Chesham Bois CE School
Our English curriculum focuses on nurturing children’s reading, writing, language and communication skills in all subjects. Our English curriculum is built around the idea of ‘purpose’; carefully sequenced and planned Journeys to success create a cohesive link between reading, writing and spoken language. These enable children to explore different text types whilst making progress in their reading and writing through embedding key concepts and skills identified for each year group.
Through English, we engage and excite children with a wide range of high quality texts, both fiction and non-fiction, immersing all pupils in a language-rich learning environment, where they develop confidence in themselves as readers and writers. Writing always builds upon the foundations of reading and spoken language and is taught through English, as well as through writing opportunities in other curriculum areas where children can apply their skills.
The aims of our English curriculum are:
- to enable children to speak clearly and audibly in ways which take account of their audience;
- to encourage children to listen with concentration in order to be able to identify the main points of what they have heard, and respond appropriately;
- to enable children to adapt their speech to a wide range of circumstances and demands;
- to develop children’s abilities to reflect on their own and others’ contributions and the language used;
- to enable children to explore and evaluate their own and others’ thoughts, feelings and beliefs, through a range of drama activities;
- to develop confident, independent readers through an appropriate focus on word, sentence and text-level knowledge;
- to encourage children to become enthusiastic and reflective readers through immersion in challenging, texts and discussions;
- to help children enjoy writing and recognise its value;
- to enable children to write with accuracy and meaning in narrative and non-fiction;
- to increase the children’s ability to use planning, drafting and editing to improve their work.
- to develop children’s oracy and ability to speak publicly with eloquence and confidence for a range of purposes.
At CBS, we believe that all pupils should be able to confidently communicate their knowledge, ideas and emotions through their writing. By the end of Year 6, we intend our children to have developed a love of writing and be able to express their thoughts and ideas clearly and creatively through the written word. We also intend 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 CBS, 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.
This school believes that:
•Writing is closely linked to speaking and reading; pupils draw upon their range of experiences and use them as models for writing
•Talk is a necessary prerequisite for young pupils who need to put into words what they are thinking of writing
•The process of planning, interaction, collaboration and feedback helps a writer to move forward through the process of writing
•An extensive range of purposes, forms and audiences for writing need to be created so that pupils understand the choices facing a writer and how to make appropriate choices
•The teacher plays a crucial role in the development of writing through modelling the writing process and shared writing
•Extended writing sessions also help develop writing and creativity.
In the EYFS, pupils have at least four phonics sessions per week and at least two adult focused Communication, Language and Literacy sessions per week. Children have opportunities to develop their Communication, Language and Literacy skills daily through a wide range of child initiated activities. In Key Stage One pupils have four phonic sessions per week and four allocated English sessions. In Key Stage Two pupils have four allocated English sessions each week.
In Key Stage 1 and 2 we explore 12 text types across the academic year (10 text types are covered in Year 6) following the CBS whole school English overview. As part of our CBS Curriculum, we make links with English and our learning across our curriculum. A unit of work will begin with a cold write challenge (in years 2 – 6) so that teachers are able to assess what pupils are already able to achieve. A set of unit targets are created, based on each year group’s expected outcomes from the national curriculum, and are shared with pupils in the form of a ‘Journey to Success’ grid which features differentiated I can statements. These ‘I can statements’ are then used by pupils and teachers to identify knowledge and skills that are secure and next steps in their learning during a unit of work.
A unit of work is carefully planned to ensure pupils have opportunities to develop knowledge and progression in skills in all aspects of the English curriculum. Challenges within lessons will involve a variety of activities including: exploring texts, identifying key aspects of texts, discussing rich vocabulary, exploring language and the impact it has on the reader, posing and answering questions, exploring spelling and grammar and punctuation, planning, writing, editing and publishing different text types as well as a range of drama based activities to support pupils in developing their knowledge of text types and literary features. During each unit pupils have at least two opportunities to plan, write and edit an extended piece of writing for a selected text type, this enables pupils and teachers to identify the progress made by pupils within a unit of work to identify knowledge and skills that are secure before moving on to exploring a different text type.
Reference is made to previous learning in English in other areas of the curriculum through cross-curricular writing in Humanities, Science and RE. Opportunities for pupils to complete writing challenges that link to previously taught text types are planned for regularly so that pupils are able to continuously develop their writing knowledge and skills.
Spelling is an integral part of the writing process. Pupils who spell with ease are able to concentrate on the content of their writing and the making of meaning. While it is important to remember that spelling is not the most important aspect of writing, confidence in spelling often has a profound effect on the writer’s confidence.
In the Early Years and Key Stage 1, spellings is taught through phonics on a daily basis through the systematic synthetic phonics approved scheme ‘Supersonic Friends Phonics.’
In addition, pupils, when ready, will continue to learn how to spell a number of high frequency words and common irregular words enabling them to write fluently. They investigate and learn to use common spellings and recognise and use word origins, families and roots to build their skills. Pupils are taught to proof-read their spellings and identify reasons for misspellings in their own work and are taught how to use a simple dictionary and thesaurus and a range of word banks. Children are taught the statutory words by the end of Key Stage One and Two and practice how to apply them correctly and effectively to their writing.
Pupils learn spellings at home each week and these are tested in school. Pupils who need additional support with spelling receive a variety of interventions that are tailored to address their gap/need.
The school’s CBS handwriting policy is centred on a cursive script. Teachers are expected to role model the school’s handwriting style when marking children’s work and writing on the board. Physical development in EYFS includes plenty of opportunity to develop eye-hand co-ordination and fine and gross muscle control which will enable each child to be a successful writer. The children gain a wide range of experiences in the EYFS in order to learn the correct letter shapes and formation.
These activities include:
• practising patterns in the sand tray
• chalking in the playground
• writing on whiteboards - individual and in the classroom
• finger painting
• painting outside with large paintbrushes.
It is paramount that children are rigorously taught correct letter formation from the very beginning of their time in school. As the children move through the school, they continue to build their handwriting skills and these become more refined. Once the letters are being formed in the correct direction, children are taught to join their letter using the CBS cursive style.
The organisation of the English curriculum, has developed a community of enthusiastic writers who enjoy showcasing their developing literacy knowledge and skills. Children are confident to take risks in their writing, and love to discuss and share their ideas. Outcomes of work in both English and other subject books evidence the high quality of work and the impact of varied and cross curricular writing opportunities. These enable children to write across a range of forms and adapt their writing successfully, considering the purpose.
Pupils’ gain cultural capital through the carefully crafted choice of texts used – the exposure to a range of genres, authors and novels allows for pupils to read often and widely and provide a stimulus and high quality model to inspire pupils to have future aspirations as authors, journalists, editors and beyond.
By the time our children leave Chesham Bois CE School they will:
•recognise the close relationship between reading and writing;
•write across a range of forms and adapt their writing successfully, considering the purpose
•gain sustained learning and transferable skills
•be able to express themselves correctly and appropriately;
•have an interest in words, their meaning, and a growing vocabulary. This interest extends to the technical and specialist vocabulary of all subjects;
•leave primary school being able to effectively apply spelling rules and patterns they have been taught;
•develop their thinking skills to help them on the path to becoming reflective, independent learners;
•experience learning opportunities which integrate speaking and listening, reading and writing activities.