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English

The Intent, implementation and Impact of our Curriculum – English.

Intent

When children arrive at Mill Lane, we intend for them to have certain experiences during their learning of English.  In reading, we enable, through the specific teaching of Tiers 1, 2 and 3 vocabulary, for new language to embed within all curriculum areas. We believe in the creation of vocabulary rich environments, which reinforce appropriate language choices (both oral and written) throughout the curriculum.  We target pupil’s levels of comprehension and ensure reading for meaning is the primary focus to promote a long-term love of reading.  In writing, we intend for pupils to be able to communicate their thoughts, ideas and feelings as they develop fluent transcription skills.  Ultimately, this will enable them to be able to acquire a love of writing, as they can focus on content and composition rather than the mechanics required behind the act of writing.

 

An initial starting point for both reading and writing were the National Curriculum documents.  Being mindful of specific schemes of work for phonics, reading and spelling, we transferred the National Curriculum into our LTPs.   Reading and writing leads ensure that the genres match our curriculum, which facilitates a cross-curricular approach to the teaching of English thus engaging and meeting the needs of our pupils.

 

Our Phonics Long Term Plan (LTP) follows the Read Write Inc. Scheme of Work.  Staff are aware of what to teach in which term for each year group and try to match this whilst being mindful of children’s abilities.  Year 2 and KS2 have a LTP for reciprocal reading.  Teachers can follow planning documents as a guide as to what should be taught and when.  Both reading and writing planning documents align so that teachers are following LTPs, which match our new curriculum and/or key author texts for each year group.

 

We recognise that each child has their own starting point upon entry to every year group and progress is measured in line with these starting points to ensure every child can celebrate success.  As a school, we have identified that our children fall into certain categories such as vulnerable, SEND, EAL and those who are more able.  Despite this, we still ensure that English is the cornerstone of our entire curriculum.    We ensure that children face no barriers when learning how to read and write.  This is achieved through careful monitoring of our LTPs and ensuring that children are inspired to learn. English is embedded within all our lessons and we strive for high outcomes for all.

 

English is at the heart of Mill Lane’s curriculum and our LTPs incorporate opportunities for cross-curricular writing across the core topics covered throughout the year. Our aim is for children to learn, understand and ultimately be able to do more during all lessons.  Our English curriculum allows and supports the children to achieve these aims by providing children with a clear purpose and audience when writing, which relates to real life experiences.

 

Implementation

 

Staff are aware and follow the long-term plans and writing overview documents for reading and writing.  They know precisely what needs to be taught and when. The best quality of education is ensured throughout all Key Stages through effective termly monitoring of books, lessons (planning and execution), and pupil and teacher voice.

 

This robust approach has ensured the quality of teaching in Reading and Writing is at least good across all Key Stages.  Teachers are aware of how to make effective choices of text for our reciprocal reading and writing processes and ensure whenever possible, these are linked.

 

As a school, Mill Lane always tries to keep up to date with new practises. Should staff require additional support if changes are introduced, the English leads are able to provide this through team teaching sessions.  Using their expertise, English leads work alongside teachers to support with planning and delivery of reading and writing lessons when it is appropriate.

 

The importance of the effective teaching of reading is vital in our English Curriculum.  All children from Year 2 – Year 6 partake in a whole class reciprocal reading session 4 days per week.  Children in EYFS and Year 1 have a dedicated phonics session.  All reading/phonics sessions are in addition to separate English lessons, which also take place daily.

 

EYFS and KS1 must focus upon securing the basics of transcription, spelling and punctuation.  These must become second nature so that they are no longer a barrier to writing.  In Lower KS2, the emphasis switches to extending knowledge of punctuation and grammar and helping children to acquire the knowledge and skills, which will allow them to write for different audiences and purposes.  When all of these processes are secure, upper KS2 can focus on application to a much greater degree – drawing on wider understanding and developing a true writing style.

 

Assessment is integral as part of our teaching process which is clearly outlined in our policy.  Assessment is both formative and summative.  Summative assessment take place each half term for both reading and writing.  We use PiXL reading assessments for pupils who are working at the expected standard in Years 1 – 6.  In EYFS and for some Y1 pupils, RWI assessments help to support teacher judgements.  Evidence collected during reciprocal reading and Read Write Inc lessons help support teacher assessments.

 

The school created its own writing assessments, which link to the writing overview documents.  Teachers teach a specific genre, which is then used as the writing assessment the following half term.  For the Nurture class and KS1 pupils, this is the following piece of completed writing.  Evidence collected using other pieces of independent writing from across the curriculum help support teacher assessments.

 

After assessments, vulnerable groups are identified and if needed, additional PiXL or Phonics interventions are put in place to ensure that pupils have chance to catch up and a quality learning experience.  This is of particular importance to new arrivals to school who may have little or no English and might not have attended formal schooling before.  We use a range of interventions to help support vulnerable pupils including Sound Training, Toe-by-Toe and Phonics 1:1 support to ensure progression and specific year group skills are secured.

The children in our nurture class are taught using their own personalised curriculum.  They access a hands-on curriculum that follows the thread of the whole school planning.  Their work is differentiated following assessments using PIVATs and personal assessments. 

Impact

On average, children arrive at Mill Lane at least 18 months behind their peers nationally.  Mill Lane seeks to address this disadvantage on entry to Nursery.  Reception, KS1 and KS2 outcomes are now regularly over 60%.  Although this is not in line with the National Average of 70%, it reflects the nature of our catchment and cohort.  Often a class will loose and then gain different pupils on its journey from EYFS to KS2.  This high rate of mobility means that the progress scores for the children in reception do not match the children on exit in Year 6.  This is particular importance when considering our EAL pupils make dramatic progress with reading and writing but this progress is not reflected as they are often relocated before the end of KS2.

 

As a school, we have robust moderation procedures in place to help ensure consistency in our judgements.  English Leads have specific skills across differing age ranges but are highly experienced to moderate across whole school.  Mill Lane also ensures wider accuracy through moderating with other local schools.

 

Each half term, subject leads conduct a work scrutiny covering all aspects of English learning.  There are termly lesson observations or learning walks to help triangulate subject leader judgements.

 

Long term plans for English focus on providing our pupils with a wide range of real experience on which to draw upon when reading and writing.  This is reflected through our Culture Capital Passport, which maps out the vital experiences that children need.  After completing and editing a piece of writing, the children have the opportunity to publish their work, developing their self-esteem and self-worth.  Children can now see the value in their writing, as they understand that they have written a task for a purpose and a specific audience.

 

The impact on our children is clear: progress, sustained learning and transferrable skills.  With the implementation of our reading and writing processes well established throughout all key stages, children become confident readers and writers by the end of Key Stage 2.  We hope that as children move on from us to further their education and learning, that their creativity, passion for English and high aspirations travel with them and continue to grow and develop as they do.