Our English Curriculum
The school aims to develop confident, articulate children who are able to communicate effectively through the written and spoken word – and relish the opportunity to read and write in a variety of contexts; we aim for all children to develop a love for reading and writing which will serve them well throughout their secondary education and adult life.
We use the National Curriculum as a basis for developing the children’s reading, writing, speaking and listening skills. The children undertake a daily dedicated English lesson, including one extended writing session each week.
At Whiston Junior and Infant School we aim:
- to enable children to speak clearly and audibly in ways which take account of their listeners;
- to encourage children to listen with concentration in order to be able to identify the main points of what they have heard;
- to enable children to adapt their speech to a wide range of circumstances and demands;
- to develop as confident, independent readers through an appropriate focus on word, sentence and text-level knowledge;
- to encourage children to become enthusiastic and reflective readers through contact with challenging and lengthy texts;
- to help children enjoy writing and recognise its value;
- to enable children to write with accuracy and meaning in narrative and non-fiction;
- to develop the children’s ability to use planning, drafting and editing to improve their work.
At Whiston Junior and Infant School we use a variety of teaching and learning techniques. Our principal aim is to develop children’s knowledge, skills and understanding in English. We do this through a daily lesson that has a proportion of whole-class and group teaching. During these lessons, children experience a range of activities covering expected objectives. They have the opportunity to experience a wide range of texts and use a range of resources to support their work. Children use ICT in English lessons where it enhances their learning, as in drafting their work and using multimedia to study how words and images are combined to convey meaning. Wherever possible we encourage children to use and apply their learning in other areas of the curriculum. Making links between curriculum subjects and areas of learning can deepen children’s understanding by providing opportunities to reinforce and enhance learning. It can enrich the curriculum and support achievement and enjoyment. Interventions are put in place for those children working below age related expectations in key areas.
However, at Whiston Junior and Infant School we see English teaching as something that must be, and is, embedded across all lessons and activities across the day. From speaking clearly and articulately to lunchtime staff, to writing at length as part of a history topic, the development of key literacy skills are of paramount importance to our school curriculum.
There is also an emphasis on giving children the technical knowledge and language through which they can discuss and improve their work, helping them to become reflective and proactive learners. They are explicitly taught grammar terminology and spelling rules, and we have a strong emphasis on the home-school link to support spelling development.
Children in our school spend lots of time reading. Our reading curriculum allows pupils to read for pleasure as well as widely and often, and allows pupils to take quizzes to test their knowledge and understanding. Children have access to a wide variety of books in their classrooms and will soon have access in the school’s new library (Summer 19). Reading is developed using a variety of strategies across the school: During literacy lessons, texts are read together as a whole class, in groups and individually. Reading strategies are modelled, discussed and practised.
Home reading logs are used to record how often children are reading at home; these are used by all children who are learning basic reading skills. As children become more competent and independent readers, they are moved on to using journals to develop their higher order reading skills.
In the teaching of spelling and phonics, we aim to establish consistent practice, progression and continuity throughout the school.
High quality phonics sessions are taught daily in Reception and Key Stage 1 classes, enhanced by a multi-sensory teaching approach, taking account of different learning styles including visual, auditory and kinaesthetic. These lessons are based on Letters and Sounds with some use of Jolly Phonics.