At Spring Lane Primary School, we place English at the heart of our learning. We understand that a high-quality education in English will teach pupils to speak and write fluently so that they can communicate their ideas and emotions to others and through their reading and listening, others can communicate with them. Through reading in particular, pupils have the opportunity to develop culturally, emotionally, intellectually, socially and spiritually. Reading also enables pupils both to acquire knowledge and to build on what they already know. All the skills of language are essential to participating fully as a member of society; pupils, therefore, who do not learn to speak, read and write fluently and confidently are effectively excluded from opportunities in their future lives. Here at Spring Lane, we use the aims laid out in the National Curriculum, as well as our knowledge and understanding of our pupils and how they learn, to ensure the very best provision for the children in our care.
The National Curriculum for English aims to ensure that all pupils:
- are equipped with a strong command of the spoken and written word read easily, fluently and with good understanding;
- develop their love of literature through widespread reading for enjoyment;
- develop the habit of reading widely and often, for both pleasure and information;
- acquire a wide vocabulary, an understanding of grammar and knowledge of linguistic conventions for reading, writing and spoken language;
- appreciate our rich and varied literary heritage;
- 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; they should be able to elaborate and explain clearly their understanding and ideas;
- are competent in the arts of speaking and listening, making formal presentations, demonstrating to others and participating in debate.
The quality and variety of language that pupils hear and speak are vital for developing their vocabulary and grammar and their understanding for reading and writing. Our teachers will ensure the continual development of pupils’ confidence and competence in spoken language and listening skills. Pupils will develop a capacity to explain their understanding of books and other reading, and to prepare their ideas before they write. They will be assisted in making their thinking clear to themselves as well as to others and teachers will build secure foundations by using discussion to probe and remedy any misconceptions. Our children will have the opportunities in lessons to read out their completed written work in a variety of lessons.
Children at Spring Lane Primary School learn phonics through the ‘Letters and Sounds’ programme. In KS1, book bands are used to progress children through reading until they reach a level as which they can access our, ‘Accelerated Reader’ programme, where they read books and complete questions that test their comprehension. Our teachers will ensure children have time within school in which to read independently and also model reading to their classes through the use of texts in lessons and class reading time.
Our teaching will focus on developing pupils’ competence in both decoding and comprehension. Skilled word reading involves both the speedy working out of the pronunciation of unfamiliar printed words (decoding) and the speedy recognition of familiar printed words. Underpinning both is the understanding that the letters on the page represent the sounds in spoken words. Good comprehension draws from linguistic knowledge (in particular of vocabulary and grammar) and on knowledge of the world. Comprehension skills develop through pupils’ experience of high-quality discussion with the teacher, as well as from reading and discussing a range of stories, poems and non-fiction.
At Spring Lane Primary School, our children are taught handwriting using Kinetic Letters, with teachers modelling this themselves when writing on boards and when marking children’s books. Through the use of high quality examples, discussion and success criteria, our children are taught to fully understand how various text genres are written and do so purposefully across a range of contexts.
The expectation at our school is that pupils have opportunities to write daily. This may be as part of planning a piece of work, practising a skill or completing part of or a full piece of writing. Our pupils will be taught how to plan, revise and evaluate their writing. Writing down ideas fluently depends on effective transcription: that is, on spelling quickly and accurately through knowing the relationship between sounds and letters (phonics) and understanding the word structure and spelling structure of words. Effective composition involves forming, articulating and communicating ideas, and then organising them coherently for a reader. This requires clarity, awareness of the audience, purpose and context, and an increasingly wide knowledge of vocabulary and grammar. Writing also depends on fluent, legible and speedy handwriting.
Spelling, vocabulary, grammar and punctuation:
Opportunities for teachers to enhance pupils’ vocabulary arise naturally from their reading and writing. As vocabulary increases, teachers will show pupils how to understand the relationships between words, how to understand nuances in meaning, and how to develop their understanding of, and ability to use, figurative language. They will also teach pupils how to work out and clarify the meanings of unknown words and words with more than one meaning. It is important that pupils learn the correct grammatical terms in English and that these terms are integrated within teaching. We use the phonics programme, ‘Letters and Sounds’ to support in spelling. From Years 2 – 6, we use the Spelling Frame website to teach the National Curriculum spelling rules. We also teach the common exception words and topic-related vocabulary.
Role of the English Subject Leader:
- To lead in the development of English throughout the school.
- To monitor the planning, teaching and learning of English throughout the school.
- To help raise standards in English.
- To provide teachers with support in the teaching of English.
- To provide staff with CPD opportunities in relation to English
- To monitor and maintain high quality resources.
- To keep up to date with new developments in the area of English.