Our primary aim in English is to provide children with the tools to express themselves and share their thoughts and opinions in a considered, articulate manner at school and in the wider world.
Extensive studies link poor language skills to poor life chances, including mental health, relationships, academic achievement and employment opportunities. We are dedicated to ensuring that our children continually develop the vocabulary they need to succeed and make their voices heard in an informed, effective way, as well as opportunities to practise using it.
Outside of lessons, we celebrate World Book Day each year, engage with authors and enjoy activities such as Bedtime Story Evenings, theatre and cinema trips.
‘Cultural capital’ is the experience of events, characters, situations and ideas that support and develop our understanding of life. We are committed to ensuring that children have as much cultural capital (real and vicarious) as possible to allow them to speak and write confidently.
In addition to essential life experiences through trips and visitors at school, this is achieved through provision of a broad range of quality text experiences, plus activities to deepen understanding of them. Phase One of our Writing Learning Journey is dedicated to this aim. Similarly, setting some writing tasks within topics not only gives children purpose to write, but encourages them to apply their learning in other subjects.
The Amethyst qualities of resilience, resourcefulness and reflectiveness are integral within the reading and writing journeys that our children embark on through primary school, from the struggles of first learning to decode and blend words to a seemingly endless list of skills to master each year in writing.
As well as book characters, there are many examples of celebrated authors who embody resilience and resourcefulness and we enjoy inviting authors in to share their own journeys, as well as celebrating our children’s successes as they move on to new levels in reading and writing.
A popular support to persevere for some of our reluctant or struggling readers, is a visiting Reading Dog.
Our Writing Learning Journeys require children to use resilience to learn styles and skills, resourcefulness to practise them, and reflectiveness to evaluate their work and celebrate what they’ve learned.
Resourcefulness is also encouraged by encouraging children to take part in school, local and national writing competitions and speaking contests.
Power to change the world
Reading allows people to learn and experience things that they may never meet in real life.
‘Active’ reading skills enable people not only to read, but to evaluate, form and develop opinions – vital in today’s maze of multi-media information.
Language and writing skills provide people with an articulate voice to effectively express their ideas, thoughts and opinions to an audience.
Language, combined with emotional literacy, gives people the tools to form positive relationships with those around them.
Good English skills give people the power to change the world.
Impact will be measured through the quality of writing work and evidence of progression displayed in children’s books through the year, including language, style and technical skill, and also through teacher observations of the transference of knowledge to and from other curriculum areas. An example could be a non-chronological report about Anglo Saxon settlements or a persuasive advertisement about the benefits of a scientific invention. Big Write folders offer ‘snapshots’ of children’s progress between year groups.
Impact of phonics will be evident through ongoing teacher assessments and by the number of children passing the National Phonics test in Year 1.
Further impact of phonics, and later spelling teaching, will be in teacher observations of children’s ability to recall and use resources to increasingly spell correctly during any writing task.
Progress in reading comprehension and spelling, punctuation and grammar skills is also measured through testing within school three times a year, as well as nationally at the end of each Key Stage.
Impact of Guided Reading activities will be evidence of ‘active’ reading in other subjects. An example might be researching information on a Topic, reading and evaluating two contrasting opinion texts, or being able to form and develop an opinion about a famous character based on textual evidence.