At Redmarley Primary Academy, it is our intention that all children will develop the skills and knowledge in their English lessons to enable them to develop a high standard of oral and written literacy skills which they will be able to apply to other areas of their lives. Our curriculum has been designed using the National Curriculum as a basis.
We believe that a curriculum which is based around high quality texts will enable children to be exposed to a wide range or literature, genres and authors, and to books which provide cultural capital. Through our curriculum we intend that all pupils will be able to read, write spell and speak within age related expectations.
We provide opportunities for children to write within a range of contexts and for a range of purposes, and help them to understand the relevant skills and style needed to do so. We ensure that the children are given opportunities to read and write daily, to develop fluency, understanding and confidence. We give opportunities to apply skills of grammar and punctuation across the school curriculum, as well as within a daily English lesson.
It is our intention that children develop early reading skills through daily phonics lessons (based upon Letters and Sounds) and learn to love reading, given opportunities to explore different texts and discuss them widely. All classes have a Class book around which their curriculum is based. This text is linked to films, poetry and non-fiction texts to give a broad and balanced curriculum in which children develop a deep understanding of core ideas within a text. We encourage children to engage with our class book and also to read widely and often from books of their choice or which match the phonics stage they are learning.
We want our learners to take pride in their written work, and in their English skills, and encourage presentation to be neat and careful. We display our learners work to allow them to take pride in what the do. It is important to us that the children develop skills to be resilient and respond to feedback, as well as being confident to ‘have a go’ and try out new skills.
All pupils at RPA engage with a daily hour long English lesson, in which key skills for grammar, punctuation and spellings are taught alongside key writing skills. We use The Write Stuff as a basis for our teaching of writing, and teach grammar and punctuation as separate lessons as well as reinforcing these skills in our writing. A progression grid for suggested writing outcomes and grammar at each Key Stage has been produced by the Subject Lead, based around the National Curriculum.
We are developing the reading environments within each classroom and dedicate 15 minutes every day to reading our class books to help to foster a love of reading with the children through promoting this as a positive time. We encourage reading at home, and from EYFS – year 4 the children have reading records in which their parents record when they have read with their children. In years 5 and 6, the children record their own reading within their ‘reading journals’ with some input from parents. In order to help our parents understand how to support reading at home, and give context with how we teach reading at RPA, we invite our parents to attend reading workshops at the start of each academic year.
In EYFS and year 1, all children have a daily Phonics lesson, which is based around the Letters and Sounds guidance, whilst drawing upon other resources to help engage the learners and provide varied ways of learning, for example through song and movements. More details of this can be found in our Phonics Policy. In years 2-6, the children are given weekly spellings to practice at home, and these are reinforced through regular teaching sessions in class. Spellings are tested weekly. In addition to this, years 2-6 have daily Reading lessons, which use a whole class approach to explore a range of text types, as well as learning skills of comprehension and inference. ‘Hooked on Books’ is used by all teachers to plan their reading lessons. Children are given opportunities to read 1:1 with an adult as often as possible, and those who are not making progress are heard to read by a trained professional and offered extra opportunities to read. More information about progression in reading can be found in the ‘Progression in Reading Document’.
Children are taught and practise their handwriting regularly, both in discrete handwriting lessons and within their English lessons. In EYFS the children are taught to write using pre-cursive, and years 1-6 are taught handwriting using cursive text.
Working walls are used in each classroom to help the children develop within the writing process, including plot points and examples of sentences created in sentence stacking lessons. We also include a range of resources which the children are able to use independently to help their writing. High quality writing is encouraged throughout all curriculum areas, and the children are given a range of opportunities to explore their skills. High quality written work is often displayed around the school and in each classroom as part of displays.
In order to monitor progress, each child has a writing progression folder and independent writing book in which a piece of written work is added each term. This is passed through school with the child to enable the teachers to check that the children are making progress from year to year. Teachers track progress in reading and writing each half term using Insight Tracking, our in house data system, as well as regular formative assessment in the children’s books, which are marked regularly. This informs future planning for each class. Each term, reading progress is monitored using PIRA assessments. Pupil progress meetings are held each term between the class teacher and the Head teacher to ensure individual and group progress. Any children not making progress are offered additional support through small group work, 1:1 support, and sometimes interventions.
The children at RPA are offered a range of books to read within each classroom. They are given books which match their phonics understanding, and as they move through the school this builds to giving children a choice of texts which they are able to read for pleasure. These are recommended with support from the Class Teacher. Our children enjoy reading and can make links between texts and wider learning and themes in other curriculum areas. Through attending parent reading workshops, the parents understand how we teach reading at RPA and how they can support their children’s reading at home.
Subject leader carries out book scrutiny and as a MAT we meet to moderate writing. This enables us to share ideas for teaching and learning and check that our pupils are in line to meet age related expectations.
At the start of each school year, the English Subject leader completes an action plan which is shared with the link governors and Head Teacher. This is then evaluated throughout the school year.
Assessments – both summative and formative – allow for accurate pupil progress meetings and ensure pupils are making progress, as well as highlighting those who need further support and intervention in order to meet age related expectations.
As an outstanding school we aim for 85% of pupils to meet the expected standard in phonics in Year 1. It is our aim that in 2022, in their Key Stage 1 SAT’s, 80% of our pupils meet the expected standard in reading and 75% meet the expected standard in their writing. In Key Stage 2, it is our aim that 80% of our pupils meet the expected standard in their reading, and 80% in their writing and GPS.
The children usually take great pride in their written work in all subjects and can apply the skills taught in English to wider subject areas. They understand that as writers, work needs to be developed and improved and they respond to feedback from teaching staff in order to improve. Our pupils try hard with their English work and show excellent creativity and independence.