English at Hever
Subject Lead: Miss L Pugh
Language is at the centre of identity, culture and learning. (David Allen)
Mastery of language facilitates communication and expression of thought, beliefs, concepts and feelings.
English language is the foundation for almost all learning which takes place in school, and communication within and beyond school.
The National Curriculum (2014) clearly states that teaching the English language is an essential, if not the most essential role of a primary school.
At Hever School, we recognise that without effective communication little achievement can be made. We therefore have a duty to ensure that English teaching is a priority; is necessarily cross-curricular and a constant through-out school life. It is part of the ‘essential knowledge’ (p6 National Curriculum) that is needed in society:
‘Teachers should develop pupil’s spoken language, reading, writing and vocabulary as integral aspects of the teaching of every subject. English is both a subject in its own right and the medium for teaching; for pupils, understanding the language provides access to the whole curriculum. Fluency in the English language is an essential foundation for success in all subjects.’ (p10 National Curriculum).
We concur in the National Curriculum’s assertion that ‘pupils…who do not learn to speak, read and write fluently and confidently are effectively disenfranchised’ (p13).
- That the teaching of English should uphold our core values of Love, Respect and Wisdom.
- That all students will be taught the necessary skills to use English effectively, confidently and accurately to the best of their ability.
- All students will be encouraged and expected to apply these skills and knowledge in a variety of contexts, for a range of purposes and to different audiences.
- Students will be encouraged to explore language experiences for the purpose of communication and enjoyment.
We believe that students of every age need to express themselves orally in a respectful manner, adapting their style to the purpose and audience. Spoken language skills are fundamental not only to the effectiveness of teaching and learning in all areas of the curriculum, but also for the emotional development and well-being of the students.
The National Curriculum states that pupils should be ‘taught to speak clearly and convey ideas confidently in Standard English’ (p10). They should:
Justify ideas with reasons
Ask questions to check understanding
Develop vocabulary and build knowledge.
Our connected provision for spoken language:
We encourage our pupils to speak clearly and confidently and articulate their views and opinions. We teach students how to express themselves orally in a respectful manner, matching their style and response to audience and purpose. We provide varied opportunities for listening and responding to literature, giving and receiving instructions. Students are provided with activities and opportunities to develop the skills of participating effectively in group discussions. The children will also be provided with the opportunity to take part in debate where they can practice formulating an argument and defending a viewpoint that is not their own.
Ways in which we support the development of spoken language include:
Activities which are planned to encourage full and active participation by all children, irrespective of ability
Children with specific speech and language and auditory problems are identified and specialist help sought, where appropriate
Encouraging talk-time through ‘show and tell’ which is shared in class
Activities that facilitate talking about books
Public speaking: poetry recitals; assemblies; worship; school shows
Events within the wider community
Drama / role play
PSHE and circle time
Reading is an essential skill for lifelong learners and has a direct effect upon progress in many curriculum areas.
Hever students are encouraged to develop an enthusiastic, independent and reflective approach to reading.
The National Curriculum states that pupils should be taught to read fluently, understand extended prose and be encouraged to read for pleasure. Reading is singled out as of extreme importance since through it ‘pupils have a chance to develop culturally, emotionally, intellectually, socially and spiritually’ (p13). Reading allows pupils to ‘acquire knowledge’ and to ‘build on what they already know’ (p13). Schools are expected to have library facilities and support and encourage reading at home.
The New National Curriculum divides reading skills into two strands:
Word reading/ Decoding
Our connected provision for Reading:
Students in Early Years and KS1 begin their learning to read journey with daily phonics, this follows the Ann Smalberger approach. Children are assessed regularly, throughout the year to ensure that they are making progress.
In KS1 the Collins Big Cat Phonics books are used to support the children with their home learning. Each child is provided with a stage appropriate, decodable, book which directly links to the sounds they are learning in school. This may be in printed or e-book format.
In KS2 children are provided with a banded book, in line with their reading age. This is further supported with the Collins E-book system.
Students learn to read through daily phonics until the end of year 1. Further phonics will continue in year 2, when deemed necessary.
Guided reading is used to teach decoding and comprehension on a daily basis throughout the school. In KS1 the children follow the Ann Smalberger approach to the teaching of phonics (supported by Collins Big Cat decodables). In KS2 the children follow the Reciprocal Teaching approach where they focus on the skills needed for clarifying, summarising, predicting and questioning. The use of the VIPERS stem sentences further assists the children in their mastery of these skills. This approach allows the children to take ownership of their own learning and creates independence as well as strong readers.
In addition to guided reading, children further develop their reading through comprehension activities. With the exception of Yrs R, 2 and 6, children's progress is tracked following assessments at the end of terms 2, 4 and 6. Further teacher assessments are submitted at the end of terms 1,3 and 5.
Students are also encouraged to read from a wide range of texts: fiction, non-fiction and poetry from library visits and high quality attractive books in classrooms.
Students are encouraged to read for pleasure using quiet reading time, being read to by or reading to an adult, and by taking part in special reading events such as book day, book fair week and readathons.
At Hever, we recognise that both these elements are essential to success and we support the acquisition of both sets of skills through various methods. We understand that these areas are clearly linked to the other aspects of English learning: speaking and listening, writing, grammar and vocabulary. We are also aware that reading is a developmental process and part of life-long learning and we encourage and praise students at every stage of it.
Ways in which we support the development of Reading include:
Reading for pleasure, quiet reading time, being read to by or reading to an adult, taking part in special reading events such as book day, book fair week
HART (Hever All Read Together) is experienced by every child in the school. During this time children are read a non-curriculum book, by their class teacher, in order to increase a love of literature.
Students are exposed to a range of texts from British heritage and those of other cultures during their school career
Students enjoy a reading-rich environment; they have generous access to reading material in inviting book corners in classrooms and in our well-stocked school library, manned by staff, volunteers and trained student librarians
Visits by published authors of fiction, non-fiction and magazines are a regular part of the Hever academic year
Hever School actively supports and participates in the annual Chiddingstone Literary Festival
Writing is a developmental process; students require frequent opportunities to write for a range of purposes and to experiment with different forms. We aim for Hever students to become confident, independent writers who are reflective about the process, content and accuracy of their written communication.
The National Curriculum states that pupils should:
- Develop the stamina and skills to write at length
- Use accurate spelling and punctuation
- Be grammatically correct
- Write in a range of ways and purposes including narratives, explanations, descriptions, comparisons, summaries and evaluations
- Write to support their understanding and consolidation of what they have heard or read
The 2014 National Curriculum divides writing skills into two strands:
- Transcription (spelling and handwriting)
- Composition (articulating ideas in speech and writing)
Our connected provision for Writing:
Teachers use the Write Stuff Sentence Stacking approach to teaching writing. This provides the children with the opportunity to practice 3 or more skills through learning chunks before transferring those skills to independent writing. To assist in this process, teachers use live modelling rather than IWB.
We teach SPaG (Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar) as part of our Write Stuff Scheme and also separately through Rising Stars resources.
We have a systematic approach, we revisit key learning and build upon it in all areas from phonics, through to grammar and spelling.
We use high quality texts, meta, modelled and shared or collaborative writing to demonstrate good practice.
We provide time for students to plan, edit and revise.
We mark extended pieces of work using the Write Stuff Marking System. This approach to marking encourages independence when finding errors.
We use success criteria for pupils to self assess or peer assess, when appropriate so they can self-evaluate effectively.
We use the Letter Join system.