English Subject Statement
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 a chance to develop culturally, emotionally, intellectually, socially and spiritually. Literature, especially, plays a key role in such development. 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 disenfranchised.
Purpose of this statement
- To establish an entitlement for all pupils in the subject of English;
- To establish expectations for teachers and pupils;
- To promote clarity, coherence and consistency in the teaching of English across the school;
- To promote a shared understanding of English, within the community;
- To explain how English is taught at Bewick Bridge Community Primary School;
- To give further guidance about teaching methods and the resources available
The overarching aim for English in the national curriculum is to promote high standards of language and literacy by equipping pupils with a strong command of the spoken and written word, and to develop their love of literature through widespread reading for enjoyment. The national curriculum for English aims to ensure that all pupils:
- read easily, fluently and with good understanding
- 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.
Communication and language development is one of the prime areas of learning goals in EYFS and involves giving children opportunities to experience a rich language environment; to develop their confidence and skills in expressing themselves; and to speak and listen in a range of situations.
Listening and attention: children listen attentively in a range of situations. They listen to stories, accurately anticipating key events and respond to what they hear with relevant comments, questions or actions. They give their attention to what others say and respond appropriately, while engaged in another activity.
Understanding: children follow instructions involving several ideas or actions. They answer ‘how’ and ‘why’ questions about their experiences and in response to stories or events.
Speaking: children express themselves effectively, showing awareness of listeners’ needs. They use past, present and future forms accurately when talking about events that have happened or are to happen in the future. They develop their own narratives and explanations by connecting ideas or events.
Literacy development is another specific area in the framework and involves encouraging children to link sounds and letters and to begin to read and write. Children must be given access to a wide range of reading materials (books, poems, and other written materials) to ignite their interest.
Reading: children read and understand simple sentences. They use phonic knowledge to decode regular words and read them aloud accurately. They also read some common irregular words. They demonstrate understanding when talking with others about what they have read.
Writing: children use their phonic knowledge to write words in ways which match their spoken sounds. They also write some irregular common words. They write simple sentences which can be read by themselves and others. Some words are spelt correctly and others are phonetically plausible.
Key Stages 1 and 2
The programmes of study for English, as laid out in the English National Curriculum, are set out year-by-year for key stage 1 and two-yearly for key stage 2. The single year blocks at key stage 1 reflect the rapid pace of development in word reading during these two years. Schools are, however, only required to teach the relevant programme of study by the end of the key stage. Within each key stage, schools therefore have the flexibility to introduce content earlier or later than set out in the programme of study. In addition, schools can introduce key stage content during an earlier key stage if appropriate.
The programmes of study for reading at KS1 and 2 consist of two dimensions:
- word reading
- comprehension (both listening and reading).
It is essential that teaching focuses on developing pupils’ competence in both dimensions; different kinds of teaching are needed for each.
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. This is why phonics should be emphasised in the early teaching of reading to beginners (i.e. unskilled readers) when they start school.
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. All pupils must be encouraged to read widely across both fiction and non-fiction to develop their knowledge of themselves and the world in which they live, to establish an appreciation and love of reading, and to gain knowledge across the curriculum. Reading widely and often increases pupils’ vocabulary because they encounter words they would rarely hear or use in everyday speech. Reading also feeds pupils’ imagination and their sense of wonder, curiosity and joy.
The programmes of study for writing at key stages 1 and 2 are constructed similarly to those for reading:
- transcription (spelling and handwriting)
- composition (articulating ideas and structuring them in speech and writing).
It is essential that teaching develops pupils’ competence in these two dimensions. In addition, pupils should be taught how to plan, revise and evaluate their writing. These aspects of writing have been incorporated into the programmes of study for composition.
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 morphology (word structure) and orthography (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, eventually, 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 should 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 should also teach pupils how to work out and clarify the meanings of unknown words and words with more than one meaning. Throughout the programmes of study, teachers should teach pupils the vocabulary they need to discuss their reading, writing and spoken language. It is important that pupils learn the correct grammatical terms in English and that these terms are integrated within teaching.
Pupils should be taught to control their speaking and writing consciously and to use Standard English, including how to use the appropriate elements of spelling, grammar, punctuation and ‘language about language’.
The national curriculum for English reflects the importance of spoken language in pupils’ development across the whole curriculum – cognitively, socially and linguistically. Spoken language underpins the development of reading and writing. 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. Pupils should develop a capacity to explain their understanding of books and other reading, and to prepare their ideas before they write. They must be assisted in making their thinking clear to themselves as well as to others and teachers should ensure that pupils build secure foundations by using discussion to probe and remedy their misconceptions. Pupils should also be taught to understand and use the conventions for discussion and debate.
All pupils should be enabled to participate in and gain knowledge, skills and understanding associated with the artistic practice of drama. Pupils should be able to adopt, create and sustain a range of roles, responding appropriately to others in role. They should have opportunities to improvise, devise and script drama for one another and a range of audiences, as well as to rehearse, refine, share and respond thoughtfully to drama and theatre performances.
For the school’s expectations of what pupils should know, be able to apply and understand at the end of each year group, please see our English Coverage Documents.
To provide adequate time for developing language and literacy skills each class teacher will provide a daily English lesson, in which children will have opportunities to develop their knowledge, skills and understanding in all the aspects of language and literacy as outlined above. This may vary in length but will usually last for about 30-45 minutes in Foundation Stage and 60 minutes in Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2. In addition to the daily English lesson, pupils in Key stages 1 & 2 receive an additional 20 minutes of active engagement in reading every day, three 20 minute investigation sessions a week to support spelling and vocabulary development and additional handwriting, punctuation and grammar instruction as required, as well as a weekly session in the school library to ensure access to a range of quality texts for personal reading.
Language and literacy skills are both implicitly and explicitly taught across the curriculum (see Teaching, Learning and Assessment Policy).
The teaching and learning of English in Years 1 to 6 is organised around text types (please see Appendix 1) and delivered in Units, lasting between 2 and 3 weeks. Each Unit starts by ascertaining where children are in their learning and helping them connect to their prior learning. The unit then builds on their prior learning, providing instruction and opportunities for students to develop their skills in reading, writing, spoken language and vocabulary, grammar and punctuation. In addition to direct instruction, the Units should include experiences, resources and stimuli that facilitate the development of rich language and literacy. Finally, pupils are given an opportunity to demonstrate their learning, wherever possible, for a range of real purposes and audiences. In order to revisit and embed or further develop skills learnt in a Unit, an independent piece of writing should take place in another area of the curriculum shortly after completion of the English Unit (approximately two to three weeks). Please see the document Planning an English Unit in Appendix 2 for an outline of this process.
Not only does this provide the necessary teaching and learning opportunities to develop their language and literacy skills, but also reinforces the concept of learning as a process, in which we draw together and apply a range of knowledge and skills.
At Bewick Bridge Primary School we use VCOP to help children in the planning and revising/ editing stages of their writing (as referenced in Unit planning document). Through exploring vocabulary, conjunctions, openers and punctuation, children become aware of many of the features that make great writing! It is a child-friendly approach which allows children to take ownership of their writing and also reflect on what they have written and improve it.
Please note VCOP is not the only tool that should be used to plan, revise and edit as children need to consider both thematic content and sense.
Guided Reading must be taught everyday for 20-25 minutes in KS1&2, organised each week in the style of a carousel, which must include a warm-up task, an adult-led session, a follow-up task and an opportunity for individual reading for pleasure. Children will be part of a teacher-led Guided Reading session once a week. There should be 4-5 groups, depending on the size and needs of the class (a group may consist of 2 children!). The Guided Reading sessions will be planned and recorded on the agreed school format (see Appendix 3).
In KS1&2, the cycle will start with a 'warm-up' task, followed by a teacher-led session and then a follow-up task on three consecutive days.
The warm-up task will relate to the learning objective for the main teaching session. It will give the children the opportunity to familiarise themselves with the text, before exploring it further with the teacher. This may be with a TA.
The teacher-led session will be focussed on one of the AFs, with a related Learning Objective, taken from the Reading Strands of the Literacy Framework. It will follow the main stages of a Guided Reading session.
- Recap: Re-familiarise themselves with the text. Read it to themselves. Teacher uses this opportunity to hear the children read aloud.
- Strategy check: Discuss any unfamiliar words or words that they found tricky to recognise / decode. Practise any skill needed for the rest of the session.
- Independent reading: Children have the opportunity to explore the text with the Learning Objective in mind. This could be using talking partners.
- Returning to the text/Response:Talk together as a group about what they have just done, linked to the Learning Objective and Reading AF, using evidence from the text. It is important to use the Key Questions related to the Reading AF in order to structure the children's thinking and ensure progress.
- Next steps: Discuss the expectations for the independent follow-up task. It will relate to what they have just explored, but presented differently.
The follow-up task will relate to the teacher-led session. The children will be able to demonstrate the skills learned and practised in the teacher's session, independently. A TA may be taking part, but not leading.
Texts come in a variety of formats and do not always have to be a book. The children will have access to a range of texts including 'real' books, scheme books, text from the environment, fiction, non-fiction and poetry.
Each class is read to by their teacher throughout the week. Reading and listening to whole books, not simply extracts, helps pupils to increase their vocabulary and grammatical knowledge, including their knowledge of the vocabulary and grammar of Standard English. These activities also help them to understand how different types of writing, including narratives, are structured. All these can be drawn on for their writing. Even when pupils can read independently, reading aloud to them should include whole books so that they meet books and authors that they might not choose to read themselves.
In EYFS and KS1, children should be engaged in learning spellings (phonics) everyday for 20 minutes. In KS2 children must be taught spelling three times a week for 15-20 minutes. This will be in the form of spelling investigations and teacher taught sessions, following a cycle of:
- Revisit, in which previous learning is revised
- Teach, in which a new spelling pattern is taught (show them and explain)
- Practice, in which they new words are examined in terms of the pattern learnt
- Apply, through a spelling investigation.
Children who have gaps in their phonic knowledge will have phonic interventions at another time but will need to be exposed to spelling sessions that teach the spelling patterns for their age range.
Spellings follow the age-related expectations provided by the National Curriculum Programmes of Study, including recommended word lists. Where possible, links are made to other areas of the curriculum, such as IPC themes and Maths vocabulary.
At Bewick Bridge Primary School we believe that neat, well-formed handwriting and presentation of written work helps to raise standards as the pupils take pride in and have a sense of ownership of their work. As a school we are adopting the cursive method of handwriting. Handwriting skills are actively taught for a minimum of 25 minutes each week (as required in Years 5&6). The teaching of handwriting should have a multi sensory approach and should include regular teacher modelling.
EYFS: intros and trigraphs and digraphs joins
KS1: entries in addition to the above
KS2: continuing from above, developing a legible and joined cursive style
Particular focus is given to:
- children having an appropriate grip (tripod)
- providing extra support (fine/gross motor support), including the use of a pencil grip if appropriate for children having difficulty holding a pencil
- correct letter formation
- consistent letter size
- clear ascenders and descenders
- non-joined capital letters
Documents - please click to open
English Glossary - Defines and explains the English terms that your child will learn during Primary School.
English Appendix - Vocabulary, Grammar and Punctuation - Outlines the expectations for each year group for Vocabularu, Grammar and Punctuation .
Links - please click to open