I think it’s the books that you read when you’re young that live with you forever.
At Weetwood our English curriculum has been developed to recognise the importance of English in every aspect of daily life and to develop pupils’ love of reading, writing and discussion. We recognise the importance of nurturing a culture where pupils love to read, take pride in their writing and can clearly and accurately adapt their language and style for a range of contexts. We want to inspire pupils to be confident in the art of speaking and listening and be able to use discussion to communicate and further their learning.
We believe that pupils need to develop a secure knowledge base in English, which follows a clear pathway of progression as they advance through the primary curriculum. This secure basis in English skills is crucial to a high quality education and will give our pupils the tools they need to participate in a broad and balanced curriculum and as a member of wider society.
First and foremost we want out pupils to be confident in the skills they have been taught showing good progress from their starting point, sustained learning and transferrable skills. Reading fluently is a non-negotiable and all children should leave school with this skill mastered. Our pupils will have a working knowledge of a range of authors and genres which provide them with cultural understanding and a model in which to basis their own learning on and use as a reference point throughout the rest of their education and lives.
Pupils’ books will showcase the opportunities children have had to develop their English skills across the year. This may include: written work, photographs and other creative tasks. Most importantly the progress of individual pupils from the start to the end of the year should be clear. Throughout the year children are encouraged to reflect on the work they have done by talking confidently about their achievements and sharing their work with others.
Formative assessments take place throughout the year and are matched closely to the learning the pupils are doing. Gaps in children’s learning are identified and interventions put in place to help these gaps to be filled.
Marking is rigorous in English and across other curriculum areas and children have time to edit and improve their work as well as responding to feedback. Regular book looks are carried out to check there is progression across year groups, work is of a high quality and the marking policy is being followed consistently. Summative assessments take place on a termly basis and teachers are accountable for the progress of pupil in pupil progress meetings.
At Weetwood our curriculum is based upon high quality texts that have been carefully selected to engage and inspire our pupils. Each term, pupils will be introduced to new texts and topics. Our learning across the curriculum links to the topic ensuring a broad and balanced approach to teaching and learning.
Each year, pupils will explore and deepen their knowledge of the features of narrative writing, poetry and non-fiction text types. We are rigorous in the teaching of grammar and punctuation, ensuring that the pupils’ skills are developed and embedded appropriately according to the genre. Emphasis is placed on the importance of the reader and the pupils are taught to carefully consider the purpose and audience for their writing. As an Artsmark school, drama is a prominent throughout our curriculum and we have worked with external drama providers to ensure that pupils are provided with high quality experiences to base their writing upon and we monitor the impact this is having on pupils, particularly within their writing. We teach cursive handwriting throughout the school in discrete handwriting sessions and the children are able to use a pen as soon as they demonstrate the expected fluency and control.
At Weetwood Reading for pleasure is a priority. We closely monitor the texts pupils are reading at home and often recommend texts to pupils when needed, this is further support by the use of The Weetwood Reading Spine. Our curriculum is enriched further by events such as World Book Day, Masked Reader competitions and a range of trips and visits which complement pupils’ learning. We have a newly refurbished library that pupils visit weekly and can borrow books from. We teach reading daily, using a whole class model from Year 2 upwards. In these sessions, the emphasis is placed on the dialogue between pupils and teacher. Carefully planned questioning using the RIC (Retrieval, Inference and Choice) approach helps pupils explore the text and key vocabulary to develop their comprehension skills. Pupils are encouraged to think critically, discuss, debate and explain their opinions. In these sessions pupils also have the opportunity to apply the essential skills of predicting, clarifying, questioning and answering.
Phonics is taught in differentiated groups from Preschool up to Year 2, following a structured long term plan based on the ‘Letters and Sounds’ document. (See phonics one minute guide) During Year 2, most pupils move on to a spelling programme which incorporates phase six of ‘Letters and Sounds’. Pupils who still require phonics input access the differentiated groups in Year 1. The explicit teaching of phonics in supported in Reception and Year 1 by a carousel based approach where pupils access a range of reading activities in small groups developing fluency and comprehension skills, which prepare them for the RIC approach.
We identify pupils who need support as early as possible and provide intervention in the most effective and efficient way that we can. This includes one to one reading sessions, small group work and individual, personalised ICT interventions. Teachers plan and teach English lessons which are differentiated to the particular needs of each pupil and this work is support by the school’s SENCO. We help each pupil maximise their potential by providing help and support where necessary whilst striving to make pupils independent learners, helping equip them with the confidence, tools and strategies they need to succeed.