English unites the important skills of reading, writing, speaking and listening. It is the basic language of communication and is the foundation that underpins almost all learning in the curriculum. English is an essential life-skill, which enables children to make sense of the world and empowers the learner to be able to fulfil their potential. All our children are different and unique, and it is our responsibility to create well-rounded adults, who have the skills to tackle the challenges of the 21st century.
All of our children have access to a broad and balanced English curriculum delivered in a way that recognises their varied needs and allows each individual to maximise their learning potential. Our children enter Walderslade with average starting points, however we have high expectations for what they can achieve. When designing the curriculum, the following features were at the heart:
The curriculum is unique, interesting, creative and appropriate for the children we teach
- The curriculum is knowledge-rich and experiential with many opportunities for the children to apply their skills and work independently
- Parents play a key role in delivering, enhancing and supporting the curriculum
- The curriculum fosters a positive attitude to learning and develops life-long learners with a thirst for knowledge
- The curriculum promotes inclusion, diversity and community cohesion
- The curriculum is challenging and raises the existing high aspirations of our community
- Deploy high quality resources, not least of which includes a well-trained, committed and talented staff
The curriculum is designed to be consistent in approach from Year 1 to Year 6 and follows a sequence of reading – speaking and listening – collecting ideas/ planning – drafting – editing.
Reading is at the heart of our curriculum and the children at Walderslade are immersed in books for the moment they enter our school. The school has a library with a range of fiction, non-fiction and comic books/ magazines for the children to read for pleasure. Reading is a timetabled discreetly taught subject across the school. We encourage children to read at home at least twice a week, with Dojo point rewards for children who do this. Parents are encouraged to play an active role in their children’s reading curriculum, and workshops are held before joining EYFS and at various points throughout the year.
We use the Read, Write, Inc (RWI) scheme for phonics and reading in Phase 1 (EYFS & year 1). Where needed this is continued into year 2. Reading books are closely linked to phonics, to ensure that pupils are able to develop as confident independent readers, using appropriate texts linked to the stage of their phonic knowledge.
The pupils are exposed to daily reading (twice daily in EY) from an adult, where the children are actively encouraged to engage with the text and modelling by the adult promotes pace, fluency and expression. EY and year 1 use a focus text to support the theme (topic in year 1) for the week/ fortnight.
Phase 1 use a range of activities to support the implementation of the taught reading skills, including:
- Storytelling/ Sequencing
- Within child-initiated play (scaffolded and modelled in play by adults)
- Individual reading
- 60-second reads (Year 1)
- RWI reading groups
Phase 2 / Phase 3
Reading is taught discretely across Phase 2 and Phase 3 (English – Reading) with VIPERS (Vocabulary, Inference, Prediction, Explanation, Retrieval, Sequence or Summarise) being used to aid the recall of the 6 domains of the reading curriculum. The reading curriculum follows the Walderslade Reading Pathway.
Year 2 continue with RWI intervention groups as needed.
Walderslade Primary school uses Accelerated reader as a basis for the banding of reading from years 2-6. The pupils are encouraged to carry out star reader tests to support this and to complete quizzes at the end of their chosen text. Pupils are encouraged to read between their scale (e.g. 3.7 – 4.3) which increases the range of texts and authors the pupils are exposed to.
Focused reading skills objectives are linked to the class chosen text for the term, and these often, but not always, link to the Topic too. The class texts are carefully chosen, are age appropriate and pupil’s often have a voice within the choice. The pupils are exposed to daily reading from an adult, where the children are actively encouraged to engage with the text and modelling by the adult promotes pace, fluency and expression. Reading is taught as a whole class in Phase 2 and 3, following the ‘Skill – Practice – Apply – Review’ structure.
Phase 2 and Phase 3 use a range of activities to support the implementation of the taught reading skills and to track the progress within reading:
- Pixl – fluency skills/ Pixl key skills
- Reading Speed tracker
- 60-second reads
- Language for thinking
- Carousel may be used as deemed appropriate for the skill being taught
Promoting a Love of Reading
Walderslade Primary are committed to ensuring that pupils develop a love of reading, and actively promote a love of reading. Throughout the school pupils are read to by the adults in the room at least daily; discussing the quality texts and enjoying as a whole class. The children are encouraged to take a second book home with them, not linked to the AR banding. This book is their choice and enables the pupil’s freedom to enjoy a range of books that they may not have chosen within the AR scheme.
The school have close links with the local library, and regularly attend to exchange books, listen to authors and carryout reading activities with the staff there. Where we can, staff and pupils also contact authors directly to share their thoughts and impressions of texts they are reading – with successful attempts always bringing a sense of excitement to our pupils.
At Walderslade also carryout paired reading with another year group. Staff carefully pair pupils to promote confidence, independence and challenge. The pupils look forward to sharing their books with other pupils and it promotes healthy conversation about reading across the school.
A love of reading is also promoted in the following ways:
- Drop Everything And Read (DEAR)
- Book Flix – recommended books
- Access to high quality texts in every classroom book case
- Storytelling & Role play
- Book corners in Phase 1 & Phase 2 – Book case in Phase 3
- Accelerated Reader weekly prizes and certificates
- Watching films/ show versions (e.g. Matilda, War Horse)
- Audio books/ Online versions accessed independently
There are dedicated spaces linked to reading throughout the school. Each class in Phase 2 and Phase 3 has an accelerated reader display, focusing on pupil achievement, and each class also has either a ‘Cosy’ Reading corner or Reading Bookcase. This is a dedicated space that the children are encouraged to visit regularly. Phase 1 classes have a reading corner, which have a bank of quality books within them. The pupils are able to access these freely throughout the day. Each class has VIPERS displayed, to ensure consistency across classes and phases.
The school library is vast and has an extensive range of texts for the pupils to choose from. These are both banded (AR) and Own choice texts. Within the school environment there are several displays which promote reading and encourage the pupils to engage with it.
Everyone at Walderslade is aware of the need to ensure that the individuals needs of the pupils are met, and that vulnerable groups should be considered at all stages of planning. We are acutely aware that SEND pupils at Walderslade tend to make slower progress than those who are not SEND. We therefore ensure that reading is accessible to all, including our vulnerable groups, in all of the phases, by the use of the following measures:
- Additional daily focused phonics
- Use of parent helpers/ volunteers to support reading 1:1
- Echo reading
- Audio books
- Differentiated curriculum
As the proportion of children with EAL at Walderslade increases, we have placed an increasing emphasis on teaching vocabulary. All teachers explicitly teach vocabulary on a daily basis, with the aim being for children to be exposed to and use between 5 and 10 new words each week. Specific intervention is available for children who may need extra help with developing language, delivered by specialist volunteers or Teaching Assistant with a specialism in EAL.
Phonics and Grammar
We follow the Read, Write, Inc (RWI) scheme.
Phonics is taught on a daily basis from Reception to Year 2 and the children are arranged into ability groups in order to tailor the phonics teaching appropriately to their needs. The phonics lead supports teachers with assessments, and groupings to ensure that the children are working at the correct levels. The pupils are then allocated reading books based on their current RWI group.
KS2 work on additional spelling and grammar objectives from the National Curriculum. Each year group has a set of grammar objectives and terms that they must develop knowledge and understanding of. These objectives are taught discretely and re-enforced through practicing them in the context of class texts.
Speaking and Listening
Speaking and Listening plays a very important role in our curriculum from Reception to Year 6. We know that the ability to communicate effectively leads to self-confidence and a healthy self-esteem. We believe that if the children can express themselves orally, then they will be unable to express themselves in writing. Much of our English work in EYFS and KS1 is delivered in small groups, which allows the children to engage in discussion with an adult. We also use continuous provision activities in EYFS and Year One which enable the children to further develop language skills by engaging with their peers.
The teaching of writing at Walderslade is rooted in a strong sense of audience and purpose, both for fiction, non-fiction and poetry. When appropriate, writing links to the class text or topic for that term to enable pupils to have a context for their writing. A visual or interactive hook is regularly used as a stimulus for writing tasks. Pupils are taught about specific writing genres and introduced to their key features through modelled and example texts.
The following table shows the coverage of genres across the school:
Pupils are given time to analyse and discuss presentational features, topic-specific vocabulary and grammar constructions before the drafting process. In phases 2 and 3, pupils follow a four-step writing process: planning, drafting, editing and publishing. Pupils edit their writing using feedback from teachers, teaching assistants or their peers. In depth feedback is either given verbally or through written annotations. Writing checklists are used frequently to support pupils and year group specific checklists are used termly by teachers to assess pupils’ independent writing. Termly writing checklists are also used to identify and inform pupils of their individual targets in phases 2 and 3.
Grammar, punctuation and spelling is taught through discrete daily sessions in phases 2 and 3. Grammar teaching is also integrated into the teaching of writing to enable pupils to make connections and to apply these skills in context. In phases 2 and 3, low stake PixL quizzes are used on a termly basis and termly GPAS assessment papers are used in year 6 to track pupils’ progress at the end of Key Stage 2.
In phases 2 and 3, pupils’ progress in spelling is assessed using the PixL spelling tracker in terms 1, 3 and 5. The PixL spelling package is used alongside additional resources to teach key spelling rules on a weekly basis. Key Stage 2 pupils receive differentiated spelling lists linked to their spelling rule and are assessed on these each week. Visual prompts, including mindmaps and vocabulary boards, are used to support all pupils and to reinforce key GPAS skills.
In phases 1 pupils are taught how to form letters correctly, through the RWI scheme. From year 2 onwards pupils are taught, through daily sessions, how to use the cursive writing style, beginning with the formation of individual letters and developing this skill to whole words. In phase 3, pupils are set the expectation of using the cursive handwriting style within extended writing and are able to consolidate this skill through weekly practice opportunities. SEN pupils are supported with the use of resources including: writing boards, pencil grips and the Speed-up Handwriting programme.