English

Intent

At Sevenoaks Primary School we believe that the English curriculum is the foundation for a range of key life skills.  Through a diverse and exciting variety of learning experiences, we will equip the children with the skills and knowledge that will enable them to communicate effectively and creatively through spoken and written language.  We are passionate about the importance of developing confident, independent and literate learners and aim to develop the skills of every child to the highest level.  Reading is a skill essential for life and it is vital that our children leave school as fluent and confident readers.  We want all children to use reading as a doorway of discovery, both to knowledge and enjoyment.  We understand that a good grasp of English underpins the entire curriculum and that children who are confident and adept readers and writers will be empowered to succeed in all other areas.  Hence we have designed a curriculum to provide high quality reading and writing experiences in all areas of learning.

We will deliver an English curriculum that:

  • Develops a life-long love of reading for purpose and pleasure in all children.
  • Has its foundations in the ability to express ideas clearly both verbally and in writing.
  • Is progressive in the development of all literacy skills, including spelling and grammar.
  • Provides the opportunities for children to write creatively and with purpose and to see this as an evolving process.
  • Has a strong emphasis on high quality vocabulary.

Progression in writing

Click on the units below to view the attached Knowledge Organiser for that area.

  

Implementation

PhonicsPhase 3 - 100 Book Challenge

Our English curriculum follows a high quality text-based approach, immersing children in a range of engaging and stimulating texts.  This exposes all of our children to a rich, varied and challenging vocabulary and provides exciting and stimulating reading and writing opportunities.  Wherever possible these texts are selected to link with learning themes providing high quality reading and writing opportunities across the curriculum.

Reading

Phonics

At Sevenoaks Primary School we are committed to giving children the best possible start on their reading and writing journey by teaching them the essential phonological/phonemic skills and knowledge to decode (read) and encode (spell) words independently from the outset.

We follow the Letters and Sounds progression via the Little Wandle scheme, an exciting and interactive program which is highly appealing for children and also gives plenty of opportunity to engage and inform parents, who often play a particularly important role at the start of their child’s English learning journey. Learning is fast paced and progressive, with continuous assessment to ensure that children are learning at a challenging rate and are quickly provided extra support where needed.

Following the Little Wandle program, children are involved in regular reading practice sessions, which cover decoding, prosody (expression) and comprehension.  Once they have completed the Little Wandle program, children continue with group guided reading sessions from Y2 and on into KS2. Teachers follow the National Curriculum requirements alongside VIPERS (Vocabulary, Inference, Prediction, Explanation, Retrieval, Summary/Sequence) question stems to develop the key reading skills and comprehension strategies.

All classrooms are text rich environments and children are read with, and to, on a daily basis.  We also have a termly ‘Big Book Days’ (6 times per year) where the whole school immerse themselves in the same book for the day, following a whole range of themes across the year. 

Once children have developed sufficient reading fluency, they will move on to ‘Free Reading’ where teachers will use their extensive knowledge to guide appropriate choices.  From Y4 to Y6 children have the opportunity to choose from our 100 book challenge texts – a bespoke selection of high-quality varied books, which are roughly colour coded to assist selection.

Writing opportunities are many and varied across the school, based on the high quality class text.  Early writers are given frequent and varied opportunities to develop their mark making and early writing skills through both teacher-led learning and child initiated activities.  As writing skills progress, grammar appropriate to the task is identified by the teacher using our ‘Writing Progression’ documents and where possible is taught alongside the writing task.  Each year group’s writing progression document carefully outlines the learning that will be introduced and revisited to support the development of creative, exciting and technically accurate writing skills.  Once children have mastered their phonics learning, they move on to learn common spelling patterns and rules as outlined in the National Curriculum. 

Working walls are a strong feature in all classrooms reflecting the current learning focus and children use them actively as a reference point and prompt for their writing.  In addition, teachers use bespoke scaffolds to ensure all children can access the writing task.

Feedback is a highly valued tool in our teaching of writing and from a young age, children are taught the skills of proof-reading and editing their own work.  They use immediate oral feedback or response to teacher marking to further improve the standard of their writing.

Impact

  • Children are articulate and confident to express their ideas verbally in a range of contexts.
  • Children leave Sevenoaks Primary with a life-long love of reading.
  • Children show through many and varied experiences a high level of skill in expressing themselves in writing that is well-structured, clear and technically accurate.

To assess the impact of teaching in Reading and Writing, teachers use the age-related expectations of the National Curriculum, which are detailed in clear statements in the Target Tracker assessment and tracking package used across the school. In Early Years, phonics assessments every six weeks allow teachers to match accurately the correct phonics reading book for every child.  In Early Years writing, termly independent writing tasks are moderated internally to ensure consistency of judgements across the phase.

In Y1-6, teachers also meet regularly to look at books across their year group to moderate writing against the age-related expectations ensuring judgements are accurate, and to identify next steps to move children on. 

Formative assessment of reading is on-going and frequent.  Teachers use the age-related expectations to plan and assess their daily group guided reading lessons.  In addition, Y2 and Y6 use standardised assessment tests to monitor progress in comprehension and Y3-5 complete NFER comprehension assessments three times each year to identify areas needing greater focus.

Teaching of English is also monitored regularly through book scrutiny, learning walks and lesson observations.  From these, constructive feedback is given and professional development delivered as appropriate.  Book scrutiny shows the profound impact of our strong marking and feedback in promoting children’s progress and also evidences the level of challenge offered to all abilities.  We highly value ‘Pupil Voice’ as a further means to evaluate the impact of teaching in English on pupil’s learning.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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