At St Bede’s Catholic Primary School, we aim to create a positive and engaging experience of English for all of our pupils. We aim to thread this experience of reading, writing and oracy through all of our curriculum. Our aim is to give our children the skills and attitudes which they will need to flourish in their learning in our classrooms, then later, as they progress to secondary school and eventually the world of work. As a school, we know that some of our pupils have limited early language, rhyme and story experiences. As such, a key intent is to provide a language rich environment across the school. We have a strong focus on oracy as well as the acquisition of rhymes, sharing of stories and the patterns of language in storytelling and writing.
Our intention is that the skills, experiences and texts they work with enable our pupils to progress and to develop their understanding and enjoyment of all strands of the English Curriculum.
Our overarching aim for English is to promote high standards of language and literacy by equipping our pupils with a strong command of the spoken and written word and to develop their love of literature through widespread reading for enjoyment.
We aim to create a writing environment where:
- writing and ideas are valued, enjoyed and celebrated
- writing is clear, accurate, coherent and children are confident enough to adapt their language and style to a range of contexts, purposes and audiences
- presenting ideas and learning is a key part in every subject - whether it be written, spoken or presented more formally
- spelling is taught systematically through a uniform approach
- punctuation and grammar teaching are taught in context and the knowledge gives our children the framework for their writing to develop
- vocabulary is introduced, rehearsed and used in written and spoken work
- handwriting is legible and fluent
We aim to create a reading environment where:
- reading is at the heart of our learning
- pupils acquire the reading skills needed to understand and explore our curriculum and their world
- reading resources are at an age appropriate level for our pupils – offering both consolidation and challenge
- pupils develop the habit of reading for pleasure and information
- pupils are exposed to a wide range of texts which reflect our rich and varied literary heritage
We aim to create a speaking and listening environment where:
- pupils have the opportunity to present their ideas through storytelling, recital, drama, song, discussion, demonstration and formal presentation
- pupils develop their oracy skills to allow them to explain their understanding and ideas clearly
Some of our Year 3 children still require phonics teaching and the teaching assistant uses Read Write Inc phonics to support a small group of these children.
Two members of staff are trained in Reading Intervention and this is used to support children when appropriate.
Toe by Toe is used fo children with additional needs.
When children can read accurately, quickly and with expression, they are able to focus on understanding the content of the text and author intent.
We work on fluency in KS2 in a variety of ways.
- Across the curriculum, teachers model fluency by reading texts aloud to the whole class.
- As part of Talk for writing, teachers model texts and children learn and recite them.
- Using the same model, when children have 1:1 reading with an adult, the adult models fluent reading and the children echo it back. This enables the children to hear the text as it should be read and rehearse it aloud. The adult can then give feedback where necessary.
- Children read their own writing to each other and share it with the class. This enables them to hear their own author voice and for the teacher to hear where input may be needed.
- When the teacher reads a child’s work aloud, it enables them to give praise and status to writing as well as identifying areas for feedback or further work. This link between the role of punctuation, sentence structure and the shape of sentences when reading fluently is made through the child’s own writing.
- Vocabulary, punctuation and grammar learning increase the fluency of our pupils.
- All classes have storytime where fluency is modelled.
Reading comprehension and responding to texts
Fluency and confidence lead to comprehension.
- Reading Comprehension is taught in Guided Reading sessions which take place for all children for 30 mins per week. Further sessions are held for children who need support to develop their reading skills.
- Guided Reading material is selected from either: Rigby Star GR Scheme (Fiction, non-fiction), other non-fiction texts which are related to topic work or examples from an online or hard copy comprehension resource.
- These sessions are planned by the teaching staff and led by teachers and teaching assistants. The focus is on vocabulary, inference, prediction, retrieval (skimming and scanning/non-fiction organisational devices), explanation, author intent and storytelling devices and discussion.
- Understanding texts is also a focus for individual readers. Children have reading diaries where they answer a set of questions relating to the book they are reading (fiction, non-fiction and poetry). The questions cover the areas mentioned in Guided Reading as well as personal opinion and preference. Discussion about these questions and shared writing take place where necessary during 1:1 reading time.
- During English lessons, staff use Aidan Chambers’ Tell Me response frame, where children consider likes, dislike, puzzles and patterns in the text that they are studying. This enables the children to have a deeply personal response to texts but also indicates where there is a lack of understanding and further work may be necessary.
- Classic texts are available for children to read in reading areas. In addition to this, Teachers include them in their teaching, Guided Reading or Storytime.
- Classics are also explored by our yearly visit to the Theatre by The Lake Christmas production. This is always based upon a classic text from the Children's Literature cannon.
- Teachers use Storytime to engage the children in making predictions and inferences and highlighting authorial style and intent.
- Non-fiction stock is boosted by topic boxes from Cumbria Library Service for Schools. These books form a key part in topic work for individual research and expanding children’s knowledge beyond what is taught in lessons.
- ReadTheory and Learning by Questions are online resources which we use to develop comprehension skills.
KS2 staff draw up a list of readers who should be listened to every day. The children are a mixture of those who don’t read at home with an adult and those who need extra support to develop their reading. This list is fluid and can change as staff see fit. Our goal is to listen to the child every day, but in a busy and changing school timetable, we often only manage three times per week. Other children are listened to as time permits with an aim of once a fortnight, or to tie in with a new reading book. (This will increase when volunteer adults are allowed back into school)
When reading with an adult the children learn fluency and a range of comprehension skills. They are also encouraged to discuss plot, characters, likes and dislikes which ties in with our Reading for Pleasure goals.
Reading for Pleasure
We use the CLPE document ‘Reading for Pleasure: What We Know Works’ as our guide to developing reading for pleasure across the school.
- KS2 uses books from a variety of reading schemes (Rapid Readers, Ginn Pocket worlds, Rigby Star, and a selection of high quality texts which cover a range of genres. All fiction books are banded to show progression and allow for challenge for all children. The Literacy co-ordinator, who is an ex children’s librarian, orders stock with input from class teachers and Cumbria Library Service for Schools.
- Each class has their own appealing reading area with age appropriate books and a selection from the next band.
- Children are encouraged to recommend books to each other.
- To develop a community of readers, Book Talk takes place after quiet reading time in class. Children share their opinions and ideas and can ask each other questions about the books. Teachers guide the discussion to make links between books being read, plot, author etc This gives value to the children’s reading; it creates an environment where books have status and are talked about in a similar way to new apps/films/games and it encourages children to make and take recommendations.
- Children are also given, regular and sustained opportunities to talk together about the books that they are reading as a whole class to develop shared understanding of ideas and issues.
- KS2 has a list of core reading books for each class. It is our aim for every child to read as many of these titles as possible before they leave St Bede’s. These lists also help to create a community of readers as the children can discuss and share their enthusiasm because they have read the same titles. Year 5 are trialling Book Chat Cards which help to guide pupil’s independent book discussions.
- Twice yearly Book Fairs are held where parents and children are invited to purchase books.
- Over lockdown, we have participated in many online book fairs and meetings with authors. We intend to continue to use such online resources to give our children the opportunity to meet with authors and illustrators. This goes some way to mitigate the challenges associated with our location.
- Classes visit Morton or Carlisle Library. St Bede’s has twice yearly visits from Library Services for Schools Book-bus, where children choose and borrow new stock for their class libraries. All classes also enjoy a storytime from the librarian.
- We are trialing SORA, an online library, from which our pupils can borrow and read a selection of quality books at home and school.
- Books are given as end of term gifts from teachers in most classes.
Reading skills are monitored in guided reading sessions and 1:1 reading. Children are moved up bookbands when appropriate.
PIRA tests are used for formal assessment at the end of each term.
The teaching of writing skills runs through all of the subjects taught at St Bede’s. It is taught through a number of approaches including; Modelled, Shared, Guided and Independent writing. Through the adoption of Talk for Writing and Read, Write Inc. Phonics, writing is closely tied to reading.
The Nelson Thorne Handwriting scheme and RWI Phonics is used to teach a legible and joined cursive script.
The systematic teaching of phonics through reading and writing is taught through Read Write Inc. Phonics and is taught from Nursery.
It is taught daily and is continued in Y2 and Y3 where needed as indicated by phonics screening achievement.
Read Write Inc. Spelling scheme is followed from Year 2 to Year 6 and taught at least 3 times per week. These lessons are differentiated to meet the learning needs of the child.
SpellingFrame (online resource) is used to support this scheme.
Talk For Writing
We are presently consolidating our use of Talk for Writing across Years 3,4 and 5. This text-based approach gives room for the children to explore and develop their writing ideas. We use it for children to hug the model texts closely and to encourage confident independent application of skills.
In Y6, the writing is matched tightly to learning in foundation subjects. It is also tied closely to texts in those subjects as well as English.
Vocabulary and Grammar
These are key areas where the school has to work hard to compensate for some of our pupil’s early language experiences.
From our Nursery class upwards, we provide a language rich environment. All staff model and explain (both in taught lessons and in everyday communication), texts demonstrate and displays present and support.
Vocabulary and grammar are taught in context and discreetly where appropriate.
They are closely linked to Foundation Subjects and Talk for Writing Texts.
Teaching staff follow grammar requirements as set down in NC English Document Appendix 2.
Celebrating and sharing
Each class chooses a Writer of the Week. This piece of work is displayed in school and shared with parents on Seesaw.
Writer of the Week is celebrated in Assembly.
Writing – from across the curriculum - is read aloud in class by the pupil and the teacher.
Children read their work to each other.
Monitoring, Assessment and Moderation
There are Subject Leaders for EYFS/KS1 and KS2.
They monitor teaching and learning in the school through lesson observations, sharing planning, talking to children, book scrutinies and talking to staff.
Subject Leaders keep up to date by attending termly Carlisle School’s Partnership meetings and other courses which they cascade to teaching staff.
CPD is achieved through participation in school-based training, local and national courses. Areas for CPD are identified through talking to staff or in order to support the School Development Plan.
Writing assessment is ongoing in every lesson and helps teachers to plan and identify targeted pupil support.
Children use peer assessment as part of the editing process.
In Years 3,4 and 5 cold and hot writes are used as part of the Talk for Writing process to assess a child’s progress.
Writing is moderated in 4 ways:
- Between pairs of class teachers termly.
- Termly focus in Staff Meeting
- Writing Moderation Meetings for each year group with local schools.
- Formal Year 2 and Year 6 moderations.
Spoken Language and Performing Arts
- Spoken language skills and standard English are modelled by all staff.
- Opportunities for discussion is provided across the curriculum - whether to share ideas or present information. To engage in discussion, the children are taught how to listen and respond to other participants.
- All children participate in Worship Assemblies. Their audience is the whole school and class parents. They also read at mass and other faith based celebrations and plays.
- Applicants for Class and School Council have to present themselves to their voters and persuade the children to vote for them.
- Children record their ideas on Seesaw.
- Children participate in The Carlisle and District Music and Drama Festival. We enter a variety of spoken word classes – individual, small group and class.
- We welcome visiting experts and theatre companies to school and also visit local venues to see plays and performances.
We use qualitative and quantitive data to measure the impact of our English teaching.
At the end of each year we expect the children to have reached ARE for their year group. Some children will have progressed further and achieved Greater Depth. Children who have gaps in their knowledge and skills will be expected to have progressed from their personal starting point. These children will receive appropriate support and intervention.
The evidence for this comes from formal testing at the end of each term and National testing in Year 1, 2 and 6.
We also use evidence from formative and summative assessments, moderations within our school and area communities, talking to pupils and staff, book scrutinies and lesson observations.
Additionally, we listen to our pupils. Through discussion and feedback children can talk enthusiastically about their reading and writing. They make reading recommendations in their classroom and in assembly time. They are interviewed about English as part of the Subject Leader’s scrutiny time, where they are asked about their likes and dislikes, progress and suggestions.