English is the essential ingredient for the best education of our pupils at Exminster Community Primary School. It is both an important subject in its own right and the platform for accessing the whole curriculum. At a fundamental level, English allows children to communicate, to form friendships and make their needs known. It connects us in the global world that we are a part of as it is the most widely spoken language in the world and is generally regarded as the language of the internet as the majority of websites are written in English. Recent research by the National Literacy Trust has shown that vocabulary development from as young as the age of five is linked to success in exams taken at sixteen; this is why it is imperative that we model high standards of Literacy and have high expectations of our children.
Reading is one of the most important aspects of school life. The teaching of reading includes the technical aspects of decoding language and making meaning from text as well as the opportunity for pupils to develop a love of literature.
Through the Foundation Stage and Key Stage One, our pupils follow a rigorous system of synthetic phonics, based on the Jolly Phonics scheme. Alongside this, pupils in this phase of the school have access to high quality books: as texts to study in their English lessons and available for them to read independently. The school uses a range of books which are phonetically decodable and banded by colours to chart progression in early reading. We aspire to develop a love of reading culture where children enjoy reading and are exposed to a wide range of authors and texts.
By Key Stage Two, the great majority of pupils are reading fluently. Once children have completed the book bands (lime/white/gold), we use Accelerated Reader which calculates each child’s individual ZPD for book levels based on their current level of comprehension
Our English sequences are based on high-quality texts, with units lasting between one and six weeks. Sequences focus on either one specific quality text.
We believe that each of these stages are crucial for the development of good quality writing and the children receive adult or peer feedback at various stages of this process.
At the core of our English teaching is the understanding of spelling and grammar. Grammar is taught mainly through high-quality texts with discreet input when required. Children are given lots of opportunity to see the grammar aspects that they are learning in a variety of contexts within the texts that they are reading, and are able to apply this within their writing. Spellings are taught through phonics and learning particular spelling rules and strategies.
We learn pre-cursive handwriting joins in Reception and Year One and develop to joining our writing by the end of Key Stage one. Within Key Stage two, these joins are continuously reinforced and practised .
Speaking & Listening
Oracy has a central place in our curriculum, reflecting the vital importance of spoken language in our pupils’ development. We aim to broaden children’s vocabulary through our staff’s high standards of literacy, weekly word games, our daily word of the day and through reading good quality texts. Pupils are supported to speak in Standard English at all times whilst at school. There are many opportunities to talk and communicate across the curriculum as this is recognised as being a key way in which pupils develop their learning; we use the Kagan strategies to ensure that the talk is purposeful and promotes positive interdependence.
Pupils are supported to talk about their ideas, helping to consolidate their learning. In addition to making formal presentations and participating in debates, pupils are challenged to elaborate and explain clearly their understanding and ideas.
Our End of Key Stage Two results show that our English Curriculum is a success.