Mr Hall and Mrs Palmer
At Knowle CE Primary Academy, we understand the fundamental importance of English to pupils’ development: a high quality education in English provides children with the essential tools of reading, writing and spoken language that enable them to communicate effectively with others and give them the skills to become lifelong learners. We are determined that every child will learn to reach their potential in reading to allow them to access the knowledge they need to develop, not only intellectually, but spiritually, emotionally, culturally and socially. Learning to read and also to write and speak fluently will give them the ability to participate fully in their current and future education and also as a confident member of society.
Our aim is to provide children with a progressive, rigorous, enjoyable and high-quality English curriculum, which ensures that our pupils can:
- read easily, fluently and with good understanding
- develop the habit of reading widely and often, for both pleasure and information
- acquire a wide vocabulary and an understanding of grammar and language that they can apply to writing and spoken language
- appreciate our rich and varied literary heritage
- communicate effectively and accurately in writing, adapting their language and style to fit a range of purposes, contexts and audiences
- develop speaking and listening skills to become effective communicators in both formal and informal situations, using discussion to demonstrate and to build upon their learning.
English skills are fundamental to any pupil’s ability to succeed. A high-quality education in English will teach pupils to speak, read and write fluently so that they can communicate their ideas and emotions to others and, through their reading and listening, allow others to communicate with them. At Knowle CE Primary Academy, we are dedicated to encouraging all children to not only become effective communicators, but to be passionate about English and to reach their full potential. This will then enable them to approach the next stage of their education with a love of literature and the skills to help them succeed. We immerse pupils in high quality, engaging texts to embed a love for reading, a passion for discovery and to inspire them to explore their imagination in their own work. This, combined with a focus on developing their fluency in key skills, underpins how we construct our English curriculum.
Our curriculum intent – the knowledge and skills we expect our pupils to learn – can be found in our Long Term Overviews and Progression Documents (see below)
Our English curriculum has been designed – and has evolved over time – to embed the key skills of the subject in an immersive, engaging way that also contributes to the development of our children’s critical thinking and understanding of the world. Teachers are given the structure of the skills and text types that need to be taught, but with the flexibility to adapt the stimuli and outcomes to meet the needs, interests and creativity of the pupils.
The English Curriculum is led and overseen by the English Curriculum Leaders, in conjunction with the leadership team. They regularly monitor, evaluate, and review English teaching and learning, celebrating and sharing good practice.
Our reading and writing curricula are underpinned by our own progression documents, again developed and honed over time, which contain the key skills that are required in each year group to enable teachers to plan effective, progressive sequences of lessons that link to specific text types and which, over time, allow our pupils to synthesise these skills to communicate effectively for different purposes and audiences. Vocabulary acquisition and understanding is fundamental to all areas of our curriculum, not just in English, and new, relevant vocabulary is planned for, taught, displayed and revised regularly.
Children in Reception and KS1 have daily phonics sessions using the ‘Sounds Write’ systematic phonics programme, which effectively develops their phonetic knowledge for reading and spelling. In KS2, we follow the ‘No Nonsense Spelling’ programme to develop pupils’ understanding of spelling rules, etymology and word lists, linked to the national curriculum.
Pupils in EYFS and Key Stage One read books matched to the phonemes they have been learning. They will continue to read these books until they have completed the phonetic ‘extended code’, at which point they should be reading fluently at an age-appropriate level.
In Year 3, pupils continue to read books closely matched to their reading ability before being introduced to our reading challenges across all of Key Stage 2, such as Reading Bingo, which promote and reward reading a wide range of high-quality books, both at home and at school, supported by evidence of what they have read, and related tasks, in their reading diaries.
Across the school, reading fluency remains the priority. Termly assessment on age-appropriate texts allows us to monitor pupils’ fluency and to provide interventions if needed.
In order to promote a love of literature, reading to children is a priority across the school. We ensure that the children are immersed in a diverse range of texts and authors that reinforce our wider curriculum and the development of the children’s understanding of ‘life in all its fullness’ and empathy for others outside their day-to-day experiences, such as refugees and victims of the holocaust.
We deliver a skills-based comprehension reading curriculum that develops, and regularly revisits each year, the key areas of reading comprehension, split into our ‘reading roles’ of: Decoder, Performer, Retriever, Explorer, Reviewer and Reading Detective. Our reading progression document uses the ‘reading roles’ as ways for the children to understand and group the essential skills (such as retrieval, inference and understanding vocabulary in context)
In EYFS, Key Stage 1, and Lower Key Stage Two, we use Talk for Writing to develop the children’s writing skills and vocabulary through basing their work on rich and engaging texts, in which grammar and punctuation skills are taught as integral aspects.
In Upper Key Stage 2, we continue to use the principals of Talk for Writing, using high quality model texts to emulate: introducing, imitating and innovating using specific techniques to enhance children’s writing and develop their vocabulary, across a range of text types. Grammar and punctuation skills are, again, incorporated as deliberate aspects of the model texts to enable children to develop their understanding (and use of) grammatical techniques in a relevant context.
Formative assessments are integrated into English teaching to ensure teachers have an in–depth knowledge of the children’s learning and to inform their next steps. Termly summative assessment in reading and writing is used to gauge progress, attainment and to inform next steps. In Reception and Key Stage One, this assessment is supported by ‘The Key Expectations in Reading by Year Group’ which demonstrates the expected level of phonic knowledge and reading level for each term, to enable teachers to make accurate judgements of pupils’ progress and to implement timely and targeted interventions where appropriate.