At Gawsworth Primary School, we believe that a quality English curriculum should develop children’s love of reading, writing and discussion. We believe that a secure basis in literacy skills is crucial to a high-quality education as it underpins the work undertaken in all areas of the curriculum and will give our children the tools they need to participate fully as a member of society. Confidence in basic language skills enables children to communicate creatively and imaginatively, preparing them for their future journey through education and beyond. The acquisition of language skills is of the upmost importance to us here at Gawsworth and therefore the teaching of all aspects English is given a high priority within school. As far as possible, English is taught in a cross-curricular way, linking up with other areas of the curriculum.
We value reading as a key life skill and are dedicated to inspiring an appreciation of our rich and varied literary heritage and a habit of reading widely and often. Evidence suggests that children who read for enjoyment every day not only perform better in reading tests than those who don’t, but also develop a broader vocabulary, increased general knowledge and a better understanding of other cultures.
In addition, we aim is for children to become fluent readers by the end of Key Stage One through the teaching of systematic phonics. This way, children can focus on developing their fluency and comprehension as they move through the school.
Our pupils learn to read effectively and quickly using Read Write Inc, a systematic synthetic phonics based programme.
Phonics is taught daily to all children in Foundation Stage and Year 1. In year 2, children access a balance of phonics and spelling based on their individual needs. They revisit and revise the Stage 3 sounds and when they are ready, they begin the RWI Get Spelling programme.
Children are assessed every half term by the class teacher and re-grouped according to this outcome. Reading groups are fluid to ensure all children are appropriately supported and challenged.
Teaching and progress in phonics is continually monitored by the English Subject Leader and the Key Stage 1 co-ordinator.
Reading for Pleasure
Throughout the year, events are planned to promote reading for pleasure throughout school. These events include World Book Day, local library visits/library van, author visits, Mystery Reader sessions in EYFS and Year 1, Summer Reading Challenges at local libraries and our ‘Eleven by Eleven’ reading challenge for Years 5 and 6. Reading for pleasure is at the heart of our curriculum and is promoted throughout all subjects.
Quality Story Time
Here at Gawsworth, we recognise that quality story time is an integral part of the teaching day and is an important tool to enhance language development and the love of stories.
In EYFS and Key stage 1, children take part in guided reading sessions daily as part of their RWI programme. In LKS2, children participate in guided reading sessions once a week and in UKS2, the children participate in whole class reading discussions/comprehension lessons every week.
Reading at Home
Children are required to read from their assigned reading books for a minimum of 20 minutes per day in KS2 and daily in KS1. In EYFS and Year 1, in addition to their home reading books, children are also equipped with ‘Practical Phonic Packs’, to support them in learning to read the National Curriculum high frequency words and practise their developing phonic skills. All children enjoy books that are matched to their reading ability.
Primarily, we use Read, Write, Inc as our main reading scheme in EYFS and KS1. We also use a variety of different reading schemes to supplement RWI and provide variety and an added challenge. These include Oxford Reading Tree, Usborne, Songbirds and Collins Big Cat. Children work through our reading scheme until they become “free readers”
Regardless of background, ability or additional needs, by the time children leave Gawsworth, they will have the skills to decode words in order to be able to read fluently with a secure understanding of what they have read.
Children will be enthusiastic and motivated readers who are confident and will enjoy reading a wide variety of genres and text types. The will be inspired by literature and will read for pleasure.
Children will use their reading skills as a key tool in helping them to learn and, as a result, know more, remember more and understand more.
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 intend for pupils to be able to plan, revise and evaluate their writing. To be able to do this effectively, pupils will focus on developing effective transcription and effective composition. They will also develop an awareness of the audience, purpose and context, and an increasingly wide knowledge of vocabulary and grammar.
We believe that children’s self-esteem and pride in their work can be raised by good quality presentation and to that end we strive for our children to form correct letter formations, joining and good handwriting habits so that they can write fluently and legibly by the end of KS2.
In teaching writing, we incorporate many aspects of the Talk for Writing process.
In EYFS and Year 1, children are encouraged to learn texts by heart using story maps and actions before innovating upon them and then applying more independent changes to the model until they can invent stories.
From Year 2 upwards, teachers continue to incorporate many elements of the Talk for Writing process into their teaching such as using a challenging model text, reading as a reader and a writer, developing toolkits and boxing up.
In KS2, teachers also begin to incorporate other programmes into their teaching of writing including IPEELL for planning non-fiction texts, DASH for structuring short-burst descriptive writing and Alan Peat’s Exciting Sentences, Rainbow Writing and Rainbow Grammar to improve sentence structure.
All teachers use shared and modelled writing to teach writing.
As far as possible writing is completed under the banner of the topic in order that writing is meaningful and purposeful.
Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar
Grammar, Punctuation and Spelling strategies are taught explicitly in interactive and investigative sessions.
In KS1, children learn spelling largely through their daily phonic sessions and through the use of RWI Get Spelling in Year 2. In KS2, children are taught spelling through discrete sessions based on the Schofield and Sims Spelling books. They also practise learning words from the statutory word lists each day using a range of strategies from the Babcock No Nonsense Spelling scheme such as Look, Say, Cover, Write, Check, word pyramids, inventing mnemonics. Pupils are taught to recognise which strategies they can use to improve their own spelling and they are encouraged to apply learnt strategies to their independent writing. As they become more confident, children are encouraged to check spellings using a dictionary and to expand their vocabulary using the thesaurus.
Grammar and punctuation is taught discreetly through specific lessons and it is also embedded within the English teaching sequence. This means, grammar and punctuation skills and knowledge are built into a sequence of preparatory work which is then applied within longer pieces of writing at the end of the teaching sequence.
Children are introduced to cursive style writing from early years. This is taught with a sequential and progressive approach with teachers and TAs modelling the handwriting style.
Each aim is considered equally important:
To teach children to write with a flowing hand which is legible, swift and pleasant to look at.
To enable children to develop their own style of handwriting as they progress through Key Stage 2.
To support the development of correct spelling and to aid in the elimination of letter reversals by the learning of word patterns and the correct joining of letters.
To ensure that children of differing abilities are provided with appropriate and achievable goals.
To assist children in taking pride with the presentation of their work.
To teach correct letter formation.
To appreciate handwriting as an art form.
To display excellent examples of handwriting in every classroom and around the school.
During lessons, we ensure that children sit, position their paper/book and hold their pen/pencil correctly using their other hand to hold their work firmly. It is important that in the Early Years and at Key Stage 1, children are observed closely during the lesson to ensure that letter formation is correct and corrected if needed. In addition to specific handwriting lessons children are expected to apply their learning in their exercise books and to show care for the presentation of their work.
Regardless of background, ability or additional needs, by the time children leave Gawsworth, they will be able to produce written work in all areas of the curriculum which will evidence at least good progress from their last point of statutory assessment.
Children will use their writing skills as a key tool in helping them to learn and, as a result, know more, remember more and understand more.
Good speaking and listening skills underpin the development of reading and writing and is vital for pupils' development across all aspects of the school curriculum as well as debate. 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 provide children with a wide range of opportunities to hear and use good quality vocabulary, focusing also on variety. Children are encouraged to ask questions, discuss in pairs and groups and to use conventions for discussion.
Talk for Writing
Through the Primary Writing Project, all teachers have been trained in Talk for Writing and incorporate many aspects of this programme into their teaching.
Each term, all classes prepare and deliver an assembly to pupils, staff and parents
Performances – Christmas, Rose Queen
Opportunities for drama are sought throughout the curriculum as it is recognised that the skills that are developed through this medium are unique. Drama is often used as a stimulus for other subject areas and/or to inspire writing. The children also gain experiences through watching visiting theatre groups and be participating in workshops.
Regardless of background, ability or additional needs, by the time children leave Gawsworth, they will be able to communicate, discuss and debate with confidence