The aims of the English Curriculum at Gilded Hollins are to:
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; teaching children effective communication, both verbal and non – verbal, through a variety of 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.
We 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.
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. This text then may be used to inspire various writing opportunities. We also use film units and real life events to inspire and engage children's interest giving a real purpose to read, write and communicate. For example, Year 6 children write letters to the new Reception intake.
Teachers plan using a bespoke key skills progression grid 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.
Phonics - EYFS and Key Stage 1:
Phonics is taught through the Read Write Inc scheme of work in EYFS, Key Stage 1 and is continued to be used as an intervention programme into lower Key Stage 2.
Each morning, all children in Early Years and Key Stage 1 are grouped homogenously, by stage not age, and have a discrete phonics lesson.
From the very first few days when they start at school, pupils begin to read using phonetically decodeable texts that are in line with their reading ability. During the Read Write Inc sessions, sounds are taught and embedded and pupils are given regular opportunities to read with a partner to practise and apply their phonetic knowledge whilst building fluency.
Additional phonics sessions take place in year groups during the afternoon.
Children have 3 books sent home weekly to read with an adult. These are based on the phonics that have been taught as well as the high frequency words. This practice continues in throughout EYFS and Key Stage 1. As soon as children are confident decoders and are able to read fluently, they progress onto ‘real’ books where their inference and deduction skills are developed, as well as their love for reading.
Any children who are not reading frequently enough at home, will have daily 1:1 reading with an adult in school.
Please see the reading tab on the website for more detail on our approach to phonics lessons using this scheme of work.
Key Stage 2:
The approach to reading throughout Key Stage 2 may be seen as taking a ‘three-pronged approach’.
1. All children in KS2 are taught specific reading skills each week during their Reading Response lesson. In this English lesson, the children are given questions from all of the content domains.
2. Each Key Stage 2 each class also does an additional reading lesson 4 times a week. This lesson is a Whole Class Reading session. The children are taught 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). Each text is a focus for two days. 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 individual thinking questions which lead to solo work at the end.
3. Each KS2 class has a weekly Book Circle session, lead by an adult, which is dedicated to foster a passion for stories and the written word. Books are carefully chosen to pique interest, stretch knowledge, or open up a new series of books. Guided by the adult, children join in with each book by reading the text chorally, individually or simply by listening. Talk and a book focused conversation is key to fostering a love of reading in all of our children.
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 stems from quality texts, film units, class projects or extra curricular activities that may stimulate children’s interests and enthusiasm for writing.
Within a weekly period, during English lessons, each class will be taught one lesson with a discrete grammar focus; one comprehension / 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. 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.
Key Stage 2 children are taught weekly spelling patterns and rules, building on the spelling patterns taught in the children's phonics lessons in KS1. 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.
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. Pupils talk about their work with their teacher and are given points to work on and improve. Children are expected to carry out improvements and edit their work, 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 colleagues meet, discuss and review marking and feedback in key stages.
Reading: Reading is assessed formally through formal reading 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 each 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 term. These tests use questions that are similar to the KS1 and KS2 grammar, spelling and punctuation tests and therefore pupils are familiar with key vocabulary before reaching UKS2.
Monitoring, Evaluation and Review
Writing is monitored through regular book scrutinies, pupil conversations and lesson drop-ins carried out by the subject leader and senior leadership team. Staff are given feedback on areas for success as well as areas for improvement.
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.
To 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 regularly. CPD opportunities that arise during the observations or work scrutinies are developed during whole school training or used in individual performance management.
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.
Impact: Where to now? Recent developments, highlights and priorities for future developments
1. Continue to improve reading provision in EYFS, KS1 and KS2.
a) To further develop our approach reading (whole class reading in KS2).
b) Improve impact of reading / phonics interventions (ongoing).
2. To further develop accuracy rates in spelling across the whole school.
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.
Good Level of Development 73%
Next steps (2022-2023)