At Buckingham Primary Academy, the foundations for teaching the National Curriculum English are begun in Early Years Foundation Stage, with the development of a high quality activities planned within Communication, Language and Literacy.
The teaching of English at KS1 and 2 is underpinned by the expectations and programme of study set out by the DfE's National Curriculum (2014):
Purpose of study
A high-quality education in English will teach pupils to speak and write fluently so that they can communicate their beliefs, ideas and emotions to others, and through their reading and listening, others can communicate with them. Through reading in particular, pupils have a chance to develop culturally, emotionally, intellectually, socially and spiritually. Literature, especially, plays a key role in such development, teaching children perseverance with a longer more difficult text and giving children a wide range of knowledge to achieve their goals. Reading also enables pupils both to acquire knowledge and to build on what they already know. All the skills of language are essential to participating fully as a member of society.
The overarching aim for English in the national curriculum is to promote high standards of language and literacy by equipping pupils with a strong command of the spoken and written language, and to develop their love of literature through widespread reading for enjoyment, enabling them to believe, persevere and achieve their ambitions.
The National Curriculum for English aims to ensure that all pupils:
- read easily, fluently and with good understanding
- develop the habit of reading widely and often, for both pleasure and information
- acquire a wide vocabulary, an understanding of grammar and knowledge of linguistic conventions for reading, writing and spoken language
- appreciate our rich and varied literary heritage
- write clearly, accurately and coherently, adapting their language and style in and for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences
- use discussion in order to learn; they should be able to elaborate and explain clearly their understanding and ideas
- are competent in the arts of speaking and listening, making formal presentations, demonstrating to others and participating in debate
The programmes of study for English are set out year-by-year for key stage 1 and two-yearly for key stage 2. The use of the 4 purposes of writing allow children to build on previous skills and revisit genres across their school life. The Power of Reading approach emphasises the importance of books and literature in enabling children to become confident, happy and enthusiastic readers and writers, with all the benefits this brings. The Power of Reading project is underpinned and based on extensive research and experience. It has been delivered nationally and internationally for over a decade.
As a Power of Reading school, we put quality children’s literature at the heart of learning, and we are developing a whole school culture of reading for pleasure. We use drama, role play and the arts to engage children in books and to help them to delve deeper into the content in order to develop a greater understanding of the characters and storylines. Through this approach, our pupils are better able to develop their higher order reading skills.
At Buckingham Primary Academy, we are committed to developing our children as readers, fostering a lifelong love of books and reading throughout their primary school life and way beyond.
The school uses the Oxford Tree reading schemes to enable the children to access and read a wide range of texts. The aim of this is to ensure that our pupils have access to a wealth of quality reading material that motivates them to want to read. We aim to provide children with text-based context to practice emerging reading skills and build confidence to master the phonics code. The new phonic decodable books are closely linked to the Letters and Sounds phonic phase children are currently learning. The phonic reading scheme is also used alongside the Oxford Tree reading scheme to enhance and provide a variety of reading material.
Guided reading sessions
This consists of the Reading explorers scheme linked with VIPERS to allow teachers to teach a guided skills-based programme aimed at developing key reading and study skills.
This series provides teachers with a variety of genres, both fiction and non-fiction, which will allow children to access, interpret and understand what they are reading.
It increases the child's knowledge and understanding of why certain words are chosen by an author. It gives the reader the chance to speculate on the tone and purpose of the texts, as well as consider both the texts' themes and audience.
The core reading skills covered in this programme are:
- Retrieval of specific information
- Inference skills, including deductive reasoning
- Evaluative & summative assessment
- Vocabulary development: word knowledge & word choice
- Study skills that promote wider independent study
The school plans reading activities using the programme of study from the DfE National Curriculum at KS1 and 2, as follows:
The programmes of study consists of 2 dimensions:
- word reading
- comprehension (both listening and reading)
Skilled word reading involves both the speedy working out of the pronunciation of unfamiliar printed words (decoding) and the speedy recognition of familiar printed words. Underpinning both is the understanding that the letters on the page represent the sounds in spoken words. This is why phonics should be emphasised in the early teaching of reading to beginners (ie unskilled readers) when they start school.
Good comprehension draws from linguistic knowledge (in particular of vocabulary and grammar) and on knowledge of the world. Comprehension skills develop through pupils’ experience of high-quality discussion with the teacher, as well as from reading and discussing a range of stories, poems and non-fiction.
All pupils will be encouraged to read widely across both fiction and non-fiction to develop their knowledge of themselves and the world they live in, to establish an appreciation and love of reading, and to gain knowledge across the curriculum.
Reading widely and often increases pupils’ vocabulary because they encounter words they would rarely hear or use in everyday speech. Reading also feeds pupils’ imagination and opens up a treasure house of wonder and joy for curious young minds.
It is essential that, by the end of their primary education, all pupils are able to read fluently, and with confidence, in any subject in their forthcoming secondary education.
At Buckingham Primary Academy, all writing is purposeful and valued. The whole school uses the Power of Reading as its driver for English - this approach uses only the highest quality texts and uses a range of teaching strategies that develop vocabulary development, collaboration and appreciation of a range of authors and illustrators from a range of cultures, backgrounds and historical and geographical contexts. All reading texts, link with our key topics to give children the best opportunities to link their new vocabulary and knowledge. We aim to develop children as writers, who see themselves as writers and have a positive attitude towards writing. Writing is a complicated and intricate process, to enable a child to become a writer you have given them a voice, support them to communicate and provide them with a skill that is vital for all of their schooling and in their life beyond.
Text Based Curriculum
Our school provides a text rich reading and writing environment that allows children to thrive as writers. It is a place where children see themselves as authors who are developing positive attitudes towards writing and are creating their own authorial voice.
Creative Teaching Approaches
We use a range of creative teaching approaches, including drama and role-play amongst many others, that build imagination, provide opportunities for speaking and listening and give time for oral rehearsal. As an associate school with the Royal Shakespeare Company, we provide accessible and enjoyable rehearsal room techniques for children and young people with a range of drama to ensure that expectations around spiritual, moral, social and cultural development are fulfilled.
Audience and Purpose
All writing across the curriculum has to have a purpose. Children need to feel inspired and motivated to write. They need to have an audience. Children's writing is valued by the reader and is shared at every opportunity. Children are given opportunities to publish their writing through final products, displays and their writing is often shared on Twitter. We have had authors and illustrators comment on children's work before, which is very powerful for enabling children to see themselves as writers.
At Buckingham, our intent is to enable children to write legibly, fluently and comfortably. We follow the Letterjoin Handwriting programme from EYFS to Year 6. Letterjoin is a practical, active learning approach that supports the delivery of handwriting teaching and fine motor skills.
At Buckingham Primary Academy we believe that reading is the passport to the wider world. By reading to learn rather than learning to read we believe that children can be whoever they want to be. The teaching and application of phonics across EYFS and Key Stage 1 if of pivotal importance. Phonics sessions should be fun, engaging and interactive based on the needs of the children.
At Buckingham Primary Academy we have high expectations with regards to the teaching and application of phonics. Our aim is for all children in Year 1 to have a good understanding of Phase 5 and to pass the Phonics Screening Check in the summer term. Phonics is taught daily from FS1 through to Year 2. Phonics sessions should be between 20-30 minutes long with strategies being applied and embedded across the wider curriculum. Adults in the setting should model the application of phonic knowledge when reading and writing using the strategies taught during sessions. Phonics sessions follow the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised systematic synthetic phonics program validated by the Department for Education. Targeted interventions should be bespoke tailored to the children’s individual needs and interests. The Phonic Screening Check will take place in the summer term. Children need to be able to apply their phonic knowledge to pass the Phonics Screening Check, read phase appropriate books and access the wider curriculum.
To ensure that children are prepared for the Phonic Screening Check, the children will undertake half termly mock screenings. The mock screenings will be administered to those children who have completed the majority of Phase 5 and can confidently blend and segment from Foundation Stage through to Year 1. The mock screenings will indicate the areas children need to develop and staff can identify any gaps/ areas of weakness. The children who do not pass the PSC in Year 1 will re-sit the screening in Year 2 and will continue to have daily phonics sessions. The children who pass the PSC will go on to complete Phase 6 and will then follow the No-Nonsense Spelling scheme.
Evidence of the application of phonics should be visible on English Working Walls, particularly in the Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1. Tools including alphabet strips, visual prompts, grapheme mats and key vocabulary should be available for all the children to access independently. Adults should refer to the tools and encourage the children to use the supports during any piece of written work. Tools should be available where appropriate for children in KS2.
Phonics and early reading are everyone’s responsibility. By embedding and nurturing the application of phonics we are providing our children with the opportunities to be successful, independent learners who can strive and achieve across the curriculum.