“I have come so that you may have life and have it to the full.” John 10:10
Subject Lead - Angela Kinslow
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
- 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
At St John’s Catholic Primary School, we believe that a quality English curriculum should develop a child’s love of reading, writing, speaking and listening. We aim to inspire children to read widely and often, for enjoyment, for information gathering, and as a tool for enhancing the richness of their written work. In addition, we want to inspire children to be confident in the art of speaking and listening and to develop their language and communication skills. We believe that children need to develop a secure knowledge-base in Literacy, which follows a clear pathway of progression as they advance through the primary curriculum. At St John’s, we believe that this secure basis in literacy skills is crucial to accessing high quality education across all subjects and necessary to providing our children with the tools they need to participate fully as a member of society.
We have a rigorous and well organised English curriculum that provides many purposeful opportunities for reading, writing and discussion. Our curriculum closely follows the aims and the progression outlined in the National Curriculum. We recognise the importance of a rich and diverse curriculum and we always strive to incorporate cross curricular writing opportunities and provide real purposes for writing, as we know this enhances outcomes.
At St John’s, we have adopted ‘The Power Of Reading’ approach to our teaching and learning of English as we firmly believe that children's literacy is improved when our English teaching sequences are based around high quality, powerful texts. When selecting our texts, we choose books that are emotionally powerful; books with storylines and plots that allow opportunities to explore dilemmas, challenges, morality and ethics; protagonists that children can identify with and books that have author diversity. These will include narrative, poetry, traditional tales, texts with powerful illustrations, and interesting non-fiction texts.
All the books we choose offer in-depth and real writing experiences, meaningful study of literary styles and rhythms, opportunities for response that is creative and open-ended, all whilst keeping children engaged with the characters and the story as a whole. The teaching sequences respect the authenticity of the text, scaffolding understanding and subject knowledge, showing children examples of real and powerful writing and text construction from which they can learn.
From Early Years and through KS2, we use the ‘Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised’ phonics programme. Children are given regular opportunities to apply the phonics they have learned to reading fully decodable books. The phonic progression in these books exactly matches the progression of Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised. The promotion of high reading standards continues from Year 2 onwards through the use of the Accelerated Reader programme and the continuation of sharing and studying Power Of Reading texts.
As well as reading whole class texts, children will have books to take home for daily reading and will be reading with an adult in class three times weekly in Early Years and Key Stage 1 and then weekly in Key Stage 2.
Cursive script is taught from the end of Year 1 to Year 6. We have consistently high expectations of handwriting and presentation across all areas of learning. Our children take pride in their learning and recognise the need to write carefully and clearly so that it can be celebrated by everyone. We also provide a wealth of English based enrichment opportunities e.g inviting authors or weekly visits to our onsite library.
As a result of our curriculum, we have a community of enthusiastic readers and writers who enjoy showcasing their developing literacy knowledge and skills. They are confident to take risks in their reading and writing, and love to discuss and share their ideas. Our attainment at the end of KS2 is above that of Kent and the National Average. Our children's learning is assessed from our teacher's assessment and knowing and understanding the children that we teach. In order to track progress across the school, we also use standardised testing. This ensures that we are able to individually track progression of skills and learning.