English is one of the fundamental skills that we need to master during our time at school; it is at the core of all that we do and achieve. The ability to communicate and express ourselves effectively is paramount to ensure we lead a happy, successful and fulfilled life. English is not just about the written word but is also about the way we speak, listen, act and interpret the world around us; it is the means by which we express and understand ourselves and others and, without the skills needed in this subject, individuals are denied access to an array of opportunities. English pervades all areas of learning and forms an integral part of every other subject in our school and, as such, it is constantly being taught, revisited and developed by the children. It is also taught as a discrete subject for at least one hour per day following the programmes of study as exemplified in the National Curiculum in England (DfE Sept 2013). English comprises three distinct disciplines; speaking and listening, reading and writing.
- Oracy (speaking and listening) is taught through a wide range of carefully planned activities such as assemblies, the endeavours of the School and Class Council, circle time, drama and role play work, hot seating and the wider curriculum. The children regularly experience theatre groups such as ‘The Young Shakespeare Company’, introducing the children to Shakespeare in an exciting and memorable way. We also work with professional authors such as the poet Paul Cookson. These opportunities encourage the children to exceed their own expectations in an area that many find difficult.
- Reading is developed through a variety of approaches such as guided reading sessions, daily individual practice, home/school records, the use of a carefully structured and monitored reading scheme, the continual use of a wide range of general fiction and non-fiction books that span many genres and, in the initial stages of learning to read, access to a highly focused phonic programme. Parents are actively encouraged to help their child read at home through the use of the reading record.
- Writing is regarded as a core skill and the children are introduced to (and encouraged to use) a range of different writing styles through purposeful activities that are linked to topics they are learning. A high standard of presentation is expected, and the children are taught to write with neat, fluent and legible handwriting following the Nelson Handwriting Scheme. Spelling and grammar are integral parts of the writing process and are reinforced at every opportunity across the curriculum. Non-negotiable targets have been established for each year group and are shared with parents throughout the year in order to aid progression in this complex discipline.
Our principle aims are to ensure that all pupils:
- read easily, fluently and with good understanding
- develop the habit of reading widely and often, for both 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.