English has a fundamentally important place in society. The skills of language are essential to enable an individual to fully participate in the world in which they live and express their ideas and emotions. A high standard of education in English will teach pupils to speak, read and write fluently in order to communicate with others and for others to communicate with them. Reading gives pupils the chance to develop culturally, emotionally, intellectually, spiritually and socially. It allows children to acquire new knowledge and plays a key role in development.
Phonics (EYFS, KS1 & KS2)
In the Early Years Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1 children follow the Sounds-Write phonics programme.
Sounds-Write has two incremental phases, known as the 'initial code' and the 'extended code.' In the initial code, which is mostly covered in preschool, in Foundation Stage and into Year 1, the activities concentrate on phonological awareness and oral blending and segmenting. The extended code focuses on high quality phonic work which incorporates reading and spelling, moving on to the reading, spelling and writing of longer polysyllabic words. The aim is to ensure that by the end of Key Stage 1, children have developed fluent word reading skills and have good foundations in spelling which they will continue to develop into Key Stage 2.
Key Stage 1 and 2
Children follow the programmes of study for English as set out in the new National Curriculum. Children are taught the fundamental skills of reading, writing and speaking and listening through a whole class text. Units are based on both fiction and non-fiction writing and the children study a variety of authors. Whole class texts are carefully chosen to ensure that they contain challenging and stimulating vocabulary. This is done in order to maximise opportunities to engage in and encourage discussion of words and their meaning in context.
In Foundation Stage and early Key Stage 1, children largely read books from the Dandelion Readers and Launchers, moving on to the Oxford Reading Tree scheme when ready. Dandelion Readers and Launchers introduce pupils to keywords in an order that supports their learning in phonics. Books from the Oxford Reading Tree scheme are introduced when felt appropriate by the class teacher. Reading takes place throughout the school day and may be as part of a guided reading group or individually. We actively encourage the children to read frequently at home and promote the importance of reading and children's enjoyment of it, by encouraging them to choose the books that they read at home as well as at school. Learning outcomes linked to reading are taught within English lessons and in other areas of the curriculum, where appropriate. During this time children are taught through the use of whole class texts. Teachers read regularly to their class to model the reading process and teach skills such as inference and deduction, as well as grammatical and punctuation conventions. A wide range of texts are read by and read to children including the text that the class are focusing on for their English learning for a particular term. In addition to this, other texts such as poems, non-fiction texts and fables are also read to children to ensure that they are exposed to as many text types as possible. Analysis and comprehension activities involving “real” texts are used to develop skills in these areas.
Our focus at The Academy of Woodlands is on grammatically accurate and fluent writing. Teachers model the writing and planning process through shared writing sessions where ideas are collected and developed.
In KS1, time is given for pupils to orally compose sentences before writing them and later to evaluate their writing with the teacher or other pupils.
In KS2, pupils may use writing similar to that which they are planning to write, in order to understand more about the structure. They will discuss ideas and draft their writing, later evaluating and editing their work.
Across the school, the children use drama, presentations and debate to enhance their literacy skills.
Grammar and punctuation are contextually taught within English lessons but also through discrete sessions where appropriate. Objectives taught within literacy are used to develop writing across the curriculum.
We encourage pupils to take pride in the presentation of their written work and reward pupils who maintain high standards in handwriting through incentives such as a pen licence. We aim to teach all children to write in a fluid, legible and joined style.
In KS1 and KS2, handwriting is taught frequently and through discrete, direct sessions and children are encouraged to write in a cursive style as soon as they have demonstrated that they are able to form all of their letters in the correct way and are ready to move on to joining their writing.
Grammar, Spelling and Punctuation
Grammatical terminology is used and taught throughout the school, with the aim being that children will be familiar with the correct vocabulary and have a basic understanding that can then be built upon in Key Stage 2.
Grammar may be a focus within the teaching of reading, writing and speaking. Once children have been taught a new grammatical concept, they are then given opportunities to apply and explore it further in their own writing and speech and to identify its use in texts shared in class.
In Key Stage 1, children are encouraged to learn and spell words correctly and practise this skill through weekly spelling tests, phonic activities and focused spelling tasks. Spellings are modelled and corrected regularly for them by the teaching staff.
In Key Stage 2, spelling patterns are again explicitly taught to the children through a variety of activities, such as dictation exercises, other focused spelling tasks and spelling tests.
Useful Information for Parents
Please click the links below for more information about the English curriculum for each year group from Year 1 to 6: