English

English Curriculum

St Anne's recognises that the development of English has a profound influence upon the whole course of a child's life. The key aspects of speaking, listening, reading and writing are not only taught through a well structured English Curriculum, but also interwoven into the wider curriculum across the school. Our curriculum follows the aims of the National Curriculum for English (2014) and the Early Years Foundation Stage Framework. 

At St Anne's, we firmly support the core national curriculum aims to ensure that all pupils:

  • Read easily, fluently and with good understanding;
  • Develop the habit of reading widely and often, for pleasure and information;
  • Acquire a wide vocabulary, an understanding of grammar and knowledge of linguistic conventions for reading, writing and spoken language;
  • Appreciate our rich and varied literary heritage;
  • Write clearly, accurately and coherently, adapting their language and style in and for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences;
  • Use discussion in order to learn; they should be able to elaborate and explain clearly their understanding and ideas;
  • Are competent in the arts of speaking and listening, making formal presentations, demonstrating to others and participating in debate.

 

Writing

Our writing curriculum is designed to expose children to high-quality literature at all stages of their journey through the school. Our writing culture supports children to see themselves as writers, become inspired by high quality texts and authors, apply rich and varied vocabulary discerningly and develop both stamina and resilience for writing.

In planning our writing curriculum we have used resources from Herts For Learning PA+ to help guide our curriculum structure across the school.

All sequences of learning are planned using a 3 phase approach.

These phases are also adapted across the school to suit both the ages and experiences of the children.

Phase One: 

This is the exploration into a new genre or stimulus. Children explore the composition of the text. Exciting and engaging opportunities are provided for the children, including real-life contexts/scenarios and role pay; the children engage in a variety of discussion, drama and debate. They will actively engage with a new genre of writing, key features of each genre are identified so children can develop their own success criteria for their piece of writing. 

Phase Two: 

Children are to rehearse relevant text-type features which may have been identified in the first phase of writing. This may include the rehearsal of expanded noun phrases if the children are writing a story in phase three. As well as the rehearsal of features, children now plan their own version of the text type.

Phase Three: 

Using the planning from phase 2, children compose their initial written pieces. However, it is rare for any writer to be happy with their first draft. There are always ways in which it can be improved and developed further. It is imperative that editing/redrafting is taught regularly throughout the writing process and also in an age-appropriate way. For example, the teacher modelling aloud, guided editing, peer editing and self-editing. Editing should occur at all stages of the writing process; not just at the end of an extended write.

Vocabulary

Children’s command of vocabulary is fundamental to learning and progress across the school. Vocabulary is developed actively, building systematically on pupil’s current knowledge and deepening their understanding of etymology and morphology (word origins and structures) to increase their store of words. Simultaneously, pupils make links between known and new vocabulary, and discuss and apply shades of meaning. In this way, children expand the vocabulary choices that are available to them. It is essential to introduce technical vocabulary which define each curriculum subject. Vocabulary development is underpinned by an oracy culture. At St Anne's, we place high value on the conscious and purposeful selection of well-chosen vocabulary and appropriate sentence structure to enrich access to learning and feed into written work across the curriculum.

 

 

Handwriting

The St. Anne’s Handwriting Policy aims to have a consistent, cursive approach to handwriting across the school to ensure high levels of presentation. As recommended by the British Dyslexia Association, Pupils are encouraged to adopt a continuous cursive style of writing by the time they are in Key Stage 2. Its most important feature is that each letter is formed without taking the pencil off the paper. Consequently, each word is formed in one, flowing movement.

In Reception, we focus on developing children's gross and fine motor skills. These impact greatly on how a child sits and controls a pencil for writing. Letter formation is taught through adult interaction through the continuous provision and more discreetly within phonic sessions. 

Children in Key Stage 1 are taught the pre-cursive script to prepare them for joining their handwriting by the end of Year 2.  Handwriting is taught daily for up to 15 minutes, including explicit teacher modelling. 

Children in Key Stage 2 are taught continuous, cursive, joined handwriting daily for up to 15 minutes. Children are encouraged to practice handwriting and Pen Licences are awarded. The teaching of handwriting is linked to statutory spelling words. Pupils in Years 5 and 6 should use pens.

Writing Assessment

In each year group, the children’s writing is assessed with examples across the curriculum, not just in English. Teachers assess pupils’ understanding against the criteria for their year group, using specific curriculum objectives. Teachers often work together to moderate written work and these teacher assessments feed into Pupil Progress Meetings for each class at the end of each term. 

When assessing writing teachers pay special attention is paid to whether or not the pupils work is guided or independent; marking codes should be used to assist this. 

For spelling, teachers will look for evidence of children applying spelling rules in their written work; this will form a large part of spelling assessment. However, teachers may also use observations and information from discrete spelling lessons alongside this.

Phonics and Spelling

St Anne's uses the Floppy's Phonics to deliver a high quality phonic program for our children. Floppy Phonics has been validated by the Department for Education (DfE) as an effective systematic synthetic phonics teaching programmes (SSP)  It introduces the children to the letters and sounds – the alphabetic code – that will become the foundation of their reading and writing.

Children in the Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1, have daily phonic sessions using this program. The sessions follow a set structure and provide children with the opportunity to master the phonic sounds, hear them at the start, in the middle and at the end of words and blend them to read words. The scheme provides a wide range of interactive resources including a reading scheme that follows each child's phonic development. Children bring home 'sound books' to practice the sounds they are learning in school, as well as matched reading books that allows a child to continue to practice the sounds they have already learnt and build their phonic knowledge step by step. 

Children are assessed each half term to ensure that they are making the progress expected. Children who require further support receive small group interventions to help them catch up and make progress.  

At the end of Year 1, the National Phonic Screening is carried out. Children who require more support in reaching the standard, are screened again the following year at the end of Year 2. 

All classes in school have daily reading activities. In KS1 and KS2 all children have a guided reading session each day. Children in KS2 who require further support with phonics continue to use the Floppy Phonic scheme and have their sessions delivered in small groups and on a 121 level daily.  

Following on from Floppy's Phonics, children move onto whole class spelling strategy lessons using the No Nonsense Spelling program.