English is a vital part of a child’s learning and ensures that children are equipped for society. Pupils need to learn how to communicate with others through spoken language and writing as well as enabling others to communicate with them through reading and listening. At West Hill Primary School we aim to provide children with a good quality education, where English is a focus and the skills of reading, writing and spoken language are developed. Children also develop their love of literature and the English language, through reading for pleasure.
The English Curriculum at West Hill Primary School is taught as a book based approach, through the use of ‘Wordsmith’, with children learning through experiencing an age appropriate text. As part of each unit of work, children will have the opportunity to explore a range of genres as well as investigating the finer detail of English, including handwriting, spelling and grammar.
In the early stages of English, children will begin to develop their spoken language. They will develop their confidence in speaking clearly and fluently through a variety of activities and will begin to use Standard English. As well as developing their vocabulary, children will ask questions to extend their knowledge and understanding of topics. They will participate in discussions, presentations and performances and role plays and begin to consider ways to engage the audience. In Year 1 and 2, children will also be encouraged to develop their skills as a listener; maintaining their attention for increased amounts of times and responding appropriately through asking questions.
At West Hill Primary School we use the ‘SoundsWrite’ programme to support phonics across the school, which includes carefully structured lessons and a range of activities to support the learning of the sounds needed to read and spell words, which are delivered daily. Children will also be given reading books that are linked to the phonics programme to support the learning of sounds.
Reading does not only mean being able to read individual words and at West Hill Primary School we also ensure that children’s comprehension skills are developed. Children will have the opportunity to read a range of different texts, including non-fiction, traditional and fairy stories and poetry. Children will retell stories and sequence key events as well as identifying key features of different genres. They will also begin to make simple inferences about a text. This will be taught through English lessons, guided reading sessions and when children are listened to read individually using the school reading books.
Writing is a fundamental aspect of our English curriculum. Children’s writing will be linked to the text they have been reading during lessons and will teach them a range of skills and techniques. Children will be expected to learn common spelling rules and high frequency words as well as basic grammar, including the use of simple punctuation, use of connectives to extend sentences and some word classes such as nouns and adjectives. Children will be taught the cursive style of handwriting through regular guided sessions and will be encouraged to write in this way in all subjects. Children in Key Stage 1 will learn how to write for a specific purpose and how to use planning to write their ideas. They will write about personal experiences as well as poetry, real events and stories.
In Spoken Language, children will continue to develop the skills they acquired in Key Stage 1, with children beginning to consider the audience and purpose for the activity. They will improvise and role play as well as rehearse more polished performances. They will be provided with opportunities to deliver formal presentations, both alone and in groups, and hold arguments and debates, recognising the specific techniques and vocabulary to use. They will also begin to consider the viewpoint of others. Children will have the opportunity to reflect on their own performance and delivery as well as those of others.
Children will continue to read a variety of texts, as a whole class, during guided reading and individually. These will include texts from our literary heritage, modern fiction and fiction from other cultures. By Key Stage 2, children should be able to read individual words more accurately and at speed and so the focus will move towards developing vocabulary and a more in depth understanding of a text. Children will develop inference skills and make predictions about a text. They will comment on the author’s use of language as well as the key features and layout of different texts. Children will also begin to recognise common themes within books they have read.
Children will write for a variety of purposes, with work being linked to the text they are using in English lessons. Children will have ‘Big Write’ sessions, where they will be able to write for an extended period of time independently. Children will learn how to plan, write, edit and evaluate their work and begin to assess their own and others’ writing. Spelling rules will be learned, following the spelling guidance and progression provided by Kent Local Authority, in conjunction with the New Curriculum. Children will be expected to develop their use of grammar both through explicit teaching and through analysing the text being read in class. This will then be transferred to their own writing. Children will also be expected to use cursive handwriting in all subjects, which will be taught regularly through guided handwriting sessions.
As ‘Wordsmith’ is a web-based programme, there are many opportunities to develop links with computing. Children can access texts via the computer or use the school’s tablets to complete tasks linked to the text being read.
English is a fundamental part of the curriculum at West Hill and so we encourage standards of English to be the same in all subjects. Children will be provided opportunities, for example, to give oral presentations during History lessons or to write about investigations carried out in Science. This provides children with a real context in which to write, where correct use of English will be expected, such as grammar and punctuation.