This document sets out the Policy and Curriculum Statement for English at Churchill Church of England Primary School. Our English curriculum has been designed to promote language development which enables pupils to communicate effectively and to appreciate the richness, magic and power of the written word. It enables children to see language as a source of pleasure and enjoyment and use it to develop powers of imagination, creativity and inventiveness.
Words are the most inexhaustible source of magic
At Churchill CEVC Primary School we use the Primary National Curriculum to underpin all aspects of the English Curriculum. Developing a love of reading, and the importance of this for our children both now and in the future, lies at the heart of our English curriculum. We also see the power of reading inspiring writing and as such we have chosen a literature inspired approach for our writing curriculum.
Our English curriculum comprises of reading, writing and phonics. Also included within this, are handwriting, spelling and grammar. As reading is such a fundamental cornerstone of our curriculum and teachings at Churchill Primary School we have written a separate curriculum statement for this aspect of the English curriculum.
At Churchill Primary School we are passionate about ensuring all children become confident and enthusiastic readers and writers. We believe that phonics provides the foundations of learning to make the development into fluent reading and writing easier. Through phonics, children learn to segment words to support their spelling ability and blend sounds to read words. The teaching of phonics is of high priority.
We believe in immersing our children in texts through reading and analysing the skills of an expert writer. We have chosen to use ‘The Literary Curriculum’ from the Literacy Tree to support our teaching of writing. This scheme provides a coherent and progressive curriculum that is linked with the requirements of the National Curriculum and supports teachers in their delivery of exciting and engaging lessons Through immersion in high quality texts, children become aware of the language skills of a writer and use this as a model for their writing. Using this model, children develop greater competence in the conventions of spelling, punctuation, sentence structures and text organisation.
Through our curriculum, children will develop:
Outcomes are planned with a real purpose in mind. The learning journey is shared with children and they understand how each step of their learning will contribute to the outcome.
We teach English as 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 slower graspers 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 Writers Toolkits, Word Banks or a greater level of modelling. Rapid graspers 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.
At Churchill Primary School we use the Department of Education approved document ‘Letters and Sounds’ alongside the Jolly Phonics actions, for our teaching of phonics. This allows our phonics teaching and learning to build on from their Pre School experiences and ensure progression from entering school in Reception through to and beyond entering Key Stage 2 after the end of Year 2.
As children move into Reception, they continue to build on their listening skills which has been developed through exploring Phase 1 at Pre School and are introduced to Phase 2, which marks the start of systematic phonics learning. The children have discrete, daily phonics sessions where they revise previous learning, are taught new graphemes/phonemes, practise together and apply what they have learnt. Through ‘Letters and Sounds’, the children are taught the 44 phonemes that make up all the sounds required for reading and spelling. These phonemes include those made by just one letter and those that are made by two or more letters. Children work through the different phases and as they grow in confidence and experience, they are introduced to alternative ways of representing the same sound. As they develop through their knowledge and understanding of phonics, alternative pronunciations and spellings will be introduced in Year 1 before moving onto spelling rules in Year 2.
Phonics is delivered daily as an explicit lesson in EYFS and KS1. Phonics is taught as a whole class approach to ensure that quality first teaching is accessible to all children.
At the end of Year 1, children are assessed using a national screening test, which requires each child to read aloud forty words – twenty real and twenty ‘nonsense’ words using their phonetic knowledge. The result of this test is reported to both parents and sent to central Government for comparison between schools nationally. Any child who does not meet the required standard in this assessment repeats the test again at the end of Year 2. We use the screening outcomes and our own assessments to ensure pupils who are not secure in their phonics awareness are supported through targeted intervention as they move onto their next stage of learning.
A daily English lesson of 45-60 minutes is taught in Year 1 – Year 6 and outcomes are planned with a real purpose in mind. The learning journey is shared with children and they understand how each step of their learning will contribute to the outcome.
A typical 45 - 60 minute lesson is likely to include many of the following elements:
- prior knowledge/previewing,
- identifying the main idea in a text,
- making inferences,
- story maps,
- retelling using oral, written and visual
Spellings are taught according to the rules and words contained in Appendix 1 of the English National Curriculum. Teachers use the Twinkl Spelling Scheme to support their teaching and to provide activities that link to the weekly spellings. Children are given spellings to learn each week and are given a spelling test the following week. Spelling tests are delivered as dictated sentences. This ensures the spelling words are set in context and previous week’s words can be revisited and consolidated.
When marking work, teachers identify up to three words that children have spelt incorrectly from within that child’s known ability and these are identified with an ‘sp’ in the margin. Children are then encouraged to identify these incorrect spellings in their own writing and correct them.
We use the mantra, ‘I will spell correctly, the words I can spell’
We work towards children developing a cursive script where handwriting is legible and fluent when writing at speed. Children move from writing simple printed letters to joining, forming a more flowing script. This process is tailored to the maturation and developmental stage of the individual child.
In Years 1-6 in our school we use the Literacy Tree Long term plans, which are aligned with the National Curriculum for English and provide a progression of writers’ skills and grammatical knowledge appropriate for each year group. This is supplemented when and where appropriate with customised planning.
Short term planning
All teachers will produce daily or weekly planning. This will include:
Teachers evaluate their plans daily, making any necessary changes and adaptions in response to assessment for learning and the needs of the class. Where appropriate, TA’s will provide feedback to inform next steps planning.
Teachers plan for adult-led small groups and pre-teaching sessions for identified children.
The Literacy Tree, The Letters and Sounds phonics programme, Jolly Phonics, Twinkle Spelling, PIRA Reading assessments, Nessy, The Natural Curriculum and Deepening Understanding Grammar are used to support planning.
As part of the ongoing teaching and learning process, teachers assess children's understanding through a range of ‘Assessment for Learning’ strategies. Annotations to planning inform day to day teaching and learning, are based on observation, questioning, informal testing and the marking and evaluation of work. This also enables appropriate written and verbal feedback to be given to children and will inform planning for the following day.
Teachers make use of diagnostic questioning throughout all stages of pupils’ learning, to identify misconceptions. Open-ended questioning is central to teacher input, enabling misconceptions to be revealed and explored. Marking and feedback will also identify misconceptions which will either be challenged or inform next steps. Learners are also taught to assess and evaluate their own understanding by recognising successes, learning from their own mistakes and identifying areas for improvement. (See Feedback and Marking policy for further details.)
For the academic year 2020-21, at the end of term 1, 4 and 6, children will sit an NFER paper in spelling to assess understanding and knowledge of the previous year’s curriculum. Gap analysis will be carried out to identify which key areas to focus on. This will inform teacher planning and organisation of intervention groups so that children can ‘catch up’ on curriculum areas they need extra support with.
At the end of the term 2, 4 and 6, children’s writing is assessed against the Churchill Writing Key Performance Indicators. This provides a summary of their understanding of the areas of the curriculum taught that term and will inform provision maps and planning. This information is used to track attainment and progress and is regularly updated on FFT Aspire where progress can be compared with FFT targets.
Through the teaching of systematic phonics, our aim is for children to become fluent readers by the end of Key Stage 1. Children can then focus on developing fluency and comprehension throughout the school. Attainment in phonics is measured by the Phonics Screening Test at the end of Year 1.
Pupil Progress Meetings
The amount of progress made and percentages of those children on track to reach end of year targets is analysed and discussed at termly data meetings. Progress from Key Stage 1 will also be closely monitored in Key Stage 2 classes and compared with Fischer Family Trust (FFT) targets.
In September 2020, before thinking about reading, writing, phonics or spelling catch up and/or intervention, we considered first and foremost children’s literary well-being for future learning, including:
The school operates a flexible approach to intervention programmes based on learning needs identified in termly pupil progress meetings and through ongoing data analysis by the senior leadership, class teacher and the English team (Reading, Writing (including grammar), Phonics and Spelling leads).
Teachers use guided groups led by themselves and teaching assistants to tackle children’s misconceptions in reading and writing. Pre-teaching, flexible ‘catch up’ sessions and adult-led small groups within subsequent lessons are used with those children who have not progressed within a lesson, with the aim of ensuring that children are making the maximum level of progress and gaps are closed.