Our English Curriculum is carefully planned using the National Curriculum for English as the framework for what is taught in each year group. English is one of the most important curriculum areas and a large proportion of curriculum time is spent teaching the different aspects of this subject. The development of early reading is seen as a priority for our children therefore a rigorous approach using the systematic synthetic phonics programme, Read Write Inc has been adopted as our validated scheme of work. This scheme delivers all aspects of the English reading, writing and grammar programmes of study for children in the Early Years and Key Stage One.
Beyond RWI, reading continues to be the highest priority. Our approach to teaching reading and writing in KS2 (or later KS1 when pupils have progressed to the end of the RWI programme – by Spring Term of Year 2 for most children) is to use a text-based approach. This approach involves teaching all reading, writing and grammar objectives through a whole class text. A KS2 text spine for each term of each year group has been created. The texts on the reading spine are carefully selected and offer a range of opportunities for the development of reading comprehension and writing for a variety of purposes and audiences.
As reading is our highest priority, we also offer pupils in KS2 access to the Accelerated Reader scheme and those in Years 4-6 use the adaptive online reading programme, Reading Plus as part of their daily reading lesson.
In addition to the text-based approach, the discrete grammar objectives for each year group are taught separately and prior learning (of previous year groups’ grammar objectives) is revisited. Spelling is also taught discretely and we use the Spelling Shed scheme to deliver the year group specific spelling objectives.
- English lessons are given the highest priority and lessons are timetabled each day in every year group.
- Where English is delivered through daily phonics lesson (RWI) the children are placed in homogenous groups so that children are accessing work that is at the level correct for them. These groups are reviewed at least every six weeks.
- In other year groups children have at least one timetabled English lesson each day. Medium Term Plans (or Schemes of Work) will detail how the reading, writing and grammar objectives will be delivered using the class novel as the focus for these activities.
- Additionally, children in years 4-6 will take part in a 20 minute daily reading lesson using the Reading Plus online adaptive reading programme.
- When children have completed the Read, Write Inc programme, ideally by Year 2 term 2, the structures of the English lesson will be more like that of KS2.
- Reading for pleasure is prioritised through the Accelerated Reader scheme which is used throughout KS2.
- Children are encouraged to use a joined style of handwriting (starting in Year 2 if children are ready for this) and there is regular practice and teaching of the joins needed to be fluent in the cursive style.
- Children are given opportunities to write for a variety of purposes and audiences. Writing is seen as a process where children have time to identify features of the chosen genre, plan their own work, draft, edit and redraft their work. In some cases, the final piece will be ‘published’ using word processing tools or by creating a finished.
Following the Read Write Inc approach to teaching early reading ensures that pupils have the very best start to their reading journey at Crookhill. They will become fluent readers which will allow them to access a wide range of reading materials as they progress through the Key Stages. As pupils move beyond Read Write Inc, there is a continued focus on fluency but the teaching of reading is focussed on developing pupils comprehension of texts. By selecting quality texts for use in the classroom, pupils develop their love of literature and are encouraged to read widely for pleasure. The Reading Plus programme gives pupils access to a high-quality library of non-fiction texts which helps to support pupils’ vocabulary development as well as their understanding of the world around them.
As a result of this intensive focus on the development of reading, the vast majority of pupils pass the phonic screening check in Year 1 and meet the end of Key Stage expectations. Progress of all pupils is carefully monitored and pupils who are not on track to meet expectations are supported to catch up through high quality intervention programmes either in groups or individually where appropriate.
Similarly, pupils written work meets the expected standard for end of Key Stage in the majority of cases.
In order to ensure that the majority of pupils are on track to meet the expected standards, there are regular assessments in English, both formative and summative. Details of the assessment procedures can be found in the Assessment Policy.