All areas of the curriculum involve both teachers and pupils using English. It is our aim that all of our pupils develop the use and understanding of Standard English to their full potential in all aspects of speaking, listening, reading and writing, including spelling and handwriting.
Reading takes place throughout the school day and learning outcomes linked to reading are taught within English and, where appropriate, in other areas of the curriculum. During this time, children are taught through the use of extracts and whole novels, where teachers and TAs model the reading process. Skills such as inference and deduction are taught, as well as grammatical and punctuation conventions. Vocabulary is a key part of our reading sessions as we believe broadening a child’s language helps them to understand and communicate in more developed ways.
In KS1, the children are carefully levelled and are assigned a book band. They will read books in this band in school and at home. Children are also set books to read online from our Bug Club scheme. The Bug Club scheme allows the children to use a device (such as an iPad) to read books and even complete games to show their understanding of the text. These activities provide us at school with some helpful information relating to the children’s knowledge and understanding of the text.
For KS2 we use the Accelerated Reader scheme (http://www.renaissance.com/products/accelerated-reader) at Gray’s Farm, which involves all children in KS2 reading a book at their appropriate level and then taking a comprehension quiz to test their understanding. The children take their books home to continue reading. In Key Stage Two, we celebrate reading by examining the word count for each child that week and subsequently award the child with the most readers in their class with a certificate in our Thursday reading assembly.
Our approach to writing is based around teaching key skills and then allowing the children to apply these independently during English and Curriculum lessons. We ensure children are engaged in writing through our use of a wide and varied range of stimulus – pictures, video clips, music, books and role-play. Children are given the opportunity to write both fiction and non-fiction texts. Teachers model the writing and planning process through shared writing sessions, where ideas are collected and developed and talk plays a huge role in writing sessions. Grammar and punctuation are contextually taught within literacy and then checked regularly through ‘Educate Ernie’ assessments. Objectives taught within Literacy are used to develop writing across the curriculum.
Spelling sessions are taught weekly and then reinforced throughout all our lessons. Children learn the rules of spellings, how to group words and apply the rules they know. The children have mini weekly dictation tasks that help them to apply their spelling knowledge and a half termly spelling assessment which informs their teachers of rules that have been mastered and any that require recapping!
We use a cursive script across the school that encourage the children to use a join-in approach. (https://www.letterjoin.co.uk) Handwriting is taught on a daily basis and is modelled throughout lessons by teachers and TAs. The children build up the ability to join using letter strings and words linked to their year group’s spelling patterns. These skills are applied whenever the children write to ensure that the children can apply these skills independently.
Letters and Sounds
We use Letters and Sounds (https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/190599/Letters_and_Sounds_-_DFES-00281-2007.pdf) at Gray’s Farm Primary Academy to teach Phonics, which is an integrated synthetic phonics programme that teaches reading and writing. Phonics is taught within the school from Nursery. When the children reach Year 1, they are organised into groups based on their ability. The children complete an assessment which determines the phase at which they work. After Phase 6 of Phonics, the children move into ‘Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar’ (SPaG) groups. In KS2 the children who still require Phonics are set in phase specific groups. The children will then move on to focus on spelling patterns, punctuation and grammar throughout all English lessons, all linked to the 2014 curriculum.