Our English Curriculum
Gospel values underpin our learning…
At St Edward’s, we believe that a quality English curriculum should foster and develop our pupils love of reading, writing, discussion and debate. We aim to deliver an inspiring curriculum through high quality teaching and exciting lessons. English at St Edward’s will not only be a daily discrete lesson, but is the cornerstone of the entire curriculum. It is embedded within all of our lessons. The National Curriculum (2014) forms the basis for all subject teaching ensuring continuity and progression in an age-related curriculum. In addition, teachers make sure the content is relevant and stimulating by delivering through themes and topics.
We acknowledge that our pupils come with a range of experiences in English as a subject and so recognise the importance of building confidence through speaking and listening. Children are given the opportunity to voice their ideas and opinions before committing these to the page. Communication is central to the overall aim of the school and English is one of many opportunities in which pupils are given the chance to be heard.
Reading is key for academic success. We aim to inspire an appreciation of the written word through reading a range of songs, poems, articles, novels and non-fiction texts. Through using high-quality texts and our carefully planned book spine, children are immersed in vocabulary-rich environments. We are dedicated to enabling our readers to become lifelong readers. Here at St Edward’s we believe in developing reading fluency and comprehension skills coupled with promoting a love of reading so all of our children can access the delights and rewards that reading provides. Children regularly participate in discussions about books, exploring the language used by different authors and looking at the impact written words have on the reader. Pupils not only read for pleasure but use books to research and gather new knowledge to extend their understanding.
Our children write for different purposes and audiences; develop a wide vocabulary and a solid understanding of the grammar rules and terminology appropriate for their age group. We encourage the children to express themselves creatively. All children from Foundation Stage to Year 6 are provided with many opportunities to develop and apply their writing skills across all areas of the curriculum. At St Edward’s we set high expectations for all our children to take pride in their work and have a fluent, cursive handwriting style alongside allowing their imaginations to flourish.
“No matter what anybody tells you, words and ideas can change the world.” John Keating
We provide many purposeful opportunities for reading, writing and discussion. We use a wide variety of quality texts and resources to motivate and inspire our children. Teachers also ensure that cross-curricular links with concurrent topic work are woven into the programme of study. In order to help us to develop confident, enthusiastic writers who can express themselves in a variety of different styles and across a variety of contexts, our teaching of writing is often cross circular and linked to our class topics. This provides our children with regular opportunities to write for a range of purposes and audiences. Writing tasks are specific and meaningful, and often meet a purpose to engage children and to illustrate how their writing skills can be applied to real life contexts.
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
Teachers create a positive reading and writing culture in school, where both are promoted, enjoyed and considered ‘a pleasure’ for all pupils. We aim to do this by:
- Promoting reading through teachers reading out loud regularly to their class
- Pupils in EYFS and KS1 have daily phonics sessions, following Sound Start Phonics
- Using the NNS spelling scheme (Y1-Y6), delivering daily sessions
- Age appropriate spellings sent home weekly for pupils to practise their words and to write a sentence containing each word at home - tested each Friday
- Guided Reading sessions in all classes at least three times a week
- Pupils are encouraged to be adventurous with vocabulary choices – use of magpie books
- Vocabulary promoted through displays in class, all curriculum areas, enhancing and encouraging a wider use of vocabulary.
- Vocabulary mats to be used where needed and thesauruses and dictionaries which are easily accessible for pupils to use.
- Working Walls – all classes aiding pupils and guiding them through the process of Reading and Analysing, Gathering Content, Planning and Writing
- Displays of writing, in class, shared areas and on the school website, giving a purpose and audience, to encourage pride in work and to show that work is valued
- Reading and writing events (throughout the year) to encourage and promote enjoyment and opportunities to develop lifelong learning.
We identify children who need support and provide intervention in the most effective and efficient way that we can. We are fortunate to have parents who come in regularly to hear children read. Teachers plan and teach English lessons which are differentiated to the particular needs of each child. We help each child maximise their potential by providing help and support where necessary whilst striving to make children independent learners once we have helped to equip them with the confidence, tools and strategies that they need.
Marking is rigorous in English and across the curriculum. Each child has their own target book. On the spot verbal feedback is given each lesson and the children are set weekly targets. Incentives are in place for when a child achieves their target. Regular book scrutiny occurs are to check all teachers are following the marking policy rigorously.
Reading is celebrated in classrooms and around school – our educational displays celebrate children’s writing and their favourite books. Throughout the school year, we hold specific English-themed events, such as World Book Day, drama workshops and a range of trips and visits which enrich and complement children’s learning. Here at St Edward’s, we love to celebrate the success of all learners and we award a child in each class with a Writer of the Week certificate weekly. Writing is sent home to parents to share the pride both the pupil and teacher have shared over the piece of work.
Our English Curriculum is high quality, well thought out and is planned to demonstrate progression. If children are keeping up with the curriculum, they are deemed to be making good or better progress.
The impact of English learning on our pupils is clear: progress, sustained learning and transferable skills. When our children reach Upper Key Stage 2, teaching focuses on writer’s craft, stamina for writing and manipulation of grammar and punctuation skills.
As all aspects of English are an integral part of the curriculum, cross curricular writing standards have improved and skills taught in the English lesson are transferred into other subjects.
Assessing and Monitoring in English:
- Lesson observations, book monitoring and learning walks
- Skills progressing throughout the school evident in children’s books
- Gathering pupil voice – to check understanding of key skills and knowledge, progression, confidence and enjoyment
- Moderating pupils work in school and in cluster meetings with other schools
- Tracking pupils’ progress each half-term in Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening and Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar. This informs planning and any intervention needed
- Pupil progress meetings to ensure different groups (EAL, PP and SEND) and individual progress is monitored
Monitoring is an ongoing cycle, which is used productively to provide the best possible English curriculum for our children and to ensure it is inclusive to all.
Our English Curriculum
At St. Edward's Catholic Primary School, we aim to develop a love for the English language in its written and spoken forms. We are committed to delivering a broad and engaging curriculum to enable our pupils to become confident, independent and effective speakers, listeners, readers and writers.
Reading for pleasure is prioritised throughout the whole school and all children are encouraged to develop their own identity as a reader: to be excited about selecting books based on their own preferences and interests; to become inquisitive and ask questions about what they read; to use reading as a means of escaping to new and exciting worlds full of endless possibilities. To support this, each class has an engaging and stimulating area dedicated to reading in their classroom and the school has two well-stocked libraries which are inviting for our children.
All pupils at St. Edward's are exposed to a wide range of authors and styles of texts for different purposes. Each class has a literature spine made up of high-quality, engaging texts, some of which have been recommended by Pie Corbett (https://www.scholastic.co.uk/piecorbett/resources). Every year group has been allocated a range of books – which often link to their Geography, History and Science topics – and the children learn all about the characters, settings, and language used by the authors in each text. To encourage the children to become immersed in their class text, they help to decorate the doors of their classroom to reflect the current book being read.
The writing produced by the children in each class is linked to what they are reading from the Literature Spine. This encourages them to empathise with characters, express themselves creatively and imaginatively, and become excited about writing for a range of purposes and audiences. Children's writing is celebrated in every school display and weekly during Praise Assembly; expectations of children's presentation are high and pupils receive a pen license once their handwriting reaches a consistent standard.
Speaking and listening opportunities – across the whole curriculum – develops pupils’ abilities to use language to communicate ideas, views and feelings in a variety of different ways. At St. Edward's, we aim to provide a language-rich environment that is stimulating and characterised by high expectations of success.
The study of English develops children’s skills in listening, speaking, reading and writing for a wide range of purposes, so using language to learn and communicate ideas, views and feelings, it enables children to express themselves creatively and imaginatively. At St. Edward's Catholic Primary School, we aim to develop a love for the English language in its written and spoken forms. We are committed to delivering a broad and engaging curriculum in order to enable our pupils to become confident, independent and effective speakers, listeners, readers and writers.
At St. Edward's, we aim to provide an environment for language development that is stimulating and characterised by high expectations of success. Children's writing is celebrated in every school display and expectations of children's presentation are high. English is shared and celebrated inside and outside of the classroom through:
- provision of a book rich environment;
- thoughtful, creative display of reading and writing materials and published children’s work;
- working walls which represent the current teaching and learning;
- use of a wide range of high-quality materials to support effective teaching and learning;
- public celebration of pupils' success and participation in events, for example, through Twitter, school website, communal displays, public performances.
Welcome to the Saint Edward's Phonics Page - We hope you find everything you need to know about Phonics.
At St. Edward's we are committed to the delivery of excellence in the teaching of Phonics. We aim to develop each child so that they are able to read with fluency and inspire a love of reading. Phonics is a key skill that supports the development of early reading skills and our aim is to teach every child to read and write.
At St. Edward's we follow Letters and Sounds progression. The children are offered a range of opportunities to develop and extend their Phonics skills in Reception and KS1.
What is Phonics?
Phonics is a way of teaching children how to read and write. It helps children hear, identify and use different sounds that distinguish one word from another in the English language.
Written language can be compared to a code, so knowing the sounds of individual letters and how those letters sound when they’re combined will help children decode words as they read.
Understanding phonics will also help children know which letters to use when they are writing words.
Phonics involves matching the sounds of spoken English with individual letters or groups of letters. For example, the sound k can be spelled as c, k, ck or ch.
Teaching children to blend the sounds of letters together helps them decode unfamiliar or unknown words by sounding them out. For example, when a child is taught the sounds for the letters t, p, a and s, they can start to build up the words: “tap”, “taps”, “pat”, “pats” and “sat”.
Before they can learn to read, children need to develop their listening and visual skills.
A crucial listening skill is phonological awareness, the ability to discriminate different sounds such as the different endings of the words "cut" and "cup." This develops naturally as children learn to listen to the sounds around them. Music, poems and nursery rhymes and everyday sounds are all key elements in developing this skill.
The visual skills which help children to acquire letter knowledge include shape recognition, and the ability to visually sort and classify objects.
Children generally develop most of these skills naturally through their interactions with parents and caregivers. Their reception year teacher will help them continue developing these skills before introducing them to a formal reading programme.
Once they have acquired the necessary basic skills, children are gradually introduced to their first graphemes and the sounds they represent. These may be single letters, such as s and n, or pairs of letters, such as ck. These first graphemes consistently represent the same sound. Children are encouraged to blend the graphemes together in order to sound out words (as in our previous example of s + a + m = sam) as soon as they have learnt enough graphemes to do so.
Children are introduced to an additional 25 graphemes. These consist of both single letters and digraphs, groups of letters (generally pairs) which represent a single sound. They learn consonant digraphs such as "sh" and "th" first, and then vowel digraphs such as "oa" and "oo".
This is also the stage at which children begin to learn sight words. These are common words that cannot always be sounded out according to the synthetic phonics method. These include words such as she, they, and you among others.
At this stage children practice the skills they have learnt and learn to blend groups of consonants such as tr, str and lk. They also continue to learn more sight words.
Once children can read words automatically without having to sound them out, they learn more vowel digraphs and different ways to write the same sound. For example, the words wail, way and whale all show different ways of representing the same ay sound. They also learn alternative pronunciations for the same graphemes, such as the ea in tea, head and break. They also continue adding sight words to their repertoire.