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, 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 pupils 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 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
- writing enables learning
- 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
Speaking and Listening Intent
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
Read Write Inc phonics is used in KS2 where appropriate.
Reading Intervention and Toe by Toe are used to support 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.
Fluency in KS2:
- Vocabulary, punctuation and grammar is taught in context and discreetly
- Across the curriculum, teachers model fluency by reading texts aloud to the whole class.
- Model texts in Talk for writing
- Echo reading during 1:1 reading time.
- Children explore their own author voice by reading their own writing to each other and the class.
- Adults read children’s writing aloud. The link between the role of punctuation, sentence structure and the shape of sentences when reading fluently is made through the child’s own writing.
- All classes have storytime where fluency is modelled.
Reading comprehension and responding to texts
Fluency and confidence lead to comprehension.
Reading in KS2:
- Weekly Guided Reading lessons.
- Guided Reading material is selected from commercially produced schemes or other texts (online or hard copy) selected by the teacher.
- Guided Reading focus is on vocabulary, inference, prediction, retrieval (skimming and scanning/non-fiction organisational devices), explanation, author intent and storytelling devices and discussion.
- Individual readers are heard regularly – daily where appropriate.
- Aidan Chambers’ Tell Me response frame is used in English lessons.
- 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 which is always based upon a classic text.
- 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
- ReadTheory and Learning by Questions are online resources which we use to develop comprehension skills.
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 use 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.
Reading for Pleasure in KS2:
- Class Reading Area
- Children are encouraged to recommend books to each other
- Book Talk takes place after quiet reading time in class
- KS2 has a list of core reading books for each class
- Twice yearly Book Fairs
- Author visits – virtual and in person
- Classes visits to local libraries
- Visits from Library Services for Schools' Book-bus
- SORA, online library, to use at home and school.
Reading skills are monitored in Guided Reading sessions and 1:1 reading.
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 further 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.
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 also 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 support staff by cascading training and resources, discussions and mentoring. 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.
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. 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 quantitative 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.