At St White’s, we believe that a quality English curriculum will develop pupil’s love of reading, writing and discussion to be able to communicate clearly and conquer challenges that they face. We commit to having 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 for English 2014 to enable all pupils 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;
● are competent in the arts of speaking and listening, making formal presentations, demonstrating to others and participating in debate.
We believe that commitment to and enthusiasm for reading is key for academic success. This starts in reception where pupils enjoy listening to stories and are taught phonics from the very beginning of their time at St White’s. This continues into KS1 and KS2 where pupils are exposed to books through our reading spine that support the aims of our curriculum and expose pupils to the values we want them to embody to conquer challenges in the future.
Our curriculum ensures that by the time pupils leave St White’s they are competent readers who can celebrate by recommending books to their peers, having a thirst for reading a range of genres including poetry, and participating in discussions about books, including evaluating an author’s use of language and the impact this can have on the reader.
Writing is a crucial part of our curriculum at St White’s. By the end of Year Six we intend our pupils to have developed a love of writing and to be able to express their thoughts and ideas clearly and creatively through the written word to conquer challenges they face. We also intend to create writers who can commit to re-read, edit and improve their own writing, and enable pupils to be able to confidently use the essential skills of grammar, punctuation and spelling. At St White’s, we set high expectations for all our pupils to celebrate and take pride in their work and have a fluent, cursive handwriting style alongside allowing their imaginations to flourish.
At St White’s Primary School, we believe that there is a strong moral imperative to teach pupils to read well as it is the central plank of social justice. Without the ability to read well, individuals will not be able to access or participate fully in their education or in society, which will undermine their rights as citizens. Reading is a key determiner for future success and successful citizenship because:
‘Reading is the one ability that, once in motion, has the ability to feed itself, grow exponentially and provide a basis from which possibilities are limitless.’ Michael Morpergo.
The school understands that instilling in our pupils the love of reading will give them ownership over the most important educational skill there is and this will allow them access to their learning both in this school and in their future education.
In EYFS/KS1, reading books are matched to pupils’ phonic abilities to give them the opportunity to practise reading and re-reading the grapheme-phoneme correspondences that they have learned – both at school and at home. The books support vocabulary development from the beginning of their time at school. In KS2, pupils are encouraged to read novels from the extensive range in the school library. This allows pupils to read a wide range of genres which are carefully matched to their age, ability and interest.
Pupils who read for pleasure gain a richer vocabulary, more knowledge, critical thinking skills and become independent learners. Reading is an important part of our curriculum. Pupils work as a class on age-appropriate texts to develop their reading skills and their understanding of texts from EYFS up to year 6. We provide pupils with rich reading experiences within the English lessons and encourage them to appreciate the author’s use of language and writing techniques in order to develop their own writing skills. Our pupils take their reading books home daily to share with their families/carers. As they go through the school, they are given more responsibility for making their own reading choices from the excellent resources we have in school. Our pupils visit the school library each week to change their library and reading books.
Speaking and Listening
In school, oracy is a powerful tool for learning; by teaching students to become more effective speakers and listeners we empower them to better understand themselves, each other and the world around them. It is also a route to social mobility, empowering all students, not just some, to find their voice to succeed in school and life. (Voice 21)
Talking is fundamental to learning. Pupils are encouraged to speak clearly, confidently and with expression in order to state their ideas and opinions. Just as important is the need to listen carefully to others and respond in appropriate ways. At St White’s pupils are given opportunities in all areas of the curriculum to develop their speaking and listening skills, in paired, group or whole class situations. Extra support is given to pupils with Speaking and Listening difficulties and with English as an Additional Language.
At St White’s, we believe that if pupils have limited oral language skills and limited exposure to new vocabulary, it is a barrier to the development of receptive and expressive language and can impact on the progress that they make in core subjects but in particular, reading. Because of this explicit teaching of vocabulary is done daily across the school in order that all pupils develop their language capability so that they widen their understanding of language, which in turn, supports their reading, writing and maths skills across the curriculum.
At St White’s, we aim for pupils to be independent writers. We encourage them to write clearly and with confidence in any given genre in order to communicate clearly. We teach them to use punctuation and grammar accurately, to be able to proofread their own work and make amendments and improvements. Pupils are encouraged to take pride in their work through their presentation and neatly presented handwriting. We give pupils a wide range of opportunities in which to develop their writing skills and display work of which they are proud. Through our English curriculum, we aim to nurture in the pupils a love of literature and language, and the confidence to continue reading and writing throughout their lives.