammar, spelling, vocabulary, literary language and composition are embedded leading towards a variety of purposeful and exciting shorter, longer and extended writing outcomes where the audience and purpose is clear.
Subject-specific texts that link to work being undertaken in our topic based curriculum are used in literacy lessons to support the wider curriculum. Teachers use shared writing to model the writing process. Shared writing provide a context for discussion and demonstration of grammatical features at word level, sentence level and text level. Activities are differentiated through the use of writing frames, spelling banks, collaborative work and peer or adult support. Teachers encourage ‘talk for writing’ as an integral part of the process.
Children develop their handwriting as they progress through school - from initial mark-making in Early Years. At St. Teresa’s we are very proud of our pupil’s handwriting and take particular care in our cursive/joined-up handwriting style. We use Letter-join as the basis of our handwriting policy that covers all the requirements of the National Curriculum. As a catalyst for speedy handwriting we encourage parents and carers to use the Letter-join resources at home. A consistently high standard of handwriting is expected across the school in order to foster a sense of pride and respect in work.
At St. Teresa’s we want all children to become confident, capable and independent readers and writers. We recognise the importance of high quality phonics teaching in aiding children to develop their proficiency in reading and writing. We teach phonics using the government validated ‘Sounds-Write’ programme.
Our phonics teaching starts in the Nursery. We teach ‘Letters and Sounds: Phase 1’ effectively preparing children for phonics teaching in Reception by developing their speaking and listening skills.
In Reception, we start the ‘Sounds-Write’ programme by teaching the Initial Code. Children learn all single letter sounds and double consonant sounds e.g. /ch/, /sh/ and /th/. Children develop competency in the skills of segmenting and blending to decode words containing sounds they have learnt.
In Key Stage 1, children deepen their sound knowledge by learning the Extended Code. Children learn that sounds can be written in more than one way e.g. aim, play, cake and great. They learn one spelling can represent multiple sounds e.g. <ea> represents /ae/ in great, /e/ in head and /ee/ in dream. Alongside the Extended Code, children study the Polysyllabic Code. These are words with more than one syllable e.g. window, fantastic.
In Key Stage 2, pupils develop competency in spellings using the principles of the Polysyllabic Code. Where necessary we effectively plan intervention sessions for pupils who need to catch-up with their phonic knowledge.
Spellings are taught using a ‘Sounds-Write’ approach. Pupils in KS1 and KS2 are given spellings to learn at home each week.
At St. Teresa’s oracy is central to the curriculum. Oracy teaching starts when pupils enter our school in the EYFS, with Communication and Language being a prime area of learning in Nursery and Reception. In KS1 and KS2 oracy underpins our curriculum in all subjects. We develop and encourage children’s speaking and listening skills through a wide variety of exciting learning opportunities, including, ‘Wow’ experiences to introduce new topics, participating in discussion and debate, purposeful playtimes and taking part in school performances and assemblies.
The impact of our English Curriculum is that children leave St Teresa’s with the ability to read and write with confidence, and with a passion for literature. We strive to ensure that our children’s attainment is in line or exceeds their potential when we consider the varied starting points of all our children. 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. Our pupils become confident, fluent speakers who are able to use a wide range of adventurous and ambitious vocabulary in the correct context. 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.
- Pupils have extensive experience of listening to, sharing and discussing a wide range of high-quality books with the teacher, other adults and each other to engender a love of reading at the same time as they are reading independently.
- St Teresa’s provide library facilities and set ambitious expectations for reading at home.
- Pupils develop the stamina and skills to write at length, with accurate spelling and punctuation
- Pupils become more familiar with and confident in using language in a greater variety of situations, for a variety of audiences and purposes, including through drama, formal presentations and debate.
At St Teresa’s we believe that diversity is a strength which should be respected and celebrated by all those who learn, teach and visit us. We provide all our pupils with the opportunity to succeed and to reach the highest level of personal achievement. We do this by:
- Ensuring equality of access for all pupils and preparing them for life in a diverse society
- Using materials that reflect the diversity of the school, population and local community without stereotyping
- Literacy Intervention groups for SEN pupils focusing on reading, writing and phonics
- Providing opportunities for pupils to appreciate their own culture and celebrate the diversity of other cultures often through displays
- Utilising teaching approaches, including intervention groups, appropriate for the whole school population which are inclusive and reflective of our pupils.
Our Communities and Families
At St Teresa’s we are dedicated to building strong partnerships with families and communities using the school’s website, social media and other forms of communication. We organise school events including workshops and the annual bedtime read for parents and learners to share and extend their understanding of how to support their child’s literacy skills. At St Teresa’s we provide volunteering opportunities for the many enrichment activities. St Teresa’s welcomes community organizations and invites them to participate and share their knowledge and resources. We invite parents and carers to come into school and read with children or take part in activities in the school setting.