English subject information
Rationale: (why we teach the subject, context of BPS, why we teach and plan the subject as we do)
At Bournville, we are striving to equip all children with the tools required to read and write at a level that allows success across all areas of the curriculum and life. Through the acquisition of these skills, we hope to instill a love of reading and writing that is formed in the earliest stages of our early years provision, nurtured and developed through KS1 and 2 and then continues to flourish as the children transition into KS3 and beyond.
Following a progressive curriculum in both reading and writing, children are targeted to meet the age related expectations for their year group. The basis of these curriculums are phonics rich, using the Learning Exchange “Phonics into Early Spelling Program” to support early reading and writing skills in the way of letter and word formation. Newly introduced strategies such are guided and controlled writing are then used to progress children to independent sentence writing during the transition from EYFS to KS1. Once these writing fundamentals are secured, children develop their independent writing skills through carefully planned activities and learning journeys – often linked to high quality texts. These learning journeys offer the children the chance to learn all aspects of the English curriculum including planning, editing and publishing.
Reading also follows the phonics approach as children are taught the 44 phonemes of the English language and graphemes that correspond to them. Securing this knowledge allows the children to access books and texts independently and further reading skills such as inference, vocabulary and sequencing are taught through discreet and daily guided reading sessions.
At Bournville Primary, we follow the Learning Exchange’s “Y2 – 6 Spelling Program” to deliver the appropriate SPAG objectives to children from Y2 upwards. This progressive document follows on from the phonics program and allows spelling rules to be introduced as it works alongside the National Curriculum objectives for each year group.
Subject organisation: (eg hours taught if year groups)
English is taught on a daily basis, with all areas of the English curriculum being address throughout the day. Teachers will plan opportunities for children to read and write each day, with some writing occurring in a cross curricular manner. The English curriculum time can be divided as teachers deem fit each day as the planned learning journeys (linked to a high quality text) often require immersion and exploration elements where little writing is completed inside the “English” lesson. These sessions are still vital to the journey as a whole and give the children a well balanced understanding of the English curriculum. Guided Reading sessions are conducted in a carousel fashion, with a daily rotation as well as individual reading opportunities worked into the day. SPAG is also covered daily. In KS1, phonics will form a vital component of the daily timetable whereas in KS2, teachers will ensure an equal coverage of both spelling and punctuation/grammar sessions over a fortnightly period.
Pedagogical approaches: (how do we teach the subject and why do we choose to use that approach)
Our English curriculum is based on the National Curriculum objectives and follows a sequential and progressive structure which allows children to secure a fundamental understanding of the English language (in both written and word form). As previously mentioned, EYFS start the journey towards well equipped readers and writers through the teaching of mark making and oral story telling. This develops throughout the EYFS as children are introduced to the phonics curriculum where teachers are able to build on children’s knowledge of letters and sounds to support their reading and writing of words and early captions. This transitions into KS1 where children continue to follow a phonetic approach as they become secure in using the full range of GPCs when reading appropriate books for their level and then apply these GPCs in their independent writing. This reading and writing is initially support heavily with adult support until the children are deemed secure enough and equipped with tools to support them independently. The writing process is taught through “controlled write” sessions with small focus groups of children working with a member of staff. A particular GPC is identified and a simple sentence is constructed around it. Children are supported in practicing the formation of this GPC before being taught the process of oral repetition and then the writing of the sentence. This small group focus allows for clear differentiation across the class and is an opportunity to address any gaps in the phonics curriculum. This approach is used until the children are secure in step 3 phonics. This means they have a secure understanding of the initial GPCS for the 44 phonemes in the English language. Once children have reached this stage, they are encouraged to apply their newly acquired skills to write independently, using a phonetic approach to spelling words. As the children progress through KS1, sequences of learning are introduced through the “Bournville 8 Part Planning Cycle”. This planning cycle was devised to allow teachers to plan a sequence of learning that encompasses all parts of the English Curriculum – from immersion to publishing. Working alongside a high quality text, teachers identify a genre of writing that the children will produce a piece work in the form of. This learning journey can last as little as two weeks or stretch up to 4 or 5 weeks depending on the depth of immersion and modelling required. A key component of the planning loop is the high quality modelling that is shared by teachers. As a staff, we understand that we cannot expect children to produce high quality pieces of work if we haven’t first shared how to write and apply new skills ourselves.
A carousel approach to guided reading allows staff to plan effectively and appropriately based on the levels of children within the class. Phonics still plays a major part of the guided reading process as the first half of any adult led session is heavily focused on GPC recognition, sight word reading and vocabulary understanding. This works throughout the year groups, with spelling rules becoming a future focus on latter year groups. Children are then taught the discreet skills of comprehension through carefully planned questions linked to the text. Follow on activities are also well planned by teachers and are done in a manner which allows for independence.
SPAG and Phonics are taught using a structure that allows for revision of prior knowledge but also a heavy focus the acquisition and application of new learning. The sessions planned to last no longer than 20 minutes to ensure that content is delivered in a slick and pacey manner. Children are entitled to access the objectives for their year group and if intervention is required, this often takes place as additional Phonics or SPAG input.
Tools and learning environments are also designed to support the independent reading and writing.