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English Curriculum Statement 

 

At Silvertrees, it is our vision that our children leave school fully equipped with the English skills they need to continue their learning journey in Key Stage Two and beyond, in order to achieve their future ambitions. The development of English skills is at the heart of our whole curriculum and we strive to meet all children's individual needs through engaging lessons delivered by enthusiastic and knowledgeable teachers.

 

Spoken Language

 

Intent

Oracy is an important thread that runs through our curriculum and a skill children need to be taught and have the opportunity to practise, in order to grow and learn.  It is our intent that the children at Silvertrees are able to both speak confidently with a range of people and listen attentively in order to communicate their feelings, opinions and ideas with others. We want the children to develop a rich and varied knowledge of language and vocabulary that they can use effectively.  

 

Implementation

We provide our children with a wide range of opportunities to develop their speaking and listening skills such as paired talk, class discussion, hot seating and role-play. During speaking activities, we model sentence structure and how to turn take in order to assist children in making their thinking clear to themselves as well as to others and how to respond appropriately.  We encourage pupils to see the joys of language and to enjoy finding just the right words or phrases to express what they want to say. We understand that spoken language underpins the development of reading and writing and children’s knowledge and understanding across the curriculum, the impact of which can be seen in all subjects. We reward children’s oracy achievements weekly with our Top Talker stickers.

 

Reading

 

Intent

Our intent, at Silvertrees, is to inspire children to have a love of reading that we hope will last a lifetime. By giving children the ability to decode words, they will have the skills required to read a range of high quality texts and different genres with fluency, understanding, and above all, enjoyment. We believe that reading enables children to acquire knowledge, develop a wide vocabulary and stimulate their imagination. It helps them to develop culturally, emotionally, intellectually and socially. Through listening to and reading carefully chosen high quality texts, our children develop a good understanding of the world around them and a desire to read in order to find out more.

 

Implementation

Learning to read comprises of word reading and comprehension.  We implement the teaching of these skills in a range of ways. We use the ‘Letters and Sounds’ approach to teaching phonics and the foundations for quality phonic teaching begins in Nursery, with activities based on:

 

  • Distinguishing between different sounds in the environment
  • Showing awareness of rhythm, rhyme and alliteration
  • Exploring and experimenting with sounds and words
  • Discriminating speech sounds in words
  • Beginning to orally blend and segment words

 

Every child has a daily phonics lesson in an ability grouping from Reception to Year 2.  In Reception and Year 1, we use ‘Jolly Phonics’ to complement the teaching of letter sounds and support the children to learn to read and write sounds. When children are introduced to Phase 5 graphemes they learn the ditties from the Read, Write Inc programme to support their enjoyment of phonics and retention of these new graphemes for spelling.

 At Silvertrees, we have our own reading domain superheroes that help us learn a range of reading skills. They are:

 

Vocabulary Vin helps us to draw on our knowledge of vocabulary to understand texts.

Retrieval Rex helps us to identify and explain key aspects of fiction and non-fiction texts, e.g. characters, events, titles and information.

Sequencing Sita helps us to identify and explain the sequence of events in texts.

 

Inferring Isa helps us to make inferences from the text.

 

 

Predicting Pip helps us to predict what might happen on the basis of what we have read or what we can see in the illustrations.

 

Children are taught to read tricky high frequency words and common exception words and are given appropriate books to read at school, through Group Guided Reading sessions, which are then taken home so they closely match their phonic and word knowledge. Our children’s’ understanding of a text is developed orally through opened ended questions and through discussing the meaning of words. This supports the children to become fluent readers and boosts their confidence when reading at home. From the Spring Term in Year 2, children take part in Whole Class Reading, unless they require a small focused group approach, which incorporates reading together focusing on intonation and expression alongside comprehension skills by teaching the children how to find evidence in an extract of text to back up their own ideas. With the support of a teacher, they are taught the wider skills of reading and are given the opportunity to look at texts in more depth. 

 

We use book bands to enable a clear progression in reading through the use of quality reading texts from a variety of schemes that incorporates different genres and text types. In addition, pupils are rewarded for reading regularly at home by achieving:

 

  • A bronze award and bookmark for having read 25 books,
  • A silver award and reading gift for 50 books
  • A gold award and medal for 100 books.
  • A Mad Hatters Tea Party is arranged termly to celebrate the home reading of those children who have achieved the Platinum award by reading 150 books. A special invitation is given to the child’s chosen parent/carer for them to also attend to show our appreciation of the support they have given to their child to enable them to achieve this award.

 

At Silvertrees, we promote reading for pleasure and a love of books by reading to the children daily so that they get to know a range of stories, poems and information texts, which also supports their knowledge and language development. We celebrate World Book Day annually and encourage our children to share their favourite authors or texts with their class and in a special assembly. We are also currently rejuvenating our school library to create an enticing, stimulating reading environment where the children will want to come and read.

 

Writing

 

Intent

At Silvertrees, our intent is for our children to become fluent, talented and enthusiastic writers. We teach the writing objectives of the EYFS Framework and the National Curriculum and feel it is important to give our children rich experiences to inspire writing for a purpose and a recognised audience wherever possible. Using a variety of different stimuli, we aim to create opportunities for children to become talented writers who are able to use their imagination and shared experiences to compose coherent, interesting pieces of writing that they are proud of. We look for ways to motivate and inspire our children so that they see themselves as 'writers' and not just ‘doing’ writing. 

 

Implementation

At Silvertrees, we use quality texts, from which all English work is planned and delivered, alongside exciting hooks to inspire our children to write. From these texts and hooks, we ensure they have regular opportunities to write for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences. We believe that children need to first hear how sentences are spoken, orally rehearse them and then write them independently, accessing support from staff when needed. Across school, we use Colourful Semantics to understand the types of words a sentence needs and help them to build sentences that make sense. In EYFS, children have regular opportunities to write as part of adult-focused teaching groups and as part of the continuous provision. Children are encouraged to generate their own sentences and use their phonics to segment words. In Key Stage One, staff use an English Working Wall to share what the children are currently learning objective, steps to success (often created with the children), alongside the audience and purpose for the final outcome. Key vocabulary is also added to the wall during a unit of learning to help the children widen their understanding of words and language. We provide children with a WAGOLL (What a Good One Looks Like), model different genres of writing to the children and compose shared writing so that pupils can understand and ‘hear’ the process involved in creating a piece of writing and writing decisions made by authors. Re-reading and editing is an important part of the writing process in Key Stage One and how to do this effectively is explicitly taught. The children are given time to edit and improve their writing and they are encouraged to self-assess both with the teacher and with peers. We reward children’s writing achievements weekly with our Writer of the Week stickers and certificates.

 

In Key Stage One, we explicitly teach the grammar requirements of the National Curriculum to ensure all appropriate terminology is introduced to the children and practised in order for the children to be able to apply them correctly in their independent writing.

 

The ability to write ideas down fluently requires a good understanding of spelling. In EYFS and Key Stage 1, we follow the ‘Letters and Sounds’ approach and teach pupils how to write phonemes as graphemes.  We use, alongside other resources, Phonics Play and Rising Stars to support our teaching of spelling. We ensure a thorough coverage of the EYFS Framework and National Curriculum requirements by planning for the teaching of spelling. We use a range of strategies across school to support pupils with their spelling:

 

  • Phonetic spelling strategies. Segmenting, to see how a word is composed of individual sounds, is crucial for spelling.
  • Visual spelling strategy. Learning how a word looks and visualising the word by ‘taking a photo’ of it can be an effective strategy.
  • Rule-based strategies. Pupils are taught to understand rules behind spelling patterns.
  • Word-meaning strategies. Helping pupils understand what words mean can support their spelling of those words. Explaining how words are derived, how prefixes and suffixes are added on to root words and how to form compound words, can all support confidence and accurate spelling.

 

We teach discrete handwriting sessions at least three times a week across school using the Nelson Handwriting Scheme.  We use their online resources to ensure that our children enjoy handwriting sessions and make progress towards joined handwriting in Year 2. Those children who have difficulty with forming letters in Key Stage One due to reduced fine motor skills, and children in EYFS, access regular interventions including Dough Disco, Funky Fingers and Write Dance, to enable them to develop finger, hand, arm and core strength which in turn improves handwriting.

 

Impact

 

Our English curriculum is currently being further developed to ensure it is consistently of high quality, is planned to develop the progression of skills following EYFS benchmarks and the KS1 National Curriculum and meets the needs of all learners.

 

We measure the impact of our whole English curriculum through the following methods:

 

  • Using Assessment for Learning to regularly assess children’s understanding and knowledge as well as to identify next steps in Spoken Language, Reading and Writing.
  • Using the benchmarks from Voice 21 to assess children’s progress and attainment of Oracy skills.
  • Using images and videos of the children’s learning that evidences the acquisition of a child’s English skills.
  • Interviewing the pupils about their learning in English (pupil voice).
  • Marking of written work in English books in relation to the learning objectives and steps to success.
  • Assessing the progress made termly by our children using our school’s assessment/progression grids in Reading and Writing.
  • Moderation through staff meetings, by the Senior Leadership Team, across the Tipton Learning Community and by the Local Authority where children’s books and assessments are scrutinised and there is the opportunity for professional dialogues between practitioners to recognise their children’s achievements and attainment in relation to age related expectations.
  • Pupil Progress meetings with year group colleagues and the Senior Leadership Team to identify children whose progress may have stalled and regular appropriate interventions that need to be put in place.
  • Close monitoring of different groups of children e.g.: gender, EAL, pupil premium, SEND.
  • Annual reporting of standards across the English curriculum to parents, the Senior Leadership Team and the Local Authority (Year 2).


 

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