English at Hardwick

English has an essential place in education and in society. It is a subject in its own right and instrumental when teaching; if you understand language, you have access to the whole curriculum.

It gives children the knowledge, skills and understanding of how to speak, read and write fluently so that they can communicate their ideas and emotions to others effectively. Through reading and listening, it also allows for others to communicate with them. Through English, children have the chance to develop culturally, emotionally, intellectually, socially and spiritually.

Without it they would not be able to participate fully as a member of society as all the skills of language are essential in doing so.

It feeds into our school’s curriculum intent by providing children ample opportunities to develop oracy skills through both exploratory and presentational talk. It is a vocabulary rich curriculum, where new learning and unfamiliar words are often revisited, enabling children to recall effectively. It is taught in a way which allows children to be critical and innovative, fostering inquisitive minds and is inclusive for all children, where expectations are always aspirational.

English is taught across the whole school from the very youngest children in our Nursery to those in Year 6. Our curriculum ensures that children learn new knowledge and skills and progress in these so that they have a strong command of the spoken and written word, and to develop their love of literature through widespread reading for pleasure.

Our curriculum ensures that our children:

  • 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.

In addition, we believe that having excellent reading skills is the key to a bright and happy future. Learning to read is an adventure that takes children to new and exciting places, helping them to understand the world. We have introduced a reading spine to ensure progression. Books have been chosen to ensure children have a variety of books to listen to and become familiar with. Every class has a class book which is read by the teacher to help foster a love for reading and to also model the skills of intonation and tone through effective reading aloud.

Writing is taught following Talk for Writing. Teachers follow a structured approach to planning where the children and teachers begin by familiarising themselves with a text type, capturing ideas for their own writing followed by scaffolded writing experiences, resulting in independent written outcomes. Throughout this whole process, children are given opportunities to talk to further their understanding, linking in with first-hand experiences wherever possible.

Please see below our curriculum progression grid for Reading and Writing, detailing how our children progress through knowledge and skills from Y1 to Year 6:

Spoken language

At Hardwick Primary, we recognise the importance of spoken language in pupils’ development across the whole curriculum – cognitively, socially and linguistically. Underpinning the development of reading and writing is spoken language.

Our Aim

We aim for children to become competent in speaking and listening, making formal presentations, demonstrating to others and participating in debate.

During their time at Hardwick, children are given the opportunity, across the curriculum, to communicate clearly, allowing time to articulate their thoughts and ideas, enabling them to be confident when speaking in a wide range of contexts. 

Phonics and Spelling

Phonics is the prime approach to learning to read and spell and we make high quality phonics teaching a priority.

Our Aim

Our expectation is that the children will be fluent readers having secured word recognition skills by the end Key Stage One.

Our school follows the Letters and Sounds programme and the No Nonsense Spelling programme for Spelling.

We value phonics and spelling and we aim to have:

  •         20 minutes of phonics, five times a week, in Reception
  •         25 minutes of phonics, five times a week, in Key Stage 1
  •         20 minutes of phonics/spelling, four times a week, in Key Stage 2

Sessions take place each day and follow the four-part structure lasting approximately 20 minutes:

Revisit - Teach - Practise - Apply

Phonics coverage

Year Group

FS1

FS2

Year 1

Year 2+

 

Phase

 

1

2,3

4,5

 

No Nonsense Spelling

 

Reading

We believe that having excellent reading skills is the key to a bright and happy future. Learning to read is an adventure that takes children to new and exciting places, helping them to understand the world.

Our Aim

At Hardwick Primary School, we aim to develop fluent readers, who have a good understanding of the vocabulary that they read, can infer meaning from what they have read and read a range of reading materials to develop a love of reading.

We encourage parents to read with their children at home and pupils to change their reading books as often as possible. We praise and reward recording at home through smileys. Home Reading Records are checked daily in the Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1 and weekly in Key Stage 2.

In Nursery and Reception, children are given the opportunity to explore books in small groups. This may involve books without words where the children are encouraged to tell the story, learn how to handle books, discover the directionality of print, look at and learn high frequency words and talk about familiar stories.

Key Stage One continues with Guided Reading, where the emphasis is not just on decoding but those crucial comprehension skills. By teaching reading in small groups, the teacher is able to make a thorough assessment of each child and can ensure that any gaps, when it comes to phonics and decoding, can be plugged if necessary.

From Year 2 onward, we alternate between Guided Reading and Shared Reading.  By teaching in a whole class forum, all children have access to the richness of talk from all of their peers, therefore improving their depth of understanding and ensuring that there is no glass ceiling to their progress. We teach the skills that they need based on the National Curriculum expectations and adapt our teaching based on the assessments we make. Further up the school, the children move towards more of a shared reading approach.

We have introduced a Reading Spine to ensure progression. Books have been chosen to ensure children have a variety of books to listen to and become familiar with. Every class has a class book which is read by the teacher to help foster a love for reading and to also model the skills of intonation and tone through effective reading aloud.

Writing

English is taught as a discrete lesson on a daily basis and lessons follow the National Curriculum for English. Wherever possible, cross-curricular links are made with English through thematic plans. Children are taught in mixed ability groups for English and ability groups for phonics and spelling.

Our Aim

We aim to develop fluent writers, who write clear, accurate and coherent texts, adapting their language and style for a range of contexts, purposes and audience. All writing should demonstrate a wide and varied use of vocabulary with an understanding and accurate use of grammar.

We teach writing through the Talk for Writing approach, which builds on 3 key stages:

  •         Stage 1 – imitation
  •         Stage 2 – innovation
  •         Stage 3 – independent application

Teachers follow a structured approach to planning where the children and teachers begin by familiarising themselves with a text type, capturing ideas for their own and writing followed by scaffolded writing experiences, resulting in independent written outcomes. Throughout this whole process, children are given opportunities to talk to further their understanding.

Handwriting

All children should take pride in their presentation and we advocate a cursive/joined-up handwriting style throughout school.

Our Aim

We aim to make handwriting an automatic process that does not interfere with creative and mental thinking.

We use the website Letter-join as the basis of our handwriting policy that covers all the requirements of the 2014 National Curriculum.

We teach pre-cursive handwriting in the Foundation Stage and Year 1 and cursive, joined-up handwriting in Year 2 and Key Stage 2.