Intent

English has a pre-eminent place in education and in society. Our high-quality education in English will teach our children to speak and write fluently so that they can communicate their ideas and emotions to others and through their reading and listening, others can communicate with them. Through reading in particular, our children will have a chance to develop culturally, emotionally, intellectually, socially and spiritually. Literature, especially, plays a key role in such development. Reading will also enable our children to both acquire knowledge and to build on what they already know. All the skills of language are essential to participating fully as a member of society.

At St. Joseph’s, our intentions are that our children will learn to:

  • Read easily, fluently and with good understanding.
  • Become life-long, passionate readers, where reading is used not just to develop their subject-specific knowledge, but widen their understanding of their own and other cultures and societies, build their emotional intelligence and grow their imagination.
  • Develop the habit of reading widely and often, for both pleasure and information.
  • Acquire a wide range of vocabulary which is drawn from the books and texts read as well as being taught specifically.
  • Have an understanding of grammar and knowledge of linguistic conventions for reading, writing and spoken language.
  • Make connections between texts, their lives and the wider world.
  • Appreciate our rich and varied literary heritage.
  • Write clearly, accurately and coherently, understanding that there are different purposes and audiences to be able to adapt the way they communicate according to these.
  • Use discussion in order to learn; they should be able to elaborate and explain clearly their understanding and ideas.
  • Be competent in the arts of speaking and listening, making formal presentations, demonstrating to others and participating in debate.

Implementation

Children in Nursery, Reception and Year 1 learn to read through phonics.  At St. Joseph's we use the Little Wandle (Letters and Sounds revised) scheme. Our children are taught in fluid ability groups which may cross different year groups in the Lower Phase. We use reading schemes to help our children learn to read as we believe that a broad range of banded resources gives children access to a greater variety of genres and content. The children are listened to reading 1 to 1, at the very least, once per week. Our Year 1 children begin to have whole class guided reading sessions during the year and in Years 2-6, the children build on the skills they have acquired in the Lower Phase to concentrate more on their comprehension skills. They build on their reading stamina and comprehension skills perfecting their retrieval, summarising, inference, prediction and discussion skills as they progress through the school. Teachers assess the children according to the different reading domains; they also assess the children’s reading and comprehension skills at three points through the year.

At St. Joseph’s, we use the Power of Reading scheme to develop writing. Carefully chosen high quality texts are used in classrooms from Nursery to Year 6 to engage and inspire our children. The texts come in a variety of genres and are rich in vocabulary and our well trained staff use the texts to nurture and encourage a love of reading. The teaching sequences from the Power of Reading scheme form the basis of planning and are fun and creative which stimulate our children to have very pleasing writing outcomes.

We understand that quality writing is a considered process and the children build up to a final outcome over two to three weeks. A short introductory ‘Cold Write’ with no input benchmarks the children’s starting points. A ‘Big Write’ at the end of each unit of work assesses the outcomes. During the unit of work our children explore the features of the type of writing, they are taught techniques to use in this type of writing and learn or revisit relevant punctuation and grammar work before engaging in their final ‘Big Write’.

Modelling of writing is absolutely key to achieving the best outcomes. The modelling approach is based on Mark Hartley’s ‘The Art of Teaching Writing’ using pieces of original writing as the basis of pieces of written work. Our teachers model how to write in a particular writing style and children will learn, edit and improve their work. There is an emphasis on using the good vocabulary the children have met in guided reading or in other lessons and children will refer to their vocabulary books to include some of these words in their writing.

Impact

The impact on our children is clear: progress, sustained learning and transferrable skills. The children’s writing journey is well established and taught thoroughly across the Phases. Most genres of writing are familiar to our children and the teaching can focus on creativity, writer’s craft, sustained writing and manipulation of grammar and punctuation skills. 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 us 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.

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