Ranworth Square Primary school recognises that teaching and learning in English is an essential part of the whole development of all children, including SEN and disadvantaged children, for their speaking, listening, reading and writing skills.
At our school, all children participate in a structured programme using the objectives as set out in the National curriculum. These objectives are progressive across the key stages and develop all aspects of the English language. Writing, spelling and grammatical conventions are integrated into a comprehensive learning programme which sits alongside the skills of reading. Narrative and non-narrative writing is taught in a dynamic and stimulating way and all units are linked to high quality children's literature and real-life experiences.
“When I read great literature, great drama, speeches, or sermons, I feel that the human mind has not achieved anything greater than the ability to share feelings and thoughts through language.”
- James Earl Jones
Why English Is So Important
Reading, writing, speaking and listening together, form the key components of human communication. We learn from one another through our ability to communicate, and so it is undeniably true that English lies at the heart of all learning at Ranworth Square.
When our children leave Ranworth Square, we expect them to be avid readers, children who read fluently and widely and are able to express preferences and opinions about the texts that they read. We want them to read for pleasure, having had access to a wide range of text types, genres and authors in order for them to make informed opinions about their favourites. We want to produce children who speak and write with confidence and accuracy for a variety of purposes and audiences whilst developing their own individual flair. We want our children to be able to write with grammatical accuracy and be able to apply spelling patterns correctly using a neat handwriting style.
We aim to expose our children to a wide range of vocabulary so that they able to decipher new words and then use them when speaking both informally and formally. We also aim for our children to apply all these English skills to all areas of the curriculum.
Throughout the school year, we encourage our whole school community to get involved in a range of events to celebrate our love of English, with an intention of creating lifelong lovers of reading and writing.
- Speaking and Listening
- Key Concepts that run through English
- Monitoring and evaluation
At Ranworth Square Primary School our aim is for every child to become a confident and fluent reader and we actively promote a love of reading. We want children to reach age related expectations or make accelerated progress from their starting point. As well as this, we want children to develop a love for reading and read for pleasure on a regular basis. We strive to inspire an appreciation of Reading by immersing the children in a rich variety of texts which will inspire their imagination and prepare them for lifelong learning. We believe that reading is central to a child’s understanding of the school curriculum and is of vital importance in life. Fluent readers can access a full range of life experiences and can enjoy an amazing breadth of genres and writers. We aim to develop a love and appreciation of reading which will stay with children for life. We hope to achieve this through careful planning and teaching using up-to-date strategies. We use a wide range of good quality reading materials and resources within English lessons and Guided Reading sessions.
Research tells us that children who read for pleasure develop a wider vocabulary, greater general knowledge and a far better understanding of other cultures. It is perhaps one of the single most important factors in a child’s development. Naturally, we therefore believe that it is every child’s right to learn to read, but we hope that our children go far beyond this to develop a true love and pleasure for reading. At Ranworth Square, we believe in both the importance of developing children’s discrete word-reading skills and comprehension, and the need to engender their love of books and reading. The two elements are intertwined; each relies on the other if children are to become life-long readers.
The teaching of reading
There are two distinct but related processes involved in teaching children to read: learning to read words and developing language comprehension. Both are essential for learning to read.
Foundation Stage and KS1 pupils are taught to read through a systematic, synthetic phonics programme (Read Write Inc) which is delivered daily.
Explicit phonics teaching continues throughout Years 1 and 2 however, children will continue to access Read, Write, Inc. if there is a need for further consolidation and development of reading skills, as they progress through school. In Year 1 children will take a statutory Phonics Screening Check, which assesses their phonics ability to de-code real and ‘nonsense’ words. It is required all children to pass this test. Some children will require additional support, therefore along with their daily phonics lessons, will access bespoke intervention – where children are given the opportunity to re-visit previously taught phonemes and reinforce their de-coding ability. Children in Y2, who also need additional support will continue to receive the necessary phonics intervention. Such support will continue for those children in KS2 who need it.
Reading is taught through a variety of approaches at Ranworth Square, in which children enjoy a wealth of age-related texts that motivate and inspire them to read.
Through discrete guided reading sessions, children are given access to age-related texts that are carefully matched to their reading ability. Guided Reading take place in addition to English lessons throughout the school. Teachers work with a focused group each day to improve the quality of reading and comprehension ensuring that each group is given at least one teacher or teaching assistant directed session per week. We use Rigby Star to deliver our guided reading sessions along with quality sets of books higher up the school.
We also use shared reading approaches to develop strategies and to encourage response to texts. We use Steps to Read, whole class shared reading scheme, to teach reading comprehension skills and strategies explicitly. This provides a clear teaching sequence to reading sessions that explicitly teach reading skills and strategies in a cumulative way through evidence-based approaches. It includes all elements of comprehension, taught sequentially across an academic year and has a clear focus on the skills and strategies needed to be a proficient and confident reader. It uses a rich array of engaging texts to promote a life-long love of reading, including poetry, non-fiction and fiction that enhances knowledge learning across the curriculum. These texts can also be used to inform other curricular lessons which also support children’s love of reading.
Children are read aloud to in class regularly. Staff are reading role models who demonstrate and encourage a love for reading during 'Story-time'. We aim to develop children’s English skills and inspire them to develop a love of reading and a knowledge of a variety of authors. Many texts are often chosen by the children and story time is inspiring and is hugely exciting for everyone.
Throughout the school, children are encouraged to choose books independently. Each classroom has its own designated and inviting reading area which includes a wide range of fiction and non-fiction books, some of which are linked to current class topics and themes.
During non- Covid times, each week every class visits the school library to read for pleasure in an inspiring environment. Our new castle library is highly resourced with a range of quality texts. Our aim is to develop a love of reading and children that read for enjoyment. Reading for pleasure is promoted in a variety of ways, in school, with families and the wider community. Throughout the school week all children have opportunity to visit the school library and this time gives children the opportunity to enjoy a book of their choice and promotes health and well-being.
Each class (Y2-Y6) has elected two Reading Ambassadors that meet regularly with the English Lead, to discuss ways in which we can further promote reading for pleasure. This group is known as the “Bookworms” and effectively promotes pupils voice with regards to reading. Reading events are organised and celebrated, with the help and support of the Schools Reading Ambassadors.
Children in EYFS,KS1 and KS2 make good of our home reader scheme Oxford Reading Tree with an emphasis on decodable books. Parents are encouraged to listen to their children read often and complete the reading card provided.
Children have access to a wide variety of reading materials through, book fairs, book corners in their classrooms, and the carefully selected texts used in the teaching of English. Children make good use of the home reader schemes sent home.
By the time children leave Ranworth Primary School they will have developed a love of reading and will be confident, fluent readers.
Writing is one of the primary forms of communication. It allows thoughts to be clarified, emotions to be expressed, opinions to be stated, experiences and explanations to be shared. It is also one of the more difficult aspects of the language as its many conventions are difficult to follow and master.
At Ranworth Primary School we recognise how important it is that children becoming skilled, confident writers by the end of year 6. These skills will be essential beyond their school life at Ranworth Primary School, and will enable them to communicate effectively in the wider world.
Our curriculum’s intention is to immerse all of our pupils in the wonders of quality, vocabulary-rich texts to lead into writing in a variety of styles and forms, showing awareness of audience and purpose; and to act as a vehicle for learning across the wider curriculum.
At Ranworth Square Primary school, we use “Read to Write” to deliver our writing curriculum. Read to Write empowers teachers to provide high-quality teaching of writing through high-quality literature. Units of work are carefully planned: to immerse the children in the quality text, to teach them how to analyse, plan and then to write.
All the units of work for each year group centre on engaging, vocabulary-rich texts, with a wealth of writing opportunities within and across the curriculum. By taking a text-based approach, we give the children the chance to develop culturally, emotionally, socially and spiritually, enabling them to both acquire knowledge and build on what they already know.
Throughout our English lessons, all children are given opportunities to write in a range of contexts, for a variety of purposes and have regular opportunities to write at length. There are two writing outcomes for each unit and other incidental writing opportunities planned throughout the unit.
Teachers model writing strategies, effective choice of words and the use of phonics and spelling strategies in modelled writing sessions. The teacher verbalises the thought processes as a writer and makes explicit the structure, language features, spelling and punctuation of the text type as appropriate. Children learn how to organise their own work so it suits the purpose. They are encouraged to reflect on their own learning and the learning of their peers and to edit and improve their writing as a direct result.
Shared writing is a collaborative process, which involves the pupils sharing their thoughts and ideas with the rest of the class. The teacher selects the most appropriate response(s) ensuring they give reasons for why they have made that choice as well as using teaching opportunities to refine and edit the piece of writing.
Guided writing sessions are used to target specific needs of both groups and individuals. The teacher or teaching assistant works with a group of children during a focused writing activity with a clear objective. Guided writing aims to provide an appropriate level of challenge and will focus on a particular aspect of the writing process e.g. planning, composition, editing, that will both support and move the children forward in their writing skills.
As part of our enriched curriculum, writing opportunities are planned through a variety of ways including trips, author visits and via other subjects.
By the time children are ready to leave Ranworth Square Primary School they will be able to communicate their ideas clearly in writing. They will have acquired the knowledge and skills relevant to the next chapter in their learning journey.
Speaking and Listening
Throughout the curriculum there is a strong emphasis on enabling children to use language to work together effectively, debate, and deepen understanding of concepts. Research has shown the importance of the link between spoken language, learning and cognitive development. Through using language and hearing how others use it, children become able to describe the world, make sense of life's experiences and express themselves clearly. They learn to use language as a tool for thinking, collectively and alone. many opportunities are made for children to express themselves effectively and to listen appropriately. We create numerous opportunities for discussion work in a variety of group situations and give opportunities of expression through drama and presentational speaking.
Drama provides an ideal opportunity for children to engage in role-play and to learn about empathy and characterisation. In EYFS, role-play and drama, help children to develop their vocabulary, confidence, expression and story-telling techniques. The children enjoy a wide variety of dramatic activities through the curriculum and school productions. Theatre trips and visits to school from theatre companies are regularly arranged.
Through expert teaching and modelling, grammar and punctuation is taught within the immersion and analysis of the Read to Write texts. To further support this, we provide all children the opportunities to review, learn, practice and apply their new learning throughout the curriculum. Daily sentence accuracy work at the start of the English lesson, consolidates work in spelling and grammar.
Specific grammar and punctuation content is assigned to particular year groups and matches the National Curriculum expectations from 2014.
At Ranworth Square School, we have high expectations of our children and their presentation. Handwriting sessions, using Penpals, are taught regularly to the children and follow a cursive programme. (R-Y6)
In EYFS Penpals is used alongside Read Write Inc to secure children’s early pre-cursive writing skills. Mark-making is recording in the children’s phonics books.
The children have separate handwriting books and are expected to apply this cursive script into their daily writing when ready. Pen licences are given to children in KS2 who demonstrate neat handwriting of a consistent size and formation. Daily sentence accuracy gives children opportunity to practice their handwriting skills.
Key Concepts that run through English
To facilitate children to know more and remember more key concepts run through the whole of our curriculum and opportunities to revisit previous learning are planned into every lesson.
- Change - Author, text, genre, vocabulary, tense, meaning
- Power - Effective communication in writing and verbally, how communication can affect relationships
- Diversity - genres, structures, vocabulary
- Comparison - Authors, genres, themes, sentences, vocabulary
- Significance - Authors, books, significant pieces of text
Monitoring and Evaluation
Monitoring the standards of children’s learning and the quality of teaching in English is the responsibility of the English Subject Leader. The English Subject Leader monitors the quality of writing and planning, carry out learning walks when appropriate and a subject audit. The work of the English Subject Leaders also involves supporting colleagues in the teaching of Reading, Writing, Phonics and SPaG, and keeping them informed about developments in the subject.