English Curriculum Statement
At Verwood First School and Nursery our curriculum for English equips our pupils with a strong command of the spoken and written word and recognises that although it is a subject in its own right, spoken language, reading, writing and vocabulary are integral aspects of the teaching of every subject and provide access to the whole curriculum. It recognises that our pupils need to speak and write fluently so that they can communicate their ideas and emotions to others, and that they need to read and listen effectively so that others can communicate with them.
We aim for our pupils to develop a love of literature through widespread reading for enjoyment in its own right. We provide opportunities for our pupils to read aloud, silently and to be read to. We provide challenging texts and ensure a balance with non-fiction
“A child who is read to will have an inner kingdom of unicorns, talking spiders and a knife that cuts into other worlds.” (Pie Corbett)
Early reading is supported through the Unlocking Letters and Sounds teaching. Training and professional development ensure that staff are equipped to teach with the expertise and skills required to promote excellent progress, as well as a love of reading. In KS2, when children have completed the phonics programme, they develop deeper reading skills.
When planning literacy lessons, teachers make links to other areas of the curriculum to ensure that cross curricular links provide further context for learning. Teaching blocks focus on fiction, non-fiction or poetry, in line with the 2014 National Curriculum and comprehension, grammar and writing are embedded in lessons. Lessons sequences themselves build progressively towards an extended piece of writing. Handwriting is also taught within literacy lessons, and outcomes in KS2 are recorded in literacy books to promote a high level of pride and presentation across all written outcomes.
To create a reading rich culture, we celebrate reading through our school wide reading challenge where children work towards receiving a book prize. We have established links with our local library who deliver the annual summer reading challenge and lead rhyme time activities for our EYFS.
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.
In order to expose children to a variety of genres which helps to utilise and embed the writing skills, teachers use a writing journey to plan, structure and teach their English lessons. This journey is designed to show progress, teach the pertinent year group objectives, apply and consolidate these skills and develop vocabulary. Writing is taught through the use of a quality text, which exposes the children to inference, high-level vocabulary, a range of punctuation and characterisation. Each text is purposefully selected in order to promote a love of reading, engagement and high quality writing from each child.
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 have also improved 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. We hope that as children move on from us to further their education and learning that their creativity, passion for English and high aspirations travel with them and continue to grow and develop as they do.