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Becket Primary School

English 

At Becket Primary School, we aim to ensure that a high-quality English education is provided for all children.

Speaking, Reading and Writing enables a foundation for understanding the world and being able to communicate effectively within it. We expect that pupils will be able to speak, read and write fluently.

Spoken language underpins the development of reading and writing and so from an early age children are expected to develop their communication skills involving receptive language and expressive language.

We want pupils to understand spoken language (receptive language) through giving attention, interpreting non-verbal communication, listening and remembering. This leads on to understanding words (semantics), sentence structure (syntax) and the literal and non-literal meaning of words.

We want pupils to develop spoken language (expressive language) through having ideas and deciding what to say, choose words (semantics), plan words in a sentence (grammar), consider the impact of the communication on others and modify the message. This results in the selection and articulation of sounds which enables children to speak fluently and self-monitor.

As children move through the school, we intend to extend their sentences through the developing use of sentence stems, modelled and prompted by the adults in school. We want pupils to speak clearly, confidently and fluently within small and large groups.

We aim to broaden children’s vocabulary to enhance their ability to describe, explain and express themselves and to ask and answer questions about what they are learning.

In reading we intend to teach the children phonic skills which are needed to decode text, comprehension skills which are needed to understand what they are reading and to develop ‘reading for fun’ where children are motivated to read and enjoy a wide variety of quality texts from a range of authors. The children will use and apply their reading skills to access other areas of the curriculum to extend their knowledge and understanding further.

In writing we will teach pupils the tools of writing including accurate use of spelling, grammar and a clear and fluent handwriting style. We want our pupils to understand that writing is also a tool for communication through which their voice and ideas can be heard. In our ‘Talk for Writing’ curriculum a progression of composition skills is taught modelled on a range of quality fiction and non-fiction texts. Where possible, pupils will write purposefully for an audience.

In all areas of English, we intend to extend the children’s understanding and use of a wide range of vocabulary using quality texts and the explicit teaching of ‘Tier 2 vocabulary.

By the time pupils leave our school, they will have developed their skills so that they are confident speakers, can write accurately and fluently for a variety of purposes and audiences. They will enjoy reading and be able to read confidently and fluently so that they can access the curriculum of secondary school.

Curriculum Implementation Speaking and listening

The development of ‘Communication and Language’ is a priority in the Foundation Stage supported by providing a language rich environment.  Through Elklan Language training, staff supply a consistent approach to the development of language through adult led and continuous provision play activities.

An overarching language focus along with key nouns, verbs and concepts in each learning area are taught by all staff. Adult-child interaction is maximised by staff modelling language and commenting, repeating, expanding, explaining, minimising questions and using sentence stems. 

Children are taught new vocabulary following the Word Aware approach. The ‘Goldilocks words’ are used consistently along with the written word and Communication in Print symbol and shared with parents.  Adult led activities promoting language include News, Show and Tell, R-Time, singing and stories.

Children who need extra support access interventions including EAL groups, Early Talk Boost (Nursery) and Language Link (Reception). Language Link groups are continued into Year 1.  The play-based, language rich environment is essential along with these adult led sessions. Speech Link is also used if required and staff work closely with Speech and Language Therapists following individual programmes with children and families.

The physical environment and the routine of the day is maximised  and staff have recently achieved the ‘Communication Friendly Setting Award’.

Through Key stage 1 and 2  speaking and listening skills are developed through a range of opportunities including sharing ideas with ‘Talk Partners’, groups and whole class . R Time develops positive strategies for developing empathy and listening skills. There is an expectation that all pupils will participate in speaking activities and the use of ‘Thinking Time’ and stem sentences support this.

The modelling of correct spoken grammar is used by teaching staff and the use of story maps in ‘Talk for Writing’ enables all pupils to engage with and learn the structure of different story genres.

Through drama, pupils experiment with expression through the roles and scenarios that are explored, and they have opportunities to learn and perform a range of performance poetry.

The use of precise vocabulary is encouraged to engage the listener and help the children to be clear and concise.

Pupils with English as an Additional Language (EAL) are assessed on entry to ascertain their level of English language acquisition. Dependent on need the children are immersed into the classroom and/or provided with a structured teaching programme to acquire basic vocabulary. If needed children have access to a structured programme of ‘Teaching Children with EAL’ and all staff have agreed top ten strategies for supporting pupils with EAL. Additional inputs which promote fluency include ‘Talk Boost’, ‘Speak well wheel’, ‘Colourful Semantics’ and ‘Word Aware.

Curriculum Implementation Reading

Pre – phonics and Phonics is taught daily in Foundation Stage and throughout Key Stage 1 following the Letters and Sounds programme supported with resources including Phonics Play and Smart Kids Letters and sounds. Pupils are assessed on a half termly basis using ‘Phonics Tracker’ which then informs teaching and groupings. Provision is made for pupils in Year 2 who did not pass the phonics screening check in Year 1. This is through additional daily input.

EYFS have shared story session daily. New vocabulary is pre-taught and lessons focus on comprehension strategies and application of phonics to read a variety of texts. There are reading areas in Nursery and Reception and focus books pertinent to each area of learning are discussed with the children and available for them to use. There is a listening station available and the story bell indicates a time when an adult will be reading a story to a group and the ‘Book Fairy’ regularly delivers new books for the children to enjoy.

Key Stage 1 and 2 are taught explicit comprehension strategies – VIPERS (Vocabuary, Inference, Prediction, Explain, Retrieve, Summarise) through shared reading activities. A range of resources are used including Cracking Comprehension, Literacy Shed and Text Marker.

Reading non-negotiables in each class include; teaching the comprehension strategies, vocabulary, the use of book banded books, whole class reads, shared reading sessions, swap boxes in classrooms, wide variety of reading materials and ‘Speed Read’ sessions. When reading any text, staff will focus upon pre-teaching Tier 2 vocabulary and children are encouraged to find out the meaning of new and unfamiliar words.

Children complete one to one reading on a regular basis (most frequently for children with additional needs) and are encouraged to read at home. Reading books are book banded and staff regularly complete running records to ensure that pupils are reading material at the correct instructional level. Parents are invited to attend reading workshops so they know how to support their child at home. 

In reading, resources used across the school include reading records, book banded stem questions and Reading Detective books.

Reading assessment takes place termly in the form of PiRA / NfER tests and through running records which inform the book band that pupils are given. Pupils with additional needs are supported through a range of interventions which may take place on a one-to-one basis or within small groups. Additional input includes: ‘Precision teaching’, ‘Switched On Reading’ and ‘Fresh Start in Reading’. All of these programmes have longitudinal results which show accelerated progress. More able children are given the opportunity to discuss a wider variety of books and authors by taking part in the Reading Gladiators scheme. This is targeted at Year 4 and Year 6.

‘Reading for Fun’ is promoted throughout the school via newly developed Key Stage 1 and 2 library areas and through weekly book recommendation assemblies. Stories are read during a weekly assembly and children are invited to take part in Key Stage 2 book club.

Other areas of the curriculum are often accessed through reading comprehension tasks and opportunities for writing are often in response to topic questions, trips and enhancements.

Curriculum Implementation Writing

In Foundation Stage the early writing skills are taught through the learning areas outside and inside; particularly the gross physical skills outside and the fine motor skills in the Funky Fingers, play-dough and malleable areas inside. ‘Dough Disco’, ‘Squiggle While You Wriggle’ and ‘Strengthening Minds Strengthening Muscles’ programmes are used along with finger rhymes and writing activities. In addition to Talk for Writing, children write for a purpose in the different learning areas during their play activities.  Children are taught individually and in small groups letter formation and handwriting line guides using the Martin Harvey scheme.  Children in Reception are taught the Rainbow Grammar Scheme through stories. Parents support with the Funky Fingers Home Activities booklet and resources.

In Key stage One and Two writing is taught through ‘Talk for Writing’ whereby each year group covers a range of genres. These are planned out over the year to ensure that a range of genres are covered in each year group and that they are revisited to ensure progression in skills. Story maps are used to allow pupils to internalise texts which they can then innovate and use agreed toolkits to create their own independent pieces of writing.

Writing non-negotiables include; Read, Write Inc. spelling programme from Year 2 upwards, weekly handwriting sessions using the Martin Harvey scheme, following the Rainbow Grammar scheme, use of agreed handwriting line guides and use of Story Maps in Talk for Writing.

Pupils are provided with a pen from Year 4 upwards. They use word books and dictionaries as well as thesauruses to support spelling and vocabulary. Drafting books are used in KS2 with a strong emphasis placed on independent editing.

Assessment grids are completed at the end of every term which combined with teacher observation, provides each pupil with an assessment. Writing targets are then generated for the children to work towards in the following term. Examples of quality pieces of writing are celebrated through displays around the school and also our ‘Golden Work’ book.