The Intent of our English Curriculum
At The Willows Catholic Primary School, we believe that a quality English curriculum should develop children’s love of reading, writing and discussion. We have a rich, progressive English curriculum that provides many purposeful opportunities for reading, writing and discussion. Our curriculum closely follows the aims of the National Curriculum for English 2014 to enable all children to:
- 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.
These aims are embedded across our English lessons, but also made cross curricular to apply to the wider curriculum, making learning more meaningful and engaging. We will provide the means for children to develop a secure knowledge-base in English, which follows a clear pathway of progression as they advance through the primary curriculum. Rigorous assessment and review will ensure that we are able to provide targeted support so that all children experience success in English; we believe that a secure basis in English skills is crucial to a high quality education and will give our children the tools they need to participate fully as a member of society.
The Implementation of our English Curriculum
Early reading and phonics at The Willows is currently supported through the Letters and Sounds, Jolly Phonics scheme. Children are streamed across KS1 into small, phase-focussed groups. These are reviewed and assessed regularly and staff are offered training and development to ensure they are equipped with the expertise needed to teach high quality, daily phonics sessions. Parents are also vital in our bid to develop phonics, and we hold parent phonics sessions to train and support them on how they can help their children at home. Phonics intervention groups are run daily in KS2 to close gaps for targeted pupils and ensure a continuation of phonics development.
Developing a love of reading is of paramount importance for us at The Willows, and this starts from the moment the children start in Early Years. Children are assessed throughout KS1 and read books from a colour banded, age related scheme that is progressive for the children as they go through KS1 And early KS2. Each class in KS1 has a termly author, who they focus their reading on and learn about. We hold KS1 family fun sessions, where the children come dressed up as characters from books by their author and complete challenges, quizzes and tasks with parents linked to their author. Reading corners have been set up to develop a love of reading and to promote independence with reading within classrooms and regular library visits take place, where children can take home books from our well stocked school library as well as their banded reading book. As children complete the colour banded scheme, usually by early juniors, they read books carefully selected from their class library. Teachers support the children selecting books based on interest and ability level, in order to encourage a love of reading and provide appropriate challenge. Every class at The Willows has a class reading book, which offers the children the chance to share a story as a class as read and modelled by the teacher. These follow our chosen class authors or link to our learning in other subject areas to increase engagement and make learning more meaningful.
Children across school complete several guided reading sessions per week. The focus of guided reading at The Willows is of course about developing fluency and accuracy when reading, but also about developing questioning and an understanding of what the children have read. The approach to guided reading is therefore progressive, starting with reading and verbal questioning in small groups or 1:1 with an adult in early KS1, to more formal questioning and written comprehension work being completed in KS2. Many reading comprehension resources are available for staff, to ensure access to a wide range of text types and to ensure children have access to a diverse range of topics that link with their learning in other subjects. In KS2, children complete Access Reading tests and formal, written comprehension tests every term to monitor progress and inform intervention groups. Whole-school reading events such as World Book Day are celebrated every year, to further raise the profile of reading in our school and develop a love of reading.
Spelling, punctuation and grammar is taught as a discrete subject, often as English lesson starters or as short 15 minute sessions. A whole school scheme for spelling, punctuation and grammar has been created to ensure progression across year groups. IDL intervention groups across KS2 are established for children who need further support with spelling. Spelling, punctuation and grammar learning is made meaningful and current for children, by applying it to their writing focus every week.
At The Willows, we are firm believers that the children should be writing frequently, and about things that are engaging and meaningful. Therefore, a large amount of the writing that the children complete is cross-curricular, linking to the learning being covered in other subjects such as science, history or R.E. Teachers plan and deliver blocks of learning focussing on different text types, which build progressively towards an extended piece of writing.
We have high expectations for handwriting at The Willows, and believe it is important that a high level of pride in the presentation of written work is promoted for the children. Handwriting is taught in discrete sessions, where letter formation and cursive joins are modelled and taught by the class teacher and practiced by the children in their handwriting books.
Speaking and listening are vital skills for children to acquire and are fundamental to their language development. Children are taught to speak confidently and to adapt their speech to different situations. They are given the opportunity for their language to develop alongside their progress in reading and writing. They will also be given the opportunity to develop into careful and responsive listeners.
Assessment for Learning is embedded in English lessons and children are active in reviewing the successes in their work and identifying, with support from their teacher, target areas for development to ensure a continuous and individualised approach to improving their work.
The Impact of our English Curriculum
The organisation and delivery of our English curriculum has produced a community of enthusiastic, confident readers and writers, who enjoy showcasing their developing literary 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 topic books 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.
Attainment for reading and writing at the end of EYFS, KS1 and KS2 is above that of national average. Our results for the Phonics Screening check are also consistently above national averages.
In the table below you will find a wealth of useful documents for each year group. These documents help outline the learning, the progression and the steps taken to ensure all our children make excellent progress through our English curriculum.