English Curriculum Information
As a Church of England School, our distinctively Christian vision and values are at the heart of everything we do. The vision and values were agreed following a series of consultations involving stakeholders from the school including pupils, parents, staff, governors and church representatives.
We are built on Christian foundations where every individual is celebrated as unique. We aspire to be curious, compassionate, tolerant and active in a diverse world. We gather together to build a community that finds each person’s gifts and nurtures them that their light may shine. We hold a vision of success for all.
“Let your Light Shine before others that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in Heaven” Matthew 5:16
Joy Forgiveness Justice Service Love
At Icklesham Primary School and Nursery we believe that a quality English curriculum should develop children’s love of reading, writing and discussion. One of our priorities is helping children learn to read and develop their all-important comprehension skills. We recognise the importance of nurturing a culture where children take pride in their writing, can write clearly and accurately and adapt their language and style for a range of contexts. We want to inspire children to be confident in the art of speaking and listening and to use discussion to communicate, express and debate views and further their learning.
We believe that children need to develop a secure knowledge-base in English, which follows a clear pathway of progression as they advance through the primary curriculum. We believe that a secure basis in literacy skills is crucial to a high quality education and will give our children the tools they need to participate fully as a member of society.
The national curriculum for English aims 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, diverse 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 art of speaking and listening, making formal presentations, demonstrating to others and participating in debate.
These aims are embedded across our English lessons and the wider curriculum. We have a rigorous and well planned English curriculum that provides many purposeful opportunities for reading, writing and discussion. We use a wide and diverse variety of quality texts and resources to motivate and inspire our children. Using our Curriculum Maestro planning teachers ensure that cross curricular links with concurrent topic work are woven into the programme of study.
At Icklesham Church of England Primary School and Nursery we believe that learning to read is a fundamental skill that will enable our pupils to engage in all other areas of the curriculum. We give reading the highest importance in our daily routines; children begin each day with D.E.A.R (Drop everything And Read), have 30 mins reading practice lessons daily and are read to at the end of each day as a class. We also provide plenty of opportunities for reading across the wider curriculum. Children are encouraged and rewarded for home reading.
Children develop early language through stories, songs and rhymes in Nursery, where they also enjoy poetry basket sessions, using repetition through rhyme to extend vocabulary.
In our Reception and Key stage 1 classes we have adopted a systematic synthetic phonic programme called Little Wandle. This approach uses a ‘keep up’ not ‘catch up’ pedagogy where high expectations and quality teaching ensure that children make excellent progress in learning to read and write. Little Wandle provides reading practice books that are phonetically matched to their phonic teaching, thus reinforcing their learning, building children’s confidence and ability to read and write.
Once the children have successfully completed this programme they are moved on to a further systematic programme called Accelerated Reader. This programme allows children to read a variety of books that are closely matched to their reading level and challenge to ensure they make good progress. Comprehension skills are tested with online quizzes in school with accompanying online materials ‘MyOn’ through which children can access appropriately levelled books at home. The accelerated reader programme allows teachers to carefully assess children’s reading and move them on as soon as they are ready to do so. Each class has well stocked book shelves and children are also invited to use the library. Children enjoy reading their own work to their class and the school.
We have contact with the local library who offer visits for all classes, they also run a summer reading challenge and older children take part in the Children’s Books Awards, where they form part of the judging panel for newly published authors. Events such as World Book Day and visits from authors and poets highlight the status that reading is given here at school.
At Icklesham Church of England Primary School and Nursery we believe that writing is a vital aspect of education allowing children to express their views and ideas. In Nursery children focus on mark marking through messy play and accessible writing activities, where children can develop their fine motor skills. Physical development activities are offered throughout the setting to develop the gross motor skills that support writing. Children in all classes are given many opportunities to write; in phonics lessons, writing lessons and through our curious curriculum, where children are encouraged to write as historians or scientists with the appropriate vocabulary being used.
Through a carefully planned curriculum children are taught how to write for a variety of purposes, audiences and contexts. Writing opportunities are often linked to a class text, topic or curious curriculum theme to help give the children a clear purpose, audience or context.
Grammar and punctuation are taught through a mix of discrete lessons and through the context of quality texts; where writing conventions are modelled.
Thorough marking, following the feedback and marking policy, ensures that children make excellent progress; with time given to edit and improve their work. Teachers undertake regular professional development in writing, keeping up to date with new research and developments in teaching writing. As a school we are part of a Writing Hub where written work is moderated with other schools throughout the country, giving us a wider perspective of standards in writing.
Children are proud to have their work displayed around the school and have the opportunity to share their writing with other classes. The year 5 and 6 children have the opportunity to write and make books to share with their Reception and Year 1 buddies.
Speaking and Listening
At Icklesham Church of England Primary School and Nursery we believe that the ability to communicate verbally is a vital skill for children to master in order to express their views and ideas. Opportunities are given regularly in class discussions, whole school collective worship and through drama productions.
At Icklesham Church of England Primary School and Nursery, we identify children who need support in English and provide intervention in the most effective and efficient way that we can, preferring a ‘keep up’ rather than ‘catch up’ approach. We use programmes such as Language Link, Speech Link and Precision Teaching to identify needs and to ensure children have the appropriate support. Teachers plan and teach English lessons which are differentiated to the particular needs of each child. We help each child maximise their potential by providing help and support they need to equip them with confidence, tools and strategies, whilst at the same time aiming for children to be resilient, independent workers.
The impact on our children is clear: progress, sustained learning and transferrable skills. With the implementation of the reading and writing curriculum being well established and taught thoroughly in both key stages, children are becoming more confident writers and by the time they are in upper Key Stage 2, most genres of writing are familiar to them and the teaching can focus on creativity, writer’s craft, sustained writing and manipulation of grammar and punctuation for effect.
Assessment shows that the vast majority of children at Icklesham Church of England Primary School and Nursery achieve age-related expectations in English and are well prepared for Year 7. Each year we have a significant number of children achieving at a greater depth in reading and writing at the end of each Key Stage.
As all aspects of English are an integral part of the wider curriculum. We have high expectations for cross curricular writing and skills taught in the English lesson are transferred into other subjects; this shows consolidation of skills and a deeper understanding of how and when to use specific grammar, punctuation and grammar objectives.
We aim that as children move on to further their education and learning, their high aspirations, skills, creativity and passion for English continue to grow.