English is a broad and enveloping subject that requires pupils to use many skills simultaneously, and is fundamental for children’s learning in all other areas of the curriculum. At St Anselm’s, 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 reading, writing and discussion.
Our curriculum closely follows the aims of the National Curriculum to enable all children to:
● 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
● be 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 as well as the wider curriculum. We will provide the means for children to develop a secure knowledge base in English, 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; we believe that a secure basis in English skills is crucial to a high-quality education and will give our children the tools they need to participate fully as a valuable contributor to society.
- Children receive a weekly comprehension session using the Complete Comprehension resources (Schofield and Sims) or Quick Comprehension (Vocabulary Ninja). Each lesson is focused around a specific reading domain, question type or mixed practice.
- Teachers explore the necessary vocabulary with the children, dissect texts together in a shared reading session and model successful reading comprehension.
- Reading books – All children are provided with books appropriate to their level of reading. In the younger year groups, this is matched to each child's phonic stage through the Oxford Reading Tree levels. Once children reach a fluent level of reading (ORT Level 8/9/10, Book Band Purple/Gold/White), they are assessed using the Star Assessment tool on Accelerated Reader and assigned reading books accordingly. They take Accelerated Reader quizzes after finishing each book to assess their comprehension of the text. They are moved up through the levels as their comprehension improves.
- Intervention – Struggling readers will receive extra support through the Lexia intervention outside of their English time and their progress will be closely monitored to ensure the closing of gaps.
- ‘INSPIRE’ lessons – These English lessons are based around the key text or theme, and are intended to encourage a love of reading and provide a context for the children’s writing. They may include drama, creating artwork, reading & discussion or any other areas that may initiate enthusiasm and ideas.
- Teaching writing – teachers may use a combination of the following techniques to teach the writing process. This will depend on the text type being taught, the age and stage of the children as well as which point of the year they are being taught in:
- WAGOLL (What A Good One Looks Like) – This is where a pre-written model is shown to the children that exemplifies what is expected of them in that particular text type. They might read through together, highlight, annotate and discuss the features found to use within their own writing.
- Modelled writing – This is where the teacher models the writing process to the children. They do not ask for input from the children, but the purpose is to vocalise and exemplify the internal monologue that goes alongside writing (e.g. I think I’ll change the word ‘sat’ to ‘shrunk down’ as that gives the impression that the character feels embarrassed and wants to hide.)
- Shared writing – This is similar to modelled writing, except input is taken from the children. The writing produced is a combination of the teacher’s and the children’s ideas, and the teacher should vocalise which choices are/are not being made and why. This may be accompanied by children’s note-taking e.g. I feel like I need to cut this sentence down to make it a short sentence for effect. Can you write down your idea of what I could change it to?
- Guided writing – This is when the teacher or teaching assistant works directly with a small group or on a one-to-one basis. They will work through the requirements of the task together, generating ideas and sentences together, so that all their work is very similar, if not the same. Sometimes, this can just be recorded by the adult and copies created for the children’s books. This should be used across abilities (not just a means to intervene with lower attaining writers) but in order to achieve specific objectives that a smaller number of children are working towards e.g. using a range of sentence type and length within writing.
- Independent writing – This is where children are working completely independently. They may use resources to help them, for example dictionaries, thesauruses, word banks, peer feedback, adult feedback, but they are constructing their work mainly by themselves.
- Planning - children plan their writing by using Jane Considine’s ‘Shapes for Writing’ which encourages them to understand the structure and big picture, as well as including the appropriate elements unique to the text type. Children will plan their work on the adjacent page to their writing. This ensures that they are thinking of the structure and the cohesion of the piece as they plan and write.
- Drafting – children use their planning notes to construct the first draft of their written pieces. Children are taught to edit their work as they go.
- Editing – all children across the school are taught explicitly to edit their work. The quality and detail of this editing gets progressively more complex through the years, but all children are taught the value of making changes to their work. In KS1 and Year 3, this is done using purple pencil, and in Years 4 – 6 this is done in purple pen.
- Children in KS2 are also taught the difference between editing and revising using the provided Venn diagrams and should be able to separate these into two different stages.
- Vocabulary – children are taught new vocabulary through Vocabulary Ninja’s Word of the Day programme. They receive 15 minute daily sessions where rich and challenging vocabulary is introduced, discussed, put into context and displayed for future use.
Each class has a weekly 1 hour discrete grammar and spelling lesson (30 minutes for each).
- Autumn 1: the teaching recaps and consolidates learning from the previous year group
- Autumn 2 – Summer 1: the teaching covers the year-group-specific objectives in a progressive manner.
- Summer 2: the teaching consolidates the year group’s learning and intends to fill any gaps that may still remain.
Each phase group has a set of grammar ‘Non-Negotiables’, which are the essentials required in those year groups. Children MUST ensure they are in place before turning in a piece of work e.g. full stops, capital letters, finger spaces etc. These are appropriate to the children’s age and stage and is a basic requirement in all work the children complete across the curriculum.
All children follow the Spelling Shed scheme of work. The lesson planning is adapted to suit the needs of the class and focuses on one spelling pattern per week. Children are then set homework based on this spelling pattern using the Spelling Shed website or app. Children are tested on this spelling pattern the following week.
Each class follows the LetterJoin Scheme of Work as detailed in the school’s Handwriting Policy. Children learn printed letters in Reception and Year 1 and start cursive handwriting in Year 2. Lessons are taught in blocks of a minimum of 15 minutes and are taught in the following frequency:
Number of lessons in the scheme
4 times per week
4 times per week
5 times per week
3 times per week
3 times per week
2 times per week
2 times per week
Speaking and Listening
Each class has specific Speaking and Listening targets assigned to each term of the year. These will be displayed in the classroom and referred back to throughout all subject areas.
- Grammar – Fortnightly (KS1 & Y3) and weekly (Y4-6) via Spelling Shed
- Spelling – Weekly via Spelling Shed
- Reading – Children are encouraged to read for at least 20 minutes every day. They should record their reading in their Reading Records/Planners and may receive class/school awards for their reading efforts.
We ensure that pupils:
- Experience a wide range of literacy experiences and develop an enjoyment or value of reading.
- Are inspired by authors and poets, past and present, and form a lifelong reading habit that enriches their lives.
- Build and apply a wide range of valuable English skills and are able to use these to confidently access opportunities throughout their life
- Can confidently share their views and ideas in a range of written and verbal forms, and can adapt these to an array of situations.
The highly tailored and relevant English education at St Anselm’s ensures that pupils communicate effectively in writing and verbally, in a range of contexts. They are inspired to see the relevance of their English learning to their wider life and future. They are encouraged to explore the power of language, including using a wide range of vocabulary, to convey meaning, thoughts, story, and for entertainment. This empowers them in turn to inspire and evoke confidence and respect from others, as well as make a valuable contribution to wider society, be that through conveying clear information to help others, using strong persuasive language to enthuse, or through creative word play to entertain. It enables them to reflect, be motivated by and further the strong literacy heritage and academic standing of the nation, whilst valuing the creative output of the wider world.