At Bracken Leas we intend to help children develop skills and knowledge that will enable them to communicate creatively with the world at large, through spoken and written language. We also intend to help children to enjoy and appreciate literature and its rich variety.
We follow the general progression of English as set out in the 2014 National Curriculum. During daily English lessons, children develop their skills in the following areas:
- Speaking, listening and responding;
- Group discussions and drama;
- Spelling, grammar and punctuation;
- Understanding and interpreting texts;
- Writing and developing sentence structure;
- Handwriting and presentation.
Reading is fundamental to every child’s educational development and we ensure that it is at the forefront of our curriculum from Early Years through to Year 6 with the aim for all children to leave Bracken Leas as confident and competent readers, reading for pleasure at an age-appropriate level.
In Early Years, children are exposed to a word-rich environment, daily stories and picture books to encourage them to ‘read’ pictures, infer, and predict from the very start of their time with us. Daily phonics teaching begins from the very first week children start school with us in EYFS following the Ruth Miskin RWI scheme. This continues into KS1 with continued rigorous daily teaching combined with developing early comprehension skills.
In KS2 The Book Talk approach is a key principal to our teaching of reading. This system encourages the children to look at reading through a wide variety of ‘lenses’ to help understand different aspects of texts, their purpose and the impact on the reader. In Key Stage 2, the lenses form the structure of our class reading sessions; here the children develop their independence and their collaborative skills to find specific evidence from texts and share this with their group and the class.
We firmly believe that sharing books as a class is a fundamental aspect in developing children’s passion for reading and every class has a class novel which all pupils enjoy listening to and discussing. Children also have the opportunity to visit our well-stocked library and borrow books on a regular basis.
We use the Read, Write, Inc. scheme for delivering our spelling curriculum. This is introduced in Year 2 once the children have the required knowledge in order for them to understand the alphabetic code. For those children who are not yet ready, then continued focus on phonics is essential to give them the skills needed to progress in their learning. RWI spelling is designed for all children to access throughout Key Stage 2 and systematically builds upon good phonic knowledge in order to spell words and patterns of growing complexity. The short, daily sessions engage and inspire children through a variety of fast-paced activities, which embed understanding of key spelling patterns to long-term memory through regular and repeated revision. Children do not receive weekly spelling lists to learn from this for homework, but will have access to the common exception word lists as exemplified in: National Curriculum – English Appendix 1: Spelling.
At Bracken Leas, we aim to ensure that all children leave us with the ability to confidently write at length across a range of genres, with a solid understanding of the grammatical skills required, in order to be clear and coherent in what they want to say. We use ‘Talk for Writing’ from Early Years to Y3 as a planned methodical approach to teaching writing. In Years 4- 6, greater independence and creative flair is encouraged as the children progress in their skills. In all year groups, writing units are taught in blocks and the children end the unit of teaching with a ‘hot write’ which is assessed by teachers.
Key grammar skills are explicitly taught and understanding is embedded throughout our writing curriculum. In Key Stage 1, children are taught the basic skills to construct clear and accurate sentences to ensure they enter Key Stage 2 being able to access the rich curriculum before them. Throughout Key Stage 2, grammar skills are systematically taught and subsequently revisited to enable children to become confident in their use and manipulation.
Speaking and Listening
All subjects across our curriculum play a significant role in developing key English skills, particularly speaking and listening. Other subjects are planned with an emphasis on building vocabulary progressively, and understanding its meaning and application in context. We draw on the themes of our curriculum intent to provide pupils with opportunities to engage directly with our local and wider communities.