Whole School English Plan 2023-24
Intent, Implementation, Impact Statement - English
At St Ethelbert’s Catholic Primary School, we aim to deliver an inspiring and engaging English curriculum through high quality teaching and engaging lessons. We strive to create a positive reading and writing culture where both are valued, promoted and enjoyed by all staff and pupils. We also teach the children the skills that they need to speak clearly and audibly, taking account of their listeners and how to communicate effectively. Children learn to listen with concentration and value the contributions which others make.
Speaking and Listening
“The way we communicate with others and with ourselves ultimately determines the quality of our lives.”
Our intention is for children to:
• Express their opinions, articulate feelings and listen to and respond appropriately in a range of situations;
• Participate with different groups of children to present ideas with confidence, valuing the views of others;
• Speak audibly and confidently before an audience (for example when leading class and whole-school worship; when performing in school plays).
Approaches to teaching and learning encourage pupils to voice their ideas in small group and class discussions, as we recognise that sharing and explaining concepts with peers enhances learning. Staff model the use of higher-level vocabulary within their speech and expanding children’s vocabulary is a key focus from EYFS. Subject specific vocabulary is embedded across the curriculum, through teacher modelling, in context. Contextual learning helps children to understand new words and supports them in including them in their work.
Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised Reading Practice Sessions in Years R,1 and 2, encourage pupils to explore unfamiliar vocabulary and expand their knowledge of words. Staff model correct grammar in speech and encourage children to reflect this in their use of spoken and written language. Children are given the chance to orally rehearse ideas for writing regularly.
Drama is used across the curriculum to explore and engage children in their learning. This gives children the chance to embed vocabulary in shared activities. Each class leads its own daily prayer session and takes part in a class or Key Stage performance at least once a year e.g. the Great Fire of London Musical, the Key Stage 2 Leavers’ Show and Nativity plays.
In a safe and encouraging environment, children develop into confident communicators who support each other by listening, speaking with kindness and empathy and explaining with clarity and confidence. Children recognise that speaking and listening can lie at the heart of conveying character, and that through speaking and listening effectively, misunderstandings can be addressed and relationships enhanced. This can also be evidenced through the work of the School Council, Eco Council and the RE Council.
Early Reading and Phonics
The systematic teaching of phonics has a very high priority throughout the Foundation Stage, Key Stage 1 and beyond. At St Ethelbert’s, we value reading as a key life skill, and are dedicated to enabling our pupils to become lifelong readers and therefore, learners. We also acknowledge that children need to be taught the key skills in segmenting and blending to be equipped with the knowledge to be able to complete the phonics check at the end of Year 1 and beyond. In addition, we value and encourage pupils to read for enjoyment and recognise that this starts with the foundations of acquiring phonic knowledge and segmenting and blending skills.
Through the teaching of Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised SSP, children are taught the essential skills needed for reading. All teachers and Teaching Assistants have been fully trained to deliver this programme and also undertake Refresher Training at the start of each academic year.
Nursery children follow the Little Wandle Foundations for Phonics Programme. Phonics is taught daily to all children in Year R and KS1. Any child who join the school part way through the academic year complete a Placement Assessment in order to assess the child’s phonic knowledge and blending skills. Reading Practice Sessions take place 3 times a week in Years R, 1 and 2. During this time, our ‘Reading Crew’ of trained adults from around the school will appear and read with their group of children. The children absolutely love this! Children in Year R will begin Practise Reading Sessions on wordless books before moving on to blending practise books and decodable books. In Year 2 children have the opportunity to revise Phase Five of the Little Wandle phonics programme and have their reading fluency assessed. Once fluency has been achieved, the children move onto Little Wandle Spelling (detailed later) and start to read chapter books from the Little Wandle Fluency programme in their three weekly reading sessions. Staff systematically teach learners the relationship between sounds and the written spelling patterns, or graphemes, which represent them. Phonics is primarily delivered through whole class teaching sessions. Practise Reading Sessions, which take place three times a week, help to embed the phonics taught and develop the children’s decoding skills, vocabulary, prosody and comprehension. Teachers regularly assess the pupil’s phonic knowledge using termly assessments. These assessments inform planning and allow teachers to identify any gaps in learning. Interventions are planned for those children who are identified as having gaps in their knowledge and who are working below expected levels for their age. Daily ‘Keep-Up’ sessions are provided primarily to those in Years R and 1 and from Year 2 and into KS2 daily ‘Rapid Catch-up’ sessions are provided for those who need to improve their knowledge, accuracy, rate, confidence and fluency.
Through the teaching of our SSP Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised, our aim is for children to become fluent readers by the end of Key Stage One. This way, children can focus on developing their fluency and comprehension as they move through the school. Attainment in reading is measured using Early Learning Goals, Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised assessments and Kent Steps. These results are measured against the reading attainment of children nationally. Attainment in phonics is also measured by the Phonics Screening Test at the end of Year 1 and again at the end of Year 2 for any children who did not meet the required standard in Year 1. However, we firmly believe that reading is the key to all learning and so the impact of our reading curriculum goes beyond the results of the statutory assessments.
Reading for the whole school
Reading lies at the heart of the curriculum at St Ethelbert’s. We are dedicated to enabling our pupils to become lifelong readers and we believe reading is key for academic success.
- Children in Years R, 1 and 2 take part in group Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised Reading Practise Sessions with an adult three times a week, where they develop their blending and decoding skills (see above for more detail). Parents are informed of who has read with the children for the sessions in a Reading Record book. This book is then sent home for the children to read to their parents. Parents have an opportunity to comment on their child’s reading and communicate their findings by writing comment in the Reading Record book. Each week the children also choose a ‘Sharing book’ to take home to read and share with the help and support of an adult at home.
- Children in Year 2 undertake a Fluency Assessment when they are reading Little Wandle Phase 5 Set 5 books. This assessment gives us the information needed to allocate the correct level of text for them to move onto in the Little Wandle Fluency scheme.
• Children in Years 3 to 6 undertake silent reading for 30 minutes a day using Accelerated Reader. The children take a Star Reader Test at the start of each term which provides vital information regarding their ZPD range, progress and areas to work on. The library has been set up for the children to be able to choose books from their assessed level on AR. Children undertake an online ‘quiz’ at the end of each book to assess their knowledge. AR also allows us to track pupils progress, strengths and weaknesses, identifying the bottom 20% of the class. These children would then be assessed or re-assessed for Little Wandle ‘Rapid Catch-Up’ and placed on the ‘Star Early Literacy’ programme.
• To ensure that our school is a true reading community, we have a beautiful school library where children can borrow books to take home and enjoy with their families.
• Each class has a vibrant and stimulating Reading Area/Book Corner to promote the value and enjoyment of reading. This area contains a selection of books from different genres to appeal to all readers and provided opportunities for pupils to read new texts that they might not have considered reading before.
• Children are read to by their class teacher. This can be a book that the teacher recommends to the class or a recommendation from a child.
• Reading is assessed three times a year using the using Early Learning Goals, Kent Steps, NFER tests and end of KS1 and KS2 assessments.
We aim to ensure that by the time all children leave St Ethelbert’s, they are fluent, confident, lifelong readers who have a thirst for reading a range of genres for pleasure or to increase their subject knowledge. We want children to participate in discussions about books and be both open-minded and critical about what they read.
Writing is a crucial part of our curriculum at St Ethelbert’s. By the end of Year 6, we intend our children to have developed a love of writing and to be able to express their thoughts and ideas clearly and creatively through the written word. We also aim to create writers who can re-read, edit and improve their own writing, and enable pupils to be able to confidently use the essential skills of grammar, punctuation and spelling. At St Ethelbert’s, we set high expectations for all our children to take pride in their work and have a fluent, cursive handwriting style alongside allowing their imaginations to flourish.
“No matter what anybody tells you, words and ideas can change the world.”
Early writing is taught initially through mark making, then when the children begin phonics, they are taught the correct letter formations and pencil grips. This begins with writing (whether with a writing tool or in the air) CVC words, moving onto short sentences using the sounds that they have been taught in their Phonics Sessions. EYFS children are encouraged to write independently for a range of purposes during continuous provision.
Each year group teaches key writing skills through a range of specified genres which are centred around a rich text. Progression in genres, spellings, punctuation and grammar are planned for each year group. There is an expectation that grammar will be modelled and used correctly by all teachers and teaching assistants. Children learn to spell through the teaching of phonics and the Spelling Shed programme. Spelling is taught daily in Key Stage 1 during Phonics lessons and children in Year 2 move onto the Little Wandle Phase 5 Review in Term 1, Bridge to Spelling programme in Term 2 and then onto the Little Wandle Spelling programme in Terms 3 to 6. In KS2 spelling is taught four times a week using Spelling Shed. Spelling homework is set via the Spelling Shed programme and a spelling test takes place once a week. KS2 children who need additional support with spelling receive differentiated spellings and practise activities whilst also having access to ‘Rapid Catch-Up’ if assessed as needing support.
In order to help us to develop confident, enthusiastic writers who can express themselves in a variety of different styles and across a variety of contexts, our teaching of writing is often cross curricular and linked to our learning in other subjects. This provides our children with regular opportunities to write for a range of purposes and audiences. Writing tasks are specific and meaningful, and often meet a purpose to engage children and to illustrate how their writing skills can be applied to real life contexts. Writing is used to enhance their knowledge and understanding of all subjects in the curriculum, and communicate their research to a wider audience.
Writing is assessed consistently throughout the year through cold and hot tasks to begin and end each unit of writing. Teachers use this to assess the areas that the children will need to be specifically taught. Writing is assessed three times a year using the Kent Steps. Internal and cross-school moderation also take place regularly. Book scrutinies take place each term by English Leaders or SLT to ensure the progression of learning. Grammar, punctuation and spelling games and activities are used on a daily basis for registration activities or English warm-ups.
We want our pupils to leave St Ethelbert’s with the ability and confidence to write different kinds of texts for different purposes and to use this knowledge throughout their lives.
One of our focuses this academic year is improving spelling.
You may have noticed that children in Years 3, 4, 5 and 6 are now using a programme called Spelling Shed. The
children have been using this in class each week and spellings are set for their work. Spelling Shed's approach to spelling involves the relationship between sounds and written symbols as well as using morphology to help spell through meaning. The carefully selected word lists and engaging activities provide opportunities to incorporate phonics and meaning to strengthen spelling skills and build vocabulary acquisition. Each child has a spelling account and there is a great sense of fun and competition. The children are really enjoying it in school. Please talk to your child about spellings if you haven’t done so already. Reception, Years 1 and 2 are taught their phonics to blend words through a programme called Little Wandle Letters and Sounds before they move onto Spelling Shed.