At Ford Primary School we recognise that English has a pre-eminent place in education and in society. A high-quality education in English teaches pupils 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, pupils have a chance to develop culturally, emotionally, intellectually, socially and spiritually. Literature, especially, plays a key role in such development. Reading also enables pupils both to 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; pupils, therefore, who do not learn to speak, read and write fluently and confidently are effectively disenfranchised. During their time at Ford Primary School we want our children to learn to confidently articulate themselves, both verbally and in writing, so they can communicate effectively with a variety of different audiences and for a variety of different purposes by utilising their increasing understanding and command of the English language.
Our teachers follow a Talk for Writing approach to plan and deliver English lessons. Each English unit is planned around an engaging, age-appropriate key text which links in with the term’s topic. Key texts can be written (for example books or newspaper articles) or visual (for example film clips or news broadcasts). Our teachers produce an overview sheet for each unit which explicitly shows our children the skills they will be learning about during the course of the unit. Opportunities to teach SPaG objectives in a meaningful way, which links to the key text and written outcome for a unit, are utilised. Our teachers ensure that each unit and key text is introduced in an engaging way in order to ‘hook’ children in. The written outcome for each unit has a clear audience and purpose so that our children feel motivated to write. Opportunities for our children to share their writing with a wide and varied audience are capitalised upon.
Each English unit comprises of three main parts: innovation, imitation and invention. During the innovation stage, our children really get to grips with the genre of writing they will be expected to use for the unit’s written outcome. They take part in a variety of different activities designed to familiarise them with the key text and writing genre, including text mapping; book talk; author talk; drama and roleplay; and speaking and listening activities. A key part of the innovation stage is the teaching of a sequence of skills-based lessons which will enable children to make progress towards the ‘I can’ statements on the overview sheet for each unit. The activities which take place in skills-based lessons link to the key text and enable children to learn and refine skills and techniques to apply to their written outcomes at the end of the unit. During the imitation stage, our children use the boxing up technique to help them plan their own versions of the key text. Our teachers use shared and guided writing sessions to assist children in successfully applying the unit’s skills to their own writing to improve the quality of their writing and impact it has upon their readers. Our children are given a variety of opportunities to edit their writing using purple polishing pens and editing toolkits independently, with their peers and with teacher/TA support. During the invention stage, our children are given the opportunity to plan, draft and edit their own independent applications of the writing genre. Our teachers ensure that time is dedicated to allowing children to publish, and verbally share, their writing outcomes so they can be experienced by a wider audience.
To assist our children in feeling confident when writing down their ideas, our teachers teach regular handwriting and spelling lessons. Our teachers use Penpals for Handwriting resources to teach children a fast and fluent handwriting style which progresses to using diagonal and horizontal joins by the end of Key Stage 1. In Key Stage 1, spelling is taught through Read, Write, Inc. In Key Stage 2, spelling is taught using the Westover Green Spelling Programme. Our Key Stage 2 teachers teach one spelling lesson a week focusing on a particular spelling rule, pattern or a certain letter sound or string. Our Key Stage 2 children are given a set of spellings to learn each week which exemplifies the week’s spelling focus. Activities to help reinforce and practise these spellings and their meanings take place within the school day and children are also encouraged to practise them at home.
At Ford Primary School we ensure that, during their time with us, our children are taught, practise and refine the skills needed to use the written and spoken word to communicate effectively with a variety of different audiences for a variety of different purposes.
At Ford Primary School we carefully monitor the impact our teaching of the English curriculum has on each individual child’s progress and attainment. External assessments at the end of each key stage, external moderation and our internal assessments provide detailed information about how well our English curriculum is meeting the needs of our children and inform us of any areas of strength and also areas for development. We explicitly moderate children’s books as a staff once a year. Children’s books are also monitored by the senior leadership team during our standards days and are used as evidence during our pupil premium meetings. Children’s views on their experiences and opinions about their learning and the teaching they receive are sought out by the senior leadership team as a part of standards days.