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English Subject Leadership

At Gilded Hollins, we have a number of aims to ensure our children are able to succeed in the wider-world once leaving us. We provide many learning and wider opportunities, across both key stages, which enable children to speak with clarity, confidence and expression, and to take account of their audience, purpose and differing situations.

We ensure all children are able to listen attentively and with understanding in order to respond to others to teach children effective communication, both verbal and non – verbal, through a variety of drama activities.

A whole school priority is encouraging a love of reading within our children. Because our children leave us being able to confidently read, we are setting them up for the next stage on their learning journey. We teach children the skills to become a reflective reader, through contact with interesting fiction and non-fiction texts.

e also ensure children leave us as writers. Children in all classes write every week for a range of purposes and for a variety of audiences. Teachers plan to ensure the writing is something meaningful or of interest to the children. This planning approach ensures children are able to express themselves clearly and creatively through their own writing. To ensure our children have the best chance of success, we develop their ability to discuss and evaluate their own writing and that of others.

We also ensure all children have a broad base of strategies to help them with spelling, punctuation and grammar in their writing. As we have a recognised school handwriting style, all children are taught to develop a neat, clear and fluent handwriting style.

Intent

The aims of the English Curriculum at Gilded Hollins is to:

  • enable children to speak with clarity, confidence and expression, and to take account of their audience, purpose and differing situations
  • enable children to listen attentively and with understanding in order to respond to others to teach children effective communication, both verbal and non – verbal, through a variety of drama activities
  • encourage a love of reading for pleasure, information, interest and to widen children’s knowledge of the world
  • give children the skills and reflective reader, through contact with interesting fiction and non-fiction texts
  • to improve the planning, drafting and editing of their written work
  • enable children to express themselves clearly and creatively through their own writing
  • give children a broad base of strategies to help them with spelling, punctuation and grammar
  • help children to develop a neat, clear and fluent handwriting style
  • develop the children’s ability to discuss and evaluate their own writing and that of others

 

How the subject is taught:

English is taught across the school using good quality texts as a stimulus for learning.  Each class has at least one whole-class text that is read, shared and enjoyed by all, every term.  These may link to the learning challenge or the interests of the particular cohort.

Teachers plan using a bespoke key skills programme for reading and writing, written to match the exact needs of our learners. Objectives are taken from the New Curriculum as well as various best practice guidelines.  This ensures broad objectives are broken down in to child-friendly language enabling the precise and explicit teaching of basic skills.  It is an expectation that children then apply and practise these skills across the curriculum.  For example, writing non-chronological reports in history or science or an explanation text in geography.

 

Within a weekly period, each class will be taught one lesson with a discrete grammar focus; one comprehension or reading skills lesson; a lesson based on text analysis followed by a series of lessons where children may participate in shared or group writing as well as planning and scripting their own piece of writing. It is at the teacher’s discretion as to how they order these lessons.  Children will be given the opportunity to act upon feedback and edit and improve their independent writing during lesson time.

 

How the subject is taught:

English is taught across the school using good quality texts as a stimulus for learning.  Each class has at least one whole-class text that is read, shared and enjoyed by all, every term.  These may link to the learning challenge or the interests of the particular cohort.

Teachers plan using a bespoke key skills programme for reading and writing, written to match the exact needs of our learners. Objectives are taken from the New Curriculum as well as various best practice guidelines.  This ensures broad objectives are broken down in to child-friendly language enabling the precise and explicit teaching of basic skills.  It is an expectation that children then apply and practise these skills across the curriculum.  For example, writing non-chronological reports in history or science or an explanation text in geography.

 

Within a weekly period, each class will be taught one lesson with a discrete grammar focus; one comprehension or reading skills lesson; a lesson based on text analysis followed by a series of lessons where children may participate in shared or group writing as well as planning and scripting their own piece of writing. It is at the teacher’s discretion as to how they order these lessons.  Children will be given the opportunity to act upon feedback and edit and improve their independent writing during lesson time.

 

Phonics:

Phonics is taught through the Read Write Inc in EYFS, Key Stage 1 and is continued to be used as an intervention programme into Key Stage 2.  To supplement this scheme, school uses other phonics or intervention programmes to meet the needs of all learners.  Each morning, all children in Early Years and Key Stage 1 are grouped homogenously, by stage not age, and have a discrete phonics lesson. Additional phonics sessions take place in year groups during the afternoon. Key Stage 2 children are taught weekly spelling patterns and rules. Some of the rules are revision of the previous phase or year group in school. In each spelling lesson, the children are taught the rule and then have chance to verbally explain, in a rally robin, why certain words are spelt the way they are. This is modelled by the teacher first to ensure the children are explaining using the spelling rule. The next part of the lesson gives the children chance to practise applying the rule to 15-18 words; this is marked straight away and any misconceptions are addressed. The lesson finishes with children being taught specific exceptions to the rule they have been learning.

 

Reading:

From Early Years, pupils begin to read using phonetically decodeable texts that are in line with their reading ability. During the Read Write Inc sessions, pupils are given regular opportunities to read with a partner while the adult leading the group moves around listening to them read. In addition to a phonetically targeted text, pupils are provided with two books per week to read to an adult at home. This practice continues in to Key Stage 1. As soon as children are confident decoders, they progress on to ‘real’ books where their inference and deduction skills are developed, as well as their love for reading. Any children who are in the lowest 20%, or are not reading frequently enough at home, will have daily 1:1 reading with an adult in school.

 

The approach to reading throughout Key Stage 2 may be seen as taking a ‘three-pronged approach’.

All children in KS2 are taught specific reading skills each week during their Reading Response lesson. In this lesson, the children are given questions from all of the content domains.  Each Key Stage 2 each class also does an additional reading lesson at least 3 times a week. This lesson is a Whole Class Reading session. The children do three lessons exploring different texts about a linked theme. For example, in Year Six the children will explore texts based on the theme of Pompeii (a non-fiction text, fiction text and a song). The Whole Class Reading sessions are structured to have a vocabulary focus at the start, a quick retrieval section and then a series of partnered talk or invidual thinking questions which lead to solo work at the end. In addition, each KS2 class has a Book Circle session which is dedicated to foster a passion for stories and the written word. This is where children are given the chance to share and talk about a range of books whilst in a small group.

 

Regardless of year group, it is the expectation that every child in school will read at home at least five times weekly. This is monitored in school through the use of a digital reading record which is posted on Seesaw for staff to keep track of.

 

Writing:

Writing stems from quality texts, film units, class projects or extra curricular activities that may stimulate children’s interests and enthusiasm for writing. For example, Year 6 children write letters to the the parents of the new Reception intake. In this way, all the elements of the writing process are embedded as one whole. This approach to writing is consistent across the school.

Over the year, children will experience a range of writing types including fiction, non-fiction and poetry. The skills learnt during writing sessions are expected to be applied across the curriculum.

 

How the subject is assessed:

Writing: All children write their extended piece in their English book, rather than in  a separate writing book. This is so the writing process is all in once place. The class teacher assesses children by recording ticks on their key skills sheet (at the front of each child’s book) next to objectives that have been met satisfactorily.  Each child’s writing will be assessed twice per half term against this criteria.  Pupils talk about their work with their teacher and are given targets to work on before their next assessment cycle. Children are expected to carry out improvements, with a scaffold from the teacher if required, using a purple ‘polishing pen’.

 

The assessments taken from these key skills sheets are entered onto the school’s main tracking document (Insight), which has been adapted to match the school’s criteria. In this way, progress can be measured and discussed at termly pupil progress meetings.

Once per term,  class teachers will meet with LLG collegues from other schools to ensure accuracy of assessment.  Additionally, in-house moderation takes place where collegues meet, discuss and review marking and feedback in key stages. 

 

Reading: Reading is assessed formally through PIRA tests once per term.  This gives pupils a scaled score so that teachers can target individual and groups of pupils accordingly.  Assessment for learning takes place daily during every single reading lesson. Any misconceptions are addressed during the session and the class teacher will adjust their planning, if necessary, for the following session.   

 

Spelling: In Key Stage 1, spelling is taught during the Read Write Inc lesson. Children learn to spell words using the sound they have learnt that day. They use ‘Fred fingers’ to say the sounds in the words and then write it. ‘Tick or fix’ is used for the children to check and, if needed, correct their spelling. They also then recap on words with sounds they already know during the ‘review word’ section.

In Key Stage 2, spellings are given to pupils as a list and are practised at home (in books or on EdShed) and in school.  Spelling is assessed formally using an unseen spelling test each half term.

 

Grammar and Punctuation: Whole class targets for grammar and punctuation may be taken from the yearly objectives,  weekly dictation or extended writing.  In addition, pupils undertake a short grammar test each half term.  These tests, published by Rising Stars, have been written based on questions from the KS1 and KS2 SPaG tests and therefore pupils are familiar with key vocabulary before reaching UKS2.  

 

The Power 5’ are our non-negotiables:

  • Capital Letters to start sentences
  • Capital Letters for proper nouns
  • Full Stops
  • Correct spelling of high frequency words
  • Correct letter formation

 

Monitoring, Evaluation and Review 

Writing is monitored through regular book scrutinies carried out by the senior leadership team. Teachers are given individual feedback on areas for success as well as areas for improvement.  All foundation subject books are also collected to ensure high standards of written English are expected and applied across the curriculum. 

Additionally, whole school scrutinies take place for staff to recognise the efforts of the whole team and to see the expectations of pupils across phases.  This also ensures a consistent approach towards the presentation of pupil work.

 

We ensure that all children practice their reading and writing skills in all the subjects they study, we aim to provide regular opportunities for pupils to write in other subjects.

 

Lesson drop ins take place with a literacy focus at least once annually. CPD opportunities that arise during the observations or work scrutinies are developed during whole school training or used in individual performance management. 

 

Pupils’ Voice:

Class teachers interviewed pupils about what they had learnt in the previous year to monitor and improve practice across the school.

Here’s what the children had to say...

Key Stage 1

I know I am making progress in writing because I know what my targets are.

I am proud of my work about The Tiger Who Came to Tea because I tried really hard with my sentences and handwriting.

I like reading with a partner during phonics.

Looking for ‘special friends’ has helped me spot sounds in words.

Key Stage 2

I like the new writing assessment grid because it makes me think about the skills from other years too.

If I’m struggling, my teaching will ask me to look back at the model text and the working try and find what I need on there. If I’m still struggling, she will work with me on my whiteboard.

I love whole class reading. I’ve picked a few books to go and read because we started them in whole class reading lessons.

 

Where to now? Recent developments, highlights and priorities for future developments

2021-2022

1. Continue to improve reading provision in EYFS, KS1 and KS2.

a) To further develop our approach reading (whole class reading in KS2).

  • WCR is embedded within our KS2 curriculum and classrooms. The data is showing this, alongside the rest of our reading provision, is having a positive impact on learning.

b) Improve impact of reading / phonics interventions (ongoing).

  • All staff had RWI training delivered by a RWI trainer. Weekly RWI coaching takes place for all staff delivering the programme. KS1 LSAs have had 1:1 reading training. Welfare staff who read with the children have also had 1:1 reading training.

 

2. To further develop accuracy rates in spelling across the whole school.

  • RWI
  • In KS2, we have implemented a new spelling scheme. We are monitoring the impact this is having. This will be an ongoing action for the next academic year.

 

3. To further enable teachers to develop their skill and expertise in teaching pupils how to write well with improved outcomes in spelling, vocabulary acquisition and a more consistent, supportive method of planning.

  • All staff have received CPD in: planning writing, spelling lessons, WCR lessons, writing assessment, writing moderation and the reading culture in school. Weekly RWI coaching takes place for all staff delivering the programme. All staff had RWI training delivered by a RWI trainer. KS1 LSAs have had 1:1 reading training. This is an action which will continue in the next academic year.

 

Next steps (2022-2023)

  • Continue to develop accuracy rates in spelling across the whole school.
  • Continue to improve reading provision in EYFS, KS1 and KS2.
  • Continue to enable teachers to develop their skill and expertise in teaching pupils how to write well with improved outcomes in spelling, vocabulary acquisition and a more consistent, supportive method of planning.
  • Ensure that vocabulary in English lessons, and across the curriculum, is a high priority.
  • To focus on tier 2 vocabulary which will be able to be applied across the curriculum.

 

English at Gilded Hollins

Examples of our Writing

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