The 3 strands of English are reading, writing and verbal communication. Over time at Gloucester House we aim for all pupils to be confident readers, writers and communicators.
All of our pupils start with significant gaps and underachievement in these areas. We aim to narrow these gaps to enable pupils to flourish as confident learners across the curriculum. We believe this starts with literacy. Competence and confidence in oracy, reading and writing underpin all other curriculum areas. A strong base in literacy is also an important factor in increasing future life opportunities.
Through our English curriculum we aim to inspire pupils to be confident communicators who can have their needs met effectively and who can use discussion to further their learning. We also understand that emotional literacy and language is important for our pupils to further their future choices and we incorporate this across the curriculum.
Through clearly sequenced sessions, pupils access texts and materials which enable them to experience different types of writing including those about lives similar and different to theirs.
We ensure that texts are from a diverse range of backgrounds including own voice authors as we understand that pupils are more enthused to engaged with texts that they can see themselves in as well as books being a way of understanding experiences outside of their own.
Speaking and listening
Our curriculum is designed so that pupils:
- Are able to articulate their point of view
- Listen to the views of others
- Develop balanced arguments in conversation
- Have an increasing range of vocabulary
- Develop confidence and ability to express and understand their own thoughts and the thoughts of others
Our curriculum is designed so that pupils develop:
- Key skills necessary to be able to read fluently
- Confidence in reading.
- Increased comprehension skills through reciprocal reading – questioning, clarifying, summarising and predicting.
- Reading for pleasure.
Our curriculum is designed so that pupils:
- Develop confidence and competence to write as a form of communication
- Have a range of skills which enable them to write well in a full range of contexts.
- Take pride in their writing.
- Are able to review and edit their own work.
All pupils have daily English and dedicated reading sessions in their timetable. Teachers follow Hamilton Schemes of Work which are set for the year to ensure different types of texts and strands of writing are covered. Units are chosen to ensure diversity in texts. The units are also chosen from across different year groups. Teachers differentiate content to ensure that all pupils are working at a level that consolidates any gaps in learning and also stretches and challenges them.
Individual pupil needs will be catered for through the personalisation of tasks within the scheme and/or through individual/group interventions in phonics or other catch up /booster sessions.
Oracy: In addition to the oral work which is part of the schemes of work, pupils are assessed by our Speech and Language Therapist. For some pupils this leads to being part of a communications group to develop language for thinking, learning and behaviour.
The Speech and Language Therapist works closely with teachers to plan for individual communication needs of all pupils.
Pupils are assessed at baseline so that additional interventions can be planned for.
Reading sessions include phonics (as appropriate from assessment), comprehension, developing fluency and reading for pleasure. Decisions are informed by the Camden Early Reading Audit.
Pupils have reading sessions throughout the week which include:
- Daily teacher led reciprocal reading sessions
- Independent reading sessions
- listening to an adult read in a variety of contexts
- Library visits
Reciprocal reading teaches pupils the four active reading skills that good readers use. This involves predicting, questioning, clarifying and summarising.
Listening to an adult read enables pupils to improve their own reading and also provides access to rich texts that are at higher level than those they read independently. This enhances spoken vocabulary, comprehension skills, reading for pleasure and potentially access to other curriculum areas.
Reading sessions are teacher planned to ensure a sufficient level of challenge, with age-appropriate texts matched to individual ability.
Lexia intervention: Lexia software provides explicit, systematic, personalised learning in the five areas of reading instruction. Identifying and targeting skill gaps covering early phonological to advanced comprehension skills, the self-guided software also includes SPaG practise according to personalised learning path.
The school is implementing No Nonsense Fresh Start with uses a phonics-based approach to reading recovery for those reading below age-related expectations. In consultation with Camden who usually recommend ‘Little Wandle’ phonics, it was felt that Fresh Start was more appropriate for our pupils who may have significant gaps in their phonetical knowledge.
The Fresh Start scheme is tailored to older children who may be conscious of the gaps in their phonic knowledge and uses a tailored age-appropriate approach with engaging content to address this. Every pupil is baseline assessed for phonic ability to identify these gaps and are then supported to become competent, fluent readers, giving them access to the wider curriculum.
The intervention is for 20-25mins a day and like our reciprocal reading program encourages collaboration and group activities as well as being suitable for 1:1 work. Both teachers and progress support workers can deliver the lesson at appropriate challenge points.
The range of strands of writing are covered through the curriculum framework.
Pupils are provided with tools, scaffolding, individual support and interventions (including phonics & handwriting) to access and progress their core skills as well as their confidence in writing.
The methods use include modelled writing, free writing and shared writing.
Homework is assessed on an individual basis. Appropriately levelled work with sufficient challenge is sent home with individual pupils.
Assessment and progress monitoring
Progress in English is assessed through:
- Termly SOLAR assessment
- Writing sample moderations
- Baseline testing for gaps in phonetical knowledge
- Yearly standardised testing in reading and spelling
These assessments inform next steps and teachers’ planning. Teachers’ planning is monitored and work scrutiny, learning walks and triangulation give regular information about progress.
- Good reading progress evidenced through reading age data
- Pupils enjoy reading and are confident in their abilities
- Pupils make significant developments in their ability to communicate to a wide range of audiences
- Pupils develop their confidence and competence in writing
- Pupils go on to succeed across the curriculum in subsequent placements