English has a fundamental place in education and in society. Our intent at Sandown is to deliver high-quality education in English that will teach pupils to read fluently, communicate effectively and write purposefully. Through reading in particular, pupils have a chance to develop culturally, emotionally, intellectually, socially and spiritually.
Literature plays a key role in such development. Reading also enables pupils both to acquire knowledge and to build on what they already know.
The overarching intent for English at primary school is to promote high standards of language and literacy by equipping pupils with a strong command of the spoken and written word, and to develop their love of literature through widespread reading for enjoyment. 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.
To read our English curriculum overview please click here.
Bringing English to Life
At Sandown, we strive to bring English to life. We have regular special events to bring English to life and engage the children with the subject. We have regular author visits, storytelling puppet shows, storytelling workshops, poetry days, virtual poet and author visits, writing competitions and dressing up days. We also have a weekly celebration assembly where children are celebrated as ‘Reading Bugs’ and win book prizes.
The national curriculum for English reflects the importance of spoken language in pupils’ development across the whole curriculum – cognitively, socially and linguistically. Spoken language underpins the development of reading and writing.
The quality and variety of language that pupils hear and speak are vital for developing their vocabulary and grammar and their understanding for reading and writing. Teachers should therefore ensure the continual development of pupils’ confidence and competence in spoken language and listening skills. Pupils should develop a capacity to explain their understanding of books and other reading, and to prepare their ideas before they write. They must be assisted in making their thinking clear to themselves as well as to others and teachers should ensure that pupils build secure foundations by using discussion to probe and remedy their misconceptions. Pupils should also be taught to understand and use the conventions for discussion and debate.
All pupils should be enabled to participate in and gain knowledge, skills and understanding associated with the artistic practice of drama. Pupils should be able to adopt, create and sustain a range of roles, responding appropriately to others in role. They should have opportunities to improvise, devise and script drama for one another and a range of audiences, as well as to rehearse, refine, share and respond thoughtfully to drama and theatre performances.
The programmes of study for reading at key stages 1 and 2 consist of two dimensions: word reading, and comprehension.
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 (i.e. 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 are encouraged to read widely across both fiction and non-fiction to develop their knowledge of themselves and the world in which they live, to establish an appreciation and love of reading, and to gain knowledge across the curriculum.
Reading widely 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.
The programmes of study for writing at key stages 1 and 2 are constructed similarly to those for reading: transcription (spelling and handwriting) and composition (articulating ideas and structuring them in speech and writing).
It is essential that teaching develops pupils’ competence in these two dimensions. In addition, pupils should be taught how to plan, revise and evaluate their writing. These aspects of writing have been incorporated into the programmes of study for composition.
Writing down ideas fluently depends on effective transcription: that is, on spelling quickly and accurately through knowing the relationship between sounds and letters (phonics) and understanding the morphology (word structure) and orthography (spelling structure) of words. Effective composition involves forming, articulating and communicating ideas, and then organising them coherently for a reader. This requires clarity, awareness of the audience, purpose and context, and an increasingly wide knowledge of vocabulary and grammar. Writing also depends on fluent, legible and, eventually, speedy handwriting. When children are confidently showing fluent, legible handwriting, they are awarded with a handwriting badge.
Spelling, Vocabulary, Punctuation and Grammar
In the last three years, we have made vocabulary a key focus across the school. Opportunities for teachers to enhance pupils’ vocabulary arise naturally from their reading and writing. We have chosen class texts that are rich in language so that the children are exposed to a wealth of language during their time at Sandown. As vocabulary increases, teachers should show pupils how to understand the relationships between words, how to understand nuances in meaning, and how to develop their understanding of, and ability to use, figurative language. They should also teach pupils how to work out and clarify the meanings of unknown words and words with more than one meaning. References to developing pupils’ vocabulary are also included within the appendices. In Year 5 and 6, children are further exposed to new language through Mrs Wordsmiths’ Word of the Day.
Pupils are encouraged and taught to control their speaking and writing consciously and to use Standard English. We actively encourage the children to verbalise their learning and speak in full sentences.
Punctuation and grammar is woven in to the curriculum at Sandown. During the writing process. children look for the features of that particular piece of writing, they then practice using this themselves and then apply it to their own writing.
From Year 2, as well as learning about spelling through their writing and reading models, the children have 5 short spelling sessions per week where they learn and apply spelling rules.
At Sandown, we follow the Read Write Inc scheme to teach word reading across EYFS and KS1. Read Write Inc (RWI) is a phonics- based programme which helps children learn to read whilst also developing a wide range of vocabulary and encouraging a love of stories. It was developed by Ruth Miskin a leading consultant on early reading. The Read Write Inc programme is for primary school children learning to read and write. Children will begin the programme in the foundation stage and will remain on the programme throughout Year 1 and 2. When the children are confident with their sounds and word reading, they are awarded with a Fred Frog.
For additional information about this subject, please contact the school office and ask to speak to the subject leader.