English

English

At St Joseph’s, we aim to provide pupils with a high-quality education in English that will teach pupils to speak, read, and write fluently to communicate their ideas and emotions to others effectively. Our high-quality English curriculum will develop children’s love of reading, writing, speaking and listening skills. Providing children with these key skills will equip them to thrive in all other curriculum areas and build a strong foundation for learning throughout their school lives and careers in adulthood. We will develop the children’s reading ability through a love of books, reading widely and often with confidence, fluency, and understanding for pleasure and information. In the Early Years Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1, we aim to equip our children with phonics skills to decode words accurately, blend for reading, and segment to spell. We strive for our children to speak audibly and fluently with an increasing command of Standard English and listen and respond appropriately to adults and their peers. Through the teaching of English, children are encouraged to be confident writers. Pupils use their grammar knowledge to write in a range of genres purposefully and coherently. At St Joseph’s, we follow the National Curriculum. The English curriculum has been planned to be sequential and coherent. It is progressive, building on pupils’ previous knowledge and skills. Skills are embedded and, therefore, can be transferred in a variety of contexts. The curriculum has been designed in this way, so knowledge is secure in pupils’ long term memory.

Intent
The overarching aim for our English curriculum is to promote high standards of language and literacy by developing pupils’ spoken and written skills and developing their love of literature through widespread reading for enjoyment.

We believe in the importance of developing children’s discrete word-reading skills and comprehension and the need to engender their love of books and reading. We recognise that the two elements are intertwined; each relies on the other so that our children become life-long readers.

Our aims are 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 to learn; they should be able to elaborate and explain clearly their understanding and ideas;
  • are competent in speaking and listening, making formal presentations, demonstrating to others and participating in a debate.

The English curriculum is designed and delivered in a way that allows our pupils to transfer key knowledge to long-term memory. It is sequenced so that new knowledge and skills build on what has been taught before and pupils can work towards clearly defined endpoints.

Speaking and Listening

We want all of our children to have a voice. We recognise the extreme importance of developing communication skills right from the moment they join the school. This is why we are focusing on developing pupils speaking and listening skills.  We want our children to be confident, articulate speakers and effective listeners in front of any type of audience. Children who communicate well are more likely to form good relationships with other children and adults, therefore it is important that our children are able to listen to others, and respond appropriately. This year, speaking and listening is an integral part of our School Improvement Plan

Intent

Speaking and listening are fundamental to the teaching of English and permeate the whole curriculum. We want our children to develop effective communication skills.  We are committed to building and embedding a culture of oracy throughout our curriculum. It is vital that children learn the importance of oracy from a young age because so much of life depends on being a good communicator.

We will ensure that teachers and senior leaders are equipped with the skills to develop speaking and listening for teaching and learning.  New vocabulary and planned talk opportunities will be implemented across the curriculum to elevate speaking beyond the classroom. By building a culture of oracy within our school, we want to develop our children’s confidence, spoken language and written outcomes across and beyond the curriculum.

Implementation

  • STEM SentencesChildren are taught to use these sentence stems when having a discussion.
  • Discussion Guidelines: These are agreed with the class.
  • Talking partners and other groupings: Sometimes children talk in pairs, trios or other kinds of groups to discuss a question, make predictions or solve a challenge for example.

Through the teaching of oracy, children will be able to:

  • Speak fluently, with confidence and clarity in front of an audience including talking in full sentences.
  • Explore ideas through talk.
  • Deliberately select gestures that support the delivery of ideas e.g. gesturing towards someone if referencing their idea.
  • Recognise the value of listening to what others say.
  • Adapt how they speak in different situations according to the audience, including using Standard English.
  • Value their own opinions and be able to express them to others.
  • Begin to reflect on their oracy skills and identify areas of strength and areas to improve.
  • Ask questions to find out more about a subject.
  • Respond appropriately to what others say, challenge each other’s opinions and develop their own reasoned arguments.
  • Be open-minded, value the contribution of others and take account of their views.
  • Consider the impact of their words on others when giving feedback.
  • Share their learning in an engaging, informative way through formal presentations

Promoting oracy at home

Try some of these techniques to help your child become a more confident communicator, in school and at home.

  • Read aloud to your child:‘Reading aloud to your child, well beyond the age they can read for themselves, combines the benefits of talking, listening and storytelling within one activity that helps children build their vocabulary, learn to express their thoughts, and understand the structure of language,’ National Literacy Trust
  • Record a video diary; Many children aspire to be vloggers or YouTube stars, so encourage them to start a video diary, either to chart their everyday life or to record special occasions like birthdays and holidays. Please remember our guidelines about online safety and keep these within the family rather than broadcasting them online.
  • Play word games: Games like 20 Questions, Articulate, Guess Who? and I Spy are great for helping children use descriptive language and think critically about what they’re saying.
  • Talk about their day: Ask your child, ‘What did you do today?’ and they’ll often claim they can’t remember, so find different ways to talk about what they’ve been up to. Eating your evening meal as a family is a good way to encourage conversation, while older kids are often more chatty in the car, where they feel less like they’re being interrogated.
  • Phone a friend (or relative): Persuade your child to take a break from text and WhatsApp and develop their speaking skills by making an actual phone call. ‘Encouraging them to speak to different family members on the phone or on a video call will build confidence,’ National Literacy Trust
  • Go on a nature/listening walk: This is a great pre-phonics activity for young children, who can be encouraged to listen carefully to the sounds they hear – from traffic to birdsong – and describe them. They can also describe the natural sights they see, such as trees, animals and birds and the sky.
  • Sign them up for a club: Joining extracurricular clubs is a good opportunity for your child to talk with different people outside the home or school environment. Many of them also involve taking instructions (such as being coached in sporting techniques or to complete science or art projects), and introducing them to different vocabulary relating to their new hobby.

Websites that will help develop Oracy

Reading

Intent

At St Joseph’s, reading is a key priority and is a key driver for our curriculum. Reading is taught not only in specific Reading lessons but across the wider curriculum too. We provide language-rich classroom environments and a curriculum where children are exposed to, and actively engage with, high-quality language in varying forms in a meaningful, deliberate and engaging way. Speaking and listening skills are the foundations of becoming great readers. Therefore, children are encouraged to speak audibly and confidently to express their opinions on texts and authorial styles. We encourage our pupils to read widely across fiction, non-fiction and poetry. This is supported by teaching phonics for decoding from Nursery onwards, along with other reading skills such as inference and retrieval for developing comprehension of the text. We provide children with the reading skills they need to read a broad range of texts. The early teaching of high quality, systematic synthetic phonics from EYFS is the beginning of a child’s reading journey. The children learn the strategies needed to tackle new words in reading and writing and have a growing understanding of text meaning. We intend to ensure that by the end of their primary education, all pupils can read fluently and with confidence, recommend texts to their peers, and have a love for reading that will continue throughout their lives. We understand the importance of parents and carers in supporting their children to develop their reading, so we want to encourage a home-school partnership that enables parents and carers to understand how to enhance the skills being taught in school.

Implementation

Creative curriculum and classroom setup

Inspirational and creative activities bring reading and books to life for children. Below are the ways St. Joseph’s implements this into our reading curriculum.

  • In Early Years, rhymes are sung to promote rhyme and alliteration and we discuss the meaning of new words, which broadens the children’s vocabulary.
  • Each class begins a literacy unit with a ‘hook’ lesson. This introduces the children to the focus text in an exciting and engaging way. For example, as an introduction to the story ‘The BFG’, the children will find large giant footprints in their classroom. Pupils will be asked to discuss what could have happened and how they got there.
  • Talk for writing story maps are used in EYFS and KS1 to encourage children to learn a text and retell the story. The children use their imaginations to innovate the story to create their versions.
  • Drama and role-play is planned into lessons. Role-play areas are rotated frequently in the EYFS.
  • World Book Day is a yearly event that inspires children to learn about new and favourite authors and promotes the love of books in a weeklong event with visits from authors and poets.
  • We regularly provide access to books via a Book Fair and have school-wide competitions.
  • Each class has a ‘recommendation station’ for children and teachers to recommend books and share their love of reading.
  • We invest in well-stocked class book corners that invite children in to want to read in a comfortable language-rich environment and pupils have access to topic-based texts in their year group.
  • Our school library also has well-stocked books. Books are organised by the author as well as by reading colours. There is a range of fiction, non-fiction and poetry.

Teaching

  • We follow the Read, Write, Inc (RWI) programme to teach phonics in EYFS and Key Stage 1. Children in Key Stage 2, with additional needs, will have an adapted RWI programme to meet their needs. Read Write Inc (RWI) is a phonics complete literacy programme that helps all of our children learn to read fluently and at speed so they can focus on developing their skills in comprehension, vocabulary and spelling. There is support for parents on the RWI website.
  • Staff systematically teach children the relationship between sounds and the written spelling patterns, or graphemes, which represent them.
  • Phonics is delivered in an ability-group format to ensure a more personalised programme.
  • Timely intervention is planned for children working below expected levels as soon as the needs are identified.
  • Regular assessment occurs to establish personalised targets and to plan for interventions.
  • A 2-minute read takes part daily, in addition to our guided reading sessions. Each child reads to an adult on a 1-1 basis for a minute and then answers comprehension questions.
  • Books are carefully selected by teachers with the knowledge of how they link to other curriculum areas
  • Guided reading is taught 4x a week using the rising stars- ‘cracking comprehension.’ It is a whole class approach to allow children to all read a text matched to the expected level for their year group. Again, within this lesson children will have the opportunity to read independently and work on comprehension skills. The teaching focuses on speed, comprehension and vocabulary.
  • Each reading domain has an animated dog as a creative and engaging way to help children understand what type of comprehension question it is. For example, Inferencing Iggy. See reading progression document.
  • Extra practise of focus spellings words are implemented at the start of each guided reading session. In pairs, children use the lollypop method to take turns reading their focus spelling words at speed.
  • St Joseph’s are subscribed to ‘Reading eggs’ and the children each have their own log in to access from home. Reading eggs has interactive games for children to practise phonics and comprehension skills.

Homework and home-school partnership

  • Children take home texts that are matched to their ability with an appropriate challenge. As well as a colour band book, children also take home storybooks or a free choice text if in KS2.
  • Children complete a weekly comprehension homework activity.

Our home Reading Progression document gives more information on the colour band books each year group is expected to be reading.

  • Parent/carer workshops take place termly for different key stages to support teaching at home.

Summative Assessment

Summative assessments take place each half term for reading. The data is then entered onto Target Tracker which shows progress and helps inform planning. At St Joseph’s, we have a focused teaching approach. Our Literacy Lead, analyses each year groups assessments and then sets up Wave 1 (whole class) teaching focuses and Wave 2 (group interventions) to focus teaching on any misconceptions that need clearing up and closing gaps.

Impact

By the time our children leave St Joseph’s school, they are competent readers with a thirst for reading a range of books. They can recommend texts to others and participate in discussions about the books they have read, including evaluating an author’s use of language and its impact on the reader.

St Joseph’s have a thorough process of monitoring to ensure standards. This includes lesson observations, performance management, learning walks, fortnightly assessments, and review meetings. Assessment for Learning techniques is incorporated in every Reading lesson, including feedback, appropriate marking and gap comments.

Each half term, the year groups undertakes a formative assessment, the results of these are not published but used for future planning and to highlight individual learning gaps. Teachers make termly judgements for each pupil against year group expectations on Target Tracker. We report the standards for individual pupils at the end of Reception, Year 2 and Year 6 and for pupils in Year 1 who take the Phonics screening check. Our literacy lead analyses the data, sets up interventions and plans the next step in teaching.

Writing

Intent

At St Joseph’s, we believe that all pupils should be able to confidently communicate their knowledge, ideas and emotions through their writing. All children from the Nursery to Year 6 are given plenty of opportunities throughout the curriculum,to express themselves through mark-making, which leads to writing grammatically correct sentences. We recognise the importance of nurturing a culture where children take pride in their writing, write clearly and accurately adapt their language and style for a range of contexts, and have an increasingly wide knowledge of vocabulary and grammar. We want pupils to spell new words effectively by applying the spelling patterns and rules learnt and embedding this in their independent writing. At St Joseph’s, we aspire for our children to be confident in the art of speaking and listening, to share ideas and further their learning. Without effective speaking and listening, children cannot become effective writers. We believe that all good writers refine and edit their work over time, so we want our children to develop independence in identifying their own areas for improvement and editing their work effectively during and after the writing process. We also intend for pupils to leave school being able to use fluent, legible and speedy handwriting.
Implementation

Creative curriculum and classroom setup

  • In Early Years, rhymes are sung to promote rhyme and alliteration, we discuss the meaning of new words which broadens the children’s vocabulary.
  • Each class begins a literacy unit with a ‘hook’ lesson. This introduces the children to the focus text in an exciting and engaging way. For example, as an introduction to the story ‘The BFG’, the children found large giant footprints in their classroom. They were asked to discuss what could have happened and how they got there.
  • There are stimulating and inviting writing areas set up in the Nursery and Reception classrooms as well as their shared outdoor area. These areas are fully equipped with a range of writing tools to encourage mark-making and early writing.
  • Writing is encouraged in all areas in the EYFS. Each area has clipboards, paper and pencils, as well as writing frames e.g. the construction area, has a construction themed writing frame for children to write what they plan to construct.
  • Each classroom has a writing station that has a range of word banks and grammar and punctuation mats.

 

Spellings and Handwriting

  • EYFS and Y1 follow the Read Write Inc (RWI) complete literacy programme, which helps all children learn the phonemes needed to spell.
  • Yr2 to Y6 use the Read, Write, Inc (RWI) spelling programme to teach spelling. RWI is a robust, fast-paced, systematic spelling programme.
  • Children receive weekly spellings to practise and are tested on them at the end of each week. They also complete end of unit spelling tests.
  • Teachers use the ‘tickled pink and green for growth’ marking strategy to highlight words misspelt which the children must correct the following lesson.
  • Extra practise of focus spellings words are implemented at the start of each guided reading session. In pairs, children use the lollypop method to practise reading their focus spelling words.
  • EYFS are taught letter formations through the RWI rhyme e.g. a- around the apple and down the leaf.
  • Teachers use spelling lessons to teach handwriting techniques, showing the children how to join letters effectively whilst learning a spelling rule

Year 1 Spelling

Pupils will be taught to:

  • segment spoken words into phonemes and represent these by graphemes, spelling many correctly;
  • learn new ways of spelling phonemes for which one or more spellings are already known, and learn some words with each spelling, including a few common homophones;
  • learn to spell common exception words;

Year 1 spellings

Year 2 Spelling

Pupils will be taught to:

  • segment spoken words into phonemes and represent these by graphemes, spelling many correctly;
  • learn new ways of spelling phonemes for which one or more spellings are already known, and learn some words with each spelling, including a few common homophones;
  • learn to spell common exception words;
  • learn to spell more words with contracted forms;
  • learn the possessive apostrophe (singular) [for example, the girl’s book];
  • distinguish between homophones and near-homophones;
  • add suffixes to spell longer words, including ment, ness, ful, less, –ly;
  • write from memory simple sentences dictated by the teacher that include words using the GPCs, common exception words and punctuation taught so far.

Year 2 spellings

Year 3/4 Spelling

Pupils will be taught to:

  • use further prefixes and suffixes and understand how to add them
  • spell further homophones
  • spell words that are often misspelt
  • place the possessive apostrophe accurately in words with regular plurals [for example, girls’, boys’] and in words with irregular plurals [for example, children’s]
  • use the first two or three letters of a word to check its spelling in a dictionary
  • write from memory simple sentences dictated by the teacher that include words and punctuation taught so far.

Year 3-4 spellings

Year 5/6 Spelling

Pupils will be taught to:

  • use further prefixes and suffixes and understand the guidance for adding them;
  • spell some words with ‘silent’ letters [for example, knight, psalm, solemn];
  • continue to distinguish between homophones and other words which are often confused;
  • use knowledge of morphology and etymology in spelling and understand that the spelling of some words needs to be learnt specifically;
  • use dictionaries to check the spelling and meaning of words;
  • use the first three or four letters of a word to check to spell, meaning or both of these in a dictionary;
  • use a thesaurus.

Year 5-6 spellings

English Lesson Sequence

  • Each year group have a yearly overview of the writing genres (fiction, non-fiction and poetry) that they will teach. These have been planned to ensure correct coverage of the key genres as well as build on skills from year to year.
  • The St. Joseph’s whole-school literacy progression document clearly identifies the coverage needed to be taught in each term for phonics/spelling, grammar, writing and reading. This useful document helps teachers identify gaps from previous year groups so they can be revised.
  • Early writing is taught through early mark making, then when the children begin RWI they are taught the letter formations. This begins with writing (whether with a writing tool, in the air, with paint, in glitter etc) CVC words, moving onto short sentences using the sounds they have been taught. The children also learn to remember and write stories using the Talk for Writing approach. They are encouraged to write independently in continuous provision.
  • We use ‘Talk for Writing’ from Y1 to Y6 as the vehicle for teaching writing. This is to ensure a consistent and systematic approach to teaching the skills of writing across all cohorts. This also means that children know what to expect when they change classes.
  • Children complete an independent ‘cold task’ before they begin the new Talk for writing unit. The purpose of a cold task is for children to write a particular style of writing before it has been taught. Teachers use this to assess the areas that their children will need to be specifically taught, even if this means tracking back to objectives from previous years, in grammar and text type.
  • At the end of a unit, children complete an independent ‘hot task’. The purpose of a hot task is for the children to complete a piece of writing, which includes everything they have learnt for that style of writing. The class teacher will then compare it to their original ‘cold task.’

Grammar and Punctuation

  • Grammar and punctuation are taught throughout the lesson and through discrete lessons. See grammar & punctuation progression document for further information on each year groups requirements.
  • Teachers plan to teach the required skills through the genres of writing that they are teaching, linking it to the genre to make it more connected with the writing outcome.
  • Teachers may also have a particular grammar or punctuation focus as standalone lessons. This could be the outcome from an assessment that identified a particular skill that needed revising or if the children need additional lessons to consolidate skills.
  • Children each have a Schofield and Sims Grammar book. A grammar activity is completed at the beginning of every literacy lesson.
  • Grammar PDM’s are timetabled throughout the year to support teachers’ subject knowledge.
  • KS2 children have a grammar and punctuation mat that they use to support their writing.

Year 3 Grammar and Punctuation

Year 4 Grammar and Punctuation

Year 5 Grammar and Punctuation

Year 6 Grammar and Punctuation

 

Marking and Feedback

  • Teaching staff use’ live nudges’ throughout lessons. These live nudges are symbols that are written into the children’s exercise books to identify an area of development. The children then improve the required area and mark off the live nudge. Live nudges show immediate progress within the lesson.
  • ‘Tickled pink and green for growth’ is another marking strategy used. Teachers highlight areas of the children’s work in pink (tickled pink) to identify good examples of work. Similarly, work highlighted in green (green for growth) identify work that needs to be improved.
  • Triangle symbols (see marking policy) are marking symbols used at the end of a lesson to identify an area of development.
  • The children start the beginning of every lesson responding to marking and making improvements. The children respond in purple pens.
  • Marking is rigorous in English and across the curriculum. Regular English book scrutinies are carried out to identify areas of learning that need revision, marking, feedback and strengths.

Summative Assessment

Summative assessments take place each half term through testing for spelling and grammar as well as completing a big independent write. At St Joseph’s we have a focused teaching approach. Our Literacy Lead, analyses each year groups assessments and then sets up Wave 1 (whole class) teaching focuses and Wave 2 (group interventions) to focus teaching on any misconceptions that need clearing up and closing gaps.

Homework and home-school partnership

  • EYFS complete a phonics related activity each week for homework.
  • Weekly spellings are sent home for children in years F2-Y6 to practice.
  • EYFS have handwriting practise activities sent home.
  • When appropriate, children receive grammar homework tasks related to their class learning.
  • Parent/carer workshops take place termly for different key stages to support teaching at home.

 Impact

The impact on our pupils is clear: progress, sustained learning and transferrable skills. Teachers continuously reflect on best practices, clearing misconceptions and revising areas to close gaps. We have a thorough process of monitoring to ensure standards. This includes lesson observations, performance management, learning walks, fortnightly assessments, and review meetings. Assessment for learning techniques is incorporated in every English lesson, including feedback, appropriate marking and gap comments.

As all aspects of English are an integral part of the curriculum, cross-curricular writing standards have also improved. The skills taught in English lessons are transferred into other subjects; showing consolidation of skills and a deeper understanding of how and when to use specific grammar and punctuation.

Children leave St. Josephs being competent writers with a creative flair. They can write for a range of audiences and use the techniques taught correctly for each writing style.

Literacy Overview

Year 2 Literacy Long Term Overview

Year 3 Literacy Overview

Year 4 Literacy Overview

Year 5 Literacy Overview

Progression of skills

Documents below detail the knowledge and skills that pupils will gain at each stage of the curriculum.

Reading Progression

Progression of reading skills

Grammar & Punctuation Progression

English Curriculum Whole School Progression doc

Attainment  

By the end of each key stage, pupils are expected to know, apply and understand the matters, skills and processes specified in the relevant programme of study. Please see below:

End Points

The Year 1 Learner

The Year 2 Learner

The Year 3 Learner

The Year 4 Learner

The Year 5 Learner

The Year 6 Learner

 

Reading Schemes

At St Joseph’s, the following reading schemes are used within Foundation and KS1:

Read Write Inc, Project X, PM Library, Lighthouse, Rigby Star, Oxford Reading Tree Phonics, Comics for Phonics, All Aboard.