Here at Upwood Primary Academy, we recognise the value that a high-quality English curriculum can offer to our pupils. We believe all pupils are entitled to access a high quality, broad and balanced English curriculum. We believe that reading and comprehending is the cornerstone of learning, and as such our pupils are encouraged to foster a love of reading and read widely for pleasure.
Teachers carefully select high-quality texts which allow our pupils to gain the basic skills and information required to thrive in modern life. It is very important to us at Upwood Primary Academy that our children can relate to, and feel inspired by, the authors and texts they read. These texts are the stimulus from which our writing is created.
We believe that providing children with opportunities to write for a range of purposes is integral to their educational journey. It is vital that they are able to build on previously taught skills, grammar features and sentence structures to their writing in English lessons and across the curriculum.
All children from Foundation Stage to Year 6 are provided with a range of opportunities to develop and apply their reading, writing, speaking and listening skills across all areas of the curriculum. We believe that a secure basis in all areas of English is crucial to a high-quality education and will provide our children the tools they need to participate fully as a member of society.
At Upwood Primary Academy, we encourage our pupils, from entering school in EYFS, to progress efficiently and promptly through all the levels of our school home-reading scheme, which incorporates a range of text types, including: stories, poetry, non-fiction, comic strips, classic texts and a wide-range of texts from well-known authors. As well as this, a wide-range of texts linked to the current learning are also accessible to pupils in book areas and direct teaching.
Here at Upwood, we implement the Mckie Mastery Literacy programme to teach reading. Children are taught in groups appropriate to their ability, not their age. This ensures that all our children have learning which is designed to meet their needs and challenges. Groupings are assessed and evaluated every 8 weeks, taking into consideration what is best for the individual pupil. As this is a whole-school approach to learning, some KS2 pupils will be in Power Steps groups, as this is what best meets their needs and will enable them to make good progress.
Reading lessons take place three times per week, with an emphasis on reading whole books which are challenging for the children. We endeavour to ensure that our children become fluent and resilient readers, being able to decode and answer a range of questions using evidence from the text, which then leads into children applying these skills to their independent writing. As with the Power Maths, we follow the Power Cycle for our English lessons;
- Modelling: the teacher shows the children what they will be learning that lesson. This lasts a maximum of 5 minutes and the children are active listening only.
- Guided practice: the teacher guides the children through the learning using their voice only. The children are doing what they are told to by the teacher.
- Partner practice: the children work together in pairs to complete activities which relate to the learning from the modelled and guided parts of the lesson.
- Independent application: the children apply the learning from the first three parts of the cycle independently
All children are taught English using this strategy, thus ensuring that there is consistency of expectations throughout the school.
· All of A combination of different reading schemes are used in school and the children are encouraged to read these books at home. Children start reading fully decodable books in Foundation and progress through our reading schemes books, in line with their phonics progress, throughout Key Stage One. These books help the children to build upon the phonics work they complete in their daily phonics lessons and to see themselves as successful early readers.
Teachers regularly assess our pupil’s phonic knowledge using our phonics story and gap finder assessments. These regular assessments inform planning, allow teachers to identify gaps in learning and ensure that the pupils have reading books which match their current phonics level. Regular reading time with an adult in school, in a 1 to 1 or group situation, in Key Stage 1 also allows us to monitor pupils’ reading books for suitability.
In Key Stage Two, or when pupils are ready, teachers aid the children in selecting their reading texts to ensure they are appropriate and offer sufficient challenge. At Upwood Primary Academy, our pupils have the autonomy to choose the texts that interest and challenge them as a reader, as well as texts that have been recommended to them by peers or adults. Reading Scheme books may be used to provide children in Key Stage 2 with additional, structured support in reading if required.
Throughout the school, but particularly in Key Stage 1, our pupils enjoy having stories read to them. Early Years practitioners carefully organise environments for high-quality play to support speaking and listening skills. Practitioners aim to extend pupils vocabulary through quality interactions during their play and through modelling language.
Each classroom has a reading corner with carefully chosen texts written by a range of authors; children are encouraged to borrow from their class reading corner to supplement their reading, in school. Each Key Stage 2 class also has a ‘Book Series’. This includes several books by the same author. This encourages children to find an author they enjoy and read consecutive books. All children throughout the school, are encouraged to take reading corner/book series books home, to supplement their reading scheme books, either sharing with a parent/carer, or reading independently. Children sign a declaration to show they will take care of our books, developing respect for literature.
At Upwood Primary Academy, we implement Mckie Mastery Power Steps Phonics to teach early Reading and Spelling in EYFS and KS1. Children are grouped according to gaps in knowledge and phonics teaching is pitched towards these gaps in learning. Children are assessed regularly, to track their progress and groupings are constantly reviewed to reflect children’s learning development. Children in KS2 may also be involved in the groupings. Children are encouraged to transfer the skills they learn in phonics lessons into their independent reading and writing.
During Writing lessons, we provide the children with opportunities to develop basic skills, linked to the text they are reading. We encourage our children to write often and well, through providing a diverse range of stimulating writing throughout the week, leading to shorter incidental pieces of writing and longer written outcomes that allow children to choose appropriate vocabulary and structures for a given audience. Class novels, enrichment days, theatre productions, film clips, music and class visits are all used as a means of generating and supporting creativity in writing and reading.
We place a strong emphasis on children developing and improving their own written work, building on prior learning and through working independently, and with peers and adults, regular opportunities are provided to amend, evaluate, redraft and polish writing.
Speaking and listening:
Our English curriculum is structured and planned to ensure that all pupils develop the ability to excel in spoken language, Reading, Writing and Grammar and vocabulary through daily English lessons. Our pupils are expected to speak politely, clearly and correctly; they are encouraged to convey their ideas fluently and confidently and to ask questions.
In addition to this, we have developed a range of extra activities to promote English in school throughout the year. This includes spending time in our study area, World Book Day and the Reading Olympics (a competition to encourage home reading).
The impact of our curriculum and quality first teaching is to ensure that our pupils not only acquire the relevant age-related knowledge and skills, but also the confidence to assist them progress onto the next stage of their education and lives.
By the time our pupils leave Upwood Primary Academy, they will:
• Be confident when speaking and listening, with the ability to contribute to discussion and debate; to communicate and further their learning
• Be able to read fluently both for pleasure and to gain knowledge
• Enjoy writing for purpose and across a range of genres
• Have received work that is appropriate for them enabling them to make progress
• Have a wide vocabulary and be adventurous with vocabulary choices within their writing
• Leave primary school being able to effectively apply spelling rules and patterns they have been taught
The quality of writing in English and curriculum books is evaluated by learning walks, drop ins, pupil voice and work scrutiny. These inform future areas for improvement.