English

Subject Leader: Mr Cooper

The teaching of English underpins so much of what we learn in school. Our minimum aim is that all pupils will reach age related expectations, or make at least expected progress from individual starting points in English. Whether it is writing skills, our first steps in reading, mastering higher level punctuation and grammar or developing comprehension skills; we have a unified approach to the delivery of English, achieved through a well-sequenced curriculum. Or skilled staff bring their own individuality to lessons and encourage and stimulate the imagination of their pupils; this is of course encouraged in all teaching and learning.

Teaching and Learning

English in school is taught discretely in English lessons, guided reading and phonics lessons. Skills in English are further developed within the creative cross-curriculum. It is a subject in its own right and the medium for teaching the whole curriculum: for pupils, understanding language provides access to the whole curriculum. Through being taught to write and speak fluently, pupils learn to communicate their ideas and emotions to others; through their reading and listening, others can communicate with them. Through reading in particular, pupils have a chance to develop culturally, emotionally, spiritually and socially. Literature, especially, plays a key role in such development, hence through our guided reading programme and the use of schemes such as the Power of Reading, children have the opportunity to explore whole-texts. All children are taught the skills required to be competent speakers, listeners, readers and writers.

We want our English curriculum to be meaningful for our pupils. Oaks Class wrote letters recently to support a grant application for a new wildlife garden and allotment area.

Combining Science with English - using our Wind in the Willows topic, we built boats, whilst learning about buoyancy. Pupils then wrote explanation texts about this.
Drama and performance opportunities deepen speaking and listening skills at Brough School.

Sequenced Learning

Speaking and Listening

Throughout the school, opportunities to develop pupil’s spoken language in a range of contexts underpins the development of reading and writing. Pupils are encouraged to speak clearly, confidently and with expression in order to communicate their ideas and feelings. They are taught to understand and use the conventions for discussion and debate. This begins in the early years, where children develop early communication and listening skills. It runs from year-to-year as pupils progress to speak with more confidence and to larger audiences. Listening time is increased and pupils are given more time to both discuss and debate as part of their learning.

Pupils develop their ability to explain their understanding of books and other reading, and to prepare their ideas before they write. They are encouraged to discuss their ideas in order to make sense of their learning.

Reading

We want all children in the school to be enthusiastic, confident and accomplished readers.

We believe that reading is the foundation of all learning. Pupils arrive in school with varying amounts of reading ability. Sequenced learning starts with a programme of systematic phonics, not following any particular scheme but drawing on many sources from education, to help children recognise sounds as letters or groups of letters. This is complimented by the development of word recognition, often using picture clues. Children's reading ability progresses through developing these skills alongside segmenting and blending skills and decoding skills - learning to recognise words from clues in a sentence or phrase.

As children progress through school they develop their comprehension skills. We operate a programme of guided reading sessions. Guided reading allows children not only to read books, chosen specifically for the children, but also to talk about them with their peers and with their teacher - to develop their understanding. Comprehension is also explored through the Reading with RIC scheme. Here children examine shorter extracts of text from both fiction and non-fiction genres to develop understanding and master inference skills.

Reading is encouraged at home through the use of reading records and the awarding of house points when completed. Children read and learn poetry in bespoke lessons. We perform and write plays, encouraging children to develop confidence and presentation skills. And of course, reading is used in so many other lessons and when utilising technology in school.

Evidence of sequenced learning in reading is contained within reading records. These show progress on things like book bands in early years. They then show understanding and development of phonic awareness through to word recognition then decoding, blending and segmenting skills. In Study Books, progress of comprehension can be seen not only in examples of our Reading with RIC scheme but also use of our First News comprehensions and other reading sources.

Writing

Our sequenced writing curriculum starts with the development of gross then fine motor skills in school. Children are encouraged to adopt an appropriate pencil grip and given opportunities to express themselves on paper and other media. In tandem with the early stages of reading, children are then taught to form letters and in turn words. Writing then begins to take off and children progress from word to sentence and eventually text level, exposing them to rules of punctuation, grammar and spelling that form the wonderful complexities of our rich language. Children are taught about fiction and non-fiction and the myriad genres within them. Writing is often done in bespoke English lessons but there is usually a cross-curricular element to it, alongside the need to teach specific grammar, punctuation and handwriting lessons.

Technology is often utilised in the development of writing skills, usually from the beginning of Key Stage 2. We want our children to be confident writers with a pen or pencil in their hands but we also want them to be equipped with the ability to type and express themselves appropriately using technology and online. We achieve both these things with a balanced approach to traditional writing skills and the use of technology in the classroom.

Evidence of sequenced writing is shown in Study Books, Grammar Scrapbooks and Spelling Records. Our Spelling records show a sequenced record of acquisition of spelling skills, from CVC words through to the understanding of spelling patterns and the learning of common exception words at different points in the curriculum. Grammar Scrapbooks show a sequenced acquisition of grammar knowledge and understanding in the year groups we use them. Our Study Books demonstrate sequencing of composition skills in fiction and non-fiction genres. Within our Study Books, Target Sheets show a sequenced set of targets that are tailored individually to each learner, to help them make progress in their writing skills. At the back of each Study Book, ‘pupil can’ statements assessing sequenced pieces of work, allow staff and children to see their progress against National Curriculum goals.

Endpoints

Through the use of the intent, implementation and impact approach below, we have designed an action plan that aims to achieve specific endpoints. By the end of Key Stage 1 pupils will have been given the opportunity to develop their reading, writing speaking and listening ability. They will have made progress in reading, from phonetic awareness through to word recognition coupled with blending and segmenting skills. Furthermore, pupils will have been given the tools to start to develop comprehension in reading. Writers will have made progress towards achieving end of Key Stage targets. They will have developed skills in handwriting, grammar, punctuation, grammar and composition, having had opportunities to write in many fiction and non-fiction genres. Children will have started to be able to speak with confidence about their learning and their lives whilst developing an appreciation of what it means to listen, not just to their learning opportunities but also to the views and experiences of each other.

We want children to be able to express themselves by the end of Key Stage 2. We also want them to possess the skills in English not just to allow them to succeed in secondary school but as future skills for life. Pupils will have made progress from Key Stage 1 to Key Stage 2 in their reading, writing, speaking and listening skills. This will ideally be to the expected national standard but for those children not meeting the standard by the end of Key Stage 1 we want pupils to have made more than expected progress towards the expected standard at Key Stage 2. Children will have developed a love for reading. They will be developing into confident speakers and will be able to listen to their teachers as keen learners and their peers with interest and encouragement. Children will know and understand the importance of being able to write in both fiction and non-fiction genres, developing expressive skills and important presentation life skills respectively.

Subject Action Plan

Recommended book lists: below you will find a set of recommended book lists for all year groups. The reading of quality, age-appropriate texts is a must for children. Please use these independently compiled lists to aid in your selection of books for your children: