At Crofton Junior School, our English curriculum promotes high standards of language and literacy which enables all of our pupils to communicate effectively and to appreciate the richness, magic and power of the written word. We endeavour to develop a life-long love of literature through our text-centred approach to teaching English and through widespread reading for enjoyment. Through this approach, and reading in particular, pupils have a chance to develop culturally, emotionally, intellectually, socially and spiritually, which is in-line with our overall curriculum drivers: Nurture, Respect, Inspire. We strongly believe that developing all of these skills through our English curriculum are essential, life-long skills that will equip our pupils for everyday life, both now and in the future.
We follow the Primary National Curriculum for all aspects of our English curriculum and we therefore aim to:
- recognise the need for all pupils to speak, read and write Standard English fluently and accurately while acknowledging that a pupil's own dialect, or other language is of prime importance;
- teach children to read easily, fluently and with good understanding, for both pleasure and to gain information;
- acquire a wide vocabulary that they can use to articulate their points of view and within their own writing;
-ensure that children master the basic skills of writing, including – grammar, spelling, handwriting and punctuation skills, so that they can communicate precisely and effectively and to liberate their creativity when writing;
- appreciate our rich and varied literary heritage through the texts that we immerse the children in;
- write clearly, accurately and coherently, adapting their language and style in, and for a range of, contexts, purposes and audiences;
- use discussion in order to learn; pupils should be able to elaborate and explain clearly their understanding and ideas, so that they are competent in the arts of speaking and listening;
- progressively sequence English units of work, drawing and building upon prior knowledge and skills.
Our English curriculum is designed to develop greater links between all aspects of English i.e. Spoken Language, Reading & Writing. A quality text that underpins the overall topic is selected by the teacher every term or half term, and is at the heart of our English curriculum. Whilst providing a platform for the teaching of reading objectives, it also links explicitly to the teaching of writing. A quality text provides children with an excellent model and content for their own writing. Additionally, we interrogate model texts which provide our pupils with a precise understanding of the key features of different text types, including the formal structures of English, grammatical detail, punctuation and spelling. These specific skills are modelled and taught linked to the text type (where possible). All pupils are expected to plan, draft, write, edit and proof-read a piece of writing, incorporating all of the skills that they have learnt throughout a unit of work.
Opportunities for proof-reading and editing written work is planned and children are encouraged to take an increased responsibility for proof-reading for mistakes and editing their work, with the reader in mind, as they progress through the school. The use of working walls and success criteria support children in their writing, with levels of scaffolding reducing as the children move through an academic year, and through school. Teachers model clearly how to use tools such as success criteria and working walls, so that as children move through school, they are more independent in using these by themselves.
The reading of quality texts engages and inspires children, and by linking the learning of other core and foundation subjects to the text, we provide meaningful learning experiences and outcomes for our children. We ensure that throughout the journey through school, all pupils will engage with a wide variety of authors and genres, for example the works of Shakespeare, Charles Dickens and Michael Morpurgo. (Please see the English Units Progression Document for the texts and outcomes for each of our year groups).
In order to support our pupils in meeting the requirements of spelling within the national curriculum, all classes take part in discreet spelling sessions and spellings are an integral part of the homework. It is an expectation that all pupils learn a set of words every week for a weekly spelling test; they will complete set games on Spelling Shed as part of their homework to help them to achieve this. The words children learn may link with the spelling rules being taught in class or they may be from the statutory spelling lists (words which your child must be able to spell to be at the expected standard- see attached lists below). See the photos below for examples of strategies which may support your child in learning their spellings.
Creating new words from a base word and writing the definition. Also, identifying the word class ie verb, noun, adverb or adjective.
Making a word pyramid, which builds up the letters in each word.
Matching the picture to the word, highlighting letter strings in different colours, drawing an image, writing a pupil's own definition of the word and placing the word in a sentence.
Handwriting is taught discretely in Years 3 & 4 and then as required in Years 5 & 6. Additional intervention groups are used to focus on the specific needs of individual pupils in these areas. Pupils are expected to write in a cursive style. The photos below show the letter formations children are expected to use.
As well as teaching reading through a shared approach during our English units of work, we aim for all children to read twice per week to an adult in school who will then focus questioning on developing the child's understanding of vocabulary, retrieval of information and inference skills; we encourage parents to focus on these skills whilst hearing their child read at home.
Throughout school, children take home a levelled book according to their ability, which is assessed on Accelerated Reader. When a child has finished their book, they will return it to school and quiz on their book (using an ipad or laptop) which will give both them, and the teacher, feedback on how they have understood their book. This will determine whether the child moves onto the next level (children must pass two quizzes with 100% before they move onto the next level).
We provide a wide range of books that develop fluency and enjoyment of a variety of texts (e.g. stories, poetry, and information). Each child has a home-school reading record that teachers and parents use to share information about each child’s reading. It is an integral part of the homework that children read at least three time per week at home. It is essential that, by the end of their primary education, all pupils are able to read fluently, and with confidence.
If children join Crofton Junior School having not passed the Phonics Screening Check (in Year 1 or Year 2 at their previous infants school), or if they have passed but are still having difficulty with decoding and reading texts fluently, they will form part of a phonics intervention group. These groups will take part in short, daily phonics sessions which are planned to meet, and consolidate, the specific needs of the children; their progress is regularly assessed by the teacher to ensure that these crucial skills are developed. As well as having their Accelerated Reader book, children in these groups also take home and read a book that directly links to the area of phonics that they are working on at that present time.
Outcomes in all books, but in particular English books, evidence units of English work which demonstrate high-quality learning in relation to both reading and writing objectives. Work in books reflects the journey that pupils undertake through the teaching of a unit of English work. The end product of the unit of work being a piece of writing, which includes: rich and purposeful vocabulary; a range of the relevant writing skills (appropriate to the year group) and the purpose of the writing should be clear through creative composition.
As children progress through school, the stimulus for units of work and the themes explored within these texts become more challenging and complex. Children’s ability to write for a range of purposes and for different audiences, using a wide range of purposeful writing skills and creativity, is evident across several pieces of work. Children have a high regard for the standards of English in all of their workbooks across the curriculum.
The impact of the curriculum is monitored through a combination of discussions with pupils and staff, scrutiny of workbooks, lesson observations and analysis of termly and end of year summative data, in order to provide a comprehensive understanding of the quality of the curriculum and highlight areas for further development. Furthermore, to ensure consistency and high expectations in standards across school, writing moderation takes place on a termly basis across all year groups.