Children are encouraged to develop a broad range of skills in speaking and listening, reading and writing. Children participate in a daily English lessons from years 1-6, and a wide range of language activities in Reception and Nursery.
A major part of early language learning is the teaching of phonics, which is done using a range of methods including both written and practical kinaesthetic activities. We mainly follow Letters and Sounds, dipping into the following phonics schemes; Read Write Inc and Jolly Phonics. This enables us to use many resources and techniques, keeping the children engaged and learning.
Older children are also taught spelling rules, tricks and patterns, moving onto spelling investigations and word origins. Throughout the school we follow The Spelling Shed scheme which uses a variety of exercises to focus on learning rules and patterns as well as using these words in context, rather than in list form for a test. Children have their own individual logins for the online games linked to this and are able to enter into school competitions throughout the year.
Reading is a fundamental skill which forms the basis of all English. As well as using a wide range of texts in the classroom we encourage parents to join in the excitement of their children learning to read. We don’t use a single reading scheme, but by using book banding throughout the school, we match children to books that will best develop their skills and interest. As well as access some central resources every class has their own book corner with a variety of books suited to their particular age group. Recently, we carried out a sponsored read with Usborne books which helped us in getting a large collection of new books for our classes.
Writing skills are a key priority within the school. We emphasise presentation and handwriting skills. Children are taught cursive script from the outset, first using a pencil and progressing to fountain or handwriting pens. All classes undertake extended writing sessions with activities ranging from poetry, creative writing, persuasive letter writing, creating film scripts and factual work, including current affairs. During these sessions children learn how to vary their tone and language to engage the intended reader, and also how to edit and up-level their own work.
Grammar skills and terminology are now an integral part of the English curriculum. These are taught through both games and stand alone activities as well as being part of both planning for and improving writing.
Speaking and listening skills are developed across the whole curriculum. It regularly precedes written work, giving children a chance to try out ideas before committing them to paper.
A note from Miss Raby (English subject leader)
The children and teachers choose great pieces of writing on a regular basis and this is displayed in pride of place in both our classrooms and on corridors. Please do have a read when you visit.
We pride ourselves on helping children to develop good handwriting. As children progress through the school and improve their handwriting they are able to earn their pen licence and then later a fountain diploma. There are sheets to help with this, as well as an example of work from the latest fountain diploma winner, just outside the Lower School Hall.
As a school we in the process of developing book corners and communal book collections, which the children have daily access to. We also have close links to the town library next to our school. This enables us to form strong links with the community for library run events, such as the Summer Reading Challenge.
Once a year, we take part in a national event called 'No Pens Wednesday', which enables children to really see and understand the benefits of speaking and listening in groups and as a class. Over the course of the day, children focus on a wide range of speaking and listening activities across the curriculum and find interesting ways of recording their findings without writing.
Another event which we join in with each year, is World Book Day. This is a great opportunity to focus on the pleasure that books and reading can bring to our lives. As well as enjoying a range of activities based around books, the children come to school dressed up as various characters from books. The effort which is put into these costumes is always amazing!
We run a whole school reading rewards system, where as children read at home they progress through a series of cards based on fantasy lands, leading to various levels of prizes. The most popular prizes include; animal pens, rubbers, drinks bottles, art sets and pen sets, as well as dolls, slime making kits and even a football. Look in the cabinet outside our school office to see what other prizes can be won.
Some useful websites:
First News Live. An online version of the children's newspaper:
Classic Book finder from the BBC - which classic should you read next?
Lots of fun (and really useful) English games for 4-14 year olds:
A range of English games for KS2:
A range of English games for YR, KS1 (and KS2):
BBC games and activities:
Sight word games:
100 Greatest Children's books 2018:
Book quizzes and games: