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Kimberley Primary School

English

English Curriculum Intent Statement

Intent

Through reading, writing and the spoken language, pupils have a chance to develop culturally, emotionally, intellectually, socially and spiritually. Literature plays a key role in such development. Reading enables pupils to acquire knowledge and to build on what they already know; writing and spoken language allow them to communicate confidently and well with a range of audiences. At Kimberley Primary and Nursery School, we value both reading, writing and spoken language as key life skills, and are dedicated to enabling our pupils to become lifelong effective readers and communicators. 

 

To support early literacy, we use a synthetic phonics programme called Monsters Phonics, which is an inclusive literacy programme for all children learning to read and spell. The scheme is a multisensory, fun and engaging programme, which uses scientific linguistic research to colour-code for sounds. This helps children to understand and recall complex phonics and spellings more easily. The colour-coded grapheme system is unique to Monster Phonics; each coloured grapheme is paired with a monster character that makes the same sound to give audio-visual prompts that help children ‘see’ each sound within a word and pronounce it correctly. 

 

At Kimberley Primary and Nursery School, we use Talk for Writing and Talk for Reading. They are powerful because both are based on the principles of how individuals learn. They are fully inclusive methods of teaching both reading and writing, with progressive movement from imitation/introduction to innovation/investigation to independent application, which can be adapted to suit the needs of learners of any stage. Alongside this, Reading for Pleasure is a key driver at our school and all teachers at Kimberley Primary and Nursery School are responsible for promoting this.

 

Aims

The aim of our English curriculum is to promote the highest standards of language and literacy by equipping children with a strong command of the spoken and written word, and to develop their love of literature.
We aim for children to be able to:

  • 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 talk in order to learn; they should be able to elaborate and explain clearly their understanding and ideas
  • be competent in the arts of speaking and listening, making formal presentations, demonstrating to others and participating in performance and debate.

 

Further to this, we work hard to make sure our English curriculum works alongside the intent of our new curriculum introduced in September 2019. This is especially important when thinking about our three main goals for breadth:

  1. To give children appropriate experiences to develop as confident, responsible citizens;
  2. To provide a rich ‘cultural capital’ embedding key vocabulary and experiences throughout school;
  3. To provide a coherent and structured curriculum that has breadth of knowledge which is pertinent to our pupils and leads to sustained acquisition of relevant knowledge, skills and understanding of the world around them.

 

We have developed three curriculum drivers that shape our curriculum, bring about the aims and values of our school and respond to the particular needs of our pupils and the community. These are Creativity, Possibilities and Diversity. We make sure these are planned for carefully throughout our different subject areas; in English this including such things as annual visits from authors and poets, special events in school such as bookshops and sponsored reads, theatre trips, pantomime visits for the whole school and library visits in the community.

 

Implementation 

Spelling 

Spelling is taught as part of a planned programme, following the requirements of the National Curriculum. In EYFS and Key Stage 1, phonic work is taught systematically from Reception to Year 2.

In Key Stage 2, spelling is taught during T4W sessions and the teaching of spelling is supported further by the No Nonsense Spelling Scheme two/three times a week. Where necessary, some pupils will consolidate their phonic knowledge and skills from Key Stage 1 through structured intervention.

Phonics

EYFS/KS1

 

  • The teaching of phonics begins in nursery with phase one, which follows the structure of letters and sounds. Towards the end of the nursery year, the initial sounds of black cat letters in Monster phonics are introduced.
  • Phonics lessons are daily in EYFS and KS1 and last around 20 – 30 minutes.
  • We use the Monster phonics scheme at Kimberley. This was implemented in September 2019. Lesson plans and resources are available for every grapheme in Reception and the KS1 National Curriculum. Resources include PowerPoints, animations, songs, stories, phonics flashcards, worksheets and differentiated multisensory activities. Stories, songs and activities are carefully woven into the lessons to ensure they are highly engaging. Colour-coded flashcards, word charts and PowerPoints make the teaching of the Commons Exception and High-Frequency Words effective.  
  • The children are assessed daily within phonics lessons and more formally at the end of every half term using the monster phonics assessments. This helps keep the phonics groups fluid and ensure teachers are responding to the needs of the children.
  • At the end of Year 1, the children are assessed using the phonics-screening test. If they do not pass this, they are able to retake at the end of Y2, after following a carefully planned programme of phonics teaching.
  • In Y1, two reading books go home - one is directly linked to the phonics learning in class in which the new books we have purchased match and have come directly from the phonics scheme that we use, the other helps build inference skills and promote story discussion at home and build awareness of grammar in the text. In Y2 one book goes home which is their main reading book (A/R or colour banded). Y2 will also read a monster phonics book in school.
  • Booster and recovery groups are planned throughout the year in response to the assessments carried out and these are fluid, regularly evaluated, and reviewed.

KS2

  • To enable rapid catch-up for those children who have fallen behind in KS2, Monster phonics is available as an intervention for those children that need it.

 

Accelerated reader

Once they are ready, Children move on to using Accelerated reader. Accelerated Reader is a computer-based program that schools use to monitor reading practice and progress. It helps teachers guide children to books that are on their individual reading levels, with its intended aim to encourage pupils to read independently, at their own level and pace. The idea behind Accelerated Reader is that pupils enjoy reading more when they can select their own books. After reading a book, Pupils take short quizzes to check if they have understood what they have read and to check the book was at the right level for them. Every half term, children carry out an online Star Reader assessment to track their book zone and ensure they are making progress.

Library

Reading for Pleasure

All pupils are expected to complete weekly home reading supported by their family with books being sent home daily. Home reading is tracked through monitoring of reading planners, with four times a week being the minimum amount of times children are expected to read a week. Additional reading support is provided for those unable to read at home, those who are struggling to progress or those who are entitled to additional support. This is done through a variety of ways, such as reading with the teacher daily as a focused reader or reading with a midday-supervisor or Literacy volunteer that we welcome in school. Extra intervention groups are set up during assembly times or after school as boosters and paired reading happens regularly in year groups and across phases.

 

We promote reading for pleasure at our school by:

  • The implementation of our new library has helped raise the profile of reading in our school. During summer 2019, the library was redeveloped and refurbished and a librarian was put in place so that children were able to borrow books using a manual system. Due to an increasingly high percentage of pupils using the library, we invested in the library management system in May 2020 so that books could be tracked and monitored more effectively. The library is now seen as a special place where children can enjoy books. Clear guidelines when using the library has ensured pupils see it as a place to come and read during lunchtime or during their allocated class slot.
  •  Regular special events are planned to help raise money for new books for the school library and members of the community frequently donate books too.
  • Monitoring of usage of the library and targeting specific groups is regularly carried out to ensure all children are accessing the library and all are encouraged to borrow a book for pleasure alongside their AR/reading scheme book.  
  • Story sacks have been produced and added to our library for Early years/KS1. 
  • In each classroom, teachers ensure they have a special reading area, designed to encourage reading for pleasure. The choice of books supplied in this reading area are carefully chosen to help support the current curriculum and Talk for writing unit plan for that year group. The books are changed every half term.
  • Special events are planned throughout the year to encourage reading for pleasure. These include the annual participation in World Book Day, author and poet visits, bookshop annual visits and also the new school You tube page where members of staff, parents and the local community were filmed reading their favourite stories which children can access and hear a story being read at home.
  • Every class participates in a daily class read session. These books are carefully chosen to support the Talk for Writing curriculum and to ensure the children get the opportunity to appreciate our rich and varied literary heritage.

 

Talk for Reading

The Talk for Reading method enables children to gain a fantastic understanding of a text with huge emphasis on vocabulary, reading fluency and the teaching of specific comprehension foci during each unit, although all content domains are touched upon.

Phase 1: Baseline assessment and planning

Teaching is focused by initial assessment (a ‘cold’ task) The aim of this is to assess what the children already know and can do independently at the start of a unit, drawing on their prior learning. Through the assessment of their reading skills, teachers work out what to teach the whole class, different groups and adapt the model text and plan. 

2. The Introduction phase 

The teaching begins with a creative ‘hook’ which engages the pupils with a sense of enjoyment, audience and purpose and also provides context for the text they are about to study. During the early stages of the process, children are given opportunities to share their initial thoughts about the text and raise questions, which can be referred back to throughout the unit. After children have been initially exposed to the text, the main focus of the Introduction phase is to ensure that children can access the key text, have a good understanding of the vocabulary used and gain a basic understanding of the key text. The teaching in this stage is influenced by the work of Aidan Chambers, Isabel Beck and Alex Quigley.

2. The Investigation phase 

Once children have a basic understanding of the text, they then begin to develop understanding at a deeper level. They are taught how to answer key questions linked to each content domain through modelling and the shared writing of answers. Once confident, the children are then encouraged to answer key questions about the text independently with the support of shared writes. Drama is also used within this stage to deepen understanding, and extended writing opportunities are incorporated with children putting themselves, for example, in the shoes of key characters or into a particular setting. At the end of this phase, the key comprehension foci are taught explicitly with the teacher modelling answering questions with the support of the children.

3. Independent application 

As children move on to the third phase, they apply independently what has been taught and practised in another context. The children will be asked questions linked to the comprehension focus based on a new text with a link to the first, for example, same author, next chapter or next paragraph or a text with a similar theme.

 

Implementation: The Long Term Overview and unit plans

The long-term overview, maps the texts being studied from Nursery – Year 6.

The unit plans provide detailed progression through the Talk for Reading process, with carefully thought out teaching approaches and activities suitable for each stage and the focus of the unit. These have been prepared for staff by expert teachers of English to reduce teachers’ workload, ensure progression and support with staff subject knowledge. Teachers are expected to adapt/add to the unit, depending on the specific needs of their class.

 

Talk for Writing

The Talk for Writing method enables children to progressively understand, and gain confidence and competence with, different fiction genres and plot patterns, and non-fiction text types. Each year group cover a balance of Narrative, Non-Fiction and Poetry text types. The National Curriculum (2014) is used to support coverage of the English skills and this is supported by the key principles of Talk for Writing:

  • making explicit the processes and thinking involved in the writing process so that ultimately they can be internalised and applied by children in their own writing.

 

Phase 1: Baseline assessment and planning

Teaching is focused by initial assessment (a ‘cold’ task). An interesting and rich starting point provides the stimulus and content but there is no initial teaching. The aim of this is to see what the children can do independently at the start of a unit, drawing on their prior learning. Through the assessment of the writing teachers work out what to teach the whole class, different groups and adapt the model text and plan. 

2. The Imitation phase 

Each unit begins with a creative ‘hook’, which engages the children and gives a sense of enjoyment, audience and purpose. The model text, from which teaching is drawn, is pitched above the children’s attainment level and has built into it the underlying, transferable structures and language patterns that children will need when they are writing. This model is learned using a pictorial ‘text map’ with actions to strengthen memory and help children internalise the text. Activities such as drama are used to deepen understanding of the text. Once children can ‘talk like the text’, the model, and other examples, are then read for vocabulary and comprehension, before being analysed for the basic text structure, language patterns and writing techniques. This phase is underpinned by rehearsing key spellings and grammatical patterns. Short-burst writing is used to practise key focus skills.

3. The Innovation phase 

Once children are familiar with the model text, this phase leads them into creating their own versions. A new subject/angle is presented and the teacher leads children through planning. With our younger children, this is based on changing the basic text map and retelling/drawing/writing new versions. Older children use boxed-up planners and teachers demonstrate how to create simple plans and orally develop ideas prior to writing. Shared and guided writing is then used to stage writing over a number of days so that children are writing texts bit by bit, concentrating on bringing all the elements they have been learning together, writing effectively and accurately. Feedback is given during the lessons to individuals, and whole class feedback is given on a daily basis, so that children can be taught how to improve their writing, make it more accurate, until they can increasingly edit in pairs or on their own.

4. Independent application 

In this phase, children apply independently what has been taught and practised in the prior phases. A rich starting point that taps into what children know and what matters to them is provided so that their writing is purposeful. Writing can be staged over a number of days and there is time for several independent pieces to be written. With non-fiction, children also apply what they have been taught across the wider curriculum. The final written piece is used as an assessment of progress across the unit.

 

Implementation: The Long-Term Overview and unit plans

The long-term overview, maps the texts being studied from Nursery – Year 6.

The unit plans provide detailed progression through the Talk for Writing process, with carefully thought out teaching approaches and activities suitable for each phase. These have been prepared for staff by expert teachers of English to reduce teachers’ workload, ensure progression and support with staff subject knowledge. Teachers are expected to adapt/add to the unit, depending on the specific needs of their class.

 

Grammar

Grammar is taught in context throughout all T4W units using the school grammar progression document. From EYFS onwards, teachers use the correct technical vocabulary in their teaching to encourage the correct use of these terms. In Key Stage 2 every child develops their own toolkit depending on the unit focus, in order to support themselves as independent writers.

 

Handwriting

At Kimberley Primary and Nursery School, we believe that handwriting is integral to a child’s personal development and know that children’s engagement and self-esteem can be improved by their satisfaction and pride in good quality presentation. With this in mind, we use Penpals for Handwriting, which is a complete handwriting scheme for 3–11 year olds, offering clear progression through five developmental stages. It teaches children a fast and fluent handwriting style to help them achieve their potential in writing (see separate Handwriting policy for more information).

 

Career and Professional Development

At Kimberley Primary and Nursery School we develop strong subject knowledge amongst all staff which is achieved through: high quality planning and resources – created by expert teachers; CPD linked to the Talk for Reading, Talk for Writing, Monster phonics processes and Penpals Handwriting scheme for all staff; rapid induction of new staff through planning and training, and a relentless drive on improving the standards of teaching English.

 

Impact

By the time children leave Kimberley Primary and Nursery School they are competent, lifelong readers and communicators. Attainment will be assessed using:

  • The independent task, which is completed by children at the end of each unit. Teachers must use this to assess the impact of the teaching.
  • Regular phonics assessment.
  • Whole school and family of schools reading/writing moderation.
  • Teacher Assessment Frameworks and exemplification documents are used as a reference during the in-school moderation.
  • Quality Assurance of reading and writing is completed by the English lead alongside class teachers during regular progress meetings.
  • Monitoring is regularly carried out by SLT alongside the English Lead. This consists of learning walks, lesson observations, book scrutinies, planning scrutiny, pupil voice, and data analysis.
  • Phonics Screening Check.
  • KS1/2 SATS and moderated teacher writing assessment.
  • Accelerated Reader quizzes and Star reading assessments.

 

A Talk for Writing/Reading team, who are expert teachers, will work with teachers in all aspects of the reading and writing curriculum through bespoke support, based on their areas of development to continually improve practice.

 

SEND and Disadvantaged pupils

Our ambition is for all pupils to access the full reading and writing curriculum. These pupils will be supported to provide them with full accessibility to the lessons.

 

 

Planning and Progression Documents

Author visit - Catherine Barr - September 2021

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