At Charlbury School we believe that a quality English curriculum should develop children’s love of reading, writing and discussion. We have a rigorous and well organised English curriculum that provides many purposeful opportunities for our children to enhance their literacy learning.
Our curriculum closely follows the aims of the National Curriculum for English 2014 and our intent is that our children will:
- 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.
These aims are embedded across our English lessons and the wider curriculum. We will provide the means for children to develop a secure knowledge-base in Literacy, which follows a clear pathway of progression as they advance through the primary curriculum. Rigorous assessment and review will ensure that we are able to provide targeted support so that all children experience success in literacy; we believe that a secure basis in literacy skills is crucial to a high-quality education and will give our children the tools they need to participate fully as a member of society.
The implementation of a ‘book-based’ English curriculum ensures a consistent and systematic approach to teaching the skills of writing across all cohorts. This also means that children know what to expect when they change classes.
We follow the Read Write Inc approach to teaching Reading and Phonics, supplemented with additional reading materials. Our approach is systematic, consistent and rigorous in order that all children become readers as quickly as possible.
Early writing is taught through early mark making, then when the children begin RWI phonics, they are taught the correct letter formations. This begins with writing (whether with a writing tool or in the air) cvc words, moving onto short sentences using the sounds they have been taught. EYFS children are encouraged to write independently during continuous provision. We use the same phonics program across EYFS and KS1, providing continuity and a vehicle for guaranteed progression. RWI sessions take place every day. Pupils are taught in ability groups from Reception to Year 2 thus enabling them to be taught according to their reading level not their age. Teaching is very precise and tailored to the needs of each child irrespective of year group.
Writing is assessed consistently throughout the year through hot and cold tasks, with each class producing six published pieces of writing covering a wide range of text types. At Charlbury, we use No More Marking to carry out comparative judgements across all classes. Teachers use these forms of assessments to evaluate the areas that their children will need to be specifically taught, even if this means tracking back to objectives from previous years, in grammar and text type. Interventions on specific areas of weakness will be carried out by the class teacher or teaching assistant. Termly, teachers assess writing using official moderation materials. It is expected that teachers will moderate across year groups and partner schools in time for data drops throughout the year.
To support the teaching of new and adventurous vocabulary, all year groups have access to and make full use of high-quality class texts. These are used in conjunction with reading, writing and grammar teaching.
There is an expectation that grammar will be modelled and used correctly by all teachers. To ensure progression in grammar skills, all teachers use a progression of grammar document, on which they highlight the grammar skills that have been taught. Any areas of weakness that are identified as a result of independent writing or the hot or cold tasks, are taught in focused SPaG sessions or during grammar starters.
In Reception and KS1, children are encouraged to make phonetically plausible attempts at spelling, with Read Write Inc being used to support spelling knowledge. In KS2 children have weekly spellings to learn, which are assessed through a weekly spelling test. In all classes, children have personalised spellings to refer to in the back of their writing books to add and refer to. At Charlbury teach the statutory spelling patterns expected for each year group, outlined by the National Curriculum, whilst recapping on previous year group’s patterns.
The impact on our children is clear: progress, sustained learning and transferable 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.
Termly assessment is showing that most children are achieving in Literacy at age-related expectations. Each year we have children achieving at a greater depth in reading and writing at the end of KS1 and are working hard to emulate that at the end of KS2. We hope that all the new literacy initiatives outlined above will help to boost children’s learning and progress.
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 Charlbury School 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.
We measure the impact of our curriculum through the following methods:
- Summative termly assessments taken by pupils.
- Termly data analysis by maths subject lead and SLT
- Lesson observations and feedback
- Book scans on a regular basis
- Learning walks and pupil voice conversations.
- Annual reporting of standards across the curriculum.