At St Matthew’s Primary School we believe that a high quality English curriculum should develop pupils’ love of reading, writing and discussion. One of our priorities is helping pupils read and develop their all-important comprehension skills. We recognise the importance of nurturing a culture where pupils take pride in their writing, can write clearly and accurately and adapt their language and style for a range of contexts. We want to inspire pupils to be confident in the art of speaking and listening and who can use discussion to communicate and further their learning. We believe that pupils need to develop a secure knowledge-base in English, which follows a clear pathway of progression as they advance through the primary curriculum. We believe that a secure basis in literacy skills is crucial to a high quality education and will give our pupils the tools they need to participate fully as a member of society.
These aims are embedded across our English lessons and the wider curriculum. We have a rigorous and well-organised English curriculum and framework, which provides many purposeful opportunities for reading, writing and discussion. We use a wide variety of quality texts and resources to motivate and inspire our pupils. Teachers also ensure that cross-curricular links with concurrent topic work are woven into the programme of study. 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.
At St Matthew’s Primary School, we begin the reading and writing journey through a systematic synthetic phonics progamme named ‘Sounds Write’. Through this scheme children are given a solid foundation the skills needed in order to be a successful reader and writer. We use ‘Sounds Write’ reading books to supplement this learning so pupils are able to easily apply their knowledge to read independently from Reception class.
Children will gain confidence and pleasure as a reader and writer. Our practice is grounded in the process of shared writing with a systematic focus on securing the basics of handwriting, phonics, spelling and grammar in relation to what children need to make progress in the text type being taught. It is also founded on the principle that children should read and be read to often, both at school and at home.
This year, we are implementing the ‘Talk 4 Writing‘ approach in our English teaching. Our teaching sequence includes three clear stages: imitation, innovation and independent application. It is creative, yet rigorous approach developed by the author Pie Corbett. It is fundamentally based on the key principles of how children learn.Talk for Writing enables children to imitate the key language patterns they needs for a particular text type orally before they try reading and analysing it. Though fun activities that help them to rehearse the tune of the language they need, followed by shared writing to show them how to craft their writing, children are helped to write in the same style.
At St Matthew’s Primary School, we identify pupils who need support and provide intervention in the most effective and efficient way that we can from entering into school. We run daily intervention reading groups for all pupils that are identified as needing support, which is provided by the skilled and trained staff. Most pupils on the SEND register have reading and comprehension as one of their targets. Teachers plan and teach English lessons which are adapted to the particular needs of each pupil. We help each pupil maximise their potential by providing help and support where necessary, whilst striving to make pupils independent workers once we have helped to equip them with the confidence, tools and strategies that they need. We run parent information sessions on phonics for Early Years and Year 1 parents, reading and SATs for Year 2 parents and a SATs meeting for Year 6 parents so that they understand age-related expectations. These sessions are usually well attended by parents and carers who often comment about how helpful the sessions have been for them.
Marking is rigorous in English and across the curriculum, with regular ‘Response Times’ and spelling corrections to help pupils correct and consolidate their work. Regular English book scrutinies are carried out to check all teachers are following our marking policy rigorously. We love to celebrate success of all learners and strive to help all pupils achieve their goals. Reading is celebrated in classrooms and around school at St Matthew’s Primary School, where our bright and colourful displays celebrate pupils’ writing. In addition, throughout the school year our English curriculum is enhanced through World Book Day, parent and child library sessions, parent 1:1 reading and a range of trips and visits which enrich and complement children’s learning.
The impact on our pupils is clear: progress, sustained learning and transferrable skills. With the implementation of the writing journey being well established and taught thoroughly in all 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 at St Matthew’s Primary School are achieving age-related expectations in English. Each year we have children achieving at a greater depth in reading and writing at the end of KS1 and of KS2. 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 pupils move on from St Matthew’s Primary 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.
Please see our English progression of skills document below:
Please see our English Curriculum Statement below:
Please see our English Policy below: