Here at Hillary, English is at the heart of everything we do. A high-quality education in English will teach pupils to speak and write fluently so that they can communicate their ideas and emotions to others and through their reading and listening, others can communicate with them. Through reading in particular, pupils have a chance to develop culturally, emotionally, intellectually, socially and spiritually. Literature, especially, plays a key role in such development. 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; pupils, therefore, who do not learn to speak, read and write fluently and confidently are effectively disenfranchised.
English is made up of;
Through our English curriculum our aims are 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.
Speaking and Listening
Our curriculum reflects the importance of the spoken language through the English curriculum. The pupil’s language is developed across the whole curriculum – cognitively, socially and linguistically. Spoken language underpins the development of reading and writing. The quality and variety of language that pupils hear and speak are vital for developing their vocabulary and grammar and their understanding for reading and writing. We expose our pupils to range of high-quality vocabulary through the texts we share with them. We are very fortunate to have the service of two Speech and language therapists who support the children we have identified as having a speech and language barrier. We have 49 different first languages spoken here at Hillary. We use a range of resources to support language and communication development, such as; Makaton, Communicate in print and sentence starters. We understand the value of the spoken language and know; ‘If they can’t say it, they can’t write it’. We also have a dedicated HLTA who supports our Newly Arrived Children and the children are assessed and a bespoke [programme is created to support their learning in acquiring English.
Here we understand that the use of a robust phonics programme (RWI) is key to our children learning how become skilled readers. We know ‘Children who read a lot do well at school – whatever their background’.
The second element of reading is comprehension, the understanding of what is being read. in Pupils in KS1 who no oner require RWI will have a daily reading lesson where the children will unpick a text and build up their comprehension skills based on the high quality text. Year 1, have short comprehension lessons throughout the week to support their comprehension skills on top of their daily RWI lessons. In Key Stage 2, each class will have a minimum of two guided comprehension lessons per week, this is where the children are taught specific skills to support them with their comprehension. All pupils must be encouraged to read widely across both fiction and non-fiction to develop their knowledge of themselves and the world in which they live, to establish an appreciation and love of reading, and to gain knowledge across the curriculum. Reading widely and often increases pupils’ vocabulary because they encounter words they would rarely hear or use in everyday speech. Reading also feeds pupils’ imagination and opens up a treasure-house of wonder and joy for curious young minds. We have purchased a resource ‘Cracking Comprehension’ which supports teachers in delivering Guided Comprehension lessons.
Every child also has access to the library on a weekly basis and the children are encouraged to choose books for pleasure. Mrs Lowey, our school librarian does a fantastic job ensuring that a wide range of books are available to the children. It is essential that, by the end of their primary education, all pupils are able to read fluently, and with confidence, in any subject in their forthcoming secondary education.
We know that Reading and Writing goes hand in hand, a good reader who reads widely will be a good writer. With this is mind, we use ‘The Centre of Literacy in Primary Education’, ‘Power of Reading’ teaching programme. This highly successful programme has supported thousands of schools in raising engagement and attainment in reading and writing for all pupils. Our pupils will be exposed to high quality texts which will drive the writing they do in class. Our standards in writing are improving as the children are so engaged with the text they are studying. One child said; “my mum bought me the sequel to the text we had been reading, I’m so excited!” This is the engagement and passion we want to ignite in the children. We want them to love both Reading and Writing. Teachers will teach Grammar and Punctuation in context so that the children have a greater understanding of how the conventions of writing work and the impact this has on the reader. We have also use the ‘Rising Stars Vocabulary’ programme to ensure that our children are exposed to a wide range of high quality vocabulary. This is taught at the most appropriate time judged by the Class Teacher.
From Year 1 we expose the children to cursive script we use this handwriting style because all letters start in the same place; this is easier for the children to remember. We are seeing fantastic handwriting throughout the school. When a child, regardless of age, can join all their letters consistently they are awarded a pen license which they receive in assembly.
We use ‘No Nonsense Spelling’, to support children in learning how to spell and embraces knowledge of spelling conventions – patterns and rules.