This is an overview of English at Wittersham School. It contains useful information about our approach to English including the progression of skills across the year groups. English plays an integral role in our day to day learning at Wittersham. We teach English lessons every day, using a range of teaching techniques and resources to meet the requirements of the national curriculum. We expect our children to apply their reading, spelling, writing and oracy skills across all subjects and this is a key concept of our curriculum.
The National Curriculum (2014) clearly states that the teaching of language is an essential, if not most essential, role of a primary school.
Key Principles/Purpose of Study:
For pupils to become independent readers and writers.
For pupils to have access to a wide range of texts and resources to foster a love of reading.
For pupils to develop confidence in speaking and listening skills.
For pupils to learn skills for life after school, including opportunities to gain qualifications to help shape their future.
Aims and Objectives:
Pupils develop the building blocks for reading, spelling, writing and grammar through a range of teaching and strategies. Pupils choose reading books perfectly pitched for them through our reading programme and all pupils have regular 1:1 reading sessions. We run intervention programmes in phonics, spelling, handwriting and reading for any pupils that are identified as needing extra support.
Our key objective is that all pupils leave our Primary School with the confidence and enjoyment of English to embrace the next steps in their curriculum, their learning and their future.
Please click on the link to our Systematic Phonics Programme
We believe that it is every child’s right to learn to read but we hope that our children go beyond this and develop a love and pleasure for reading during these formative years. Reading is taught across the curriculum through discrete phonics sessions, one-to-one with a teacher or teaching assistant, shared reading, guided reading and reading aloud to children. Staff are reading role models, who demonstrate and encourage a love for reading, and children have access to a wide variety of reading materials in central school reading areas throughout the school (including our outside environment) as well as class-based book corners and reading areas; the school reading scheme; the guided reading scheme; carefully selected core texts used in our teaching of English; visiting authors and book fairs.
In Term 3, we introduce ‘Book Buddies’ which is a paired reading programme that matches young readers with supportive accomplished, older readers to promote a love of books.
The younger children love to read to their older Book Buddies and talk about what they have been learning. The older Book Buddies grow in confidence as they share their reading skills and praise and encourage their young partners.
At Wittersham CEP School, we use the ‘book banding’ system to organise children’s reading books. Texts are grouped, in coloured bands, according to the difficulty of the text. Book Banding is designed to help grade reading books across different reading schemes. We have books from different reading schemes within each book band so our children have access to the variety they need whilst still being supported at the right reading level. When a child is learning to read, it is important that they have access to many different kinds of books and a wide vocabulary. Staff track the progress of children throughout the year ensuring that each child is supported and challenged at their appropriate level. Progress through our reading scheme is assessed to ensure pupils have secure understanding in all areas of reading – fluency, comprehension and reading behaviours.
As well as the recommended reading lists from Kent’s English Advisors, you can also find useful reading lists at ‘Book for Topics’ which as well as organizing book lists to support topic themes, has recommended reading lists by age group which is updated regularly.
The CLPE also has recommended reading lists but you need to sign up to view these. It is free and then you have access to free resources too. These lists are useful as they have a separate list for non-fiction books too.
For Years 5 & 6, Mr Andrew creates a current ‘recommended read’ newsletter which is really worth a look at. He also writes a blog about the importance of creating a reading culture in the classroom.
Send a list of Recommended Reads to enhance the reading culture in your classroom
Kent Recommended Texts
Texts we like in year 1
Texts we like in year 2
Texts we like in year 3
Texts we like in year 4
Texts we like in year 5
Texts we like in year 6
Writing in school needs a motivating stimulus; be it a high quality text, a short video or a picture. At Wittersham School we aim to promote children’s writing initially by encouraging them to talk. Articulation of children’s thoughts is central to the learning process and allows children to explore a variety of ideas before committing them to paper. It also strengthens understanding, and enables children to practise skills and build confidence.
We regularly use drama to allow pupils to enter imaginatively into the world of texts. It enables pupils to ‘live’ the story and it is particularly good in assisting them to empathise with characters, understanding their motives, thoughts, feelings and intentions. Essentially the use of these and other techniques enriches and enhances children’s experience of the text being studied. Drama serves as one of the important initial activities that support pupils’ writing.
Shared writing is often used and is an effective way of scaffolding the writing process for pupils. It helps to teach them how to write and involves a gradual movement from instruction to independence. Shared writing gives a focus on the key vocabulary, sentence and text features that the children need to make progress.
At Wittersham we foster learning environments where children are happy to publicly reveal and work on improvements in their own writing, redrafting their work until it is the best that it can be.
Spelling, punctuation and grammar
As part of the National Curriculum all classes are taught aspects of Spelling, punctuation and grammar. Spelling is taught daily in the Early Years and in Key Stage One as part of phonic lessons. The Letters and Sounds scheme is followed, which is built around the 6 phases of letters and sounds. Spelling continues to be taught regularly in Key stage Two where spelling rules are taught and investigated using the ‘No Nonsense’ spelling programme. Helpful strategies for learning words are taught across the school. The ‘Being able to speak and write accurately in Standard English’ is vital for our children’s life chances. At Wittersham School, we teach grammar discretely where appropriate but always study further examples of grammar in the context of our own reading and writing.
Handwriting is an essential skill for children and adults. At Wittersham we develop children’s handwriting through discrete teaching and modelling of good handwriting by our teachers and support staff. We have high expectations of handwriting and presentation across all subjects. In years three and four children can apply for a pen licence when their handwriting is of a suitably high standard on a consistent basis.
Writing Assessment and Record Keeping
Staff assess children’s learning throughout every session, adapting their practice accordingly to consolidate or accelerate. Tasks are marked in accordance with the Assessment for Learning, Feedback and Marking Policy. Next steps for learning are shared with the children and they are given the opportunity to respond to the comments made.
Writing attainment is assessed using National Curriculum criteria (using the Kent Tracking Statements and the Writing Frameworks for KS1 and KS2) and this is fed into Target Tracker termly. This data is then analysed by the Headteacher ad Assistant Head and fed back to teachers and the SENCO so that it informs future planning and any necessary interventions. We also moderate writing as a school and staff attend moderating sessions within the Tenterden Rural Alliance (TRA).
Year 2 and Year 6 teachers attend annual SATS update sessions and Kent moderation
End of Key Stage Assessments are analysed by the Headteacher and the Assistant Head and feed into the school self-evaluation (SEF) and the School Improvement Plan.
Links and Useful Documents:
All on a Page, Kent Tracking Statements for Reading
All on a Page, Kent Statements for Writing
Grammar & Punctuation, Planning from Early Years to Year 2
Grammar & Punctuation, Planning from Year 3 to Year 6
4 Writing for Purposes Guidance