English has a key place in the education of pupils at Alfred Sutton Primary School. It is both an important subject in its own right and provides a platform for accessing the wider curriculum.
English lessons and wider curriculum provision focuses on developing spoken language and a lifelong love of reading and writing. We follow a model text based approach to teaching, which exposes children to a wide range of high quality and engaging texts. Our children are supported and scaffolded with their writing to become confident in adapting their language and style for a range of contexts. Children read every day and improve vocabulary and text comprehension through a structured teaching programme. We aim for all of our children to leave the school as confident and enthusiastic speakers, readers and writers. Strong English knowledge and associated skills are seen as crucial in enabling children to flourish – now and in the future.
At Alfred Sutton, we follow the ambitious objectives of the 2014 National Curriculum and integrate opportunities to write across our knowledge-based curriculum.
Children who are new to English are supported with learning essential vocabulary as they gain confidence and fluency with the language.
Children with additional learning needs receive tailored support to enable them to progress well and reach their goals.
Oracy has a central place in our curriculum, reflecting the vital importance of spoken language on our pupils’ development. Pupils are supported to speak in Standard English at all times whilst at school. There are opportunities to talk right across the curriculum as this is recognised as being a key way in which pupils learn. They are supported to talk about their ideas, helping to consolidate their knowledge and understanding. In addition to making formal presentations and participating in debates, pupils are challenged every lesson to articulate their thinking clearly and concisely. We encourage and celebrate speaking and listening across the wider curriculum.
The teaching of reading, both the technical aspects of decoding language and the opportunity for pupils to develop a love of literature, is one of the most important aspects of school life. We have a KS1 and KS2 library containing a wide variety of books to share. We help children to enjoy books from many different genres by a diverse range of authors. A reading culture is demonstrated through the school, and planned literacy events throughout the year highlight our commitment to developing your child’s love of reading.
On entering Reception, our children follow a rigorous system of synthetic phonics, based on Ruth Miskin’s Read Write Inc Phonics programme. Alongside this, children have access to high quality texts as they learn to read independently.
In Year 2, the great majority of our pupils are reading independently, borrowing books from our well-stocked library or classroom collections. Pupils read individually and access high-quality reading provision on a daily basis. Some pupils are allowed a completely free choice in what they read, while others are guided towards titles by their teachers. The allocation of books is based on the teacher’s knowledge of a pupil and their reading needs. Books are changed weekly.
Across the school we focus on teaching comprehension through guided groups. Our reading progression teaches the key skills of decoding, retrieval and inference and deduction. Our children learn how to analyse a text through different types of reading questions. We focus on the explicit teaching of vocabulary and knowledge to enhance pupils’ understanding of what they read.
Our reading sessions are all based around carefully selected class texts. They are engaging and interactive sessions where whole class participation is expected. The sessions ensure that children gain a good understanding of the reading skills required throughout primary school. We aim for our children to leave primary school as confident readers.
Teachers take every opportunity to read to their classes, sharing good quality literature with them. This helps our pupils to develop their vocabulary as well as introducing them to unfamiliar ideas and concepts. It also gives pupils the opportunity to tackle longer or more challenging texts than they would be able to alone.
For more information please read our whole school Reading Strategy.
Nursery and Reception
Across the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) all texts have been carefully chosen for their engaging topics and challenging vocabulary. They expose the children to a wide range of well-known and new authors. Staff use these texts to plan exciting, open-ended activities and provide enhanced learning opportunities throughout the environment. Class texts are studied for one week in Nursery and up to three weeks in Reception. Alongside the class text, staff read complementary texts and favourite stories, as well as books following the ever-changing interests of the children. Once a book has been shared, they are made available to the children to use so they are able to revisit, read and enjoy familiar texts, often using story language and new vocabulary in their play and conversations.
Key Stage 1
In KS1 our core texts are all closely linked to topics. This allows children to develop a deeper understanding and awareness of the topics they are learning about in class. This immersive experience ensures that children have ample opportunity to listen, learn and discuss about the topics in an engaging and interactive way. The books chosen are selected to expose the children to a wide range of well-known and new authors. It builds on from authors they will have engaged with through our early years book spine. These authors and texts explore a wide range of cultures, text types and historical periods.
In KS1 the core texts used to support literacy and topic lessons are studied for a period of a week or longer. The texts are used as an engaging stimulus for writing to allow children to deepen understanding and write for a purpose. The supplementary texts selected are used for end of the day reads and also for focused guided reading sessions. Teachers will select from the texts depending on the needs and interests of the children.
Key Stage 2
In Key Stage 2 the children read the entirety of the novel that is our core text. This text is read at the end of the day for reading for pleasure time. Sections are also used for close analysis during guided reading sessions and as a stimulus for some writing sessions. The novels are chosen to enhance our wider curriculum provision with a link made to topics taught in the term. There is ample opportunity for children to engage and discuss the text. Texts have been selected to show a wide range of authors and style. They also explore different cultures and historical periods.
Texts used throughout our reading spine
We use a variety of texts in our reading spine, each one serving a different purpose. The spines are constantly developing and being updated as new texts are published and alternative books are found.
Class/ Core texts
These high-quality texts have been chosen because they link to the topic and theme for the term. In KS1 and KS2 they are the basis of our reading and writing sessions. In the EYFS, these books inspire the experiences and activities on offer to the children. We ensure the selected texts are engaging to encourage a love for reading and engagement in learning. The books have been selected to expose the children to a wide range of authors, themes and text types. Some of these texts are modern and some are traditional. The children will read these texts in their entirety so they can see how texts develop and complete a whole text.
These fiction, non-fiction and poetry books have been selected to enhance the topic or theme of the term. They may be used alongside the class/core text or as a stand-alone text. Teachers may also read sections of these texts at the end of the day to ‘hook’ the children into reading new books.
These books have been specially picked to promote reading for pleasure. They are age-appropriate and accessible books which cover a range of genres and styles.
Writing, grammar and punctuation
It is our aim that all pupils who attend Alfred Sutton leave us able to write accurately, coherently and enthusiastically, adapting their language and style to a range of contexts, purposes and audiences. Our expectations with regards to handwriting and presentation are also high as we want children to take pride in their work. Our success in writing is reflected in our SATs results. Writing is taught through high quality children’s literature and wider curriculum non-fiction texts. We always use ambitious model texts with children to ensure they are exposed to high-level vocabulary, punctuation and a rich variety of writing styles.
The writing process
At Alfred Sutton, all pupils are supported to develop their written work to the highest quality that they can achieve. Pupils have an opportunity to encounter high quality language, both from written texts and teacher interaction. Grammar, punctuation and other specific language elements are taught within the context of both reading and writing. There are four stage to the writing process:
High quality feedback, which pupils respond to by improving their work, further enables our children to make very good progress.
Children are assessed against our writing targets based on the National Curriculum.
The National Curriculum sets out words which children should be able to spell accurately at the end of KS1, in Years 3 and 4 and in Years 5 and 6. We recommend children practise these weekly as part of their home learning:
We also practise weekly words in context.
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