How we teach English at RFPS
Our English Curriculum
The National Curriculum for English:
The overarching aim for English in the national curriculum is to promote high standards of language and literacy by equipping pupils with a strong command of the spoken and written word, and to develop their love of literature through widespread reading for enjoyment. The national curriculum for English aims 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
Aims of Teaching English at Rugby Free Primary School
‘Aspire, Achieve, Challenge’
The teaching of English at Rugby Free Primary school is geared towards enabling each pupil to develop their learning by aspiring to be the best they can possibly be, achieve their goals and then challenging themselves even further. We strive not only to develop their English skills and understanding required for later life, but also to develop an enthusiasm and fascination about Reading and Writing itself. We aim to increase pupil confidence so they are able to express themselves and their ideas using the language of English with assurance. We recognise the importance of developing a love of different genres of writing and reading for pleasure and aim to do so throughout our curriculum.
Planning and Assessment
The New National Curriculum for English describes what must be taught in each Key Stage as well as defining a programme of study for each year group. Rugby Free Primary School is also using ‘End of Year Expectations’ published by our curriculum provider; Cornerstones to plan and assess the progression in the teaching of English.
In Early Years, the curriculum is guided by Development Matters in order for children at Rugby Free Primary School to achieve the Early Learning Goals.
Teaching Methods and Approaches
At Rugby Free Primary School we have decided to base our approach to English teaching on the Power of Reading Scheme. We adapt this to suit the needs of our children but use their approach in developing English skills through high quality texts and enthusiasm for reading.
Lessons have a flexible approach to ensure the pitch and pace suit the children. Teachers use their own judgement in how to adapt lessons as learning develops and they incorporate group, paired of individual work as appropriate.
In EYFS the children are taught a short daily English lesson in their classes and then given English challenges to complete during free flow following the lesson. Reading, Writing and Speaking and Listening activities are accessible at all times during child initiated learning.
At Rugby Free Primary School, we follow a six-part lesson guide in Mathematics to ensure coverage of all areas of the new curriculum, and we are also beginning to use this, where appropriate in English lessons.
This six part lesson involves pupils engaging in:
‘Do Now’ – A warm up linked to SPAG or a previous English skill taught.
‘New Learning’ – A modelling session from the teacher using the focus text to introduce a new concept or skill.
‘Talk Task’ – A chance for children to consolidate their learning by talking to their partner using key language and speaking in full sentences.
‘Develop Learning’ – Where teachers take learning further, either through a different resource or a more in depth application activity.
‘Independent Challenge’ – Children complete an independent challenge based on their level of difficulty.
‘Plenary’ – A chance for teachers to assess their class’ understanding.
We endeavour to set work that is both challenging and motivating which encourages the pupils to talk about what they have been doing as well as using a mastery approach to English where children are mastering their learning and applying it across the curriculum before moving onto new content.
Read Write Inc is our chosen phonics scheme and this is taught separately at RFPS on a regular basis. Please see our separate page on phonics at RFPS for further information about how we teach this aspect of English.
Our Reading Scheme
At RFPS we believe children learn to read best initially through phonics and so our approach in EYFS and Key Stage One is very much phonics based with our children beginning Read Write Inc as soon as they start school. Alongside Read Write Inc our children have home readers which initially are phonics based and then begin to use high frequency words as the children progress with their reading. In Key Stage One, our children have Guided Reading Sessions in addition to their Read Write Inc Sessions which enables them to read in a group and focus on various elements of the text including comprehension and a variety of reading key skills. We use a variety of reading materials in order to give our children depth and variety in their reading and aim to develop a love of reading, as opposed to choosing one single particular home reading scheme.
Enhancing our curriculum
We recognise the importance of cross curricular links and whilst English is taught mainly as a separate subject, every effort is made to link English with other areas of the curriculum and possibilities are an integral part of our ‘free flow’ activities in EYFS and our topic planning in both EYFS and Key Stage One. We use displays and resources such as VCOP as an aid to our teaching and learning of English. We celebrate individual children’s achievement in English on a regular basis and always encourage our children to challenge themselves ‘even further’.