English

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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.

Our Vision

At BHPS we place literacy and literature right at the heart of children’s learning. Whilst supporting pupils of all backgrounds and all abilities to read, write and communicate effectively, English also encompasses important elements of: History, Religious Education, Philosophy, Ethics, Geography, Government and Politics, Psychology, Sociology and Media. English enables pupils to become better thinkers and more responsible citizens. It is the key to being able to fully participate in society.

Raising the self-esteem and confidence of pupils is as important as ensuring pupils have academic success. We want to equip them with the skills to express themselves confidently in a variety of situations and foster a greater independence in their work, ensuring they are fully prepared for the demands of secondary school and beyond.

Spoken Language

At BHPS 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 and children take part in: discussions, debates, drama, presentations, assemblies, public speaking and school events.

Reading

BHPS promotes a love of literature, encouraging students to read widely and independently. We acknowledge the growing body of research into the importance of literature and reading for pleasure, which indicates that reading engagement has the potential to close the attainment gap and achieve equality.

Across the school from the youngest children engaging in questioning, debate and discussion about the picture book their teacher has shared with them, to detailed text analysis in Year Six, children have the opportunity to discuss the books they read. Learners are encouraged to develop a critical appreciation of how language is used by writers and are given the skills to interpret the ever more complex linguistic world around them.

In line with the National Curriculum for reading, children in all year groups develop their word reading and comprehension in guided reading and guided understanding (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 resources to ensure they read widely.

Guided reading is taught across KS1. In these sessions, 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, guided understanding lessons place greater emphasis on reading for meaning. The school’s whole-class approach to teaching guided understanding is based on the research of Doug Lemov et al (Reading Reconsidered), Isabel L. Beck et al (Bringing Words to Life) and Tony Whatmuff (National Trainer for Inference Training). It develops dialog, focuses on developing the readers’ understanding and teaches strategies to support the development of comprehension (predicting, questioning, clarifying, summarising, thinking aloud, annotating and visualising).

Children are encouraged to read at home daily and all children have individual logins for Bug Club (an e-reading library) and use it as a resource when reading at home.

For further information on Guided Understanding please refer to the following document:

Reading for Pleasure

At Blakesley Hall we enthusiastically encourage reading for enjoyment. In addition to using their class libraries, all pupils have facilitated access to the school library resources each week (mostly supported by a dedicated librarian). Throughout the year the profile of reading is raised through celebrating reading events, shadowing book awards and during our month-long book festival.

For further information on reading for pleasure please refer to the following document:

Reading Across the Curriculum

To ensure the provision of up-to-date quality non-fiction to support our curriculum, we have invested in a subscription to Warwickshire School Library Service. This provides us with books and artefacts linked to each year group’s termly topics.

In addition to this, each class has a different class novel each half term to be read regularly throughout the week. These texts are closely linked to the curriculum of each year group and ensure that pupils encounter a range of authors, style of writing and both classic and contemporary literature.

Representation and Cultural Legacy

We are proud of our diversity at BHPS and think it is important that we celebrate our cultural legacy. At every opportunity, we choose resources that allow us to learn about ourselves and each other, and promote our school values. In identifying e.g. driver texts for English, sets of class novels and library books we look for texts that are high-quality, inclusive and representative and reflect the realities of our children.

Phonics

Phonics is a way of teaching reading, writing and spelling based around hearing sounds (phonemes) and writing sounds (graphemes).

At BHPS we follow the organisation of sounds as set out in ‘Letters and Sounds’. This consists of six phases. Each phase has a book band that compliments the sounds taught and books are set based on each child’s phonic knowledge. Below is a break-down of the phases and corresponding book bands.

Phase Content Year group Book band
Phase 1 Environmental sounds Nursery and alongside Phase 2 in Reception as appropriate. Lilac
Phase 2 s, a, t, p, i, n, m, d, g, o, c, k, ck, e, u, r, h, b, f, ff, l, ll, ss Reception Pink
Phase 3 j, v, w, x, y, z, zz, qu, ch, sh, th, ng, ai, ee, igh, oa, oo, oo, ar, ur, ur, ow, oi, ear, air, ure, er Reception Red
Phase 4 Constant blends E.g. dr, tr, pl, mp, st Reception and recap in Year 1 Red, Yellow, Blue
Phase 5 Ay, ou, ie, ea, oy, ir, ue, ue, aw, wh, ph, ew, ew, oe, au, ey, a-e, e-e, i-e, o-e, u-e Year 1 and recap in Year 2 Green, Orange
Phase 6 Spelling rules and alternative sounds Year 2 Turquoise

At the end of Year 1 children will sit a phonics screening check consisting of a mix of 40 real and pseudo (made up) words. Children who do not pass this in Year 1 will be supported with interventions in Year 2 and have the chance to sit it again at the end of Year 2.

Children in Reception and Year 1, and those pupils in Year 2 who did not pass the phonics screening check, take part in daily phonics sessions. In Early Years and Key Stage 1 Phonics is taught daily in short, fast paced, interactive lessons. In Key Stage 2 children who need additional phonics intervention are identified and they will receive regular phonics sessions based on their needs. They also have access to age and knowledge appropriate books to support their progress.

To watch a short video showing the actions that go with each sound please visit YouTube: Actions for Sounds

To watch a short video explaining some of the key elements of phonics please visit YouTube: Phonics Vocabulary

To watch a short video giving top tips for reading with your child at home please visit YouTube: Early Reading Top Tips

For further information on phonics please refer to the document below:

For more information about phonics screening please visit Oxford Owl: Year 1 Phonics Screening Check

For more information on how you can support your child please visit Oxford Owl: Learn to Read with Phonics

Writing

We believe in providing pupils with a varied and enriching curriculum and continually review and update units of learning in order to engage pupils. Their motivation is increased by providing authentic, meaningful and relevant learning experiences.

We share excellent writing to inspire children to develop their own style or ‘voice’. We instil in our learners a love of literature and nurture their creativity - to use the written word powerfully and creatively to express themselves. BHPS pupils develop an understanding that writing has a real purpose and that word choice and style can bring about changes to meaning and effect. Children are encouraged to read their work for enjoyment, to read it aloud to others and provide audiences for writing.

Each half term a central ‘driver text’ is chosen, which is paired with a range of supplementary texts including fiction, poetry, non-fiction, multimodal texts, and cross-curricular links. The unit is planned around the driver text, with a broad range of writing opportunities. This approach provides an exciting and inclusive context for a range of speaking, listening, reading and writing activities. It also gives all learners the opportunity to develop a secure understanding of the driver text, subject matter and key skills – as well as the scope to work in greater depth and to explore and showcase their creativity and writing abilities.

During a unit of writing, pupils are taught how to plan, compose, evaluate and edit their writing. 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.

For further information on writing at BHPS please refer to the following document:

English Grammar, Punctuation and Spelling

Grammar is taught within the context of the texts being studied in 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

At BHPS we follow the Letterjoin continuous cursive handwriting programme. As soon as they are ready to, this introduces cursive handwriting in Reception and supports children in meeting the Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 National Curriculum expectations.

All teachers have high expectations for the presentation of work in all areas of the curriculum. When children have reached a good standard of handwriting in all areas of their work, they receive a pen from their teacher.

For further information on the Letterjoin scheme please visit the Letter-join website