At Tregoze Primary School, English is a core subject which is taught daily. Through our teaching of English, it is our intention to immerse pupils in the wonders of high-quality texts to instill a love for reading, a passion for discovery and a confidence to explore their imagination.
We recognise reading as the gateway to our curriculum and as a life skill that will open doors to all subjects for children. We want pupils to develop a curiosity and love of reading, a good knowledge of a range of authors, and be able to understand more about the world in which they live through the knowledge they gain from texts. We place an emphasis on real-life learning in both local and global settings; this will enable children to have a purpose and audience for their reading and writing to equip them with the necessary skills for lifelong learning. Our values-based approach encourages skills of resilience to learn new skills, curiosity to question what they have found out and cooperation to listen and speak together. Vocabulary development is at the heart of our learning and begins from the moment the children enter the school in Reception.
We aim for pupils to:
· Read for pleasure: fluently with good understanding
· Write legibly for a range of formal and informal purposes
· Acquire a broad vocabulary in order to articulate themselves clearly
· Be able to apply grammatical and linguistic conventions for reading, writing and speaking
· Develop speaking and listening skills in order to present information to others; debate with others and perform.
At Tregoze Primary School we follow the ‘Mastery Learning Model’ when we teach English. This involves spending greater time securing the National Curriculum objectives. As a primary school, it is our duty to ensure that children have an absolutely solid, concrete understanding of English skills as well as encouraging them to embrace challenge. Our intention is take learning at a measured pace. This will better ensure no child is left behind as well as providing deeper and richer experiences for children who are grasping ideas quickly. The children are only taught the content from their year group and not going beyond this. Evidence shows that children need to be able to understand a concept, apply it across a range of genres and then be creative with it to really understand (or master) it. Simply going beyond the requirements of their age group does not guarantee they have fully understood something – just that they have heard it.
Children at Tregoze are exposed to high quality texts from EYFS and across the school, which both stimulate and assist the children to read and develop their vocabulary. Along with these ‘core’ texts the children in EYFS and KS1, children use the phonics reading books that match their phonics knowledge to build their fluency for reading. In KS2, children are free readers and will read a range of different genres to develop their comprehension and vocabulary.
Phonics is taught discreetly in Early Years and Key Stage One. We use ‘Letters and Sounds’ which is a systematic, synthetic phonics programme published by the Department of Education. There are six overlapping phases which the children work through, usually starting in the pre-school setting. In the Reception class children work within phases 1 to 3, progressing to phases 4 and 5 in Year 1 and in Year 2 children recap phase 5 with a focus on alternative pronunciations and learn phase 6. Some intervention groups in Key Stage 2 also focus upon key parts of Letters and Sounds. This enables children to see the relationship between reading and spelling, meaning they learn to blend and segment words successfully.
In EYFS and Year 1, children are taught reading on a 1:1 basis. The main purpose of reading is decoding fluency and accuracy. By the end of year 1, children should be good readers; they should read 90% of books accurately and be secure in phase 5 of phonics. This means that comprehension can happen. All children read to an adult at least once each week. Children’s reading is assessed regularly using our phonics assessment to ensure the progression through the phases of letters and sounds.
Across the school, reading and writing are linked; this allows the children to gain greater vocabulary and meaning to their writing as well as ensuring the coverage of reading objectives across the year. From year 2, guided reading is taught to the whole class. However, children do still read regularly to an adult in addition to this. By the end of year 2, the children will be able to read 90 words a minute and will have complete phase 6 of phonics. The children should now be out of the phonics programme and no longer need decodable books; they are free readers.
Whole class guided reading is taught in phases, as well as through direct teaching of comprehension. Children are taught four guided reading sessions per week that last approximately 30 minutes – two are linked to the phases and two are focused on building comprehension. Teachers plan their reading sessions linked to the objectives of their year groups (See Appendix A for an example of our long term English planning document) and the activities include using pictures, risky reading and film clips.
The reading sequence divided into phases:
- Pre-phase 1 researches a theme/ issue/ cultural aspect… or explores a genre
- Phase 1 exposes children to literature that may support in phase 2 writing
- Phase 2 reading implements key questions related to the texts as well as covering any additional objectives (related to the text).
Word of the week is taught systematically through the week to build children’s vocabulary. At the start of the week, they are given the definition and explore parameters for use (when it is used and when it is not). As the week progresses they explore synonyms and antonyms, different shades of meaning, word changes, abstract use and figurative language.
We use key skills to teach comprehension to the children. They are word (identifying vocabulary,) look (retrieval,) Clue (inference – using evidence from the text,) think (predict,) and making links (with themselves, across books and with the world.)
Tregoze continually reviews the breadth of texts that it is offering to ensure that it reflects the interests of all our children and for those who require additional scaffolding when reading and challenges the higher attaining pupils.
Writing at Tregoze
At Tregoze we use high quality texts to teach our English units. These high quality texts are carefully selected by the teacher for their grammar and vocabulary content. The children become fully submersed in the text and both reading and writing objectives are taught to make sure that the children make progress.
We have a ‘Purpose for Writing’ approach. Rather than trying to teach children ten or more different genres or text types (which can actually be used for a variety of purposes), our approach focusses on what those different types have in common: the purpose for writing.
The four purposes to write being taught across KS1 and KS2 are:
- to entertain
- to inform
- to persuade
- to discuss
Each year group will cover all of the four purposes throughout the year as an end of unit piece. They will also complete extra short burst pieces to consolidate their understanding of the key features.
Planning a Unit:
At Tregoze Primary School, there is an English overview that staff need to complete to effectively plan. It helps pupils to make connections, consolidating and deepening their knowledge and understanding. This planning sheets cover all writing skills, short burst opportunities and teaching ideas for the unit and links reading with reading objectives to allow children to access each stage of the writing (see Appendix B for an example of a planned unit)
Throughout the writing unit, the children will complete a number of short burst writing pieces to give them the change to build up their writing stamina and apply new learning to different contexts. It is our aim that the children will always produce a final extended write that is edited by the child.
Phase 1: Immersion
The purpose of Phase 1 is for children to understand text type inside and out. They need to be equipped with the best possible language to apply in their writing, understand the key features and structure and the grammar associated with the text type. Children will use drama and speaking and listen to support their learning.
Phase 2: Practising Skills
The purpose of Phase 2 is for the children to understand how the text type is planned and generate their own ideas for writing. They need to look at similar structures from example texts and how these form a plan. This could include boxing up and characterisation work for fiction. Grammar will again be integrated into this phase. The children need to generate their ideas to go into their writing through research and/or first-hand knowledge. By the end of this phase, the children need to have produced their own detailed plan that they can use to write.
Phase 3: Applying Skills
The purpose of Phase 3 is for the children to use their plan to write their finished text. They need to use the knowledge that they have built up through the previous phrases, along with their plan. All elements of grammar that have been taught need to be evident. By the end of the phrase, the children need to edit and revise their writing to enable them to become authors who are writing for a purpose and audience. Teachers support this through their teaching, using the editing and revising overview that identifies how to support children in each year group (see Appendix C)
Throughout the three phases of teaching, working walls are used as visual prompts to enable pupils to use prior and current learning in their independent writing.
Phonics is continued to be taught in KS2, either as part of the spelling lesson or as an intervention. Spelling is taught every day for 10-15 minutes. Each teacher follows the planning template (see Appendix D for an example) to make sure that spelling patterns are revised, taught, practised and applied. At the beginning of the new rule we focus on the etymology and spelling rules. It will be taught in a variety of different ways – through games, dictation and comprehension. Alongside the teaching of spelling rules (see Appendix E, F and G for the objective taught in years 3, 4 and 5 respecitively) the children are also taught to spell the common misconception words for their year group (see Appendix H for the common misconception words that are taught in each year group.)
Grammar is an integral part of every English lesson. It should last about 20 – 30 minutes and needs to include direct teaching of the objective, test questions and games. The objectives come from the English long term planning document. It is important that teachers recap grammar objectives from the previous year so they continue to build on their knowledge. Word of the week is taught systematically through the week and children are taught what it means, synonyms and antonyms and how to apply it in a different context.
Children initially learn how to make all of the correct letter shapes using a pre-cursive style. As they move into year 1, they begin to learn how to join letters fluently and develop a neat, cursive handwriting style. We use ‘Letter Join’ which is a fun and interactive handwriting programme which uses a variety of different activities.
Writing and reading are continually assessed through our robust marking in the moment. This enables the teacher to assess the depth of learning that has taken place and to identify misconceptions to inform future teaching and learning. Each teacher also uses our end of unit feedback sheet (see Appendix I) to mark the end of unit pieces to identify work that needs praising, basic errors and common misconceptions and identifying where individuals need further support.
Using all of this information, each child’s writing is assessed three times a year at each data point. Teachers assess the entire learning journey of the child against the integra assessment sheet to determine whether the child is on track to reach end of year expectations, or to reach greater depth standard. Teachers use this assessment to identify next steps for learning.