Our Curriculum Intent
It is our intention when teaching the English curriculum that our pupils acquire the necessary knowledge, skills and understanding to become lifelong learners and linguists. We strive to ensure that all our pupils receive a well-rounded learning experience when reading, writing, speaking and listening which will equip them with the fundamental tools to achieve in our school and beyond. It is our intention to immerse pupils in the wonders of quality texts to instil a love for reading, a passion for discovery and a confidence to explore their imagination.
English is a core subject of the National Curriculum and a prerequisite for educational and social progress as it underpins the work undertaken in all other areas of the curriculum .The acquisition of language skills is of the utmost importance to us here at Whittington and therefore the teaching of all aspects English is given a high priority within school. Confidence in basic language skills enables children to communicate creatively and imaginatively, preparing them for their future journey through education and beyond.
- Our aim is to ensure that every child becomes a reader, a writer and confident speaker by the time they leave Whittington Primary School.
- To promote and instil a love for reading, writing and high-quality literature into pupils at all ages.
- To derive an English curriculum which is sequenced to develop the acquisition of knowledge and skills.
Our English curriculum is derived around a sequence of high quality age-appropriate texts. We use each book to create opportunities to develop reading fluency and comprehension with a focus on key reading strategies and skills; develop grammar and punctuation knowledge and understanding to use and apply across the wider curriculum; explore the writing structure and features of different genres, identify the purpose and audience; plan and write an initial piece of writing with a clear context and purpose before evaluating the effectiveness of writing by editing and redrafting.
Reading for Pleasure
Reading is not only celebrated in classrooms here at Whittington Primary School. Around school, you will find displays which celebrate authors, inspiring reading corners and spaces, children’s favourite book, authors, genres and recommended reads. At Whittington, we celebrate reading throughout every phase in school. In addition, throughout the school year the importance of reading is enhanced through World Book Day, author and poet visits, Shakespeare Week, Book Fairs and sponsored reading events to further enrich our English curriculum.
Each week, we spend time enjoying reading for pleasure in our classrooms during a dedicated reading for pleasure time. When we read for pleasure, pupils are able to choose the books they wish to read and enjoy, can choose to share a book with a peer, choose to read topic books related to our wider curriculum or listen to an adult in the classroom reading aloud to the children.
Additionally, every day, pupils share a story in their classrooms; adults read a class book aloud to the children to further promote a love for reading.
Language Acquisition & Vocabulary Development
We endeavour to ensure we provide our pupils with a 'language rich' environment; we do this by ensuring we have a wide range of texts displayed around our school, to correlate with our wider curriculum. We work closely with a range of book fairs in raising the profile of reading to ensure we share the importance of reading with our parents, carers and wider community. Within our classrooms, we explore ambitious vocabulary across the wider curriculum to ensure we acquire an understanding of tricky language across the wider curriculum through the use of our knowledge organisers and working walls.
At Whittington Primary School, we aim to share our vision of high aspirations for all of our pupils through our high expectations across the wider curriculum; by setting these high expectations, our pupils are aware of the standards we expect in all lessons and learning opportunities.
Reading at Whittington Primary and Nursery School
Reading is a high priority area of our English curriculum at Whittington Primary. Reading is a fundamental skill, used to stimulate children's imaginations and learn to acquire a love for books. A centralised aspect of our Book-Led Curriculum across the school, reading influences the thoughts, feelings and emotions of all of our learners. We monitor the children’s reading at home and encourage parents to be fully active and engaged with us in this in order to support their child’s ongoing development.
Reading takes place at least once a week in class with a teacher or teaching assistant. If children are working below their chronological reading age, targeted intervention and support is put in place. Children in all classes still have access to story time and have a class book for a sustained period: this ensures that reading is correctly modelled to children as well as giving them the opportunity to enjoy being read to.
Phonics at Whittington Primary and Nursery School
At Whittington Primary School, we use the Rocket Phonics to support our children in developing their reading skills. The books are banded according to their level of difficulty, providing children with a challenging reading experience which also allows them to use their developing phonic and whole word knowledge to read independently. The scheme comprises of a mixture of Fiction, Non-fiction and Traditional tales, which allows children to experience a variety of texts.
To see more information on how to support your child with phonics please see the information from Rocket Phonics below.
Writing a Whittington Primary and Nursery School
We aim to develop children’s ability to produce well-structured, detailed writing in which the meaning is made clear and which engages the interest of the audience / reader. Particular attention is paid throughout the school to the formal structures of English: grammatical detail, punctuation and spelling. Our approach at Whittington Primary when teaching writing covers the transcription and composition requirements of the National Curriculum.
Throughout Early Years, Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2, our writing follows the Book-Led curriculum in place across the school. Writing opportunities are sourced and developed based on the class text within each year group.
Our curriculum allows all to have the opportunity to explore high-quality texts in depth, enhancing reading comprehension and providing meaningful contexts and purposes for writing. The teaching of this programme is flexible and class teachers are then, in turn, able to apply their own creativity to cover the objectives.
Teachers clearly model writing skills and document the learning journey through consistent working walls; guided writing sessions are used to target specific needs of both groups and individuals. Children have opportunities to write at length, in extended, independent writing sessions at the end of a unit of work – applying their taught skills to an unsupported piece of writing.
Grammar at Whittington Primary and Nursery School
As stipulated in the National Curriculum, the grammar of our first language is learnt naturally and implicitly through interactions with other speakers and from reading. Explicit knowledge of grammar is, however, very important, as it gives us more conscious control and choice in our language.
Grammar lessons are taught weekly as part of our book-led curriculum and sequence of lessons. Pupils are taught discrete grammar skills, allowing opportunities to identify, practice and consolidate grammatical understanding. It is class teachers' expectations that, following the sequence of lessons to form building blocks to a piece of writing, pupils will begin to independently apply the grammar skills and content taught and embed these within their writing.
Spelling at Whittington Primary and Nursery School
At Whittington Primary School, spelling is taught in focused sessions within each class. Spellings are sent home in each year group as part of the children’s homework; the pupils are then tested on these words in their weekly spelling tests.
Challenge at Whittington Primary and Nursery School
All children will be challenged in English every day. We will ensure challenge happens in lessons by
- Asking questions that make children think broader and deeper.
- Encouraging independence by reducing support when writing.
- Giving tasks so that the children can show they can write in different styles and for different audiences.
- By gradually taking away a scaffold so that the children can show that they can do it.