Statement of Intent
We recognise that competence in speaking, listening, reading and writing underpin the whole curriculum. Therefore, a quality English curriculum should develop our pupils’ love of reading, writing and discussion. Our aim is to enable our pupils to become confident and able writers, who make conscious links to reading. We aim for our children to write as a readers and read as writers.
We recognise the importance of nurturing a culture where our pupils take pride in their writing, can write clearly and accurately and adapt their language and style for a range of contexts. Our whole-school approach to English interleaves with all areas of our curriculum and is key to raising standards across the school. We want to inspire our pupils to be confident in the art of speaking and listening, and communicate effectively using standard English to enable them to thrive throughout their time at school and beyond.
We believe that a secure basis of English skills is crucial to a high-quality education and will give our pupils the tools they need to participate fully as a member of society.
We make clear how language and literature have been, and can be instrumental in changing the world we live in.
The Teaching of Reading
Reading is taught through the explicit delivery of reading domains from Year 1 onwards where these domains are regularly revisited to secure the skill of comprehension and the tools we use to connect a text to full understanding. This is delivered in small steps and scaffolded using structure strips which reduce cognitive load for the child and act as a prompt to remind them of the journey they have been on throughout the lesson. Each reading session consists of a vocabulary focus; reading focus; explanation; I, we, you question exposure and a challenge for those pupils who are ready.
At Key Stage One, all children receive phonics lessons daily following the Ruth Miskin programme RWi. In addition to this, all children access English which follows a 3/2 day rolling programme for Reading and Writing. This enables all children to be exposed to the full range of texts within our Literature Spine; allows all children to access the interleaving that takes place between subjects and provides all children the opportunity to develop key reading (word reading and comprehension) and writing skills.
At Key Stage Two, all children access whole class reading and a separate writing session daily. Reading enables children access to expert writers and will be taught comprehension skills to secure their understanding. Children are able to make connections between the authorial style and skill they see as a reader, to how they can develop themselves as writers.
In addition to whole class teaching, children are also encouraged to read for pleasure at home. For this we use Accelerated Reader for Years 2 to 6 and class library books for Reception and Year 1
During our children’s first encounters of school life, they learn to write by being exposed to a range of stories to develop their vocabulary. Talk for Writing is introduced so that children learn to recite familiar stories and to develop an understanding of story structure. Writing materials are available in all areas within the setting and there are opportunities for children to develop mark making through the carefully selected provocations, which are changed regularly. This provision continues throughout EYFS to promote a love of writing.
In EYFS, children are fully immersed in daily phonics sessions (using RWI) where they begin to write letters, CVC words and then simple sentences. In addition to this, shared writing takes place daily with the teacher modelling the basics of writing, exposing children to the key elements of simple sentence structures.
From the Spring Term, all children in Reception take part in Guided Writing sessions in small groups and record in books weekly. This ensures that children are Year One ready by the time they leave Reception in the Summer Term.
An evidence informed and knowledge-rich curriculum:
Throughout school, we have a rigorous and well-structured English curriculum and framework in Key Stages One and Two, which provides many purposeful opportunities for reading, writing and discussion. Writing outcomes in each year group are planned to provide opportunities for interleaving across the curriculum, which incorporate the key writing skills specified in the National Curriculum. Writing genres and skills are revisited throughout the year and across year groups to enable children to make schematic connections.
We use a range of expert written texts and core texts from our Reading Spine to motivate and inspire our pupils to write a range of outcomes through fiction, non-fiction and poetry. The core purpose is to expose pupils to a range of high-quality literature that gives every child a mirror in which to see themselves and offers a window to children to see a world beyond their own.
Cultural capital is important to us and ensures that pupils have the knowledge required to prepare them for future success. We therefore ensure that in each year group, pupils have the opportunity to explore texts based around a range of times, cultures, traditions and subject matter to provide opportunities for making connections.
The Teaching of Writing:
Within Writing, we follow a research-based curriculum underpinned by the importance of vocabulary. Our journey incorporates SOLO Taxonomy through the system of Collect, Connect and Create.
- Collect Stage – Word Level
- Connect Stage – Sentence Level
- Create Stage – Text Level
Collect Stage of Learning - Reading, Vocabulary & Drama
Purpose: To explore and learn the skills of writing through reading as a writer, deepening understanding and promoting spoken language and Standard English.
- The writing outcome, audience, purpose and key skills are shared with pupils at the start of a new writing unit.
- A high quality WAGOLL is shared with the pupils to show the expectation of the end of unit writing outcome, which includes the key features of the genre and the purpose as to why they have been used.
- Vocabulary modules focus on a deep understanding through the use of: definitions; morphology; etymology; connections; idioms and dual coding. Pupils’ implement language from across the curriculum and ‘magpie’ writer’s expert words and phrases. The working wall begins to develop these collections and pupils use these within their writing.
- Pupils are given opportunities to learn and develop a range of oral rehearsal and performance techniques.
- Pupils create and share ideas for innovations in preparation for the written outcome.
- Pupils are taught how to effectively plan for a written outcome.
This phase is used flexibly to meet what the pupils will need during the writing phase and is revisited.
Connect Stage of Learning - Planning and Developing Ideas
Purpose: To support the structure and composition of pupils’ writing and organise and develop ideas.
- After initial immersion into the WAGOLL, the teacher will model, demonstrate and teach pupils composition. This will include sentence structure and manipulation of clauses; a range of year group specific punctuation; structure and organisation of the text; manipulation of vocabulary and language features to hook and engage the reader.
- The planning and build-up of writing should be integrated within the teaching sequence and broken down to enable the pupils to eventually create a complete piece of writing (e.g. looking at the opening of a narrative).
- GPS skills are incorporated and used to cohesively construct sentences.
- Pupils are exposed to shared, supported, guided and collaborative writing to develop in detail individual sections of the text.
- The ‘I, We, You’ model should be used throughout this stage. Shared, supported, guided and collaborative writing takes place throughout this phase and opportunities are provided for pupils to develop in detail individual sections of the text, depending upon the focus (unit outcome and the pupils you are teaching).
- Washing lines and working walls are used to show individual sections that build up to a whole text, which are a mixture of the teacher’s and pupils’ work.
Create Stage of Learning – Drafting and Editing
Purpose: To write sections of text and improve using outcomes specific to the task.
- Pupils are taught, and complete sections of their written outcome, with specific foci. They are reminded of the purpose and audience for their writing at each stage.
- They have an opportunity to make improvements to their writing using the skills of proof-reading and editing using a recursive model.
- Pupils use the Ingredients to Success and Knowledge Organiser to independently assess and improve their own writing.
- To complete the writing journey, pupils will compile their sections of text to create a final written outcome.
The Teaching of Grammar, Punctuation and Spelling (GPS):
Teachers ensure that they follow the expectations which are stated within the National Curriculum to teach key GPS skills which are age appropriate. The school has created a Writing Skills Progression Map based on the National Curriculum to ensure coverage.
Each English lesson begins with a GPS starter. This may be a specific skill taken from the medium-term planning, or a skill being revisited from previous AfL. Teachers ensure that skills in previous year groups are also revisited to ensure that pupils are retaining key knowledge and understanding.
Class timetables include a weekly vocabulary lesson and are reviewed termly and depending on individual cohorts/year groups, GPS sessions may be added to the timetable as individual sessions to support the understanding and transference of key GPS skills required.
Writing across the Curriculum:
Our research-based curriculum ensures that cross-curricular links with concurrent wider curriculum work are woven into each subject. Key literacy links are identified in each area to ensure that cross-curricular learning is taking place, with literacy being a skill, not a subject, in the wider curriculum. This allows for the teaching and revisiting of previous knowledge; priming the schema before retrieval; formation of schema alongside new teaching of new knowledge and reducing the cognitive load.
Pupils with SEND:
We are an inclusive school, so when a class teacher or the SENCO identifies a child with SEND, the class teacher provides interventions that are additional to and different from those provided as part of the school’s usual differentiated curriculum offer and strategies. This may be through adult support, scaffolds or differentiated tasks. Children with SEND may also receive targets which have been taken from their Writing Continuum, rather than the expectations from the National Curriculum for their age. This ensures that the learning is bespoke to their needs.
Assessment of Writing:
- Daily, through Wave 1 teaching (questioning, independent opportunities to practise skills, low stake testing etc).
- Weekly, through pupils’ oral and written responses (in English books and across the curriculum).
- Termly, through writing assessment tasks completed by all pupils throughout each academic term. This data is used to inform future planning.
Moderation takes place in all year groups. This is completed with:
- the local authority at different points across the year with statutory assessment year groups;
- each term with schools within the West Midlands UL cluster;
- throughout the academic year with schools from the United Learning Trust.
Moderation supports teachers and helps them to make accurate judgements about their pupils’ writing at the end of the year.
At our school, we believe all our pupils have the potential to succeed. Through our high-quality teaching of English alongside our knowledge-rich curriculum, we realise a community of enthusiastic readers and writers who enjoy showcasing their developing literacy knowledge and skills. Children are confident to take risks in their reading and writing, and love to discuss and share their ideas. Outcomes of work in both English and other subject areas evidence the high quality of work and the impact of varied and cross curricular writing opportunities. These enable children to write across a range of forms and adapt their writing successfully, considering the purpose. Our children will leave us with transferrable skills that support their future learning.