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: 

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

Reading

At St Margaret Ward, we nurture a love for reading. We value reading as an enjoyable and crucial part of the daily life in school. The children take part in daily reading activities such as independent reading sessions, guided reading sessions and class reads, developing reading strategies whilst bringing books to life in our classrooms.

The children are encouraged to read as frequently as possible to develop their fluency and accuracy. Being a skilful reader opens to the door to academic success and supports comprehension and inference skills; skills which are essential for all academic subjects. Mastering effective reading strategies will enable the children to progress academically, along with sustaining concentration. Improved reading skills will in turn provide a rich vocabulary, improved grammar, writing and spelling and will aid oral communication.

Reading is known to build confidence and independence in children, along with maturity alongside the progression of texts. From Early Years to Year 6, we expose the children to wide variety of texts, providing them with a broad experience and sparking an interest in different genres. This exposure then supports the children with their writing, as their experiences with books will allow their imagination and creativity to flourish.

We believe that a skilful reader will be prepared socially, emotionally and academically for their later years. Therefore, reading is valued and a key focus at St Margaret Ward, as we strive to equip children with not only proficient reading skills, but a passion for reading.

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

Writing

At St Margaret Ward, we recognise that the world of literature is entertaining, cultivates emotional growth and facilitates critical thinking. Within writing, children at SMW are given opportunities to read and write a range of texts, including narratives, magazine articles, poetry and scripts. We aim to immerse our children in a range of genres and allow them to voice their inner thoughts and explore their imaginations through writing. There are many opportunities for children to improve their writing inspired by drama techniques and film clips.  

The children at SMW are filled with imagination and vision, and by giving them access to literature and effective writing techniques, they are then given opportunities to practice this. Children learn best when they are motivated, and we ensure that we use cross-curricular methods and seek out captivating literature to both challenge and engage.

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. 

We use the Letter-Join handwriting scheme.

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.

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. We utilise the Spelling Shed resources.

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.