English

Our School Vision for English

We aim to deliver a high quality English curriculum that gives children the best possible opportunities to become confident, literate, successful members of society with a deep love and understanding of English language and literature. We believe the development of Literacy skills is central to improving a child's life chances. Teachers have high expectations for all children to achieve and enjoy English and to be able to use the skills they have acquired in a range of contexts.  

The National Curriculum (2014) clearly states that teaching the English language is an essential, if not the most essential role of a Primary School. 

The English programme of study is based on four areas: 

  • Spoken language 
  • Reading 
  • Writing  
  • Spelling, grammar and punctuation 

Spoken Language

Developing strong speaking and listening skills is fundamental to the teaching of English at St. Margaret Ward. We believe children need to develop strong oracy skills to enable them to internalise language patterns and understand how language changes in different situations. This enables our children to understand and manipulate language for different purposes and audiences. To do this, teachers provide authentic contexts, giving children opportunities to use a range of spoken language. Teachers provide a range of purposeful opportunities through role play, drama, discussions and debates.

Reading/Guided Reading

Units of work in English include rich texts/videos/film clips. Shared and guided reading takes place regularly. We encourage and model reading for pleasure and establish an appreciation and love of reading. Some of the things we do to promote a reading culture are: we read aloud to children up to and including Year 6, establish and develop a varied range of texts in the classroom; every classroom has a book corner, celebrate Book Week; celebrate poetry during a poetry competition in the Autumn Two Term; ask Year 6 children to volunteer to be a reading buddy and encourage parents to help their children with reading. 

We have adopted the Oxford Reading Tree as our reading scheme. 

Guided reading is focused on covering the objectives in the National Curriculum, ensuring word decoding and word and text comprehension are covered at an appropriate level for each child. One of the strategies used from EYFS onwards is Reciprocal Reading, which follows the structure:  

  • Predict 
  • Clarify 
  • Question 
  • Summarise 

We have a broad range of guided reading resources to enable progression and consolidation in reading. 

Writing

The National Curriculum states that children should: 

  • develop the stamina and skills to write at length 
  • use accurate spelling and punctuation 
  • be grammatically correct 

We aim to develop children’s ability to produce well-structured, detailed writing in which the meaning is made clear and which engages the interest of the reader. Attention is paid throughout the school to the formal structures of English, grammatical detail, punctuation and spelling. Teachers model writing strategies and the use of phonics and spelling strategies in shared writing sessions. Guided writing sessions are used to target specific needs of both groups and individuals, whilst children have opportunities to write at length in extended independent writing sessions for a range of purposes across the curriculum. 

The children are given frequent opportunities in school to write in different contexts using quality texts as a model. There are many opportunities for children to improve their writing inspired by drama techniques and film clips.  

We use the Letter-join Handwriting Scheme.

Grammar

Grammar and Punctuation are most effective when taught in the context of reading and writing; either in the context of the linguistic demands of a particular genre or the writing needs of a child. We believe effective grammar teaching takes place in meaningful contexts. Grammar is taught both in the context of reading and writing – through meaningful texts – and also through discrete grammar and punctuation sessions.

Spelling

We want our pupils to become fluent and effective writers; accurate spelling is a means to that end. Competent spellers need to spend less time and energy in thinking about spelling to enable them to channel their time and energy into the skills of composition, sentence structure and precise word choice.

Phonics

We help your child get ready to read and write using phonics by developing their understanding that spoken words are made up of different sounds. Your child participates in a phonics session every day. These sessions are engaging and fun with an emphasis on teaching the skills your child will need for reading and writing. In EYFS and KS1 phonics lessons we follow the Letters and Sounds programme.