Statement of Intent: English
"Let us remember: one book, one pen, one child, and one teacher can change the world."
At The Sherwood, our aim is to provide all pupils with an engaging, motivating and inclusive English curriculum that enables them to become confident communicators, enthusiastic readers and creative writers. We have developed our curriculum to include a range of exciting and cross-curricular texts that we hope will inspire and motivate the children to enjoy reading. Through use of engaging texts and a variety of genres, we aim to provide children with purposeful and exciting writing opportunities such as writing to local MPs or police, or through the Burnett News Club. Children are encouraged to think and write creatively and share their opinions in many forms.
At The Sherwood, we intend:
- for children to become enthusiastic and motivated readers who read for pleasure;
- to develop pupils’ confidence to discuss the books they have read and to enable them to acquire vocabulary and new information that encourages a love of learning;
- to develop their reading fluency and comprehension skills within whole class, group and independent activities;
- for children to become reflective writers, using a cycle of planning, discussing, drafting and editing to understand the writing process;
- to encourage children to take pride in their work and to present their learning in such a way that reflects the high standards we all know they can reach in English;
- for every child to have the right to freely express her or his views, in all matters affecting her or him, and the subsequent right for those views to be given due weight, according to the child's age and maturity (Article 12).
Article 12: Every child has the right to express their views, feelings and wishes in all matters affecting them, and to have their views considered and taken seriously. This right applies at all times, for example during immigration proceedings, housing decisions or the child’s day-to-day home life.
What do we teach? What does it look like?
At The Sherwood, all pupils have a daily English lesson (or Literacy in EYFS) which is carefully planned and differentiated to ensure that children are able to build upon prior knowledge and make good progress in reading, writing and spoken language. In addition to this, some children will receive additional intervention in English to support them to make accelerated progress or to close the gap in learning if required. Interventions are planned by teachers and support staff and are monitored closely to ensure that progress is tracked and next steps are planned for.
In Key Stage 1 and 2, guided reading is taught each day, with two adult-led sessions per week. Whole class reading and guided reading sessions are carefully planned to ensure that pupils are provided with opportunities to develop their comprehension, inference and thinking skills, as well as reading fluency and expression. Children use reading journals to record their independent learning during non-teacher led guided reading lessons, through activities planned by the teacher. This provides children with thinking time to explore author techniques, themes and plots within texts as well as the vocabulary used and the impact on the reader.
Pupils in EYFS and Key Stage 1 take home banded books at their level each week, using a variety of reading schemes, including Oxford Reading Tree, Songbirds and Rigby Star texts. A dialogue with home is encouraged as teachers record comments about a reading session in children’s Home Learning record. Parents are encouraged to record when they have read at home in their child’s Home Learning record. In Key Stage 2, Accelerated Reader is used to provide children with a levelled book. Children choose a levelled library book and can take a quiz after reading to test their comprehension of the text.
A love of reading is fostered in many ways, including Book Week, Storytelling Week, library trips and author visits so that children are immersed in literature. Each class has a shared class book, which is read during the week, often linked to the year group’s theme, to encourage reading for pleasure. Classes are able to visit the school library weekly and borrow books in addition to guided reading books sent home (in EYFS and Key Stage 1). The library is open at lunchtimes to encourage children to select books and share stories together.
In Reception and Key Stage 1, Phonics is taught daily using the ‘Letters and Sounds’ scheme, with ‘Jolly Phonics’ and ‘Phonics Play’ used to support children’s phonics learning. Children are supported to develop the skills needed to segment and blend confidently which enables them to develop reading fluency and spelling skills which enable them to become confident writers.
At The Sherwood, we provide children with a wide range of opportunities for writing across the curriculum. Children are taught how to structure and present their written work and are taught grammar and spelling as part of English lessons, as well as through discrete spelling, punctuation and grammar lessons when required. Children are provided with differentiated spellings each week, using National Curriculum word lists to develop their use of common and technical vocabulary. Pupils are taught handwriting, using pre-cursive letter formation in EYFS and Year 1, moving onto cursive letter formation in Year 2 to ensure that they end Key Stage 2 able to use joined, legible writing at speed.
Progression in writing is planned for carefully to enable children to develop creativity and to progress in their writing skills. “Talk for writing” and drama, visual resources and cross-curricular themes are used to develop the children’s vocabulary and imagination. Drama allows children to become immersed in a text. By exploring the techniques used by the author, children can apply these features and grammatical techniques to a range of genres across the curriculum.
Shared and modelled writing sessions, including the planning of extended narratives, support children to apply features and techniques using their own creative ideas. Pupils are encouraged to reflect on their own writing and that of their peers using the ‘purple pen’ editing approach. This process enables children to ‘think as a writer’ and develops their independence. We value the children’s writing highly; each half term children complete an independent ‘Big Write’. This provides them with the opportunity to apply the techniques they have learned to a range of text types.
The impact of our teaching of English will ensure that children:
- are enthusiastic and motivated readers who are confident and will enjoy and understand a wide variety of genres and text types;
- become reflective writers who can use a range of features and techniques to produce creative and original writing across a range of genres and subjects;
- can communicate their ideas, opinions and views confidently both orally and in writing.
At The Sherwood, children's progress and attainment in English is continually assessed through on-going teacher assessment of reading and writing, using the written work in their English books, their reading journals and their contributions in lessons. Teachers and support staff assess using pink and green pen and provide opportunities for children to respond to marking to build on learning and to identify next steps and gaps in learning.
Children take ownership to edit their writing using their purple pen, allowing them to reflect on their learning. We use the Merton Assessment System to sequence learning and to track progress, next steps and attainment. This is moderated regularly to ensure we are adapting our teaching and planning to meet the needs of our children, as well as ensuring teacher judgments of reading and writing are consistent. Teacher assessments are recorded on SIMs each term. This is reported to parents and carers in termly consultation evenings and in end of year reports.