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Our Curriculum Intent for English

At Offham Primary School we believe that a quality Literacy (English) curriculum should develop children’s love of reading, writing and discussion. One of our priorities is helping children read and develop their all-important comprehension skills. We recognise the importance of nurturing a culture where children take pride in their writing, can write clearly and accurately and adapt their language and style for a range of contexts. We want to inspire children to be confident in the art of speaking and listening and who can use discussion to communicate and further their learning.

 

We believe that children need to develop a secure knowledge-base in Literacy, which follows a clear pathway of progression as they advance through the primary curriculum. We believe that a secure basis in literacy skills is crucial to a high quality education and will give our children the tools they need to participate fully as a member of society. 

 

 

Teaching and Learning of English (Implementation)

These aims are embedded across our literacy lessons and the wider curriculum. We have a rigorous and well organised English curriculum and framework, that provides many purposeful opportunities for reading, writing and discussion. We use a wide variety of quality texts and resources to motivate and inspire our children. Teachers at Offham use the scheme 'Power of Reading' and Pie Corbett's Talk for Writing to enhance the writing skills of children. Teachers also ensure that cross curricular links with topic work are woven into the programme of study. 

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.

 

Assessment for Learning is embedded in literacy lessons and children are active in reviewing the successes in their work and identifying, with support from their teacher, target areas for development to ensure a continuous and individualised approach to improving their work.

 

At Offham Primary School we have invested time towards extending the writing outcomes that we achieve, as part of this we follow The Power of Reading and Pie Corbett's talk for writing schemes. 

 

The Power of Reading

 At Offham we firmly believe that children's literacy is improved when our English teaching sequences are based around high quality, powerful texts. When planning our overarching teaching topics we therefore look to also put together a collection of books to use, in conjunction with the theme, that are emotionally powerful; books with storylines and plots that allow opportunities to explore dilemmas, challenges, morality and ethics; protagonists that children can identify with. But above all, texts take you inescapably into the world of the book - a book you can lose yourself in. These books include narrative, poetry, traditional tales, texts with powerful illustrations, and interesting non-fiction texts. 

 

All the books we choose offer in depth and real writing experiences, meaningful study of literary styles and rhythms, opportunities for response that is creative and open-ended, all whilst keeping children engaged with the characters and the story as a whole. The teaching sequences respect the authenticity of the text, scaffolding understanding and subject knowledge, showing children examples of real and powerful writing and text construction from which they can learn.

 

 

Talk for Writing

 At Offham we use an approach called Talk for Writing to encourage and enable our pupils to develop their writing skills. Talk for Writing is powerful because it enables children to imitate the language they need for a particular topic orally before reading and analysing it and then writing their own version.It builds on 3 key stages:

 

The imitation stage

Once the teacher has established a creative context and an engaging start, a typical Talk-for-Writing unit would begin with some engaging activities warming up the tune of the text, as well as the topic focused on, to help children internalise the pattern of the language required.This is often followed by talking an exemplar text, supported visually by a text map and physical movements to help the children recall the story or non-fiction piece. In this way the children hear the text, say it for themselves and enjoy it before seeing it written down. Once they have internalised the language of the text, they are in a position to read the text and start to think about the key ingredients that help to make it work. This stage could include a range of reading as-a-reader and as-a-writer activities. Understanding the structure of the text is easy if you use the boxing-up technique and then help the children to analyse the features that have helped to make the text work. In this way the class starts to co-construct a toolkit for this type of text so that they can talk about the ingredients themselves – a key stage in internalising the toolkit in their heads.

 

The innovation stage

Once the children have internalised the text, they are then ready to start innovating on the pattern of the text. This could begin with more advanced activities to warm up the key words and phrases of the type of text focused on so the children can magpie ideas. Younger children and less confident writers alter their text maps and orally rehearse what they want to say, creating their own version. The key activity in this stage is shared writing, helping the children to write their own by “doing one together” first. This could begin with using a boxed-up grid (innovating on the exemplar plan) to show how to plan the text and then turning the plan into writing. This allows the children to see how you can innovate on the exemplar text and select words and phrases that really work.Demonstrating how to regularly read your work aloud to see if it works is important here. This process enables the children to write their own versions through developing their ability to generate good words and phrases and also, hopefully, develops the inner judge when they start to decide why one word or phrase is best. If, during this process a teaching assistant (or in KS2 an able child) flip-charts up words and phrases suggested, these can be put on the washing line alongside the shared writing so when the children come to write they have models and words and phrases to support them. Throughout the shared writing, the children should be strengthening the toolkit so they start to understand the type of ingredients that may help. Once they have finished their own paragraph/s children should be encouraged to swap their work with a response partner. Then the whole class can also discuss some of the more successful work. Time now needs to be found to enable the children to give their own work a polish in the light of these discussions and perhaps to begin the dialogue about what works by writing their own comment on their work for the teacher to comment on.

 

The invention/independent application stage

The teacher now has the opportunity to assess the children’s work and to adapt their planning in the light of what the children can actually do. This stage could begin with some activities focused on helping the children understand aspects that they were having difficulty with and should include time for the children to have a go at altering their work in the light of what they have just learnt so that they start to make progress. This stage will continue to focus on the next steps needed to support progress so the children can become independent speakers and writers of this type of text. Perhaps some more examples of the text are compared followed by more shared writing on a related topic and then the children can have a go themselves on a related topic of their own choosing. Typically, teachers work with the children to set ‘tickable targets’ which focus on aspects that they need to attend to. Again this section will end with response partner and whole class discussion about what features really worked, followed by an opportunity to polish your work. This process also helps the children internalise the toolkit for such writing so that it becomes a practical flexible toolkit in the head rather than a list to be looked at and blindly followed. At the end of the unit, the children’s work should be published or displayed. The teacher will now have a good picture of what features to focus on in the next unit to move the children forward. It is important to provide children with a purpose for their writing so classroom display or some sort of publishing is useful.

 

 

The intended impact of English teaching and learning at Offham

The impact on our children is clear: progress, sustained learning and transferrable skills.  With the implementation of the writing journey being well established and taught thoroughly in both key stages, children are becoming more confident writers and by the time they are in upper Key Stage 2, most genres of writing are familiar to them and the teaching can focus on creativity, writer’s craft, sustained writing and manipulation of grammar and punctuation skills.

 

As all aspects of English are an integral part of the curriculum, cross curricular writing standards are improving and skills taught in the English lesson are transferred into other subjects; this shows consolidation of skills and a deeper understanding of how and when to use specific grammar, punctuation and grammar objectives.  

Phonics

 

At Offham, children in Reception, Year 1, Year 2 and some children in Year 3 receive a daily synthetic phonics session. These sessions normally last between 20 minutes and half an hour. Teachers plan their phonics sessions to be fun, hands-on and interactive. They plan the teaching progression from the government 'Letters and Sounds' document published in 2007. The recommended letters and sounds progression is as follows:

 

Phase

Phonic Knowledge and Skills

Phase One(Nursery/Reception)

Activities are divided into seven aspects, including environmental sounds, instrumental sounds, body sounds, rhythm and rhyme, alliteration, voice sounds and finally oral blending and segmenting.

Phase Two(Reception) up to 6 weeks

Learning 19 letters of the alphabet and one sound for each. Blending sounds together to make words. Segmenting words into their separate sounds. Beginning to read simple captions.
Phase Three(Reception) up to 12 weeks The remaining 7 letters of the alphabet, one sound for each. Graphemes such as ch, oo, th representing the remaining phonemes not covered by single letters. Reading captions, sentences and questions. On completion of this phase, children will have learnt the "simple code", i.e. one grapheme for each phoneme in the English language.

Phase Four(Reception) 4 to 6 weeks

No new grapheme-phoneme correspondences are taught in this phase. Children learn to blend and segment longer words with adjacent consonants, e.g. swim, clap, jump.
Phase Five(Throughout Year 1) Now we move on to the "complex code". Children learn more graphemes for the phonemes which they already know, plus different ways of pronouncing the graphemes they already know.
Phase Six(Throughout Year 2 and beyond) Working on spelling, including prefixes and suffixes, doubling and dropping letters etc.

Bug Club reading scheme

 

Along with promoting our home reading with physical books we are trying to encourage as much reading as possible as a result we would like to introduce you to Bug Club. Bug Club can be accessed via a computer or a tablet and is a wonderful additional way in which children can read ‘traditional’ reading books in a 21st century way!

Each child has their own unique username, which takes them to their own personalised portal page. Their teacher has allocated books to each child according to their reading levels. These books appear in the ‘My Stuff’ area of their personal homepages. Throughout the books, there are quiz questions for children to complete.

When children have finished all the quiz questions in a book, he or she will earn ‘ActiveLearn Coins’. By reading more books, children will earn enough coins to ‘buy’ a reward in one of the many reward schemes. The answers to the quiz questions are sent back to the teacher site so that they can see how the child is progressing. We assign more books for children to read if the virtual book bag is running low. When they have finished a book, it will move to ‘My Library’. Children can read these books again if they want to or they can choose new books from ‘My Stuff’

Our school policy for English

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