At St. Augustine’s, we believe that a quality English curriculum should develop children’s love of reading, writing and discussion. One of our priorities is helping children read and develop their all-important comprehension skills. We recognise the importance of nurturing a culture where children 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 children to be confident in the art of speaking and listening and who can use discussion to communicate and further their learning. We believe that children 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 children the tools they need to participate fully as a member of society.
These aims are embedded across our literacy 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 wide diversity children and families. 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. Augustine’s, we identify children who need support and provide intervention in the most effective and efficient way that we can. We run intervention reading groups. Most children on the SEND register have reading and comprehension as one of their targets.
Teachers plan and teach English lessons which are differentiated to the particular needs of each child. We help each child maximise their potential by providing help and support where necessary whilst striving to make children 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 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 always very 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 children 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 children achieve their goals.
Reading is celebrated in classrooms and around school at St Augustine’s, where our bright and colourful displays celebrate children’s writing, and their favourite books. In addition, throughout the school year our English curriculum is enhanced through World Book Day, poetry weeks and free-write opportunities.
The impact on our children is clear: progress, sustained learning and transferrable skills. With the implementation of the writing journey being well established and taught thoroughly in both 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 Augustine’s are achieving in English at age-related expectations. Each year we have children achieving at a greater depth in reading and writing at the end of KS1 and are equally successful at the end of KS2. We hope that all the English initiatives outlined above will help to boost children’s learning and progress. 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 children move on from St Augustine’s 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.