English Curriculum Statement
The teaching of English is one that is designed to instil in children a love of speaking and listening, reading, and writing that will last them a lifetime. It is paramount for us at Abbey Village that our children are given the key skills in English to enable them to access material in all curriculum areas and provide them with a foundation for their learning throughout their Abbey Village journey. To achieve this, we pride ourselves on making English interesting and exciting, engaging the pupils with the joy and wonder of books and piquing their imagination and creativity.
English has a pre-eminent place in education and in society, a principle we wholly agree with. A high- quality education in English will teach pupils to speak and write fluently so that they are able to communicate their ideas and emotions to others and through their reading and listening, others can communicate with them. Pupils have a chance to develop culturally, emotionally, intellectually, socially, and spiritually (National Curriculum 2014).
The National Curriculum programmes of Study for Key Stage 1 and 2 describe what must be taught in each key stage and provide detailed guidance for the implementation of English- it ensures continuity and progression in the teaching and learning accessed by all children.
At Abbey Village we believe that all pupils should be able to confidently communicate their knowledge, ideas and emotions through their writing and be enthusiastic when doing so. We want our pupils to acquire a wide bank of vocabulary, a solid understanding of grammar and be able to spell new words by effectively applying the spelling patterns and rules they learn throughout their time in Primary School. We want them to write clearly, accurately, and coherently, adapting their language and style in and for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences, whilst developing their own individual flair.
We strive for our children to become avid readers, children who read fluently and widely and are able to express preferences and opinions about the texts that they read. We want them to read for pleasure, having had access to a wide range of text types, genres and authors in order for them to make informed opinions about their preferences.
We have eight key priorities at Abbey Village that underpin every subject area. We believe that by focusing on these key priorities our children will be ready to successfully meet the challenges of the next stage of their education and their lives.
At Abbey village, all of our pupils are given the opportunity to become capable readers, writers, spellers and speakers, who can transfer their English skills to other curriculum subjects and who are prepared for the next steps in their education.
What does it look like at Abbey Village?
Phonics and Reading
We aim to build a curriculum which develops a love of reading to help pupils know more, remember more, and understand more.
The systematic teaching of phonics has a high priority throughout the Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1. Phonics is taught daily to all children in KS1 and to any children who did not pass the phonics screen in Year 1. As a school, we follow the Letters and Sounds programme. It aims to build children’s speaking and listening skills in their own right as well as to prepare children for learning to read by developing their phonic knowledge and skills. It sets out a detailed and systematic programme for teaching phonics skills, striving for children to become fluent readers. We provide our children with a variety of phonetically decodable books, that are organised through each phase and children at Abbey Village demonstrate their independence through being able to select a book of their choice from their specific phonic phase.
Guided reading takes place across the whole school daily, using the carousel approach and adopting the Lancashire planning format and using the Learning and Progression steps to help inform our learning objectives. Each group within each class are carefully planned for, providing them with meaningful activities in all sessions. Each session has a clear learning objective and during the guided reading session, our main focus is to develop a key reading skill via modelling done by the Teacher or Learning Support Assistant. Our children are independent and confident learners during the session and use their Reading Journals to complete each task.
For early readers, guided reading consists of a phonics focused session followed by a comprehension focused session using the same text.
For developing reading, guided reading consists of a guided read and an independent follow up session, with further opportunities throughout the week to promote wider reading and reading for pleasure.
For our fluent readers, guided reading consists of three linked sessions: pre-read, guided read and independent follow- up and two sessions to support wider reading and reading for pleasure,
Throughout the week, all children read and engage in questions with an adult. This varies throughout the school year groups and is dependent on the individual child. In KS1, we aim to listen to each child read at least 3 times a week and in KS2 at least twice a week. All children are expected to read at home and take home a reading book. There is an expectation that this is recorded in their reading diaries.
We aim to promote a love of reading in our learning environments throughout Abbey Village. All classrooms have a class reading area and or library with age-appropriate reading books for pleasure. We are passionate about our new library and it continues to grow into a sanctuary for all our children, one where they can escape in the words of a book and one where books can help them become themselves.
Through reading independently, guided, shared and paired reading, children learn to read with confidence, fluency and understanding. They learn to appreciate the joy and wonder of reading, fiction and non-fiction. This is a lifelong skill which will make them secondary ready, and which they will take further into their adult lives.
We endeavour that all of our children will learn to write clearly, with neat and legible handwriting, to spell and punctuation accurately and to write in grammatically correct sentences. As children enter the Foundation stage there are writing opportunities in all areas of learning. In both KS1 and KS2, transcription and composition form the basis for what is taught. Children apply the skills they have been taught in all areas of the curriculum. Children are taught how to plan, revise and evaluate their writing. Writing takes place in many forms- word and sentence activities, independent, modelled and shared writing- and requires an awareness of audience, purpose and context.
We value writing in Abbey Village and feature our ‘star writer’s’ work in our own school magazine. We promote imagination and spark, encouraging all children to become a writer that grips and creates imagery for the reader.
We encourage all children to participate in Young Writers competitions throughout the academic year and a number of children at Abbey Village have had their work published following this. Children feel a sense of achievement and fulfilment, something that we are and will forever remain to be a huge advocate of.
Through synthetic phonics children are taught the different ways of spelling sounds then apply their growing knowledge to write words and sentences. Alongside decodable words, the reading and spelling of common exception/ tricky words are taught. Spelling rules and strategies are introduced in year 2 to help spell accurately. From Year 2 - 6 we use the No Nonsense Spelling Scheme to help deliver up to three sessions per week. Children learn spelling rules and strategies in a way that is creative and engaging. Each pupil has a spelling journal. We encourage children to explore words and think about the origins and connections between words.
Vocabulary, grammar, and punctuation
Vocabulary provides the building blocks to language development and in turn, is intimately connected to both effective reading and writing skills. We acknowledge the indispensable need for rich and varied vocabulary for all our children and each member of our staff endeavour to promote this daily. Across the school, each classroom environment consists of a magpie word wall and a vocabulary jar, this is used regularly by both Teachers and pupils. We use ‘dictionary detectives’ throughout our day to engage the children with new words. We want all our children to explore vocabulary for themselves. We aim to expose children to a wide range of vocabulary through adults participating in ‘change what you say’. Our aim is that children are able to decipher new words and use them when speaking and writing, both informally and formally.
Grammar and punctuation knowledge and skills are embedded within our English sessions. We use Lancashire Progression steps to aid and scaffold our planning. We teach the required skills through the genres of writing that we are teaching, through this, there is purpose for our children. If necessary, each teacher will teach a particular grammar and punctuation skill stand alone. This is carried out additionally if it is felt that the class need to embed and develop their understanding or consolidate a specific skill.
Abbey Village follow the cursive handwriting style, recognised, and recommended by the British Dyslexic Association. Handwriting is taught throughout both key stages. In Foundation Stage, children develop many pre-writing skills. Correct letter formation is taught in a variety of enjoyable ways. As they become able, children begin to write letters using a variety of materials. Children are taught how to hold their pencil correctly. Children learn to regulate the size of letters which leads to neatly presented work. They are taught to join letters which leads to fluent, legible writing. Children at Abbey Village will write with a pen during their time in KS2.
Speaking and Listening
Speaking and Listening are not taught as discrete subjects, but are embedded in all aspects of school life, across all areas of the curriculum and is a part of everything we do. We encourage children to engage in question and interact with both their peers and all adults throughout the school. All are provided with varied contexts for talk enabling them to communicate confidently and effectively. We provide our children with a number of opportunities to develop their language, speaking and listening. Whether it be through our School performances that take place throughout the year or our open curriculum days. They learn to express their ideas verbally, to discuss and debate issues with others and that their choice of language must be varied to reflect the purpose and audience. We believe that these skills are invaluable to the children living in this modern world.
At Abbey Village, we value our pupils voice. Through discussion and feedback, we expect children to talk enthusiastically about reading and writing and demonstrate to us their understanding of the importance of English. We will listen to children who will talk about books and authors that inspire them and fill them with excitement.
We will see children who take pride in their work, who are proud of themselves, who enjoy writing and comprehend the purpose behind it. We will see children who are adventurous with their vocabulary and are competent speakers.
As teachers, we will see consistency in the teaching and learning across the school and will see evidence of clear teaching sequences in books. We will do this through learning walks, lesson observations, pupil interviews, and book monitoring throughout the year. These will inform future areas for improvement and the impact of new initiatives. We will provide our Leadership team with progress meetings and ensure different groups and individual progress is monitored and interventions organised to support progress.
Most importantly, we will see children at Abbey Village with an indefinable passion, excitement and wonder at the mere mention of the word of English.