(including Phonics, Reading, Writing, Spelling and Grammar)
English at Mosborough provides the children with a love of reading, writing and discussion. High quality texts are shared and enjoyed and play a central role to the whole English curriculum. Our English curriculum aims to equip children with the literacy skills needed to read confidently, write for a range of purposes and discuss and articulate their ideas clearly. We believe that these skills are key in enabling our children to succeed and further their learning in life beyond Primary School. This is why our wider curriculum also recognises the importance of nurturing a culture where children love to read, take pride in their writing and can clearly and accurately adapt their language and speaking style for a range of contexts.
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
A strong culture for reading is embedded at Mosborough Primary School. The teaching of reading, both the technical aspect of decoding words and understanding and appreciating literature, is one of the most important aspects of school life here at Mosborough. Reading, taught in line with the National Curriculum, places reading for pleasure at its heart. Reading for pleasure is valued and encouraged through high quality reading areas in every classroom. Books and information about books are displayed attractively and browsing, choosing and reading within them takes place regularly. Children read independently, are listened to reading aloud and are read to daily which further aims to develop them as children who love to read. Pupils are given opportunities to read independently for sustained periods, building their reading stamina and giving them the ability to immerse themselves in their reading in a quiet and calm environment. We know that children who read for pleasure have enhanced levels of comprehension, an increased knowledge of grammar and show improvement in their writing. They also have more positive attitudes towards reading than their peers:
‘Young people who enjoy reading very much are nearly five times as likely to read above the expected level for their age compared with young people who do not enjoy reading at all.’
Children’s and Young People’s Reading Today, National Literacy Trust, 2012
At Mosborough, we have skilled teachers and teaching assistants delivering high quality phonics sessions using Essential Letters and Sounds. Within our delivery we use ‘cued articulation’ to further support our children, particularly those with communication and language needs. We believe that phonics provides the foundations of learning to make the development into fluent reading easier. Through phonics, children learn to blend the phonemes to read words. By the end of foundation, children will be ready to begin phase 5 phonics. By the end of year 1, children will have a secure
understanding of phase 5.
Our curriculum allows children to build the foundations of their literacy skills in order for learning in KS1 to build upon this. The development of language underpins all other areas of the Early Years curriculum and we enable our children to make progress and improve in all areas of their ‘Communication and Language Development’. Children are able to understand and demonstrate the value of listening attentively, giving their attention to what is read to them and responding to others during high quality discussions. They are able to ask and answer relevant questions and are supported throughout their time in foundation to build up their levels of concentration. Children are provided with many opportunities, through both adult led activities and within the provision, to engage fully when listening to stories in order for them to retell, respond to what they hear and use the vocabulary heard. Importantly, children in foundation are successful at expressing themselves effectively and are able to use a wide range of vocabulary and language skills when talking to others, this includes engaging in back and forth conversations, developing their own narrative and when offering explanations.
Speaking and listening
At Mosborough, we recognise the vital importance of spoken language in our pupils’ development. Therefore, oracy has a central place in our entire curriculum. Children at Mosborough are always encouraged and supported to speak in Standard English and our children can articulate their thinking and ideas clearly. Opportunities to talk come in all areas of our curriculum as this is recognised as a key tool to support children in their development and learning. In all curriculum subjects, an importance is placed upon the explicit teaching of vocabulary and language. This is built upon as children move through our school and teachers have extremely high expectations of pupils’ spoken language. Alongside this, our children are also supported to think critically in all areas of their learning which further places high expectations on their speaking and listening skills.
At Mosborough, it is our aim that all pupils leave us able to write clearly, accurately and coherently, with the ability to adapt their language and style to a range of contexts, purposes and audiences. Pupils are supported daily to produce written work to the best of their abilities. Spelling, grammar, punctuation and other specific writing elements are taught progressively within the context of both reading and writing. We have high expectations with regard to handwriting and presentation.
Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar
As a school, we embed the teaching of spelling, punctuation and grammar into our daily English lessons and when writing in other curriculum areas - for example history and geography - and when planning and writing evaluations in subjects such as science and DT. Specific language features are taught through our English lessons in a meaningful way, where children can apply new skills directly into their own writing outcomes.We recognise that writing is integral to all aspects of life and we endeavour to ensure that children develop a lifelong, healthy and enthusiastic attitude towards writing. Writing skills underpin most elements of the school curriculum and are an essential life-skill. Spelling, punctuation and grammar play a fundamental role in good spoken and written communication, which is the purpose of literacy. At Mosborough, we want the children to learn to communicate, read and write accurately and effectively. Being taught the conventions of spelling, punctuation and grammar and having the skills and confidence to apply these well are an important part of being fully literate.
Spellings are organised to ensure consolidation and progression throughout the school, linked to the children’s phonetical understanding and expectations from the national curriculum.
Short reading sessions focus on the key skills required to be a successful reader. Children are exposed to a range of poems, short fiction texts, fiction extracts and non-fiction texts throughout the year. They are taught to draw upon and extend their background knowledge, explore the vocabulary that they encounter, visualise what they imagine from their reading, read aloud and think aloud to become active readers; making inferences, predictions and drawing conclusions and become detectives to retrieve information and evidence from the texts that they read. In addition to these reading sessions, children are supported to develop their reading fluency and are given opportunities to increase their reading stamina by reading independently in many areas of the curriculum.
At Mosborough, phonics teaching is systematic, engaging, lively and interactive. Throughout foundation and year 1, children are placed in small groups according to the phase that they are working within. Based on formative assessment, children move within these groups to best meet their individual needs. Children read fully decodable texts matched to their phonic phase. Skilled teachers and teaching assistants deliver phonics daily following the review, teach, practise, apply, review approach. Children move systematically through the phonic phases until they reach phase 5. Where children require further support with their phonics knowledge, additional smaller groups are planned for and delivered daily. Children who continue to require further support, will receive phonics teaching and boosters beyond year 1.
From the first day in foundation children are supported to engage in learning that is both child initiated and adult-led; both of which support their communication and language skills. Daily interactions that form part of routines are rich in language. Throughout the year expectations of engagement, length of the session and content allows for a progression of skills. Within adult-led sessions, opportunities are thoughtfully planned to allow children to listen, think and respond. This includes working with learning partners within most sessions and using some Kagan structures to support interactions. Within the provision, teachers and teaching assistants thoughtfully facilitate discussions and encourage children to engage in activities alongside other children where they share their ideas, explain their thinking and engage in conversations. Through high quality discussions 1:1, in small groups and whole class children are expected to ask and answer questions, this is reinforced during adult-led activities where key question words are introduced alongside Communicate in Print and practised repeatedly.
On a weekly basis, children engage in story-telling activities linked to high quality texts, this includes a range of familiar stories that are re-read. The use of story-telling strategies are implemented in order to effectively allow children opportunities to develop their language, learn new vocabulary and practise speaking aloud. ‘Rainbow Talk’ is also used to facilitate the sharing of ideas, increased use of vocabulary and confidence in speaking to others. Foundation children also engage in Listening Comprehension sessions which all allow time for discussion, explanation and the sharing of ideas as well as high quality opportunities to learn and use new vocabulary from a range of text types.
Language development is carefully considered and planned for to allow children to effectively express themselves. Language stems using ‘Tower Hamlets’ are mapped out across the year to allow children to be exposed to and time to practise using a wide range of sentences and vocabulary when communicating.
Children who need additional support with their language and communication needs are supported via the delivery of LEAP or external services.
A high quality text, from the Power of Reading developed by the CLPE (Centre for Literacy in Primary Education), is used for a sequence of English learning each half term. This allows children to enjoy reading whole texts through their English lessons and become fully immersed into the vocabulary, characters, settings, themes, information and ideas in the literature that they are exploring. A range of writing opportunities are planned for within the sequence of learning and, throughout the year, children are given opportunities to write for a variety of contexts, audiences and purposes. All grammar and punctuation objectives for each year group are taught in context during the Autumn term and then revisited and embedded during the Spring and Summer terms.
Vocabulary Ninja ‘Word of the Day’ starters, are used in all English lessons to teach new vocabulary in context and allow the children to have daily opportunities to use and apply new vocabulary.
Assessment in the form of high quality verbal feedback and developmental marking, which children respond to, as well as self and peer editing, enables children to review and improve their writing and work towards producing high quality written pieces. Children use either ‘helping hands’ or ‘editing stations’ to edit and improve their writing. This includes checking and correcting spellings.
Spelling is taught as part of our daily English lessons. In year 1, spelling is taught in line with children’s current phonics phases. Children have opportunities to practise segmenting to spell words using learned phonemes and apply this to sentence writing. Dedicated time, within English lessons, is also given to learning and practising the year 1 common exception words.
In years 2-6, spelling is underpinned by the phonic knowledge that children have already gained and the spelling patterns outlined in the national curriculum are taught within English sequences. A focus is also placed on the spelling of words from the statutory word lists. Time is given to practise spelling new words and children are expected to spell these words correctly in their writing. Spelling mats and word banks are used to support children to make correct spelling choices in their writing and teachers look for opportunities to revisit previously taught spelling patterns that are pertinent to the focus text or writing outcome. During the Vocab Ninja Word of the Day starter, a particular emphasis is added to adding prefixes and suffixes to the word and exploring how this affects the spelling of the word.
At Mosborough, we pride ourselves on our children’s outcomes and their reading and writing abilities. The impact and measure of the effectiveness of our English curriculum is evident through discussions with pupils about the books they have read as well as through writing moderation. Formative assessment is used effectively and teachers have a good understanding of pupils’ strengths and areas for improvement in all areas of their English learning.
Continuous and rigorous assessment, ensures pupils move systematically through the phonic phases. As a result of high quality phonics teaching, children make good progress from their starting points.
Children leaving foundation and starting their journey in KS1 are equipped with the ability to engage in learning, focus on tasks and communicate their own ideas clearly. Good focus and concentration levels will allow children to access learning fully and this can be built upon in year 1 when more whole class learning is used.
Our children have the ability to talk with a learning partner, in small groups and in larger groups successfully and have built up a bank of sentence stems to support effective communication. The repetitive nature of the foundation curriculum allows for language stems to be embedded allowing good opportunities for this to be built upon in KS1 both in oral work and written work. In preparation for learning in other foundation subjects, children are able to ask questions and answer questions linked to experiences, events and stories.
The many opportunities that children engage in to talk about, share and retell stories/books enables children to access a wide variety of texts. In turn, this increases the amount of words children know and use and provides children with the knowledge they need to improve writing, particularly as they move through to year 1 and 2. Our children are able to talk confidently in sentences about what they want to write as well as retell sequences of sentences aloud. As a result, children are confident to articulate what they want to write clearly before recording; an important skill for writing and long term success in writing.
Teachers have a secure understanding of pupils’ reading fluency and comprehension abilities. Our teachers will dig deep in order to understand the set of competencies that underpin a child’s reading ability, identify where the gaps in children’s skills and knowledge lie and then plan how to close them. Throughout KS1 and 2, summative assessments are also used to identify any further emerging areas of need.
Teacher assessment performance descriptors are utilised to assess writing at the end of KS1 and KS2. These are used to assess whether at the end of each key stage children are ‘working towards the expected standard’, have met the ‘expected standard’ or are working at ‘greater depth’ within the standard. In other year groups, writing assessment documents are used to ensure writing progress is tracked closely. All children will have been taught a range of strategies and skills across the breadth of the curriculum throughout their time at Mosborough which will enable them to both meet and exceed the expected standard in English, across the written work they produce.
Spelling, punctuation and grammar
Teachers assess spelling, punctuation and grammar as part of ongoing writing assessments. Throughout KS2, summative assessments are also used to identify any further emerging areas of need.