At North Bradley CE Primary, we strive to provide the very best experience for our pupils in the learning and teaching of English. We believe that this will provide the children with the skills to become lifelong learners with a love of reading and writing. We aim for the children to;
- develop the necessary skills to use the English language confidently, creatively and accurately to the best of their ability;
- be able to speak clearly, fluently and adapt their talk for a variety of purposes and audiences;
- be able to listen to the spoken word attentively with understanding, pleasure and empathy;
- be able to read a range of materials fluently and with understanding for enjoyment and for information;
- be able to write effectively for a range of audiences and purposes using spelling, punctuation and grammar accurately and confidently;
- be able to transfer their skills to all areas of the curriculum.
In order to achieve these aims, we provide a rich and engaging English curriculum which meets the needs of all learners and is embedded into all other subjects. We believe that children become motivated and engaged when their studies in English have a meaningful context and are linked to their wider learning. Therefore English is the foundation for almost all the learning that takes place in our school. We enrich our English curriculum as much as possible through author and storyteller visits, drama workshops and class visits in order to engage and inspire the children and create a lifelong passion for reading and writing.
Our English curriculum follows the English National Curriculum and is taught in a focussed way on a daily basis. Our cross curricular approach to learning ensures that pupils readily apply their learning in English to all subjects.
We are very proud of our English curriculum. The learning experiences we offer to the children in the key strands of English are detailed in the following sections.
At North Bradley we aim to develop children who read fluently, independently, critically and widely. We want children to have a love of reading for pleasure as well as being able to read for information. Good reading skills empower the learner and are essential for accessing the curriculum and in most other aspects of everyday life.
In order to become successful readers, the children need to develop a number of strategies such as the application of phonics learning, key word recognition and the use of grammatical and contextual knowledge. We teach and practise these and other key reading skills through daily guided reading sessions, starting from Reception. During these sessions, children working on the same reading targets are grouped together and taught in a focussed way, using a variety of texts.
The children then practise these skills through their individual reading books, which they take home. We grade these books at Key Stage 1 using the Book Bands system. We use Oxford Reading Tree as our main reading scheme, but supplement this with books from other schemes.
At North Bradley all teachers read aloud to their class on a daily basis and regularly discuss theirs and the children’s responses to their reading. We actively encourage the children to read for pleasure through:
- the use of story sacks in Reception;
- access to our lending library which contains a large stock of fiction texts as well as information books;
- book areas in each class, with children being encouraged to borrow from these stocks in KS2;
- the use of reading journeys and book prizes to encourage the children to read more frequently at home;
author and storyteller visits;
- author studies as part of the English curriculum;
- the promotion of the summer library reading challenge.
At North Bradley we use ‘Letters and Sounds’ to provide a high quality programme for the teaching of phonics. Alongside this we use ‘Jolly Phonics’ to teach phoneme-grapheme correspondences. Often phonics sessions are very active and may take place outside. We aim to make phonics teaching enjoyable for all the pupils and to ensure they readily apply their phonics learning to blending words for reading and segmenting words for spelling.
Some words however, are more difficult to decode. The children learn these ‘tricky’ words alongside their phonic activities and we often give them actions to make them easier to remember. Learning these words is essential for fluency in reading and spelling and so they are sent home for practise.
From Year 2 onwards at North Bradley, the children will be taught the common ‘rules’ for spelling words and are expected to apply this to their writing. These dedicated spelling lessons take place on a daily basis and will often involve children working on whiteboards so they are all engaging in practising their learning.
At North Bradley, we believe that the ability to form letters correctly and join, is fundamental to becoming a fluent writer. We teach the correct formation of letters in Reception and the children learn to join in Year 1. We have adopted the cursive script with entry and exit strokes for each letter.
Talk for Writing
We believe that talk and drama are extremely important tools in the teaching and learning of writing. It is essential that the children have opportunities to explore ideas in this way in order for them to produce effective, high quality written work. Drama is a core part of our English curriculum. The Reception and Key Stage 1 classes all have vibrant role play areas, which are linked to their learning contexts and changed regularly. The children are usually involved in the creation of these.
As part of our English teaching we regularly use drama techniques such as freeze framing, hot seating and conscience alley to explore texts and prepare the children for writing. We have also had many successful drama workshops.
Story making is also a very important tool that we use as a way into writing. Through learning stories, the children are able to internalise the key language and sentence structures that they need for their own writing.
When appropriate, we provide 1-1 and small group interventions for children across the school who may be experiencing difficulties in their learning. We have an experienced and dedicated interventions teacher, supported by a team of skilled Teaching Assistants who work with children where appropriate, to ensure that all children meet their full potential.