The overarching aim for English in the National Curriculum is to promote high standards of language and literacy by equipping pupils with a strong command of the spoken and written word. We have adopted the New National Curriculum 2014 which can be accessed https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/national-curriculum
Our English teaching begins in Early years where we introduce the teaching of phonics using letters and sounds and Phonic Bug. A key focus is exploring and enjoying stories and non fiction texts whilst teaching early writing skills through the development of 'Talk for Writing' in focused teaching sessions and imaginary play opportunities. This goes hand in hand with teaching early reading and writing skills, including e cursive handwriting skills. A range of material is used to support reading including Bug Club, Oxford Reading Tree, Oxford Songbirds and Oxford Traditional tales.
As our pupils move through the school they continue to have a daily English lesson, although we adopt a flexible timetable. At St. Dominic’s we hope to foster a love of literature through the use of high quality texts. In all classes children develop their reading skills through 1:1 reading opportunities, guided group reading and whole class shared reading. Teachers foster a love of reading by reading for pleasure with pupils.
We teach writing through the Talk for Writing approach, developed by Pie Corbett. Pupils learn a model story or text off by heart using pictures and symbols on a storymap (or text map if it is non-fiction), and actions. They learn all the writer’s skills and create ‘toolkits’ of success criteria in order to help them learn how to structure and write their own stories/texts. At the end of each teaching sequence children are asked to show what they know by completing an independent writing task ( Big Write)
In one half term, pupils will complete 1 story unit, 1 non-fiction unit and 1 poetry unit, all wrapped up in the creative theme for the term. In addition to this, pupils from Year 1 to Year 6 have discrete Grammar, Punctuation and spelling sessions to teach the necessary skills and knowledge required. This will also prepare them for the Y6 Spelling, Grammar and Punctuation test (SPAG).
Pupils have personal targets for writing which are identified by an initial writing assessment task at the start of every unit. These targets are monitored every 3 weeks to ensure they are all making good progress in relation to age-related expectations. Shared and guided reading is incorporated into whole class and group work to enables pupils to explore the structure and effective composition of texts to enhance pupils' understanding and fine tune their comprehension skills. Pupils are taught the skills to write accurately, coherently and imaginatively, adapting their language and style in and for a range of purposes. Spelling and grammar are a focus throughout the lessons. We provide opportunities for the pupils to consolidate their literacy skills through our cross curricular work and make meaningful links where ever possible.
In addition to using the National curriculum, we also use Chris Quigley Essential Skills Programme to help ensure progression in skills. We have combined these with other useful resources e.g. Alan Peat's Sentence types within our own teaching and learning progression document. ( please click the link below)