At Padstow, we believe that a quality English curriculum should develop children’s love of reading and writing which are key life skills. Reading and writing are intrinsically linked, where one helps to develop the other, and our cross-curricular approach gives knowledge rich content enabling the development of both.
We also recognise the importance of nurturing a culture where children take pride in their writing, can write fluently and confidently, adapting their language and style for a range of purposes.
Speaking and listening is a priority because children need a fluent command of language to understand, and take advantage of, the cultural, intellectual and spiritual aspects of the world. To develop this, they need exposure to quality conversations, first-hand experiences and access to quality literature.
Through careful planning and use of the opportunities provided across the curriculum, we use a wide variety of quality texts and resources to motivate and inspire. Class reading books (fiction, non-fiction and poetry) are chosen to immerse children in the current topic and to widen children’s knowledge and enjoyment of a wide range of authors and vocabulary.
To build a curriculum where the children of Padstow School become enthusiastic and engaged with English. We intend for them to become confident learners understanding how important their reading, writing, speaking and listening skills will be in the real world. By giving this context to their learning, children will understand the value of English to them now and in their futures enabling them to become confident, inquisitive and resilient learners.
Teacher subject knowledge is addressed with continuing Professional Development in the school and wider Trust settings.
Padstow uses the highly successful Read, Write, Inc (RWI) Phonics programme to teach the children to read, write and spell. Pupils in EYFS and KS1 will have a daily phonics session, in small groups, where each reading leader will listen to children read, ask them questions about the text and teach them new sounds. The children also practice reading and spelling ‘tricky words’, such as once, have, said & where. The children practice their reading with books that match the phonics and the ‘tricky words’ they know. Children start thinking they can read and this hugely improves their self-confidence. Skills are embedded across the wider curriculum and during other writing opportunities.
As children progress beyond the RWI programme, they move onto the No Nonsense spelling programme which teaches the fundamentals of spelling built upon the phonic knowledge already learnt.
We follow the LetterJoin handwriting programme where the early skills of letter formation are taught alongside the need to adopt a tripod grip. As the children progress in the accuracy of letter formation they are taught to develop a ‘lead in’ line developing a pre-cursive style as they move through Y1. As pupils secure this pre-cursive script they are then taught how to join in a progressive manner. A key element of the Letter Join approach is that practice is consistent across the school.
We have a rigorous and well organised English curriculum that provides many purposeful opportunities for reading, writing and discussion. Teachers ensure that cross curricular links with concurrent topic work are woven into the programme of study. Our curriculum closely follows the aims of the National Curriculum for English 2014.
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.
During daily English lessons, we develop a range of writing skills, using a wide variety of quality texts and resources to motivate and inspire our children to become excellent, engaging writers. As they go through our school, they develop the ability to structure, produce and edit writing which is fit for purpose and engages the reader. Through this writing, each year group will be exposed to the spelling and grammar age related objectives from the National Curriculum, which supports the children in being able to learn and apply them in their own writing.
Vocabulary acquisition and writing independence, due to Covid lockdowns, have been noted as key areas to address so vocabulary specific activities are being introduced.
Through a cross-curricular approach, opportunities for writing are presented so that a range of genre is experienced and relate to the over-arching topic for the term.
There are also regular opportunities for developing independence in producing a final polished independent writing where the pupil draws on all the recent learning and skills they have acquired. These pieces of work (Big Writes) will reflect learning from earlier learning and gradually build up to showcase a progression of skills from Y1 to Y6.
At Padstow, we aim to inspire every child to develop a passion for reading and books. By equipping the children with the skills to read, understand and decipher a variety of texts, they will be empowered to explore the wider curriculum and sustain their enjoyment of reading. We celebrate the world of books in various ways including participating in World Book Day, hosting book fairs, awarding weekly certificates, etc.
In the EYFS, an interest and a love of books is paramount to foster from the beginning of a child’s time at school. An adult shares a story daily with the children, discussing the story with them and listening to their ideas and comments about books read. Alongside the enjoyment of the texts, the sharing of books help the children to learn the direction of the text, start to understand the contextual clues within pictures and to introduce exciting vocabulary and reinforces recognition of first words and patterns.
The children join in with daily phonics lessons using the RWI scheme and throughout the day we start to embed this learning through activities, games, rhymes, songs and actions. The children take home reading books with a phonics focus – these can sometimes be pictorial for discussion. When they are ready the children will begin to read from our reading scheme books both at school and to share at home.
We provide a daily Reading Record book throughout a child’s time with us. These give guidance on strategies to look out for and encourage.
In KS1, children continue to read from the RWI reading scheme and have daily lessons in phonics and English, combining the different elements of speaking and listening, reading and writing. Age and stage appropriate spelling patterns are introduced alongside weekly spelling and weekly reading comprehension.
The children are heard reading regularly on a one-to one basis and shared group reading. Teachers regularly screen and assess the children and small group support and/or one to one intervention is provided where needed.
Children are expected to read at home every day with an adult. Alongside the reading scheme books, the children are encouraged to choose a library book to read at home.
In KS2, skills continue to be embedded through weekly spellings, grammar and punctuation lessons and daily English and Guided Reading lessons.
The school uses the No Nonsense Spelling Scheme to structure the teaching of spellings. The teaching is based on spelling rules following statutory word lists and patterns.
Grammar and punctuation is taught in a variety of ways. Children experience whole-class, regular sessions in line with the National Curriculum. Furthermore, some English lessons will have a grammar focus when teaching writing skills, particularly when looking at advanced punctuation, which has an impact on the meaning of sentences.
Guided Reading sessions provide opportunities for access to high quality texts, discussion, development of vocabulary and comprehension skills. A broad range of genres, including non-fiction, biography, poetry, plays and narratives will be used. Some of these texts will be linked to topic work or reflect key events in the school calendar.
Accelerated Reader. This programme is used from Y2 upwards. It works by using the results of an online reading assessment to set a Personal ZPD range for each child. This is the ideal difficulty range for reading books which will support that child’s reading development. Each time an AR book is read, children can complete a quiz which will assess how well a child has understood what they have read. They can earn rewards and certificates.
The school has invested in the stock of Accelerated Reader books to ensure children have a wide range of books to choose from. As children progress through the reading scheme, they are exposed to a broader use of vocabulary, grammar and sentence structure and are encouraged to discuss the books they have read.
Children are expected to read at least 5 times a week at home with an adult and that reading to be recorded in the Reading Record book. More proficient readers should be able to read independently and to spend time discussing their reading with an adult. Question prompts for parents are sent home to assist these discussions.
As part of our library revamp, the school also subscribes to the Cornwall County Library Service and our stock of books is changed termly to provide an ever changing and varied selection of reading materials that both challenge and inspire the children, feeding their imagination and passion for reading.
Children with Special Educational Needs (SEND):
Class teachers work together with the SENDCo to create Individual Education Plans (IEP) with precise, small steps to enable children to make improvements with their reading, writing or spelling. This IEP details the support the child needs and the next steps needed. These IEPs are regularly reviewed and updated.