Our English Curriculum is shaped by our school vision. We aim for excellence in teaching and learning within our English sessions as well as encouraging our children to experience and experiment with creativity in their lessons.
At St Paul’s we strive to help our children develop into articulate and imaginative communicators, who are well-equipped with the basic skills they need to become life-long learners; English learning is key in this. We aim to ensure all of our children develop a genuine love of language and literature. Our text-based approach carefully links our reading and writing curriculum together through a diverse range of high-quality books.
Our curriculum ensures that children’s English learning is relevant and meaningful. Where possible we make strong links between our reading, writing and the topic that we are covering in History and Geography. We ensure that children develop an understanding of how widely writing is used in everyday life and, therefore, how important and useful the skills are that they are learning.
We teach the National Curriculum, supported by a clear skills and knowledge progression. This ensures that skills and knowledge are built on year by year and sequenced appropriately to maximise learning for all children.
At St Paul’s, we intend:
- for children to become enthusiastic and motivated readers
- to develop children’s confidence in reading a wide variety of genres and text types
- for children to have the skills to decode words in order to be able to read fluently with understanding of what they have read
- for children to become confident spellers
- to encourage a love of literature and an enjoyment of reading for pleasure - to use reading to provoke thought within children
- to write for a purpose
- see themselves as real writers
- take ownership of their writing
- see writing as an interesting and enjoyable process
- acquire the ability to organise and plan their written work
At St Paul’s we understand just how important reading is as a building block to educational success and personal growth. Learning to read is the most important skill our children learn during the Early Years and Key Stage 1 phase of their lives. We therefore aim to grow and nurture confident readers, who love and understand books. At St Paul’s the teaching of reading is developed through two distinctive, yet intertwined topics: phonics and comprehension. Both aim to develop competent readers, yet both require a different approach.
Throughout the Early Years and Key Stage 1, children engage in daily phonics sessions. Using the programme ‘Supersonic Phonic Friends’ along with high-quality additional resources, children learn the correspondences between letters (graphemes) and sounds (phonemes). They learn how to blend different letter sounds and combinations together to make words.
Our phonics curriculum map gives a clear step-by-step guide of progress for our children, ensuring they can practice and consolidate their skills. This allows children to quickly become confident and independent readers. Once reading fluently and effortlessly, they can put all their energy into comprehending what they read.
Children are given the opportunity to develop their own personal love of reading through a range of high quality fiction and non-fiction books throughout their time at St Paul’s. They are encouraged to challenge themselves with their choice of material and discuss books. Whole class, shared reading forms an integral part of the day and is an opportunity for children to listen to and engage with books from a diverse range of award winning authors, modelled with excellence by skilled staff.
In Key Stage 1, high quality, one-to-one reading sessions are used weekly to develop word recognition, fluency and understanding. All children in KS1 have a reading diary that teachers and parents write in to help create a clear link between home and school.
As children progress into Key Stage 2, weekly guided sessions form an integral part of the every-day curriculum. Small group sessions allow children to build confidence when reading, develop fluency and foster a love of book talk. Accelerated Reader is used as an online reading journal and allows children to reach their own personal targets in a fun and challenging way through book and vocabulary quizzes on books they have recently read.
At St Paul’s we strive for excellence in our writing. We use thought-provoking and engaging topics as a stimulus to motivate and inspire our children. Our topic based approach allows us to meet the needs of the children that we are teaching. Children are taught the purpose, generic structures and language features of each writing genre and how to plan, revise and evaluate their writing. Sequences of lessons are planned to make writing meaningful and to give children access to a range of different writing styles.
In Early Years and KS1 our phonics curriculum enables the children to enjoy learning to write. They are encouraged to verbalise sentences at the planning stage, and then use their knowledge of graphemes and tricky words to support them as they write. These skills are not just helpful for our youngest children, they are encouraged throughout lessons across the school to support all learners.
As children develop competence and confidence in their writing, we give them opportunities to extend further the skills they have learnt.
Teachers clearly model writing skills and document the learning journey through high-quality first teaching. Guided writing sessions are used to target specific needs of both groups and individuals. In-depth discussions about the writing process take place to enable children to develop their knowledge and understanding. Children have opportunities to write at length in extended, independent writing sessions throughout units of work – applying their taught skills to an unsupported piece of writing.
At St Paul’s, we understand that children need a toolkit of different ideas to become effective writers. That is why we teach children using a range of techniques to understand the morphological and orthographic patterns of words.
In KS1 children’s spelling words are linked to the National Curriculum and directly to the sounds they are learning in their phonics sessions. They also give children the opportunity to practise ‘tricky words’ and improve their topic based vocabulary.
As children progress into KS2, their spelling words (taken from the National Curriculum) are linked to specific spelling patterns and allow them to develop their topic based vocabulary. We are keen to ensure that children don’t just learn how to spell a word, but that they can use it confidently in context either orally or in their written work
Grammar and Punctuation
We encourage our children to be brave with their choices of grammar and punctuation. We want our learners to be strong advocates of the English language and have a deep-lying interest in how it works. Therefore children are taught discrete punctuation and grammar skills, appropriate to their year group, allowing opportunities to identify, practice and consolidate grammatical understanding.
Our comprehensive punctuation and grammar curriculum clearly maps the skills children need to be taught in order to unlock their full potential. We ensure that punctuation and grammar become an integral part of everyday school life and not just a part of an English lesson. Children are consistently given the opportunity to apply the grammar and punctuation skills that they have learnt in their extended pieces of writing.
We want all our children to have developed a fluent and legible style of handwriting by the time they leave us at the end of KS2. At St Paul’s, handwriting is taught weekly throughout KS1 and KS2. Handwriting is modelled and children are given the opportunity to develop and practice. Our aim is for the handwriting process to become automatic, therefore enabling our children to focus on the content of their work.
Speaking & Listening
At St Paul’s we take great pride in our children being confident and competent speakers, with a rich vocabulary, who are able to share their thoughts and ideas with their peers and the wider community. Our English curriculum engages our children in a wide range of different activities, focussed on developing these skills.
Throughout their time with us, children will have taken part in:
- poetry workshops
- reading workshops
- English Speaking Board
- school plays
- leading Collective Worships
- Zones of Regulation workshops
Throughout the school day, high-quality speaking and listening is modelled by all members of staff. All our lessons are adapted to take into account the diverse needs of the children we teach. Children are continually encouraged to verbalise their thinking. This helps them develop their writing skills, comprehension skills and improves their understanding of themselves and others.
Our English lessons all have a clear learning objective and take the children on a journey of discovery, ensuring they have all the skills and knowledge they need to be successful. Learning is differentiated to ensure all of our children are suitable challenged.
By the time children leave St Paul’s they will:
- make good or better academic progress from their starting points as a result of a rich and engaging English curriculum.
- have a love for writing and write for enjoyment
- be able to produce written work in all areas of the curriculum to a high standard
- be confident to write for a range of different purposes
- be confident spellers
- be enthusiastic and motivated readers who are confident and will enjoy reading a wide variety of genres and text types
- have the skills to decode words in order to be able to read fluently with a secure understanding of what they have read
- be inspired by literature and read for pleasure.
When assessing our children, we ensure evidence is taken from a range of sources. This enables us to have a clear and confident understanding of their areas of strength and areas of development.
Spelling, Grammar and Handwriting
English Map Years