At St. Mary’s, we believe that speaking and listening, reading and writing are integral to the overall development of the child. It is our vision that children at St. Mary’s are able to communicate and comprehend effectively to enable them to fulfil their God given potential. We provide a wide range of high quality learning experiences to interrelate the requirements of English across the curriculum, with opportunities to consolidate and reinforce taught literacy skills, enabling children to become confident and successful in their literacy. We follow the National Curriculum and guidance from the Department for Education to enable high-quality teaching and learning to take place.
“There can be no more important subject that English in the school curriculum. English is a pre-eminent world language. It is at the heart of our culture and it is the language medium in which most pupils think and communicate. Literacy skills are also crucial to pupil’s learning in other subjects across the curriculum”.
(Moving English Forward, OFSTED 2012).
- Communicate and comprehend through the written word using a wide range of formats, matching style to audience and purpose.
- Read and write with confidence, fluency and understanding, orchestrating a range of independent strategies to self-monitor and correct.
- Develop a lifelong love of reading.
- Acquire a wide vocabulary, an understanding of grammar and knowledge of linguistic conventions for reading, writing and spoken language.
- Understand range of text types and genres – to be able to write in a variety of styles and forms appropriate to the situation.
- Develop the powers of imagination, inventiveness and critical awareness.
- Use discussion in order to learn – to be able to elaborate and explain clearly their understanding and ideas.
- Be competent in the arts of speaking and listening, making formal presentations, demonstrating to others and participating in debate.
At St. Mary’s, English is the cornerstone of our curriculum. We aim to develop pupil’s abilities within an integrated programme of speaking and listening, reading and writing, to enable all children to be ‘literate pupils’. In order to achieve this, we use a variety of teaching styles. These include:
- Whole class teaching
- Group, paired or independent work
- Use of ICT resources
- Research and explorative work
- Educational visits
Reading is at the heart of our curriculum and underpins everything at St. Mary’s; it provides the key our children need to success in future life. We must ensure that every pupil from their first day at our school benefits from quality first teaching, timely intervention (when necessary) and is fully supported to foster a life-long love of reading. Our systematic teaching of phonics, which follows First Class Phonics, provides the building blocks for word reading and is therefore prioritised and well resourced. We intend to ensure that all children are fluent decoders by the end of Key Stage 1 and make sure that no child is left behind in their phonics learning. Daily and precise systematic phonics is taught through the whole class, interactive and engaging sessions, which allow a positive learning, culture for all children to thrive. Parents are valued as key partners, who we seek to work with and support. As well as teaching children to decode text accurately, we also teach them to read both critically and for pleasure. Staff follow a cohesive approach by the teaching of comprehension. We continue to create a whole school reading community where reading is encouraged everywhere and by everyone. Practitioners expect the highest of standards, in a supportive manner. Growth mindset runs alongside this, encouraging a ‘can-do’ attitude by all.
The teaching of writing provides our children with the ability to communicate, building upon the spoken word. This critical skill enables our children to function, engage and contribute to our society. Speaking and listening are driving forces throughout the curriculum and staff seek every opportunity to build upon children’s vocabulary providing them with rich language, allowing them to articulate their thoughts. Children are then able to rehearse what they are going to write about in depth and what they have read. The physical demands of writing are supported from our Early Years teaching and beyond through the development of gross and fine motor dexterity. We also dedicate time to develop the correct formation of letters. A range of key habits, including posture and pencil grip are established and sustained so that handwriting becomes fluent and effortless. Pride in all written presentation is promoted and valued at all times. We teach our children to grasp the meaning behind letters, words and sentences. Key concepts alongside this include the teaching of spelling and grammar. Grammar is taught in context to assist children with applying these rules into their writing. Spelling is taught discretely, from Years 2-6 following the Rising Stars Spelling scheme. These systematic lessons are designed to support all pupils, including bi-lingual pupils (as they are exposed to the rules of English language) and SEND pupils. The teaching of writing places central focus on the purpose and audience of the text. This ensures the writing is meaningful, preparing our children for the wider world. Our curriculum promotes a ‘writer’s ear’ – this to to encourage children to take ownership of their writing, building upon their reading skills as they proof-read work, and edit and improve. The love of writing is promoted throughout the school. Practitioners expect the highest of standards, in a supportive manner. Growth mindset runs alongside this, encouraging a ‘can-do’ attitude by all.
In both Nursery and Reception, children have daily discrete phonics lessons as a whole class, with additional support for children to enable them to make sustained progress. Children have opportunities to develop their communication, language and literacy skills on a daily basis in both adult and child initiated activities, including taking part in daily story and rhyme sessions and individual reading sessions. In Reception, children are taught English through a daily focused lesson, group handwriting and guided reading lessons.
Key Stage 1
In Key Stage 1, daily discrete phonics lessons continue and are taught as a whole class. Children take part in both guided and individual reading sessions and have daily story time to develop a love of reading. Daily English lessons take place, where children ae taught to write a variety of narrative, non-fiction and poetry, linked to high quality texts. Handwriting is also taught in discrete sessions throughout the week. Literacy skills are further developed across the curriculum. Provision is made for children requiring additional support to enable them to make sustained progress.
Key Stage 2
In Key Stage 2, children have daily English lessons, centred upon high quality texts, enabling children to build upon their knowledge from Key Stage 1 and write narrative, non-fiction and poetry for a wider range of audiences and purposes. Additional sessions include whole class guided reading, handwriting and spelling. Literacy skills are further developed across the curriculum and provision is made for children requiring extra support through intervention programmes and differentiated class teaching.