Subject Leader - Miss K. A Harvey
At Our Lady & St Gerard’s, we follow the statutory guidance for the teaching of English, as set out in the National Curriculum 2014 but in accordance with our overarching curriculum aims, our curriculum for English promotes the acquisition of transferable skills to meet the demands of our 21st Century world. We aim to develop the English skills that children will need to equip them for everyday life in an ever changing society. We strive to create an engaging, language rich environment where children can learn and develop skills in a purposeful manner, making links with other curriculum areas where appropriate. We have developed a curriculum which ensures children spend longer being taught the Key Skills in reading and writing in order to secure their literacy skills.
Throughout both Key Stages, children are taught skills in speaking and listening, reading and writing, encompassing phonic knowledge, drama, spelling, grammar, comprehension, composition and handwriting.
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 language, and to develop their love of literature through widespread reading for enjoyment.
Each Class Page outlines the English content overview for that Year Group
The national curriculum for English aims to ensure that all pupils:
- 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
Writing Key Skills
We believe that it is crucial to secure certain key skills to ensure that our children become fully literate. Each year group works towards a wide and varied English curriculum but the Key Skills for each year group are our 'non-negotiable' standards. These Key Skills are the 'stepping stones' to becoming fully literate and gaining a secure command of the English language. We work alongside pupils to ensure that these skills are mastered and secure
Our children benefit from opportunities to develop their writing in a range of contexts and for a range of purposes. We strive to provide real reasons to write to engage our learners. The children learn features of different text types/genres through their reading and text exploration. They learn the effects of different vocabulary and are encouraged to use a wide range of vocabulary in their own writing. Our curriculum is progressive and builds on the skills taught in previous years.
We aim to develop skills in:
- Writing to entertain
- Writing to persuade
- Writing to inform
- Writing to discuss
Phonics is the method used to teach reading. It teaches children to tune into sounds and to 'decode' words by breaking the words into smaller units. Children learn to blend these sounds during their reading and segment the sounds for spelling. Although we have 26 letters in the alphabet, there are around 45 sounds and lots of variations for spelling! Children in Reception and Key Stage 1 follow a structured, synthetic phonics programme, ‘Letters and Sounds’, taught using multi-sensory, engaging activities and resources.
If you have any questions about phonics or about the Phonics Screening Check, please speak to your child's teacher. In the Autumn and Spring Terms we hold parent workshops to give parents the opportunity to learn more about phonics and work alongside their child in school.
"The workshop was fantastic - I have learnt so much. The word cards with sound buttons were really helpful." (Year 1 parent - January 2020)
"Good information and knowledgeto use at home. Great to spend time with ****** at school to see what he does." (Year 1 parent - January 2020)
"Very interesting and informative. I like the videos (articulation & phonics check) and the interactive sessions with the kids." (Year 1 parent - January 2020)
It is important to articulate the sounds (phonemes) correctly when supporting your child at home.
Children in Reception work within the Early Years Foundation Stage Framework towards their Early Learning Goals. The children experience activities to develop their knowledge, understanding and skills through seven areas of learning, including Communication and Language and Literacy. The Communication and Language element encourages children to listen, respond and engage in activities with others and to express themselves effectively. Literacy encompasses reading and writing using their phonic knowledge.
Our home reading scheme for the Reception and Key Stage 1 children is ‘Phonics Bug’. We also use Floppy's Phonics for group (Guided) reading with the teachers.
Children experience a range of text genres aimed at broadening their knowledge of text types and engaging them in literature. We use a variety of reading approaches such as whole class reading, guided reading and individual reading.
We encourage reading for pleasure and teach reading through home reading schemes, which progress from books with no words to higher level challenging books. The schemes used are Phonic Bug (for children working up to Phase 5), ‘Story worlds’ and ‘Oxford Reading Tree Treetops’. Children also benefit from regular guided reading using the ‘Collins Big Cat Scheme’ which includes a range of ‘Big Cat Phonics’ books and Floppy's Phonics.
Colour banding is one way that books are organised - children move through the book bands which are progressive in the number of words, size of font and the complexity of language. The table shows the order of the book banding system. Not all children will move through the book bands at the same rate but the table shows our expectations for each year group.
Phonics sets In the early stages of learning to read, children use phonics to decode words. Often, children may struggle with particular sounds (phonemes) and need to practise reading words containing this phoneme. We also use phonics sets to organise our books so that teachers can target particular sounds to help children to progress. Occasionally, your child may bring home a book from a different book band in order to practise a particular phoneme.
We have a wide variety of reading books for the whole school. Phonic Bug is a phonics based scheme and works alongside our phonics teaching.
Parallel to this is the Bug Club series which complements the Phonics Bug series by providing a wider range of texts at each colour band with an element of challenge!
In KS2, the Bug Club books continue to the level of fully proficient readers in Year 6. The modern and engaging titles, bright colours and photographs mean that children are desperate to read at home! There is a range of fiction, non-fiction, comics and plays to encourage a love of reading.
Every year we hold Book Fairs to encourage a love of books and wider reading. We usually tie these in with our World Book Day celebrations in March - look out for more information throughout the Spring Term.
Click the link above to see information about Phonics and Phonics Screening
Please click on the link below to access the new library system.
At Our Lady & St Gerard's we like to provide children with a range of experiences relating to English, drama and the arts. Regular events in school include: meeting famours authors, watching live performances in school and at the theatre and a variety of book related events.
Regular guests at our school are the Skyblue Theatre Company. To celebrate the life of William Shakespeare, we all enjoy the Shakespeare Rewired workshops. Last April our Year 3 & 4 enjoyed A Midsummer Night's Dream and Year 5 & 6 took part in The Tempest.