English Intent Statement
At Therfield First School we believe that English is the key to a world of new experiences. Our pupils are provided with the necessary knowledge, skills and understanding, through carefully planned sequential learning, to become life-long learners and linguists. Pupils are immersed in a language-rich environment of quality texts, that promotes a culture of reading and writing for pleasure and purpose.
We encourage the pupils’ confidence, desire and ability to express their views, opinions and imagination both orally and in writing. Our pupils receive a well-rounded learning experience when reading, writing, speaking and listening which will equip them with the fundamental tools to achieve in the school and beyond.
The English Curriculum
Statutory requirements for the teaching and learning of English are set out in the National Curriculum English Document and in the Communication and Language (CL) and Literacy (L) sections of the Early Years Foundation Stage Document.
Key Areas within the English Curriculum:
· Speaking and Listening
The school uses Letters and Sounds as its core phonics scheme from the Foundation Stage to Year 2. This is supplemented with resources from Read, Write, Inc. to support and scaffold learning. Pupils are taught according to their current phonic phase and groups are regularly reviewed in light of day-to-day assessment. Pupils who enter Key Stage 2 with gaps in their phonic knowledge are swiftly identified and access additional phonics interventions. Phonics assessment is carried out on a half termly basis. Pupils read decodable texts, matched to their current phonic phase and knowledge.
Guided reading is used to teach a balance of word recognition and comprehension skills to meet the needs of each group. Texts are carefully selected, at the right level, using the Book Band system.
Foundation Stage: Children access a weekly, teacher-led guided reading session. This is delivered in small groups using a text matched to the group’s current phonics and reading level. A range of texts are available at each book band including those that are decodable and those that support pupil’s comprehension skills. Pupil progress is tracked using the Book Band system and the Letters and Sounds phonic phases. Guided reading sessions teach word reading skills as well as comprehension strategies, such as retrieval and inference.
KS1 and KS2: Guided reading is taught as outlined above. Pupils who are not reading with the teacher, access a range of independent reading related activities across the week. These activities are designed to support word recognition, application of phonics, reading for pleasure, fluency and comprehension.
Comprehension skills are also taught through shared reading sessions where the teacher models comprehension strategies to the whole class. Word recognition skills are also modelled during these sessions together with fluency and expression. These sessions are often delivered within the planned English sessions.
Reading for Pleasure:
Teachers and other adults regularly read aloud to their class to develop their appreciation of and engagement with reading. Texts are carefully selected to complement class topics and English themes. There is an inviting reading area in each classroom which provides and comfortable space for pupils to read and enjoy a range of books and authors. The school has an inviting library which pupils are encouraged to use during lunchtimes and borrow books on a weekly basis. The Mindfulness Garden is also used as a quiet space for pupils to enjoy independent reading. A weekly assembly, led by the Headteacher, is used as an opportunity to share and enjoy a book as a whole school.
The texts pupils take home are carefully matched to their current reading level. In Foundation Stage, pupils take home a decodable texts matched to their current phonic phase as well as a real book chosen by the pupil to encourage reading for pleasure. In KS1, pupils take home a range of texts depending on their current reading and phonics level. Decodable texts are available in every class to support pupils still at the early stages of word recognition. Once pupils are reading securely at grey Book Band they become a free reader and select lexiled books from the Reading Pro programme. Online quizzes are used to engage pupils and their parents with their reading. The school expectation is that pupils read a minimum of five times per week to an adult, recorded in the home reading book. A range of incentives are used to encourage pupils and parents to do this.
In KS1 and KS2, the teaching of writing follows a clear teaching sequence and includes the following elements. PAT is used to help pupils discuss Purpose, Audience and Text Type at the start of each English unit. Each unit typically lasts three weeks. In Foundation Stage, a number of the elements outlined below are included within Communication and Language (CL) and Literacy (L) provision.
Phase 1 - Read like a Reader
Phase 2 – Read like a Writer
Phase 3 – Write like a Reader
This is used across the school to model the writing process. Teachers model a diverse range of skills during these sessions, including word choice, sentence construction, punctuation and effect on the reader. Pupils are encouraged to contribute during these sessions through supported composition, sharing their ideas with the teacher orally or using whiteboards. During these sessions, links to reading are made explicit with the teacher modelling how to draw on the ideas and language from texts read.
Guided writing is used to address next steps for specific groups of pupils within the context of the current unit of work. These next steps may relate to both the composition and transcription elements of writing. In Foundation Stage, these sessions are incorporated into adult-directed learning.
In Foundation Stage, there are a wealth of opportunities for children to develop their independent mark making. Writing opportunities are provided across all areas of learning and take place within both child-initiated and adult-directed contexts. In KS1 and KS2, the teaching sequence for writing allows pupils to write at length, over a number of sessions, to create an independent piece of writing. Opportunities for cross-curricular writing are provided across the curriculum.
In Foundation Stage and KS1, pupils are taught spelling within their daily phonics lesson. Weekly spellings from the appropriate phonic phase are sent home. In KS2, the Twinkl spelling scheme is used to support the teaching of spelling. Weekly spellings are sent home in line with current teaching. The application of spelling is modelled by the teacher during shared writing. There are a range of resources in every classroom to support pupils independent spelling when they are writing, e.g. grapheme charts, word mats, dictionaries. Spelling errors are picked up in marking, using a consistent code, as outlined in the Marking and Feedback policy. Pupils are given time to proof-read and correct their spelling errors.
Expectations for handwriting for each year group can be found in the English Curriculum Intent and Progression Document. Further guidelines can be found in the Handwriting Policy.
Speaking and Listening
An overview of the specific speaking and listening skills taught can be found in the English Curriculum Intent and Progression Document. In KS1 and KS2, speaking and listening is taught across the curriculum through discussion, paired talk and group work. Drama and role-play is also used to develop pupil’s oral language and ability to communicate with others. In KS2, there is a half termly opportunity for pupils to prepare and deliver a presentation to the class. In Foundation Stage, communication and language skills are developed throughout all areas of learning.