At Lydd Primary School we believe that a quality English curriculum should develop children’s love of reading, writing and discussion. One of our priorities is helping children read and develop their all-important comprehension skills. We recognise the importance of nurturing a culture from the start where children take pride in their writing, can write clearly and accurately and adapt their language and style for a range of contexts. Starting in EYFS, we want to inspire children to be confident in the art of speaking and listening and who value the use of discussion to communicate and further their learning.
We believe that children need to develop a secure knowledge-base in English, which follows a clear pathway of progression as they advance through the primary curriculum. We believe that a secure basis in literacy skills is crucial to a high quality education and will give our children the tools they need to participate fully as a member of society.
These aims are embedded across our English lessons and the wider curriculum. We have a well organised English curriculum based around quality texts and the principles from the Power of Reading with ideas from Literacy Shed+, which provides many purposeful opportunities for reading, writing and discussion. We use a wide variety of quality texts and resources to motivate and inspire our children. These can be seen in our text maps, which are adapted to fit in with both the Topics taught and the interests of the children. On top of this, we also ensure that children have opportunities to develop their GPS and comprehension skills, using quality resources from The Literacy Shed and Grammarsaurus. Where appropriate, teachers also ensure that cross curricular links with concurrent topic work are woven into the programme of study.
The national curriculum for English aims to ensure that all pupils:
At Lydd Primary we are working alongside a local councillor and businesses to completely overhaul the entire stock of children’s reading books, banding all books both in the classroom libraries and in the resource library - this is also in the process of being redone. We believe that this is incredibly important to help children across the school choose reading material suited to their level, with extra family choosing books available in our dedicated book swaps. We even have one for parents and staff!
To support and compliment all of this, we are also constantly updating our books for SEN and investing in Little Wandle and new sets of Phonics Reading books to enable children in Reception and Y1 to practise their class based phonics through both some of their home and reading in school. Please see our 'Phonics' page for more information about this. For children who have completed the Phonics program and are secure in their knowledge, we have PM Benchmarking to ensure that all children have reading books matched to their ability and staff have access to clear targets to help children progress onto the next level. To further boost children’s comprehension skills across a wide range of genres we use the VIPERS approach for different texts on Literacy Shed+.
Another way we support reading for pleasure across the school is through our dedicated reading volunteers who can help instill their own passion for books and are a member of the national charity, 'School Readers'.
Below are some useful question stems, using the VIPERS approach, to support parents when reading at home with their children:
At Lydd Primary, we identify children who need support and provide intervention in the most effective and efficient way that we can. We run intervention reading groups using both fluency and comprehension resources from PIXL and are fortunate to have some parents and governors who come in regularly to hear children read. Depending on their special educational need, children on the SEND register may have reading and comprehension as one of their targets. Teachers plan and teach English lessons which are differentiated to the particular needs of each child, whilst giving as many opportunities as possible to access texts that will put them in good stead for their end of Key Stage Assessments. We help each child maximise their potential by providing help and support where necessary whilst striving to make children independent workers once we have helped to equip them with the confidence, tools and strategies that they need.
As part of our meet the teacher events at the start of each year we give out information on the English curriculum for the year to parents, including the Phonics Screening Check and SATs in Years 2 and 6 so that they understand age-related expectations. We are constantly exploring ways to engage with parents, to help them understand the curriculum and the importance of the support they can offer at home throughout their child’s time at Lydd Primary School. Those who attend the talks and workshops we offer, say that they find them useful and informative. During the COVID crisis, we were able to trial the use of an online reading record, which we are continuing to develop alongside our own rewards-based system.
Oracy is a big focus at Lydd Primary School with frequent speaking and listening activities built into the curriculum and daily life. Each Key Stage is focussing on performing poems in their assemblies to share in celebration assembly. We celebrate No Pens Wednesday once a year to give speaking and listening an added focus. An additional feature on the school Facebook page is a regular question slot to support families with asking questions and encouraging talk at home.
Taking pride in work and developing handwriting is a big focus at Lydd Primary School, where we are using a range of both physical and pencil exercises alongside traditional watch and copy techniques to build up muscle power and improve both the flow and look of our handwriting. We recently invested in and have adopted the multisensory handwriting approach from Teach Handwriting to develop motor skills and handwriting across the school.
Marking in English focuses on all of the key skills, with regular ‘green pen’ response times built into the timetable to enable children to reflect, edit and improve on their work. In written pieces this follows a graduated editing framework to help pupils develop their independent editing skills.
We love to celebrate success of all learners and strive to help all children achieve their goals. English is celebrated in classrooms and around school at Lydd, where our bright and colourful displays celebrate children’s writing. Each class has an inviting class library and a display cabinet outside of the school office houses a range of prizes which the children can earn for reading in their own time. In addition, throughout the school year our English curriculum is enhanced through events such as No Pens Wednesday, World Book Day, online Spelling Shed competitions and whenever possible parent and governor 1:1 reading.
The impact on our children is clear: progress, sustained learning and transferrable skills. With the implementation of the writing journey being well established and taught thoroughly throughout the school from EYFS, children are becoming more confident writers and by the time they are in upper Key Stage 2, most genres of writing are familiar to them and the teaching can focus on creativity, writer’s craft, sustained writing and manipulation of grammar and punctuation skills.
Regular assessment of skills through both teacher assessments and moderation sessions show that teachers understand the children in their classes and how to support them through their next steps in their learning. We hope that all the new English initiatives outlined above will help to boost children’s learning and progress in the English curriculum as a whole.
As all aspects of English are an integral part of the curriculum, cross curricular writing standards have also improved and skills taught in the English lesson are being increasingly transferred into other subjects; this shows consolidation of skills and a deeper understanding of how and when to use specific grammar, punctuation and grammar objectives.
We hope that as children move on from Lydd to further their education and learning, that their creativity, passion for English and high aspirations travel with them and continue to grow and develop as they do.
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 are constantly developing our class libraries, 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. During the COVID crisis and now beyond, we signed up to Go Read (now called Boom Reader), a digital reading record which can be accessed on tablets and smart phones