We recognise that the greatest determiner of a child’s success in life is their ability to read and write. This means we want to deliver an English curriculum that is fully inclusive of all children, whatever their starting point. We believe that children make the best progress in English when learning is contextualised and purposeful. Opportunities are provided through a four-phase approach to mastering the skills of reading, writing, speaking and listening.
Through our English curriculum we intend to:
Speaking and listening:
- Develop articulate, thoughtful speakers who are able to elaborate and explain their understanding and ideas using precise vocabulary across a broad curriculum.
- Develop good listeners who can work collaboratively.
- Develop critical thinkers who are willing and able to share opinions and participate in debate.
- Develop the use of discussion to agree, build and challenge and to frame mistakes as learning opportunities.
- Develop the habit of reading widely and often, for both pleasure and information.
- Develop the love of reading through our rich and varied range of texts.
- Develop readers that read confidently, fluently and with good understanding.
- Develop a range of skills to decode and understand the written word across the curriculum.
- Develop children who can write clearly, accurately, coherently and imaginatively, adapting their language and style for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences.
- Develop a rich vocabulary, including technical language to access our broad curriculum.
- Develop the use of grammatical conventions to communicate confidently and accurately.
- Support children with the development of consistently legible, cursive handwriting.
High expectations of every child underpin planning, delivery and assessment of the English curriculum. Our four-phase approach to teaching English enables children to immerse themselves into a particular genre, explore quality texts, both fiction and non-fiction, develop a rich vocabulary and write purposefully in a variety of styles for a range of audiences across the curriculum. We use a four phased approach for every unit we teach – immersion (phase 1), imitation (phase 2), innovation (phase 3) and independence (phase 4).
To deliver our English curriculum we will:
Speaking and listening:
- Encourage children to be willing and able to participate in speaking and listening opportunities through drama and oral rehearsal.
- Provide opportunities for analysis, collaboration, discussion and the sharing of opinions.
- Provide opportunities to re-visit and remember key concepts and skills.
- Expose children to high quality, challenging texts, which form the basis of every unit we teach.
- Read aloud to each class every week.
- Hold regular group and individual guided reading sessions every week.
- Elect Bookworms to recommend texts for their peers to read.
- Encourage children to complete daily reading records and communicate reading progress with parents.
- Create an engaging book corner in every classroom with a range of genres and texts for children to enjoy.
- Explore the school library and take books home each week.
- Hold annual school events such as World Book Day and book fairs to promote reading.
- Develop children’s ability to infer, decode, predict, summarise and ask questions through regular comprehensions.
- Ensure that every child takes home an appropriate reading book to read each week.
- Ensure that decodable books are sent home with early readers every day.
- Provide opportunities for teachers to monitor and moderate reading outcomes across the school.
- Provide intervention for children who need extra support with reading e.g. 1-1 reading, daily books and EAL intervention.
Phonics at GSJS
Reading is at the heart of our curriculum at Garden Suburb Junior School. The children transition from the Infant School having been taught early reading skills through a focus on Letters and Sounds phonics. We build on this by offering a wide range of fully decodable early reading books, aligned to Letters and Sounds from the Collins Big Cat Scheme. These books enable us to deliver phonics interventions and address any gaps in knowledge. Alongside phonics, children are taught vocabulary, comprehension and spelling skills.
Reading at GSJS
To teach reading, we use the Collins Big Cat Reading Scheme, alongside a range of high quality texts linked to our English curriculum. As children move through the school, the band of book which they read progresses. Every child is exposed to a range of fiction and non-fiction. Children’s experience a range of reading activities such as weekly guided groups, whole class comprehension lessons, reading modelled by teachers and activities which extend pupils’ vocabulary.
Children choose books for themselves from the classroom or library. We encourage them to read a wide range of genres (mystery, folk tale, fable, informational, legend, fairy tale, myth, fantasy, poetry, historical fiction, biography, autobiography, science fiction). Teachers hold weekly reading conferences where pupils have a chance to share books which they have enjoyed reading.
- Provide a clear purpose for writing by establishing the PAT (Purpose, Audience and Text Type) of each unit.
- Expose children to a range of texts from that genre in order to immerse them in the unit.
- Incorporate drama, oral rehearsal and discussion to support writing.
- Provide opportunities to imitate the grammatical skills from that genre through analysis and short burst writing tasks.
- Develop ambitious and precise vocabulary.
- Support children in planning the structure, vocabulary and grammatical features of the specific genre.
- Innovate through shared-write sessions, showing children the skills and processes that are essential for writing, modelling, drafting and editing for clarity.
- Develop independence by providing opportunities for children to write independently and have an element of choice.
- Record children’s progress and learning on English working walls – which children refer to throughout units.
- Provide opportunities for children to assess the effectiveness of their own and others’ writing.
- Provide opportunities for teachers to monitor and moderate writing outcomes across the school.
- Provide clear differentiation through the use of scaffolds, word banks, sentence starters and other resources to support children in developing independence in writing.
- Provide intervention for children who need extra support with writing e.g. IDL English, EAL groups, Toe-by-Toe and fine motor skills.
- Teach spelling rules/patterns and provide opportunities to practise these.
- Teach handwriting joins through the Nelson Handwriting Scheme and provide opportunities to practise these.
- Provide opportunities for extended writing across our broad curriculum.
As a result of an inclusive English curriculum, children have a secure understanding of reading and writing and are prepared to flourish in their next key stage, school and eventually in wider society. Children are confident to take risks in their reading and writing and are willing and able to discuss, share and debate. Outcomes of children’s work in books shows evidence of high quality written work and the impact of our four phase approach to English.
The impact of our English curriculum is measured by:
Speaking and listening:
- Children being willing and able to articulate their ideas, explain their understanding and justify their opinions.
- Children working effectively when collaborating and respecting the views and opinions of their peers.
- Children speaking about their learning in English with a growth mind-set.
- Children being willing and able to challenge others’ ideas and opinions.
- Every child’s book demonstrating progress, coverage of a wide range of genres and quality texts being the focal point for our English units.
- Children being eager to discuss their reading and articulate which genres and authors they enjoy.
- Children having positive, embedded reading habits, reading frequently for both pleasure and information.
- Children taking responsibility for their own reading and recording their progress in reading records.
- Classrooms which visibly celebrate reading and children engaging with the texts available to them to support their learning.
- Children making good progress in order to read with greater confidence, fluency and understanding.
- Children having gained sufficient skills to be able to comprehend a text with independence.
- Children having the skillset to decode and understand new and unfamiliar vocabulary.
- Every child’s book demonstrating progress, coverage of a range of writing genres/objectives within our four phase approach to English.
- Every child’s book demonstrating a range of real purposes for writing.
- A school environment which visibly celebrates the writing process and writing outcomes from all children.
- Children being able to use a precise and rich vocabulary both in their writing and dialogue.
- Children being confident to use grammatical conventions to communicate accurately.
- Children making good progress using a cursive handwriting, increasing the consistency and fluency with which they are able to write.
Assessment for Learning in English is both formative and summative. We facilitate for children to demonstrate what they know, understand and can do throughout our four phase approach. Children edit and assess their own work when reading and writing. They may be asked to review their work in relation to the skill of the lesson and record a self-assessment in their book. We also value children working alongside each other to identify strengths and areas for improvement together. Therefore, we facilitate for the children to assess each other’s work according to the success criteria for the task, where appropriate. Progress is measured in each class and across the year group. Class review meetings are held termly to analyse class data, identify any barriers to English progress and plan for further intervention. The process of moderation is an essential part of English assessment and takes place both internally and externally, with teams meeting to discuss and moderate outcomes. Children at the end of the key stage, in Year 6, participate in the statutory tests in both reading and grammar.