The English national curriculum (2014) states that: ‘The overarching aim for English in the national curriculum is to promote high standards of language and literacy by equipping pupils with a strong command of the spoken and written language, and to develop their love of literature through widespread reading for enjoyment.’
We believe the exposure of children’s literature within the primary school setting is vital as a rich context for learning; not only within English as a subject but to support building a reading culture throughout the school.
A book based curriculum is at the core of our curriculum
We aim to use high quality books that offer opportunities for empathy and can aid philosophical enquiry, where children see their cultures, families and relationships reflected, as a means of developing the spoken language requirements through debate, drama and discussion using the issues raised through, and within, the text.
By placing books at the core, we are allowing teachers to use the text as the context for the requirements of the national curriculum.
Our curriculum supports teachers with ensuring that objectives for reading and writing, including those for grammar can have purpose. We will always aim for our writing opportunities to be meaningful and to feel authentic. Whether these are short or long and that the audience is clear.
Coverage and Depth Through use of The Literary Curriculum
From January 2023 the school will be using The Literacy Curriculum as a basis for their English teaching. We have mapped the coverage of the entire English Programme of Study for KS1 and KS2 for Writing and Reading Comprehension, as well as meeting the needs of the statutory 2021 Early Years Framework
In many cases objectives are covered more than once and children have opportunities to apply these several times over the course of a year, as well as to consolidate prior knowledge from previous years.
This approach supports children to think deeply and develop skills with depth.
During their time at John Donne, pupils learn to become enthusiastic and critical readers of fiction and non-fiction. In reading, pupils are taught how to retrieve information, analyse, predict and evaluate what they read.
The school uses Supersonic Phonic Friends for teaching phonics. The children will be introduced to phonics and hearing sounds when they start Nursery. When children begin learning their phonemes, they will have a reading book which contains the phonemes they are learning. This will help them to be a successful reader from an early age. Children will also learn the high frequency words.
The school uses a range of reading schemes to support the teaching and learning of reading and comprehension:-
- Colin Big Cat Phonics
- Oxford Reading Tree
- Rigby Star
The children will be matched with a text appropriate to their reading age. Parents are actively encouraged to be involved in the process of reading with their children and books are regularly taken home to be enjoyed together.
Speaking and Listening
Spoken language underpins the quality and variety of language that pupils hear and speak. It is vital for developing pupils’ vocabulary and grammar and their understanding for reading and writing. As a school we will ensure the continual development of pupils’ confidence and competence in spoken language and listening skills. Children are given opportunities for exploring their thinking skills through discussion, debate, drama and role play. In order to do this the basic skills have to be mastered and the practise of them must be consistent, progressive and well balanced in line with the National Curriculum.
Reading is the most vital skill learnt in the early years of school. Through reading pupils have a chance to develop culturally, emotionally, intellectually, socially and spiritually. There are two strands of reading, being able to read words and being able to understand the meaning of words and sentences. Our school aim is for pupils to be fluent and independent readers by the time they leave us, with a love of literature and books.
We aim to make children competent, confident writers, to enable them to use the written word to communicate effectively. Opportunities for writing occur throughout the curriculum, as well as specific English lessons, and the children are taught the many different genres, for example, lists, stories, diaries, dialogues and accounts. In this way they begin to understand that writing takes different forms for different purposes, for example, children are actively involved in developing the school’s newsletter for parents and children. We actively seek to provide opportunities for outside visitors to visit our school to stimulate and enthuse our learners in the writing process.
Handwriting is taught weekly to develop the children’s letter formation. Children are encouraged to be able to join their letters by the end of Year 1 and this is encouraged within every lesson throughout the school. By Year 5 children will be able to use a pen.
Spelling, vocabulary, grammar and punctuation
Children follow our structured phonics scheme from entering school in Nursery . This scheme teaches children to blend, segment and manipulate sounds in words independently. There are many different spelling strategies that we teach children to help them to decode spellings effectively. Spellings are also used to enhance children’s vocabulary and the children are encouraged to use these newly found words in their everyday writing. Each week children are given weekly spellings to learn at home and to investigate spelling rules.
There is also a focus on grammatical structures and punctuation. We encourage children to edit and improve their writing, focusing on their spelling, punctuation and grammar.