Purpose of study
English has a pre-eminent place in education and in society. A high-quality education in English will teach pupils to read, speak and write fluently so that they can communicate their ideas and emotions to others skilfully throughout life. Through reading in particular, pupils have a chance to develop culturally, emotionally, intellectually, socially and spiritually. Literature in particular plays a key role in such development and we recognise the importance of ensuring that our pupils access a range of texts that includes both classics and high-quality modern writing. 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 and therefore we strive, where pupils are finding language acquisition difficult, to ensure that effective support will be made available to help learners make the progress required.
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 word, 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.
Statement of intent for English
At Grenoside, we believe that a quality English curriculum should develop children’s love of reading, writing and discussion, giving all learners the knowledge and the cultural capital they need to succeed in life. We recognise the importance of nurturing a culture where children take pride in their writing, write clearly and accurately and adapt their language and style for a range of contexts. Using quality texts as our inspiration, we develop our learners’ abilities to be resourceful, applying their literary skills to analysing what they read in depth and then writing for a stimulating variety of different explicit purposes and audiences. We want to inspire children to be positive and confident in the art of communication, expressing themselves independently through a variety of methods. To that end, the skills and knowledge identified in our curriculum follow a clear and cumulative pathway of progression as our pupils advance through their primary education.
Statement of implementation for English
From the first week in EYFS, learners begin to respond to the high expectations of staff in this subject, commencing a logical and systematic Government-validated synthetic phonics programme (Little Wandle) which provides the seamlessly-linked quality texts and key word cards that enable our children to immediately begin learning to read at school and at home. Staff are given regular phonics CPD opportunities to ensure skills and knowledge are up to date, and to ensure the consistency across all phonics groups is maintained. Alongside their phonics skills, children are encouraged to immediately engage in quality language and vocabulary development and commence their work on cursive writing in the early years, in keeping with our ambitious aims and capabilities as a school in the aspirational community which Grenoside is. The Government-validated Read, Write Inc. programme, runs from year 2 to year 6, allowing us to build on the phonic knowledge gained from Little Wandle and systematically giving the children the knowledge, skills and practice to become confident spellers when writing in a variety of contexts.
A rigorous approach to the teaching of reading develops learners’ confidence and enjoyment in reading. Our pupils are encouraged to read for pleasure and to read widely through our reading scheme and school library, which is regularly restocked with the latest stimulating and suitably challenging texts. The ability to express their reflections and understanding of a text in an articulate manner is taught with reference to our bespoke ‘Reading Superheroes’ characters, who link to the eight key strands of reading comprehension (decoding, retrieval, inference, summarising/sequencing, prediction, organisation, how learning is enhanced through language choices and comparison). English teaching at Grenoside is further supplemented by a range of resources which have been proven to improve knowledge and understanding, either for individuals, groups or whole class.
These aims are embedded across our English lessons and the wider curriculum. Teachers use their excellent knowledge of the subject and the children’s capabilities to produce well-organised and rigorous learning sequences. Our curriculum incorporates the full National Curriculum for English. To prepare the children to produce high-quality writing, learning is presented using a straightforward model that we believe secures the necessary skills and progression:
At all stages, our approach to English teaching gives children the crucial combination of meticulous skills such as spelling, handwriting and vocabulary acquisition, whilst also providing motivational stimuli for writing experiences in which children can apply these skills. The learning environments are used to support the process of skills and knowledge acquisition, forming part of a meaningful metacognitive approach to ensuring that learners commit to memory the content they have been taught and successfully integrate new knowledge into the larger concepts. Reflection is a key feature of learning in English, with understanding being systematically checked, misconceptions identified accurately and clear direct feedback provided.
Statement of impact for English
We are rightly proud of the excellent progress and attainment at Grenoside, which begins in the early years with children rapidly rising to the challenges they are set to exhibit high levels of phonic competence and some exceptionally neat cursive handwriting, despite the children deriving from a considerable range of different childcare providers before beginning their Grenoside learning journey. The impact of our regular and consistent input on speaking and listening can be seen in the articulacy and vocal skills of our pupils – something we are proud to bring to the local community when our drama club perform their annual show to a paying audience in the local community centre, always eliciting the highest praise from the audience. As a result of the strong commitment to quality teaching of English, we have a community of enthusiastic readers and writers who are adept in applying their reading and writing skills to a wide range of situations, something that is evidenced in their writing across a range of curricular subjects. They therefore achieve well, maintaining a level that is well above national standards in reading, writing and Grammar, Punctuation and Spelling. Feedback from secondary schools evidences the fact that our children always demonstrate great readiness for the next stage of their learning journey as a result of the keen focus on quality education in English that is applied throughout their time at Grenoside, with children developing the ability to express themselves in an effective and articulate way.