English at Meldreth Primary School

What does English look like at Meldreth Primary?
Our English curriculum teaches pupils to speak and write fluently so that they can communicate their ideas and emotions to others, and through their reading and listening, others can communicate with them. Through reading in particular, pupils have a chance to develop culturally, emotionally, intellectually, socially and spiritually. Literature, especially, plays a key role in such development. Reading also enables pupils both to acquire knowledge and to build on what they already know. All the skills of language are seen as essential to being able to participate fully as a member of society.
 
Our Curriculum Aims
The overarching aim is to promote high standards of language and literacy by equipping pupils with a strong command of the spoken and written language, and to develop their love of literature through widespread reading for enjoyment. Our curriculum for English aims to ensure that all pupils:
  • read easily, fluently and with good understanding
  • develop the habit of reading widely and often, for both pleasure and information
  • acquire a wide vocabulary, an understanding of grammar and knowledge of linguistic conventions for reading, writing and spoken language
  • appreciate our rich and varied literary heritage
  • write clearly, accurately and coherently, adapting their language and style in and for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences
  • use discussion in order to learn; they are able to elaborate and explain clearly their understanding and ideas
  • are competent in the arts of speaking and listening, making formal presentations, demonstrating to others and participating in debate
Spoken language
Our curriculum for English reflects the importance of spoken language in pupils’ development across the whole curriculum – cognitively, socially and linguistically. We know that spoken language underpins the development of reading and writing. The quality and variety of language that pupils hear and speak are vital for developing their vocabulary and grammar and their understanding for reading and writing and we therefore ensure the continual development of pupils’ confidence and competence in spoken language and listening skills. Through our curriculum pupils will develop a capacity to explain their understanding of books and other reading, and to prepare their ideas before they write. They are assisted in making their thinking clear to themselves as well as to others, and teachers ensure that pupils build secure foundations by using discussion to probe and remedy their misconceptions. Pupils are also taught to understand and use the conventions for discussion and debate. All pupils are enabled to participate in and gain knowledge, skills and understanding associated with the artistic practice of drama. Pupils are able to adopt, create and sustain a range of roles, responding appropriately to others in role. They have opportunities to improvise, devise and script drama for one another and a range of audiences, as well as to rehearse, refine, share and respond thoughtfully to drama and theatre performances.
Overall, through our curriculum, the pupils are taught to:
  • listen and respond appropriately to adults and their peers
  • ask relevant questions to extend their understanding and knowledge
  • use relevant strategies to build their vocabulary
  • articulate and justify answers, arguments and opinions
  • give well-structured descriptions, explanations and narratives for different purposes, including for expressing feelings
  • maintain attention and participate actively in collaborative conversations, staying on topic and initiating and responding to comments
  • use spoken language to develop understanding through speculating, hypothesising, imagining and exploring ideas
  • speak audibly and fluently with an increasing command of Standard English
  • participate in discussions, presentations, performances, role play/improvisations and debates
  • gain, maintain and monitor the interest of the listener(s)
  • consider and evaluate different viewpoints, attending to and building on the contributions of others
  • select and use appropriate registers for effective communication
 
Reading
In Early Years and Key Stage 1, a daily 20 minute phonics lesson is taught, using Success For All Phonics. This also extends into Key Stage 2 where children have not gained a sound phonological understanding. The school phonics provision is supported by the Reading Framework document.

Reading is given very high priority within school. All classes have dedicated 20 minute reading sessions where children complete purposeful reading activities. Shared and guided reading takes place during this time. Children have the opportunity to have stories read to them and share class novels.

Our approach to reading at Key Stages 1 and 2 consist of two dimensions:
  • word reading
  • comprehension (both listening and reading)
Our teaching focuses on developing pupils’ competence in both dimensions; different styles of teaching are provided for each. Our curriculum ensures that skilled word reading involves both the speedy working out of the pronunciation of unfamiliar printed words (decoding) and the speedy recognition of familiar printed words. We ensure that underpinning both is an understanding that the letters on the page represent the sounds in spoken words. This is why we emphasise phonics in the early teaching of reading to beginners (i.e. unskilled readers) when they start our school. Furthermore, we believe that good comprehension draws from linguistic knowledge (in particular of vocabulary and grammar) and on understanding of the world. Comprehension skills are developed through pupils’ experience of high-quality discussion with teachers, as well as from reading and discussing a range of stories, poems and non-fiction. All pupils are encouraged to read widely across both fiction and non-fiction to develop their knowledge of themselves and the world they live in, to establish an appreciation and love of reading and to gain knowledge across the curriculum. We encourage pupils to read widely and often so that they increase their vocabulary. We also use reading to feed pupils’ imagination and open up a treasure house of wonder and joy for our curious young minds. Therefore, it is our aim that by the end of their primary education all pupils are able to read fluently, and with confidence, in any subject in their forthcoming secondary education.
Writing
Our curriculum coverage for writing at Key Stages 1 and 2 is constructed similarly to those for reading: 
  • transcription (spelling and handwriting)
  • composition (articulating ideas and structuring them in speech and writing)
We see it as essential that teaching develops pupils’ competence in these two dimensions. In addition, pupils are taught how to plan, revise and evaluate their writing. These aspects of writing have been incorporated into the programmes of study for composition. Our curriculum ensures that pupils develop effective transcription: that is, spelling quickly and accurately through knowing the relationship between sounds and letters (phonics) and understanding the morphology (word structure) and orthography (spelling structure) of words. Learners are encouraged to articulate and communicate their ideas and then organise them coherently for a reader. This requires our pupils to write with clarity, awareness of the audience, purpose and context, and develop an increasingly wide knowledge of vocabulary and grammar. We also ensure that our pupils can develop fluent, legible and, eventually, speedy handwriting. Spelling, vocabulary, grammar, punctuation and glossary: We use two statutory appendices provided by the government on spelling and vocabulary, grammar and punctuation. Opportunities for teachers to enhance pupils’ vocabulary arise naturally from their reading and writing. As vocabulary increases, teachers show pupils how to understand the relationships between words, how to understand nuances in meaning, and how to develop their understanding of, and ability to use, figurative language. The curriculum gives pupils good opportunities to work out and clarify the meanings of unknown words and words with more than 1 meaning. Furthermore, pupils are taught to control their speaking and writing consciously and to use Standard English. They are also taught to use the elements of spelling, grammar, punctuation and ‘language about language’ appropriate for their age. Teachers help pupils to develop the vocabulary they need to discuss their reading, writing and spoken language.
 
Download our whole school curriculum plan forReading & Writing by clicking the links below