The New English Curriculum
The following information has been taken directly from the New National Curriculum and will be implemented by Kingsclere (CE) Primary School from September 2014.
Purpose of study
English has a pre-eminent place in education and in society. A high-quality education in English will teach pupils to speak and write fluently so that they can communicate their ideas and emotions to others, and through their reading and listening, others can communicate with them. Through reading in particular, pupils have a chance to develop culturally, emotionally, intellectually, socially and spiritually. Literature, especially, plays a key role in such development. Reading also enables pupils both to acquire knowledge and to build on what they already know. All the skills of language are essential to participating fully as a member of society; pupils who do not learn to speak, read and write fluently and confidently are effectively disenfranchised.
The overarching aim for English in the national curriculum is to promote high standards of language and literacy by equipping pupils with a strong command of the spoken and written language, and to develop their love of literature through widespread reading for enjoyment. The national curriculum for English aims to ensure that all pupils:
- read easily, fluently and with good understanding
- develop the habit of reading widely and often, for both pleasure and information
- acquire a wide vocabulary, an understanding of grammar and knowledge of linguistic conventions for reading, writing and spoken language
- appreciate our rich and varied literary heritage
- write clearly, accurately and coherently, adapting their language and style in and for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences
- use discussion in order to learn; they should be able to elaborate and explain clearly their understanding and ideas
- are competent in the arts of speaking and listening, making formal presentations, demonstrating to others and participating in debate.
The KPS Writing Curriculum
At Kingsclere CE Primary School we believe that children should learn to love writing and to see themselves as successful writers. We aim to achieve this by ensuring there is a real purpose for writing and by providing exciting and stimulating contexts to capture their imaginations. We encourage children to experiment with ideas and to see writing as a creative and enjoyable process.
We believe that children should leave our school being able to communicate their ideas clearly and accurately through their writing and be able to adapt their writing for a variety of audiences and purposes. We want children to be highly competent writers with strong technical skills (including grammar, punctuation, spelling and handwriting) but also to enjoy being a writer. Whilst we teach children about different text types and forms, we place greater emphasis on the purpose and audience for writing.
We formatively assess children's writing regularly and plan learning journeys and lessons to meet their learning needs. Units of work are based around a specific purpose e.g. writing to persuade or to inform. In each unit children are taught and get to practise specific writing skills and techniques based on the style of writing and their generic writing needs i.e. language features or grammar skills. We use Talk for Writing to support all learners in developing structure and language which allows children to imitate and innovate. During the units, children will also be expected to edit and improve their writing. Teachers plan in opportunities for children to apply their writing skills more independently through site of application. This allows teachers to assess and have clear understanding of next steps for individual pupils.
In the KPS Writing units of work we:
- Ensure there is a clear purpose for writing and real audiences wherever possible.
- Teach new skills and techniques i.e. language features, grammar and organisation and provide frequent opportunities for children to apply these in extended pieces of writing.
- Ensure children regularly edit and improve their writing (the use of ‘polishing pens’) and model the editing process for them.
- Encourage and challenge the children to improve their writing as they write i.e. thinking of stronger vocabulary or better ways to have an impact on the reader.
- Model good writing (i.e. shared writing as a class) and analyse good examples of writing i.e. ‘What a Good One Looks Like’ (WAGOLLs).
- Give children the opportunity to prepare for writing through talk (talk for writing), providing role play and drama opportunities.
- Encourage children to think about the impact their writing will have on the reader /audience.
- Diagnostically mark children’s writing and allow time for them to respond to this to improve their writing.
- Develop and embed spelling, punctuation and grammar skills.
- Provide toolkits for different writing styles (based on Pie Corbett’s ‘Igniting Writing’ work).
- Plan opportunities for self and peer evaluation.
- Allow ‘Thought Collecting’ before the planning process.
- Make links between writing and reading, other subjects or a given theme.
- Include opportunities for paired writing.
- Provide appropriate levels of differentiation and challenge so that all children can succeed and excel.
Core Writing Skills (Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar)
At Kingsclere CE Primary School, we believe it is important children learn the core literacy skills of spelling, punctuation and grammar. By becoming proficient in these areas, children will be able to communicate through their writing with confidence and accuracy. We actively teach these skills, usually in one of two ways:
- The teaching of Grammar, Punctuation and Spelling is in a cycle that rotates every week with a focus either being on spelling or grammar and when it is not the focus then children will be practicing and applying skills. GPaS is taught across the school and is supported by our phonics teaching through Letters and Sounds. Spelling is taught through the vehicle of ‘word-studies’ - rather than just learning unrelated lists of words, children will investigate common spelling patterns, rules and conventions.
- Teachers will also link knowledge and skills taught in GPaS with English (and in other subjects) lessons and have the expectation that children will be applying their knowledge in writing across the curriculum.
In Early Years, the teaching and learning of key skills in English are integrated into the school day. Children have access to activities which they may choose during child initiated time both inside and outside. Adults will support and challenge children during this time. Teachers will also teach key skills and knowledge during directed sessions with small groups or individuals. Activities are purposeful and linked to topic or the children’s interests at the time. Special attention is given to developing exciting writing activities for boys to develop their writing from an early age.
Our aim is to ensure all children become highly skilled readers and also develop a love of reading so that they become life-long readers. We aim to ensure all children have a balanced reading diet comprised of fiction, non-fiction, poetry and classics.
The Reading Curriculum:
Guided reading lessons take place across the school five days a week for 20 minutes a day. During these lessons, children are taught both the technical skills of reading i.e. phonic skills /decoding and also the crucial skills of comprehension. Children work in ability groups with a different reading activity each day, using a range of text types i.e. fiction, non-fiction, poetry. Each group will spend at least one day with the class teacher focusing on developing a specific aspect of comprehension. The groups not working with the teacher work independently. The independent tasks usually involveeither pre-reading or post-reading with a specific focus i.e. answering questions about the text or an activity related to the text.
Shared Reading (everyone reading together):
Through daily English lessons, children get to explore a wide range of texts i.e. using an extract from a fiction book to act as a stimulus for writing. Teachers select a wide range of extracts and texts (often composing their own) to give children examples of how experienced writers write. During the shared reading part of lessons, teachers and children read together as a class. These texts are often more challenging than children would be expected to be able to read independently as they are being supported by the teacher. Shared texts provide models of excellence for children to aspire to WAGOLL) and to deconstruct in order to work out how to be an effective writer. Shared reading tasks should not be too long to ensure children do not become passive during this part of the lesson.
During the school week, teachers aim to devote some time to children’s independent reading. The aim of this time is to develop children’s reading stamina and for children to have time to select and read their own chosen texts. As a result, books selected may not necessarily be at the top end of the child’s ability. Children may also be asked to read in pairs to practice the skills of listening and reading aloud. Due to the limited time available in school, independent reading has to be supported by home reading.
Every child in the school is expected to read at home at least 3 times a week. To support this, all children will have a reading diary to record when they have read. Children read their reading scheme book or if they are a ‘free reader’ they may choose books from the school library or books from home. If a child is a free reader, this time is again very much about developing a love of reading and so children do not always have to choose books at the challenging end of their ability range. We want children to find and read books that interest them so that they choose to become life-long readers.
The library is open before and after school as well as at break times for children to change their books. Classes will have time to explore the library and talk about ‘books’ to further deepen a love of reading.
Reading across the curriculum:
Whilst children are actively taught the skills of reading predominantly through the English curriculum, they have a wide range of opportunities to apply these skills in other subjects i.e. researching topics, exploring topic books etc.
At Kingsclere CE Primary School, we teach phonics using the DfES Letters and Sounds guidance to enable our children to recognise phonemes (sounds) and graphemes (the letters representing the sounds) to read by blending the phonemes in a word. This begins in EYFS and continues throughout Year 2.
Children are also taught to spell by segmenting the phonemes they can hear. There are some words called 'tricky words' which are more difficult to blend and segment and we teach our children to recognise these by sight. Year 2 children learn to spell more sophisticated words and begin to learn spelling rules such as adding suffixes and using apostrophes.
Children who need additional support to read and spell are supported through focused interventions.
As pupils move into Key Stage 2, we build on the phonics work that the children have experienced in Key Stage One. We use a scheme called No Nonsense Spelling to plan and teach spellings. Children are encouraged to practise their spellings using various strategies such as the look, cover, write and check' strategy.
Supporting children with additional needs
Whilst for the vast majority of children, the reading curriculum outlined above will fully meet their needs, there are some children who require additional support. The school’s Inclusion manager uses a clear criteria to identify these children and then puts in place additional intervention programmes. The Inclusion manager closely tracks the progress of these children to ensure that the interventions are helping them to close the gap on their peers and make accelerated progress. The school has a range of programmes to support children who find reading difficult. A number of these programmes are based on developing phonics skills (see above).
Below are some recommended websites for supporting your child's reading: