English at Stondon Lower School
At Stondon Lower School, our aim is for every child to become a fluent reader. We want children to become fluent readers in order for them to reach age related expectations or make accelerated progress from their starting point. As well as this we want children to develop a love for reading and read for pleasure on a regular basis.
Our curriculum is designed around the needs of the pupils and there are a variety of approaches to enable the pupils to make good progress.
The aims of teaching reading in our school are to develop pupils who:
- show high levels of achievement and exhibit very positive attitudes towards reading;
- rapidly acquire a secure knowledge of letters and sounds and make sustained progress in learning to read fluently;
- read easily and fluently with good understanding across both fiction and non-fiction;
- acquire a wider vocabulary;
- participate in the teaching of phonics knowledge, skills and understanding in a systematic and enjoyable way;
- develop their reading in all subjects to support their acquisition of knowledge;
- develop a love of reading;
- read for pleasure both at home and school on a regular basis;
- through their reading develop culturally, emotionally, intellectually, socially and spiritually;
- develop good comprehension drawing from their linguistic knowledge.
- Give every child the opportunity to engage in multicultural books from a variety backgrounds, authors and countries.
At Stondon School, we teach Reading as whole class for all children to have access to the age-related skills and knowledge contained in the National Curriculum. All children will have Quality First Teaching. Within lessons, teachers and Teaching Assistants target support for slower graspers to enable them to achieve at an age-related level wherever possible.
To support the teaching of early reading from Reception to year 1, we are trialling All Aboard Phonics (2021-2022.) Its curriculum is based on the proven Letters and Sounds designed by the UK government, but is updated and extended into a fully resourced tool to fit the new UK guidelines. In year 2, we are using Letters and Sounds. Phonics is timetabled from Monday to Friday and is taught daily for 15 to 20 minutes.
During their time at Stondon Lower children have access to our colour book banded system which includes books that complement our teaching of phonics for our early readers. All children take home a reading book that reflects the phase they are being taught in class or at a phase that is most appropriate to their needs. There are also catch up books used in KS2 where necessary.
Daily guided reading takes place from Reception through to Year 4 using a blend of whole class guided reading, carousel rotation (year 1) and within groups. With this approach, children are not only learning comprehension skills but also independence, a love of wider reading and exposure to rich vocabulary, which is absolute key in all sessions for all learners.
Reading is celebrated weekly in one of our assemblies, with children from all year groups having the opportunity to read out loud to an audience. Results of our Reading Challenge are also shared which encourages the importance of reading.
In addition, throughout the school year, reading is enhanced and celebrated through acknowledging World Book Day and through a range of experiences such as attending a pantomime and our annual Widdershins puppet show which enriches and complements children’s learning and enjoyment of reading.
Reading in our schools is progressive and planned to meet the needs of all children. Assessments are carried out on a daily basis with teacher assessments’ to ensure children are accessing books of the right level and are being challenged in their reading. At the same time, we provide books to ensure that children read for pleasure and learn to love reading using our library books.
We measure the impact of our curriculum through the following methods:
- Ongoing Phonics assessment
- Statutory Year 1 Phonics screening
- Book band colour – assessed using Benchmarking;
The implementation of Letters and Sounds phonics has a huge impact on our phonics screening results. Our success rate each year is very high even putting us above the local authority’s results. The teaching of phonics in our school is synthetic and systematic and all staff are regularly updated with any changes. Training is delivered where necessary.
We believe that English skills are vital to the development of children so they are prepared for their future life. A broad and balanced English programme using objectives from the National Curriculum, determines the skills that each year group and Key Stage must cover. A range of genres are studied and promoted. A variety of resources are used to promote a reading and writing culture. Children are given a range of writing opportunities including the use of paired, group and independent writing tasks. A culture of learning from each other is promoted through use of co-operative learning structures and sharing of good practice with our federated school. This is developed across both key stages, so that the children learn to respond appropriately and supportively to each other regardless of gender, age, cultural or ethnic background.
The aims of teaching writing in our school are to develop pupils who:
- show high levels of achievement and exhibit very positive attitudes towards writing;
- use and understand language as speakers, readers and writers.
- are competent, confident and independent in the use of language in their writing.
- have an awareness of different audiences and purposes for writing.
- apply their grammatical knowledge in their writing.
- apply their phonetical and spelling knowledge in their writing.
- apply the English language in all areas of the curriculum.
At Stondon Lower, we teach Writing as whole class for all children to have access to the age-related skills and knowledge contained in the National Curriculum. All children will have Quality First Teaching. Within lessons, teachers and Teaching Assistants target support for slower graspers to enable them to achieve at an age-related level wherever possible. This may involve a greater level of scaffolding and access to additional support materials such as Word Banks or a greater level of modelling. In Reception, we are following the new EYFS curriculum (2021) and displaying words around the classroom with the pictures to match. Rapid graspers are given opportunities to extend their writing in a variety of ways and by using a higher level of vocabulary and grammar features for instance.
Writing is taught through the use of quality texts, (Literacy Tree) where children encounter a wide-range of significant authors, and a variety of fiction, non-fiction and poetry from different countries and cultures around the world. These texts expose children to inference, high –level vocabulary, a range of punctuation and characterisation and a wider knowledge of the world around them. Each text is purposely selected in order to promote a love of reading, engagement and high quality writing from each child. All classes use a working wall to show the learning journey of the children.
Teachers will use their professional judgement to determine whether a child is working within age-related expectations, above or below informed by internal and external moderation. They will base their judgements on the quality of the extended piece of writing that pupils produce at the end of week, at the end of each unit and determine to what extent pupils have met the agreed success criteria for that genre of writing. Additionally, each class will be using No More Marking once in the year to moderate nationally.
The texts used by teachers have explicit grammar skills for writing which are taught in context and are applied purposefully. Standalone lessons, are used if teachers feel that the class needs additional lessons to embed and develop their understanding or to consolidate their skills.
Handwriting is taught and practised throughout the school. From the beginning of year 2, children are taught to use cursive writing. Handwriting continues to be practised in KS2.
Spellings are taught according to the rules and words contained in the English National Curriculum. Children are given spellings to learn each week and are given a spelling test the following week and they are able to practise them at home using Spelling Shed.
Assessment for learning strategies are used on a daily basis. These will allow a picture to be built up of the pupils’ progress, any areas of strength or weakness which can then be addressed in teachers’ planning.
Children complete independent writing pieces at the end of each unit of work and at the end of each week, which are assessed against our writing criteria.
Analysis of the data impacts upon teachers’ planning so pupils’ needs can be addressed. Moderation of teacher assessment is also completed termly in order to ensure that judgements are accurate. Children who are not on track are identified for intervention/target teaching.
Leadership and Management
The subject leader's role is to empower colleagues to teach Writing to a high standard and support staff in the following ways:
- By keeping up to date on current issues; disseminating relevant information and providing training for staff members (either directly or through other professionals)
- Leading by example by modelling lessons or styles of teaching
- Having a knowledge of the quality of writing provision across the school and using this to provide a coaching and mentoring role
- Identifying and acting on development needs of staff members
- Monitoring expectations, provision and attainment across the school and providing feedback to develop practice further in order to raise standards
Monitoring and Evaluation
The quality of teaching and learning is monitored as part of the appraisal process through lesson observations and through the progress and attainment documents. In addition, continuity and progression across the school is monitored by the subject leader as is the implementation and impact of Assessment for Learning. The subject action plan identifies actions intended to raise standards.
The English Subject Leader will also provide an annual summary report to the Headteacher in which she/he evaluates the strengths and weaknesses in writing and indicates areas for further improvement.
governors meet with the subject leader to review progress.
Partnerships with parents
Parents are informed on how they can help their child at home through parents’ mail documents and workshops. Parents are kept informed of topics that are being covered through a newsletter sent fortnightly. During Parents' Evenings curricular targets are shared and a written report is completed annually in the Summer Term. Homework in Early Years, Key Stage 1 and Lower Key Stage 2 is based around spellings and phonics.