At St Mary’s Church of England Primary School, we have designed our English curriculum with the intent that all children, irrespective of their background, will become expressive and articulate speakers, fluent and insightful readers and technically skilled and creative writers. We recognise the importance of nurturing a culture where children love to read, take pride in their writing and can clearly and accurately adapt their language and style for a range of contexts. We aim to inspire children to be confident in the art of speaking and listening and to be able to use discussion to communicate and further their learning. We understand that a good grasp of English is the bedrock of the entire curriculum and children who are confident and adept readers and writers will be empowered to succeed in all other areas of learning. We appreciate and value the contribution of our parents and carers, especially their vital role in the development of reading, writing and in the nurturing of positive habits, particularly in attitudes towards daily reading. We also celebrate the diversity of languages that children read in at home and encourage parents to continue to speak and read with their children in their home language.
We will deliver an English Curriculum that:
The English Curriculum is led and overseen by the English Curriculum Leader, in conjunction with SLT. They regularly monitor, evaluate, and review English teaching and learning, celebrate and share good practice.
At St Mary’s, we will ensure that our English teaching and learning provides many purposeful opportunities for reading, writing and discussion. We will use a wide variety of experiences, quality inspirational texts and resources to engage, motivate and inspire our children.
All pupils will receive a daily Quality First Teaching English lesson where teachers create a positive reading and writing culture in class, where both are promoted, enjoyed and considered ‘a pleasure’ for all pupils. We will ensure pupils acquire the necessary strategies that enable them to become independent learners in English.
We will develop oracy across the school by creating and providing opportunities within and outside classrooms, through drama and role-play.
We will provide a curriculum that values the dramatic arts as a means of developing confidence and the ability to express oneself.
Phonics will be taught progressively from Reception to Y2, following the DfE validated phonics programme ‘Anima Phonics’, as an effective way of developing children’s reading and spelling skills.
We will develop children’s vocabulary throughout school, allowing them to comprehend others and to express themselves confidently, clearly and poetically.
Children will be taught to read with fluency and expression. The curriculum will develop their ability to comprehend, analyse and critique different texts.
We will teach a range of genres across the school both in English and other curriculum areas; resulting in pupils being exposed to, and knowledgeable about, literary styles, authors and genres. They will be able to express preferences and give opinions, supported by evidence, about different texts.
We will give plenty of opportunities for children to engage in “guided reading” with an adult to support their comprehension skills.
We will develop children’s grammar so that they have a good understanding of the mechanics of spoken and written English. This will allow them to write clearly and accurately regardless of genre.
The teaching of spelling will be taught throughout the school in a progressive way allowing children to learn spelling rules, exceptions and irregular spellings.
Handwriting will be taught to develop legibility and fluidity and to encourage all children to take pride in the presentation of their work, regardless of discipline.
Children will be given the opportunity to engage with, read, develop their understanding and write within a range of genres: different fictional styles, poetry and non-fiction. They will learn to express preferences and to adopt an appropriate tone and ‘voice’ for each genre.
Children will be encouraged to reflect upon their writing, and to edit and improve their work.
We will have Working Walls in all classes to support pupils and guide them through the process of reading and analysing, gathering content, planning and writing.
We will showcase displays of writing, in class and shared areas, such as the ‘Writing Wall of Fame’, as well as on the school website, giving a sense of purpose and audience, encouraging pride in children’s work and demonstrating that work is valued.
The National Curriculum 2014 and the Statuary Framework for the EYFS 2021 will provide the basis of the St Mary’s English curriculum, tailored to meet the learning and developmental needs of the children in our school. All planning will be informed by two fundamental, complementary tenets: To develop enjoyment in reading and writing; and to develop technical proficiency.
Teachers will plan English using ‘Hamilton English Blocks’ that allow children to build upon prior knowledge and understanding, as well as the teaching sequence for writing. Creating opportunities for young writers to request and receive feedback is crucial. By providing opportunities for responding to this feedback and editing and improving their work, children will gain self-awareness of their writing skills and develop their metacognitive skills. Children will be given opportunities to self and peer assess across both key stages.
Teachers will develop their knowledge of children’s literature and ensure that children are exposed to a wide variety of high quality texts. Children will be exposed to classics as well as to lesser-known works of literature from around the world, representing a diverse range of authors and writers. Opportunities for drama and role play will be incorporated within units. This will stimulate children to develop their oracy skills.
Formative assessments will be integrated into everyday English teaching to ensure teachers have an in–depth knowledge of the children’s learning and to inform their next steps.
Phonics is assessed using the Anima Phonics assessment materials. Children’s knowledge and skill in applying phonics are regularly assessed, allowing phonics teaching to be tailored to the specific needs of each child. Low stakes testing in English will take place from Year 1, and children take part in the national phonics screening at the end of Year 1.
Once children are secure reading phonetically decodable texts, their progress in reading is assessed every half term using ‘PM Bench Marking’. This provides a finely gradated reading assessment of both decoding and comprehension skills. As children become more independent or “free readers” in Key Stage 2, their progress is assessed every half term using the ‘Qxford Reading Criterion’.
Children’s progress in writing will be assessed termly using the ‘Oxford Writing Criterion’ across both Key Stages 1 and 2. Children in Year 2 and Year 6 will also undertake practice assessments to prepare them for National Curriculum end of key stage tests.
Our English Curriculum will ensure that children acquire the appropriate age-related knowledge and skills, providing them with recognised and meaningful qualifications that will open doors in later life. The acquired knowledge and skills will assist in turning our children into well-rounded global citizens with strong characters and a positive approach.