English Curriculum

The National Curriculum for English aims to ensure that all pupils:

  • read easily, fluently and with good understanding;
  • develop the habit of reading widely and often, for both pleasure and information;
  • acquire a wide vocabulary, an understanding of grammar and knowledge of linguistic conventions for reading, writing and spoken language;
  • appreciate our rich and varied literary heritage;
  • write clearly, accurately and coherently, adapting their language and style in and for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences;
  • use discussion in order to learn; they should be able to elaborate and explain clearly their understanding and ideas;
  • are competent in the arts of speaking and listening, making formal presentations, demonstrating to others and participating in debate.

Spoken Language

At Blakesley Hall Primary we believe that spoken language underpins the development of reading and writing. The quality and variety of language that pupils hear and speak are vital for developing their vocabulary and grammar and their understanding. Spoken language activities are embedded throughout the Curriculum.

Reading

In line with the NC PoS for reading, children in all year groups develop their word reading and comprehension in guided reading and comprehension lessons using a range of book-banded books, e-books, magazines and newspapers and comprehension resources. They also access their class libraries and the school library to ensure they read widely. Guided reading is taught daily across KS1. In these session, children either read with an adult or complete purposeful activities independently. As pupils become more fluent readers (as they move from KS1 into KS2) reading lessons place greater emphasis on reading for meaning. In KS2, in addition to daily reading opportunities, lessons focus on comprehension skills.

Children are encouraged to read at home daily and have a home reading record. All children have individual logins for Bug Club (an e-reading library) and use it as a resource when reading at home. Reading passports are also used to encourage children to read widely and encounter a range of authors, text types, classics and modern literature.

Phonics

The Read Write Inc. Phonics programme is introduced in Reception and continues into Year 1. This enables children to:

  • Decode letter-sound correspondences quickly and effortlessly, using their phonic knowledge and skills;
  • Read common exception words on sight;
  • Understand what they read;
  • Read aloud with fluency and expression;
  • Write confidently, with a strong focus on vocabulary and grammar;
  • Spell quickly and easily by segmenting the sounds in words;
  • Acquire good handwriting.

Reading for pleasure

At Blakesley Hall we enthusiastically encourage reading for enjoyment. All pupils have facilitated access to the school library each week (mostly by a qualified librarian). They are also able to visit it in their own time. Via an online library system (Junior Librarian), children are able to search for books, write reviews and manage their borrowing from home and at school. Throughout the year the profile of reading is raised through celebrating reading events and shadowing book awards.

Writing

In English lessons pupils are taught how to plan, compose, evaluate and edit their writing. They are encouraged to develop an awareness of their audience, to write for a purpose and within a real context. Through the use of word banks, thesaurus’, dictionaries and working walls detailing high level and challenging vocabulary, children increasingly develop a wide vocabulary. Staff deliver modelled and shared writing sessions but there are also regular opportunities for independent, extended writing.

The Read Write Inc. Phonics programme is followed in Reception and Year 1. From Year 2 onwards, memorable experiences, high quality written texts and multi-modal texts are used as the basis for meeting the writing expectations of the National Curriculum. These include non-fiction texts, myths, legends and traditional stories, modern fiction, fiction from our literary heritage, and books from other cultures and traditions.

English Grammar, Punctuation and Spelling

Grammar is taught within the context of the texts being studied in English lessons to ensure it is meaningful for children. Alongside this, spelling, vocabulary, punctuation and grammar are also taught discretely in basic skills sessions. Teachers utilise the NC Statutory Appendices for spelling, vocabulary, grammar and punctuation to ensure the specific features of the programme of study are covered.

Handwriting

All teachers have high expectations for the presentation of work in all areas of the curriculum. Handwriting plays an important part of basic skills sessions; to teach letter formation and joins. When children have reached a good standard of handwriting in all areas of their work, they receive a pen from their teacher.