English Curriculum Intent
It is our intention when teaching the English curriculum that our pupils acquire the necessary knowledge, skills and understanding to become lifelong learners and linguists. We strive to ensure that all our pupils receive a well-rounded, cross-curricular learning experience when reading, writing, speaking and listening which will equip them with the fundamental tools to achieve both academically and beyond. It is our intention to immerse pupils in the wonders of quality texts to instil a love of reading, a passion for discovery and a confidence to explore their imagination through literature. By the time children leave us, they are competent readers who have a thirst and genuine enjoyment for reading. Through using high-quality texts, immersing children in vocabulary rich learning environments, the pupils are exposed to a language heavy, creative and continuous English curriculum which will develop a love of reading, creative writing and purposeful speaking and listening.
Writing at Stillness Infants
Our English lessons develop pupils’ spoken language, reading, writing, grammar and vocabulary.
English is taught in a cross-curricular way, linking up with other areas of the curriculum.
Writing is taught through a range of exciting stimuli which includes books, film clips, artefacts, visitors and real-life experiences. We strive to equip children to develop a rich vocabulary which can help them bring their writing to life. Basic skills and non-negotiables underpin writing in all areas of the curriculum. Teachers model the writing process and demonstrate the ambitious high standards expected of all children. Every child is encouraged to let their imagination and personality shine through in their writing.
Through our teaching of writing, we create opportunities to develop grammar and punctuation knowledge and understanding to use and apply across the wider curriculum; explore the writing structure and features of different genres, identify the purpose and audience; plan and write an initial piece of writing with a clear context and purpose before evaluating the effectiveness of writing by editing and redrafting.
- We endeavour to ensure we provide our pupils with a ‘language rich’ environment. Within our classrooms, we explore ambitious vocabulary across the wider curriculum to ensure we acquire an understanding of tricky language across the wider curriculum through the use of our knowledge organisers and working walls.
- In line with the new national curriculum, we ensure that each year group is teaching the explicit grammar, punctuation and spelling objectives required for that age groups. As well as teaching the objectives, teachers are able to embed the skills throughout the year in cross-curricular writing opportunities and ensure that most children are achieving the objectives at the expected level and that some children can achieve at a greater depth standard.
- Children in the Early Years all receive a laminated name card with their name on it to practise their name writing and one is sent home too at the first parents evening so the children a used to forming the letters in their name and write their name independently.
- Reception and Y1 write regularly in phonics. The writing in phonics lessons increases the as the year goes on. Children begin with writing sounds and then on to segmenting words and then finally simple sentences with tricky words e.g. he, she, my. This is a chance to apply their phonic knowledge and gain confidence writing.
- The Early Years provides regular opportunities for independent writing and mark making through the writing area activities, role play areas, small world and outdoor activities. This provides children ample opportunities to apply their phonics to write for a purpose e.g. a shopping list in the home corner.
- The Early Years have writing focuses a few times a term. This is usually in a small group no more than 6 and links to their topic e.g. writing an invitation to a teddy bear picnic.
- For SEN and EAL learners, additional support is given. This may be in the format of a phonics mat, alphabet board, or visual reminders to leave finger spaces to name a few.
- Writing and the thought processes behind writing are modelled by teachers throughout the school.
- As a school, Year’s One and Two follow a programme of study for Spellings, written by Twinkl. Each week they are introduced to a new spelling pattern and children are given activities during the week which correlate to the pattern. Tricky words are taught as part of phonics lessons in Reception & Y1.
- For handwriting we use a programme called Penpals which ensures a coherent whole-school approach to improving handwriting standards. Handwriting lessons are taught three times a week in each class. The correct letter formation is introduced in phonics lessons right from the beginning in Nursery. Joining letters is introduced to children in Year Two when they are seen to be consistently writing using the correct letter size and formation, with clear ascenders and descenders. If children are struggling, handwriting interventions are put in place.
- Feedback is given through marking. Teachers are expected to mark their books regularly and to leave a blue or black comment which shows the successful aspects of the writing, whilst a green pen is something the children must respond to. This could be a spelling, letter formation or a question.
- We promote the status of written work by providing opportunities for children’s writing to be published and read by real audiences. For example, Year Two visit Reception to read and share their writing.
- Children who are working at a greater depth in Y2 are taught once a week in an intervention with Sian Bannister. In this time, they can focus on applying some of the greater depth writing skills to their work.
- Parents are invited to curriculum meetings and parents evenings to hear about how writing is taught at Stillness Infants. They are sent weekly newsletters that will help them communicate with their children, about what they are writing currently in school. They are encouraged to share information with their children and practice writing and phonics with them at home.
- Y1 and Y2 use No More Marking which is an online assessment tool linked with thousands of schools around the country to assess the schools writing capabilities. It is good for every teachers professional development and aligns their judgements for future interventions.
- Teachers are given weekly PPA sessions to plan their writing lessons for the following week. In this time, they are expected to have written their weekly planning, with a clear outcome by the end of the week. They are to get their resources and create their flipcharts if necessary.
- Teachers are given regular English CPD sessions where writing will be covered. In this time teachers will be provided with new tools and exciting ways for the curriculum to be progressed.
- Teaching Assistants have had training in writing and have talked through their role in delivering the curriculum. How they can assist with the groups they are set to work with so that every learner can progress.
The impact on our children will be: progress, sustained learning and transferrable skills. With the implementation of the writing journey being well established, children are becoming more confident writers, most genres of writing are familiar to them and the teaching can focus on creativity, writer’s craft, sustained writing and manipulation of grammar and punctuation skills.
As all aspects of English are an integral part of the curriculum, cross curricular writing has also improved and skills taught in the English lesson are transferred into other subjects; this shows consolidation of skills and a deeper understanding of how and when to use specific grammar and punctuation. We hope that as children move on from us to Junior School that their creativity and passion for writing travel with them and continue to grow and develop as they do.