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Milking Bank Primary School

To go further than I thought; to run faster than I hoped; to reach higher than I dreamed.

Intent

Intent

At Milking Bank Primary School, we recognise the crucial importance of studying the English language. Improved performance at reading, writing and spoken language will enable our pupils to express their thoughts and ideas more fluently, accurately and to their greater satisfaction. This will also help them to access other curriculum subjects, while enriching their lives beyond school. The teaching and learning of language skills are, therefore, given a high priority in our school and where possible, the creative curriculum and IT will be used as tools.

The overarching aim of English is to promote high standards of language and literacy by equipping pupils with a strong command of the spoken and written word, and to develop their love of literature through widespread reading for pleasure.

We aim for our pupils to:

  • read 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 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.

At Milking Bank Primary School, we encourage all children to become independent learners and be confident in all strands of learning. The children will be given opportunities to speak in a variety of contexts and learn to listen to and value the views of others.

 

 

 

Implementation

Throughout the school, children are taught English within their classes. Through differentiation and the support of teaching assistants, all children receive high quality teaching and appropriate support in order to reach their full potential. Children may receive additional support if necessary outside of English lessons in smaller intervention groups or through 1:1 targeted teaching.

Teachers’ weekly planning is taken from progressive, medium term year group specific plans found in English curriculum folders. Quality fiction and non-fiction books are often the stimulus used for a unit of work. Working walls are used to support children’s writing. The marking scheme makes use of coloured highlighters to enable children to quickly identify strengths and points to improve.

On-going assessment informs planning, and end of term PIRA and GAPS tests support termly teacher assessment judgements.

Spoken Language

The four stands of spoken language: speaking, listening, group discussion and drama permeate the whole curriculum. Interactive and “Talk for Writing” style teaching strategies are used to engage all pupils in order to raise reading and writing standards. Children are encouraged to develop effective communication skills in readiness for later life. We aim for children to be able to speak clearly, fluently and coherently, to be able to listen attentively with understanding, pleasure and empathy and contribute to group discussions effectively. We achieve this by:

  • giving our children confidence in themselves as speakers and listeners by showing them that we value their conversations and opinions. We also encourage a respect for the views of others.
  • being aware that as adults, we provide a model of speakers and listeners in our day-to-day interactions with them and with other adults in our school.
  • helping them to articulate their ideas and provide purposes and audiences for talk within a range of formal and informal situations and in individual, partner, group and class contexts.
  • by providing opportunities to perform to a larger audience, in assemblies and productions, where children’s efforts and skills are acknowledged by staff, parents, carers, visitors and peers.
  •  by providing a range of experiences where children can work collaboratively and participate in opportunities to reflect on talk and explore real and imagined situations through role play, hot-seating, drama and discussions.
  • By encouraging children to ‘talk the story’ before writing and verbalise and sequence ideas carefully.
  • by developing the children’s ability to listen with attention and understanding in all areas of the curriculum and where necessary, asking and responding to questions appropriately.

Approaches to Phonics

The teaching of phonic skills is embedded within English teaching in each class. Additional provision is made each day in discrete phonics sessions for years Reception to Y2, following ‘Letters and Sounds’. These comprise of learning different graphemes, focussing on oral and aural phonological skills and sight vocabulary. During these sessions children are also explicitly shown how to apply their developing skills to their writing. All children are grouped in accordance to their individual needs and are in phase appropriate groups.

Approaches to Reading

Pupils have opportunities to undertake guided, shared and independent reading throughout the school. A diverse range of group reading books and guided reading materials are available. We do not use any one published scheme to teach reading, instead we believe that it is important to provide pupils with a selection of reading books and experiences from different genres and subject matter, therefore we operate using ‘book bands’ in line with Oxford reading tree complemented by thematic books. Electronic texts are also available for shared and individual reading using ‘Bug Club’. When it is felt appropriate for individual children, they may become ‘free readers’ and choose from the class library.

Reading tests are undertaken throughout the year to identify children who require extra support with their reading. Staff are deployed throughout the school to work with children in order to improve their fluency, intonation, decoding skills and comprehension. Home reading is encouraged and is an integral part of the child’s development. In order to have strong communication between teachers and parents/carers, each child has a pupil planner, where both the staff and parents can write comments about how the child is progressing with his/her reading.

Daily reading for pleasure in the classroom is encouraged and a weekly ‘Book Talk’ time is timetabled. Reading challenges are regularly offered within school and pupils are encouraged to undertake the annual county library reading challenge. An annual book week is held along with a book fair to further promote reading.

 

 

Approaches to Writing

To develop our children as writers we:

  • treat children as writers, from the earliest stage, who have ideas that they will want to communicate, building on writing skills they have acquired and their knowledge of print from their environment
  • provide experiences where the children can acquire confidence and a positive attitude to writing.
  • develop and sustain writing skills by providing opportunities for children to write for a range of purposes and audiences.
  • use guided writing sessions, sometimes using a ‘Talk for Writing’ approach, to model writing skills, teaching children how to compose, amend and revise their writing.
  • teach children to become critical readers of their own writing by using self-evaluation and checking their work independently for sense, accuracy and meaning.
  • teach grammar and punctuation in the context of children’s own writing, as well as through discrete lessons.
  • teach children to develop their ability to organise and present imaginative and/or factual writing and poetry in different ways.
  • teach strategies for spelling to enable children to become confident and competent spellers.

 

Approaches to Handwriting

Handwriting begins in the E.Y.F.S with mark-making and patterns. All pupils are given access to a wide range of writing tools and mediums to practise the early fine motor skills. The needs of left handed children, or those with physical difficulties are also taken into consideration and where necessary accommodated with resources or specific intervention.

The whole school follows the Kinetic Letters approach, which develops four strands of handwriting: Making Bodies Stronger; Learning the Letters; Holding the Pencil; and Flow and Fluency.

 

Impact

We measure the effectiveness and impact of our English Reading, Writing, Grammar and Spelling curriculum in a variety of different ways. We use National and summative testing to assess pupils' outcomes for Reading and Grammar, Punctuation and Spelling as part of the Statutory Assessment Tests (SATs for Year 2 and 6 pupils) and through termly summative assessments in KS2, which enables pupils' progress and attainment in the subject matter to be evaluated. Additionally, teachers assess reading and writing on a termly basis and enter teacher judgements onto our internal assessment system. The impact of the curriculum can be seen through pupils' national assessment results. 

Through lesson and pupils' book monitoring, it is evident that pupils are being well supported to acquire the necessary skills and subject knowledge in order to become established and confident readers and writers and work monitored in books demonstrates that the curriculum is taught at an age-appropriate standard across each year group, with additional opportunities planned for pupils to demonstrate their ability to work at a higher standard. Lesson observations and learning walks demonstrate that learning is being broken down into smaller steps and modelling supports pupils in the writing process - ensuring that the subject as a whole is regularly being reviewed to ensure learning is being embedded into pupils' long term memory.

The impact of our reading, writing, grammar, spelling and punctuation curriculum can also be measured through the acquisition of pupil voice and talking to the children about their own learning.  Pupil voice indicates that the children are enjoying their learning and can talk about the subject and curriculum opportunities. 

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