At Dean Field Community Primary School, we believe children should be given the fundamental skills they need to read and write fluently and with confidence.
A good use and understanding of the English language underpins the whole curriculum and a high expectation of writing applies across all subjects. In English lessons, children are exposed to inspiring and challenging texts to build on reading skills and provide excellent writing opportunities. We want children to love reading and enjoy writing. We want them to express themselves, be creative and expand their imagination through a broad range of stimulus including carefully chosen books, extracts, poems, films and experiences.
How our English curriculum is constructed
For years 1 – 6, we follow the National Curriculum as defined by the Department for Education.
Our English curriculum is designed to engage and enthuse our children with wider opportunities, exposing them to challenging texts which work alongside our creative curriculum and ultimately produce confident, independent readers and writers.
English is taught daily from Year 1 to Year 6 with a focus on either reading or writing. We follow a whole-book teaching approach, meaning each year group studies one book a half term and all of the English lessons are planned from the text. These books are carefully chosen and regularly reviewed to ensure they deepen the learning in that half-term’s topic and that they provide excellent opportunities for improving the reading and writing skills of all children. These skills are taken from our in-house progression of skills document.
Teachers plan to include at least one opportunity to write at length (appropriate to their year group) a week and carefully choose the text types which need to be covered using the Whole School Overview of Texts document. Grammar and punctuation objectives are expertly weaved into lessons depending on the text type being taught. The grammar and punctuation skills are documented in the skills progression handbook, and also in child-friendly Must Knows appropriate to their year group, which children have to refer to in their English book. Spellings are taught discreetly and are outlined on each half-term’s Medium Term Plan. The application of spelling rules that have previously been taught though, is an ongoing process which is again incorporated into English lessons, following revisit and recap methods. Year 1 also have daily phonics lessons alongside their class text-focused English lesson.
The presentation of work and neat, legible handwriting is paramount at Dean Field. Our children are taught to use pre-cursive script in KS1 then cursive script in KS2. Children begin by writing in pencil and then progress to pen in KS2 when they may choose which writing implement best suits their handwriting style, as the National Curriculum states.
By the time they leave our school, we aim to have children who are able, confident writers with a firm understanding of spelling, grammar and punctuation but ultimately, children who have developed their imagination, can express themselves in a succinct and assured way, and who have a real love for the written word.
In Early Years, writing is taught under the area of Literacy: Reading & Writing. To support the learning of Writing, the skills in EYFS prime areas need to be developed. This is done through playing and exploring, being active, and through creative and critical thinking which takes place both inside and outside pf the classroom. These are known as the 3 characteristics of effective learning. By providing learning opportunities throughout the EYFS academic year, children will develop the skills in the above areas to make them ‘curriculum ready’ for more formal English teaching when they enter Year One.
In EYFS, we ensure we use this plan and the progression for skills document to specifically support the areas ‘Literacy; Reading’ and ‘Literacy: Writing’ as this area have the greatest link to the subject English. Writing is also supported through elements of ‘Physical Development; Moving and Handling’- specifically fine and gross motor movements needed for handwriting
In lower and upper school (year 1 – year 6) we use Spelling Shed to set pupils weekly spelling that are taken from the National Curriculum. The spelling rules are taught in class through a discrete spelling lesson or within an English lesson. Pupils are then encouraged to use Spelling Shed to practise their spellings for the week by playing various, engaging games. Some pupils are set individual assignments that cater for their need or that provide them with a challenge.