Our approach to teaching English
We recognise how critical a confident, fluent, and coherent understanding of English is to a pupil’s progress, both in and outside the school environment. We also understand how a strong grounding in English will impact the future learning and development of a pupil in all aspects of their life. To support the development of these skills, we provide a balanced and broad curriculum. In EYFS and KS1 we follow a literacy programme called Read Write Inc. and when pupils move onto KS2 our approach to teaching English is through a structured method of teaching called process writing.
Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) & KS1
"Read Write Inc. is used by more than a quarter of the UK's primary schools and is designed to create fluent readers, confident speakers and willing writers. Each Read Write Inc. programme meets the higher expectations of the National Curriculum and uses effective assessment to accelerate every child's progress" (Oxford University Press).
We are committed to continually improving standards in Reading, Phonics and Writing within our school which is why we recently introduced a highly successful system called Read Write Inc to teach Reception, Y1 and Y2 children phonics. It is a very simple but extremely effective system, and our KS1 teachers and teaching assistants have all received inspiring training from Ruth Miskin, to effectively teach RWI to our pupils.
We teach sounds, children practise reading and spelling words containing these sounds. We then give children decodable storybooks containing sounds and words they can read. They read each storybook three times at school and again at home. Using Read Write Inc phonics allows the children to learn to read effortlessly so they can put all their energy and focus in to comprehension. It also allows them to spell effortlessly so that they can then turn that comprehension in to composition - both original, and about the storybooks they have read.
"Process writing treats all writing as a creative act which requires time and positive feedback to be done well. In process writing, the teacher moves away from being someone who sets students a writing topic and receives the finished product for correction, without any intervention in the writing process itself. Research shows that feedback is more useful between drafts, not when it is done at the end of the task after the students hand in their composition to be marked. Corrections written on compositions returned to the student after the process has finished, seem to do little to improve student writing" (Graham Stanley, British Council).
Using high quality children's literature and engaging pupils through the hook strategy we introduce a (frequently cross-curricular) theme. Complete books and short high quality and impactful films, typically engage and immerse learners most effectively, providing all important context to learning. Once we are immersed in a theme, we break learning up into short journeys of two to three weeks in length. These are taught via daily one hour sessions. In each learning journey our pupils go through the three stages in a process approach to writing, 'pre-writing', 'focusing ideas' and 'evaluating, structuring and editing'.
Our curriculum encompasses writing practice, through a focus on handwriting, spelling, widening vocabulary, and writing for different styles, purposes, and audiences. We compliment writing practice with a focus on spoken English, reading, grammar and pronunciation too.
Our core aim for all pupils
We intend to create confident writers who develop stamina for writing throughout their time at primary school. We aim for all our pupils to be independent writers, building on a range of skills as they work through each journey of writing. Throughout this journey, we ensure our pupils are immersed in a range of genres and have a clear understanding of purpose.
- Will have a secure understanding of the purpose of a text type, the purpose and intended impact of writing skills/tools and the ability to carefully select vocabulary with careful attention to the desired effect on the readers’ thoughts and feelings.
- Are challenged and encouraged to take risks and view mistakes as another part of the learning process.
- Will always set high expectations for themselves and be encouraged to take pride in all aspects of learning and in everything they produce.
By the time our pupils leave for secondary school they will know how to plan, practise, and evaluate their work as well as carry out an effective edit and improve process. These are skills that will continue to be developed in secondary education, but we lay the foundations throughout their time at primary school. Our curriculum is underpinned by the national curriculum.