English Curriculum Statement
At St Monica Primary School, we believe that a quality English curriculum should develop children’s love of reading, writing and discussion. Reading constitutes the building blocks of learning, and we aim to develop reading ability through fluency, comprehension and enrichment, using high quality texts across all subjects and promoting independence in developing personal choice through sharing and celebrating books in our libraries and classroom reading areas.
When our children leave St Monica Primary we expect them to be avid readers – children who read fluently and widely, and who are able to express preferences and opinions about the texts that they read. We want them to read for pleasure, having had access to a wide range of text types, genres and authors in order for them to make informed opinion, and make well-thought-out choices on further texts to read.
We believe that a secure basis in literacy skills is crucial to a high quality education, and will give our children the tools they need to participate fully as a member of society. We want pupils to acquire a wide vocabulary with grammatical accuracy, so that they are able to decipher new words and then use them when speaking both informally and formally. We endeavour to ensure our pupils secure a solid understanding of grammar and the ability to spell new words by effectively applying the spelling patterns and rules they learn throughout their time in school. We want them to write clearly, accurately and coherently, adapting their language and style in and for a range of contexts for varied purposes and audiences.
We ensure that our pupils have a clear understanding that writing is an essential form of communication and that adapting writing for your reader is of the utmost importance. We nurture a culture of evaluation and refinement where children take pride in their writing, in part by developing a joined, handwriting style by the time they move to secondary school as well as proofreading, revising and editing their writing over time. Children will develop independence in being able to identify their own areas for improvement, editing their work effectively during and after the writing process to ensure that it includes the appropriate grammar, style and vocabulary for their reader and purpose as identified in the learning journey. We incorporate our skills in reading throughout the journey for writing, identifying, evaluating and emulating the skills displayed by the authors whose texts we read.
We understand the importance of parents and carers in supporting their children, and so we encourage a home-school partnership which enables parents and carers to understand how to enhance the skills being taught in school. We promote books in classrooms and across the school, for example in our libraries; we hope that this will provide pupils with access to exciting and varied books to share at home and celebrate home reading through our weekly celebration assemblies by recognising class and individual efforts.
We teach Reading and writing as separate whole class lessons so that all children have access to the age-related skills and knowledge contained in the National Curriculum. Within lessons, teachers and teaching assistants target support for lower attaining pupils to enable them to achieve at an age-related level wherever possible. This may involve a greater level of scaffolding and access to additional support materials such as Word Banks or a greater level of modelling. Higher attaining pupils are given opportunities to extend their writing in a variety of ways, including through showing greater control in their writing, a deeper understanding of the impact that their writing has on the reader and by using a higher level of vocabulary and grammar features.
English Lesson Sequence:
Each year group have a yearly overview of the writing genres, both narrative and non-fiction, that they will teach. These have been planned to ensure that our pupils are taught how to write for a range of audiences and the four key purposes (entertain, inform, persuade and discuss). Our focus is on the purpose and audience of our intended outcome, and we teach in three week sequences to ensure that children are fully immersed in high quality examples of texts and have opportunities to gather information, inspiration and experiences through a range of learning activities. Pupils draw upon these experiences when planning, drafting and refining their final piece of writing.
Grammar and Punctuation:
Within this teaching sequence children are taught grammar and punctuation. Teachers link the skills being taught to each text type and purpose, making it more connected with the intended writing outcome. Teachers focus on particular grammar and punctuation skills as standalone lessons, especially when misconceptions have been identified, to embed and develop their understanding. Pupils have the opportunity to practise applying these skills in writing opportunities before completing their final outcome.
In EYFS and Year 1, teaching of spelling is linked to the relevant phonics phase for each child. From Years 2-6, at St Monica we follow the national curriculum using the No Nonsense Spelling approach which is supplemented by interactive resources offered on platforms such as Purple Mash. The curriculum for each year focuses on revision and application of spelling rules taught previously, to ensure children apply skills and knowledge to their writing.
By the end of EYFS, pupils will be able to use phonic knowledge to decode regular words and read them aloud accurately; they can then use their phonic knowledge to write words in ways which match their spoken sound. They will develop the ability to use vocabulary and forms of speech that are increasingly influenced by their experiences of books.
By the end of Key Stage 1, decoding skills will have provided pupils with strong reading fluency in order to obtain information, enjoyment and rich vocabulary from the texts that they read and listen to. Explicitly taught skills and vocabulary will enable them to develop as independent writers in a variety of contexts.
By the end of Key Stage 2, pupils will have an entrenched passion of reading from a wide variety of texts. They will view reading and writing as inextricably linked, and as such will read with a strong understanding of authorial intent, and write with their reader in mind. The comprehensive teaching of skills within the context of a strong text progression will have developed pupils’ cultural capital in a way conducive to success at secondary school level and beyond.