Subject Leader: Mrs J Roberts
At Leigh St Peter’s CE Primary School, we are passionate about all children developing a love of language for language sake. We aim to develop our children’s ability to use spoken and written language to communicate effectively – to listen, speak, read and write both in and for a wide range of contexts, purpose and audiences. We want our children to be able to read fluently and with confidence in any subject by the time they are ready to move to secondary school. We aim to inspire our children to love reading and to want to read for themselves. We aim to achieve this through exposing children to a wide range of vocabulary in English but also in the wider curriculum, give a good understanding of grammar in context and to by enabling our pupils to spell new words by applying the spelling patterns and rules they learn throughout their time in our school.
We want our children to write clearly, accurately and coherently, adapting their language and style as necessary. We believe that all children should be encouraged to take pride in the presentation of their writing and aim to develop a legible, joined handwriting style throughout their time at our school. We want our children to understand that all good writers refine and edit their work before producing a final published copy. Therefore we want our children to develop independence in being able to identify their own areas for improvement in a piece of writing and edit their work during and after the writing process.
We recognise that each child has their own starting point upon entry to every year group and progress is measured in line with these starting points to ensure that every child can celebrate their own successes.
We follow the National Curriculum (2014) to deliver lessons rich in reading, writing, phonics, spelling, grammar and punctuation through our whole school English Spine. We have selected high-quality texts to support us in the delivery of all aspects of the English Curriculum. Each book on the English Spine has been carefully chosen to match the National Curriculum reading and writing requirements for each year group as well as linking in to our wider curriculum, with history, geography, science and social themes. This structure we use provides the children with a deeper understanding of texts. We think it is important for our children to value the importance of reading to develop and enhance writing and to see a clear purpose and context for writing.
Speaking & Listening:
As soon as children enter Leigh St Peter’s CE Primary School, we place a great emphasis on developing their oracy skills. We have a firm belief that if children “can’t speak it, they can’t write it”. Therefore children are constantly encouraged to articulate their sentences before beginning to write them down. The focus on oracy continues as children progress through the school with storytelling, text telling and through ‘Talk for Writing’ strategies used from YR to Y2 and further ‘Talk for Writing’ strategies used in KS2.
We work on promoting a love of reading in all children from the very beginning of their time at Leigh St Peter’s CE Primary School. We foster a text rich environment where children understand how language works as well as develop the skills they need to be proficient readers and to interpret texts accurately. Around school, we utilise displays to celebrate authors; create inspiring reading corners and spaces and provide two well-stocked and vibrant library areas. In addition, throughout the year the importance of reading is enhanced through activities such as termly incentives, sponsored reading events, World Book Day celebrations, along with National Book Day celebrations.
We invest in Accelerated Reading and teach through a Whole Class Reading (WCR) approach to teaching Reading and Phonics, supplemented with additional reading materials. Our approach is systematic, consistent and rigorous in order for all children to become readers as quickly as possible. We use the same phonics programme (Super Sonic Phonics Friends) across the school providing continuity and a tool for guaranteed progression.
We begin to teach phonics throughout our school, from a pupils very first day. Children learn how to ‘read’ the sounds in words and how these sounds can be written down. This is essential for reading but it also helps children learn to spell well. The children also practise reading (and spelling) ‘tricky words’, such as ‘once’, ‘have’, ‘said’ and ‘where’. Once children can blend sounds together to read words, they practise reading books that match the phonic phase and the ‘tricky words’ they know. They start to believe they can read and this increases their confidence.
Up until the end of Year 2, children work in groups with children who are at the same reading/ phonics level. This is so that the teaching can be focussed on their needs. We check children’s reading skills regularly so we can ensure they are in-line with their ability. Grouping the pupils remains fluid in our classrooms to make it easy for a pupil to move groups if they are making faster progress; also some pupils may have one-to-one support if we think they need some extra help. In Key Stage 2, the children undertake whole class reading sessions with the staff in their class. They have a wide selection of reading materials to choose from and projects linked to reading, with rewards systems for encouragement. We use the acronym VIPERS (Word meaning/choice, Infer/Interpret, Predict, Explain/Respond, Retrieve, and Summarise). Within these lessons, we explore all elements of the reading curriculum. At least once per week, children undertake a timed ‘QFQ’ (Quick-Fire Questions) task where they have to answer retrieve, interpret and word meaning/choice questions about a short text. We believe that reading fluency holds the key to successful reading and the children are assessed each term on how many Words Per Minute (WPM) they can read. Children should be able to read approximately 90 WPM of an age appropriate text to be considered fluent readers.
For further information on teaching of reading and phonics, see additional appendices in school policies:
▪ How we teach phonics at LSPPS
▪ How we teach reading at LSPPS
To be updated.
We measure the effectiveness and impact of our English curriculum in a variety of ways.
We use PIXL summative testing, content domain assessment tasks, WPM assessments and book band level checks each term to assess pupils’ outcomes for reading which enables school to demonstrate progress and attainment in reading. The subject leader analyses and evaluates to allow identification and the sharing of next steps in English.
We formally assess an extended piece of writing each term, using a consistent format for assessment, which enables progress and attainment to be analysed and evaluated in order to identify the next steps of learning. Moderation of writing takes place in school and in local cluster meetings with other schools to ensure accurate judgements are being made.
The quality of reading and writing in English is evaluated by learning walks, drop-ins, ‘pupil voice’ discussions and book looks. This informs the subject leader of the impact of new initiatives as well as future areas for improvement. After monitoring, the subject leader provides feedback to SLT/ELT and address areas for development which is then shared with all staff.
Children at St Peter’s CE Primary School enjoy reading regularly both for information and for enjoyment. They are able to discuss the books they have read with enthusiasm and recall of detail. They are able to apply the features of different writing genres and styles to their own work and are able to write for different audiences and purposes. The impact of the English curriculum is clearly developing with our revised way of teaching. There is evidence of progress, sustained learning and transferable skills and children are becoming more confident writers. By the time pupils are in Upper Key Stage 2, most genres of writing are familiar to them and they are able to apply the skills independently.