We believe that English is a vital part of the school curriculum that supports the development of all curriculum areas and ensures the growth of essential learning skills for the future. English encompasses the areas of; reading, writing, speaking and listening. We ensure that all our pupils develop a secure understanding of all forms of oral and written literacy to effectively communicate with others. The sections below summarise the approaches we take in all the areas of English.
There are different aspects of Speaking and Listening; speaking, listening, discussion and drama. All these strands are intrinsic to the development of English and are used in an engaging way to improve the standard of our children’s literacy skills. Strands of Speaking and Listening are planned and taught within discrete English lessons and also within other curriculum lessons and activities, such as class or year group presentations.
Phonics plays an important role in the development of reading. Although there is greater emphasis on phonics at Key Stage One, support is given to pupils across the school where it is needed. At Oldmixon we use a programme called, to develop phonic knowledge. Phonics is taught in a variety of ways that match the individual requirements of each child. This includes whole class or group teaching as well as specific interventions. Children undertake a Phonics Screening Check in Year One and if necessary in Year 2. 'Read, Write, Inc' is used to support delivery and reinforcement of phonics in EYFS, KS1 and in KS2 using the 'Fresh Start programme'.
Reading opportunities takes place in KS1 and KS2 classrooms on a regular basis. Sometimes, these lessons are discrete and take place three times a week. These may include a range of strategies and approaches and include guided reading, reading comprehension and responses to selected texts. This area is currently a whole school priority and is currently under close scrutiny and development.
Once children have a secure knowledge of letter/sound correspondences and can blend words confidently, they access our Book Banded reading scheme which has books from various published schemes such as Oxford Reading Tree, PM Benchmarking and Bug Club. Our books have been carefully organised to match the phonic assessments of our children. There are fiction and non-fiction books within each set and they are designed to give the children the experience of reading a range of genre from a range of publishers and authors. All children are encouraged to select books from the classroom, library or home to share with their parents to encourage a love of reading.Once children can read fluently and with a good understanding, they move towards our benchmarked levelled reading books. In KS2, children who are reading above a level 30, have support in select texts that will bring both challenge and enjoyment.
Classes will regularly read and share whole-class texts including a range of high quality picture books, either through their English lesson, Reading Opportunity texts or when a teacher shares a story with the class, often at the end of the day. This helps the children to experience a wide range of texts and different genres.
Children of all ages are encouraged to select individual reading books from class and the school library to enjoy during the school day. For children in EYFS and KS1, these books will matched to their phonic ability and will be 100% decodable. Class teachers and TAs will sometimes support children with reading on a one-to-one basis if these are required in KS2. All children are encouraged to use our library and classroom reading areas which have key selected texts for their year group.
Comprehension skills are taught in a variety of ways and across subjects throughout the school. We feel it is important that children acquire a secure understanding of a text and can express their response to a question in both an oral and written format.
Children are actively encouraged to develop a love for the written word and we organise a range of events and activities to promote reading. Children have a least a weekly opportunity to visit the school library and regular story time takes place in all classes. We support World Book Day and visiting authors - this year we invited two authors for our children to meet.
Shared and Guided writing takes place regularly in classrooms as a whole class and in small groups. This forms part of the taught English lesson where a class teacher will model an example of writing to the whole class. It is then used to support children’s writing in the development of different forms, styles and genres. A class teacher or TA may work with a small group of children to guide them through the writing process, working on individual writing targets as well as the main lesson objectives. Children have opportunities to work through and refine the writing process. As part of this process they are taught how to plan, draft, edit, proof-read and publish their work.
During their time at Oldmixon children are taught the technical aspects of writing to ensure a broader understanding and a more effective use of written communication. Class teachers and TAs focus on punctuation and grammar right from the emergence of writing in Reception. As the children move through the school, new aspects of grammar and punctuation are introduced and previously taught aspects are revisited and developed.
Spelling rules are taught during spelling lessons. Children are given the opportunity to investigate, practise and apply the rule. Children will also be give common exception words or mistakes from their own writing to practise at home. Phonics is used and referred to throughout all spelling teaching. We use the Learning Exchange Spelling Programme for Year 2-6 to support our planning, delivery and assessment of spelling.
At Oldmixon we aim for children to write in a fluent, joined style which is neat and attractive, allowing children to communicate meaning through writing quickly and effectively. All class teachers usesoftware to support the teaching and learning of handwriting. This allows for a consistent approach and progression of handwriting skills across the school.