At St Clare’s we firmly believe in developing the whole child and ensuring that all children leave ready to take on the world. English and the teaching of English is the foundation of our curriculum. Speaking, listening, reading and writing are huge parts of the modern world and we make it our mission to ensure that children are ready, capable, confident and independent. Through using high-quality texts, immersing children in vocabulary rich learning environments and ensuring new curriculum expectations and the progression of skills are met, the children at St Clare’s will be exposed to a language heavy, creative and continuous English curriculum. This will not only enable them to become primary literate but will also develop a love of reading, creative writing and purposeful speaking and listening. Through engaging lessons and focussed opportunities, children become confident in their abilities and are able to access all areas of the curriculum. Children begin their journey in EYFS, whereby children are taught the fundamentals of early reading and writing and the essential skills of speaking and listening. Children learn to read with single letter sounds initially and how to form these letters in their writing thus giving our youngest children the skills in which to communicate. As children move through the school, this knowledge continues to build, where children require extra support in this journey, timely interventions are given. All staff understand and ensure that the objectives we set at St Clare’s are firmly embedded and that all areas of English are taught with equal importance.
The English curriculum is delivered in a cycle approach, ensuring all areas of English are covered within a genre (Speaking & Listening, Reading, Grammar, Spelling, Word Games, and Writing). The subject runs hand in hand with the curriculum topic, with teachers given freedom to source books that match the topic and engage their class. Children write for a purpose. Children’s skills are embedded and added to year on year as we aim to produce capable, confident and well equipped readers and writers. No ceiling for learning is placed on any child. At St Clare’s we firmly believe in teaching the individual and looking closely at their needs and what engages them to ensure that every child makes progress. All staff are offered CPD at different opportunities dependent on what will better their teaching as all staff strive to be the best teacher they can possibly be for the children in our care. English is well resourced and imaginatively taught. In addition, throughout the school year the importance of reading is enhanced through World Book Day, author and poet visits, parent reading workshops and a range of trips and visits which enrich and complement children’s learning.
As we believe consistency and well-taught English is the bedrock of a valuable education, at St Clare’s we ensure that the teaching of writing is purposeful, robust and shows clear progression for all children. 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. In this sense, assessment of writing is also more fluid as teachers can assess against a set framework. All year groups use the same format for assessing writing which have been produced in line with the end of Key Stage assessment frameworks as published by the Department for Education.
In order to expose children to a variety of genres which helps to utilise and embed the writing skills, teachers use a writing cycle to plan, structure and teach their English lessons. This cycle is designed to show progress, teach the pertinent year group objectives, apply and consolidate these skills and develop vocabulary. Writing is taught through the use of a quality text, which exposes the children to inference, high-level vocabulary, a range of punctuation and characterisation. Each text is purposefully selected in order to promote a love of reading, engagement and high quality writing from each child.