English at Gloucester House:
All pupils have access to daily English and reading lessons. We follow the Literacy Tree for our Primary curriculum and we have developed a bespoke Key Stage 3 curriculum that stretches and challenges our pupils.
The English national curriculum (2014) states that: ‘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.’
• We believe the exposure of children’s literature within school is vital as a rich context for learning; not only within English as a subject but to support building a reading culture throughout our school.
• We aim to use high quality, diverse books that offer opportunities for empathy and can aid philosophical enquiry, as a means of developing the spoken language requirements through debate, drama and discussion using the issues raised through, and within, the text.
By placing books at the core, we use the text as the context for the requirements of the national curriculum.
The national curriculum states that: ‘‘This guidance is not intended to constrain or restrict teachers’ creativity, simply to provide the structure on which they can construct exciting lessons.” This would suggest that a context for learning is vital – and this is where our chosen approach can support our teachers with ensuring that objectives for reading and writing, including those for grammar can have purpose.
We always aim for our writing opportunities to be meaningful and to feel authentic. Whether these are short or long, and that the audience is clear. Books offer this opportunity: our aim would be that that children have real reasons to write, whether to explain, persuade, inform or instruct and that where possible, this can be embedded within text or linked to a curriculum area. Writing in role using a range of genres is key to our approach and we would always model the tone and level of formality.
Pupils who require additional support with their reading and writing will be assessed for their phonics knowledge and, if necessary, attend daily Read, Write Inc. Fresh Start intervention sessions in addition to their English lessons.
Pupils in Key Stage 1 and 2 follow the No Nonsense Spelling curriculum, alongside daily handwriting exercises to ensure that they are developing their vocabulary and written communication. Pupils at Key Stage 3 may receive spelling and/or handwriting interventions where necessary. Pupils in Key Stage 3 will take part in weekly explicit grammar lessons to ensure that their spelling, punctuation and grammar continues to develop.
A love of reading is fostered through daily guided reading sessions and weekly library visits to Swiss Cottage Library.
Pupils are assessed through:
- In class verbal feedback
- Weekly marking moments
- Formalised writing assessments (at Key Stage 3)
- Half termly Read, Write Inc. assessments (where needed)