The Intent, implementation and Impact of our Curriculum – English.
At Mill Lane Primary School, English and the teaching of English is the foundation of our curriculum. We aim to provide a fluid process of teaching reading into contextualised grammar, which flows into written application. This will ensure that every child becomes primary literate and progresses in the areas of reading, writing, speaking and listening.
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. The majority of our pupils have EAL, however we still ensure that English is a cornerstone of our entire curriculum. It is embedded within all our lessons and we strive for a high level of English for all. We believe in the creation of vocabulary rich environments, which reinforce appropriate language choices (both oral and written) throughout the curriculum.
We believe that a thorough grasp of 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. At Mill Lane, our vision is for creativity to be at the helm of our English curriculum and for children to learn new skills in a fun and engaging way.
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. Vulnerable groups are identified through ongoing teacher assessments and if needed, additional PiXL or Phonics interventions are put in place to ensure that pupils have chance to catch up. 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.
All staff are proficient and skilled in delivering lessons effectively. With a structured timetable of learning tasks during reading sessions rotated throughout the week, children are not only learning comprehension skills but also clarification, independence, a love of wider reading and exposure to rich vocabulary, for all our pupils.
Developing a love of reading is a primary aim for our school:
- Reading areas prominently placed in every classroom. These contain new books linked to topics, books children have requested and a selection of key author books.
- Classes have weekly library sessions, and children are able to borrow additional books to take home.
- A central display celebrates the books teachers and classes are currently reading and enjoying.
- Story time takes place in every class daily, linked to key author books.
- Links with a local bookshop to ensure new releases, author visits etc can go ahead.
- We celebrate World Book Day each year with children given the opportunity to come ‘off timetable’ and enjoy books.
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.
We provide opportunities for children from EYFS to Year 6 to write and the links between reading and writing are explicit. Children understand the importance of planning their writing. In the Foundation Stage, this may be telling the teacher what they are going to write, whilst in Key Stage 2 it may involve a planning grid and/or draft copy.
The impact on our children is clear: progress, sustained learning and transferrable skills. With the implementation of the writing process well established throughout all key stages, children become confident writers by the end of Key Stage 2. Children independently apply the key features of each genre, with a specific audience and purpose in mind. Our children creatively apply a writer’s craft through sustained writing and manipulation of grammar and punctuation skills.
As all aspects of English are an integral part of the curriculum, cross curricular writing standards have also improved 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 effectively apply grammar principles and punctuation. 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.