At Pondhu, our aim is to develop articulate speakers, inspired writers and avid readers, who can apply their knowledge of English, to communicate successfully in an ever-changing world.
Our aim at Pondhu Primary School is to develop children’s ability to produce well-structured writing with appropriate detail, in which the meaning is clear and the interest of the reader is engaged. Our approach to writing aims to instil the importance of transcription and composition, as required in the National Curriculum.
We want children to:
- develop understanding and skills to become independent, enthusiastic writers
- be able to write appropriately for a variety of audiences and purposes
- enjoy using language in different contexts and have the confidence and ability to do so
- develop a fluent, legible handwriting style and take care with the presentation of their work
In EYFS, writing is promoted through continuous provision as well as targeted writing tasks with an adult. The ‘Get Writing’ aspect of RWI, is used across EYFS and KS1 to develop children’s writing skills with writing activities that build on the reading activities that children have completed, helping them to develop ideas and vocabulary for writing. These writing activities include ‘hold a sentence’, ‘proofread’ and for higher levels, a wider range of writing frames to inspire and support children as they write.
For English lessons in KS1 and KS2 we follow the ’Write Stuff’ programme. Writing units are based on high-quality texts, which include a balance of different genres including fiction, non-fiction and poetry. Teachers plan lessons using text, video and picture stimuli, linked to an area of learning in the foundation subjects, to inspire writing for a range of purposes, audiences and genres. Planning follows the National Curriculum programmes of study fully.
Children in all Key Stages are given daily opportunities to write in a range of contexts, for a variety of purposes, and have regular opportunities to write at length in extended independent writing sessions. Our long term planning for English, covers the range of text types set out in the National Curriculum, ensuring a breadth of coverage.
Through the process of The Write Stuff, children take part in Sentence Stacking lessons to collect vocabulary and use it in context to create sentences. They then use this bank of vocabulary to plan and create and edit their own independent writing piece. They develop skills of transcription and composition by practising their spelling, handwriting in all writing lessons as well as articulating ideas and structuring them in speech and writing.
At Pondhu Primary School, we teach the statutory requirements for spelling in the National Curriculum. We aim to ensure that all children can spell the common exception words for their year group. The children are then given opportunities to learn spelling rules and patterns and are expected to use a range of spelling strategies and apply them in their independent work.
In Reception and KS1, spelling is taught as part of the RWI programme. Children learn how to spell words using phoneme-grapheme correspondences with the technique of ‘Fred fingers’ to spell ‘green’ words using these sounds. Children are also taught how to spell ‘red’ words which include the common exception words for each year group, carefully matched to each level. Once children get to the Spring term in Year 2 and they are nearing the end of the RWI programme, children begin the RWI Spelling programme, where children learn spelling patterns and rules. This is taught for 15 minutes on a daily basis through to the end of Year 6. The daily, repetitive nature of these approaches aid retention and accuracy in independent work. Spelling tests are given weekly after intensive work on certain patterns in Year 2-6. Children are supported to apply the spellings learnt in their independent writing.
At Pondhu Primary School, we are determined that every child leaves in Year 6 having accessed and experienced detailed, precise and dynamic teaching of all expected grammar objectives. Objectives are revisited across the year groups to ensure children remember them long term.
We use resources from Deepening Understanding in KS2 to support the teaching of grammar skills. This is fully matched to the National Curriculum for each year group to ensure all grammar objectives are achieved.
Children in Year 6 also regularly complete practice papers to help children prepare for the SATs.
KS1 use the grammar aspect of Read Write Inc to teach the objectives within the National Curriculum, with activities that are linked to the books the RWI books they are reading.
Speaking and Listening
In our school we endeavour to develop children’s language and vocabulary, improving the cultural capital of our children. We seek opportunities to develop the Oracy skills of our pupils and increase the potential for improving their knowledge of speaking and listening.
We aim for pupils to:
- be confident and articulate speakers
- listen and respond appropriately to adults and their peers
- communicate ideas, points of view and explanations clearly and confidently
- use spoken language effectively in different contexts
- use spoken language to generate, discuss and clarify ideas
A key aspect of The Write Stuff programme is teaching children new vocabulary daily in our writing lessons. Whole class reading lessons also have a vocabulary focus as part of gaining an understanding of the texts.
By having daily story-times, with familiar stories being shared, this is another key opportunity for language skills to be developed.
Assemblies and PSHE lessons are other opportunities in which children learn how to discuss, respond appropriately to others and explain their ideas and opinions.
Performance poetry is a half-termly event in which all classes learn and perform a poem to develop confidence in performing in front of an audience.
EYFS have a core focus on developing speaking and listening skills, which is intwined in all that they do.
All children are screened using a WellComm assessment on entry to EYFS. The NELI programme is then used as a targeted intervention for those children who need support to develop speech and language skills.
Overall Impact in English
In the EYFS, children’s achievements are ongoing and are assessed against the Early Learning Goals. Assessment for learning is well established throughout the school and the use of questioning, observation and marking are key parts of formative assessment. Statutory assessments take place at the end of Year 1, Year 2 and Year 6. We use PIRA in Years 2-5 and past SATs papers in Year 6 each term. PIRA is used to assess Year 1 in the Summer term. Assessments are recorded three times a year on ‘Insight’, and carefully analysed to make sure that all children and groups are progressing well and achieving their potential.
Assessment for learning underpins teaching and learning in English. Children’s work is regularly assessed through observation, discussion, scrutiny of work and evaluating outcomes.
• Termly Pupil Progress Meetings are used to track the progress of each child in reading and writing across the year.
• Pupil Trackers are updated regularly electronically on Insight.
Teacher assessment is an integral part of good practice. Assessment is carried out on a daily and weekly basis. It involves identifying children’s progress against teaching objectives and targets, determining which children have achieved and moving them on to the next stage of learning. Where appropriate, additional support and interventions are identified for children not making the expected progress.
• End of year assessment in Reception.
• Termly writing assessments in all year groups.
• Independent writing pieces are assessed using the National Curriculum objectives at the end of every unit and progress is tracked.
• Phonics screening in Year 1
• Year 2 SATs
• Years 3, 4 and 5 PIRA
• Year 6 SATs
• Half-termly STAR tests for children who have finished the RWI programme.
• Weekly Spelling tests from RWI Spelling which include the National Curriculum statutory spellings.
• Phonics check through half-termly Read Write Inc reading assessments
The impact of our English curriculum is that children become confident and successful learners who can achieve regardless of their starting points. Assessments show that reading and writing skills are developing and children are closing the gap towards national expectations. It is our aim that all cohorts will achieve in line with or above national expectations and that they make good progress. All nationally reported data shows an increasing, upward two-year trend.