Our English Curriculum
It is our intention when teaching the English curriculum that our pupils acquire the necessary knowledge, skills and understanding to become lifelong learners and linguists. We strive to ensure that all our pupils receive a well-rounded learning experience when reading, writing, speaking and listening which will equip them with the fundamental tools to achieve in school and beyond. It is our intention to immerse pupils in the wonders of quality texts to instil a love for reading, a passion for discovery and a confidence to explore their imagination through our text-led English curriculum. English is a core subject of the National Curriculum and a prerequisite for educational and social progress as it underpins the work undertaken in all areas of the curriculum. The acquisition of language and early reading skills are of the upmost importance to us here at Woodstock CE Primary School and therefore the teaching of all aspects English is given a high priority within school. Confidence in basic language skills enables children to communicate creatively and imaginatively, preparing them for their future journey through education and beyond.
Phonics and Spelling
In EYFS and KS1 all children receive a daily discrete phonics and spelling lessons. We use Read, Write Inc (RWI) materials to support the teaching of phonics, ensuring that we adapt our sessions to meet the needs of all children in class. In Years 1 & 2, spelling words are sent home to practise each week.
In KS2, children follow the National Curriculum expectations for spelling through daily spelling activities linked to the spelling patterns and rules outlined in the national curriculum. These include dictation exercises, investigations of spelling patterns, focused spelling activities within guided reading provision and weekly spelling lists sent home for important consolidation.
Reading is a key tool for life. Teaching children to become confident and fluent readers, by developing a love and passion for reading is a large and exciting part of what we do at Woodstock CE Primary School. We have lots of opportunities for reading exciting books and materials – supported by a rich, well-resourced library. Each week, parents and volunteers listen to children read in school and we ensure reading books are carefully matched to ability. We use Read Write Inc phonics daily across EYFS and KS1 and all pupils will normally have an hour and a half of English related teaching in the morning. This is a mixture of learning about reading, writing and speaking and listening, which includes a variety of text types and genres.
A wide range of stories and genres is read frequently in class to inspire a life‐long enthusiasm for books and all that they offer children and adults alike. From Reception onwards, children enjoy regular guided reading sessions using high-quality texts that engage the listener, develop a breadth of vocabulary and support ideas for writing. We ensure that children are continually being encouraged to read for pleasure through events such as visiting the local library, author visits, celebrating World Book Day and enjoying bedtime stories.
To develop children’s reading skills in the Early Years and Key Stage 1 we use popular and well established reading scheme books, which provide the children with reading material that is pitched at exactly the right level. ‘Oxford Reading Tree’ is used as the ‘core resource’, which is supplemented with books from other schemes, for example Tree Tops and Project X, in order to provide an extensive library of books at every stage, to ensure children have a broad and rich reading experience.
High-quality texts linked to curriculum themes drive our English Curriculum. They are also used within daily whole-class reading sessions.
Writing is an essential part of our curriculum offer and of high importance at Woodstock CE Primary School. In EYFS children learn how to hold a pencil correctly and begin to form letters, words and sentences. From Reception, children are introduced to a joined style of handwriting (continuous cursive) as soon as the child is able to correctly form letters, with the expectation that during Key Stage 1 most will be able to write neatly and fluently. During Key Stage 2 the children will continue to have regular practice to ensure they develop a fluent style.
The teaching of writing in our school adopts a range of known successful approaches, including text-led writing, Talk for Writing and writers craft. Children are exposed to range of non-fiction and fiction genres and writing purposes, which includes the teaching of spelling, grammar and punctuation. The children are continuously being encouraged to plan, draft and edit their work.
Writing is always taught in context and where appropriate links are made to our curriculum topics; finding real-life purposes for children’s writing to enthuse and engage them. An example of this is Year 6 pupils writing speeches around the theme of Winston Churchill as part of the annual Blenheim Palace Public Speaking Competition. The children learn the ‘skills’ needed for the different genres and teachers engage the children through topic links, film, drama, Talk for Writing strategies and exciting ‘Curriculum Theme’ days.
Speaking and Listening
We support our children in developing the skills necessary to read, write and speak fluently to communicate their ideas and emotions. Through our exciting and engaging curriculum, we actively encourage our children to communicate their thoughts and ideas. Children are given the opportunity to reflect on both their learning and feelings.