English at St Johns
English Curriculum Intention
At St John's, our English curriculum is intended to:
- ensure that all our children no matter their barriers to learning are given the opportunity to acquire the knowledge and skills necessary to become independent readers and competent authors.
- promote the enjoyment of reading by carefully selecting high-quality texts that are used as a vehicle for learning across the curriculum.
- provide our children with the skills to read and the ability to broaden their knowledge in a range of subject disciplines.
- expose children to a word-rich curriculum through the immersion in high-quality texts, teachers identify and explicitly teach rich and varied vocabulary, providing them with the tools to become confident communicators, readers and writers.
- allow our children to develop their skills, by adapting their language and style for a range of genres and purposes.
- ensure that our children will leave St John’s having had the opportunity to master skills in speaking, reading and writing that will prepare them for secondary education and life beyond the school gates.
- English is taught daily across our school in all year groups, which includes phonics and spelling lessons, grammar, reading and writing lessons.
- The long term plan can be downloaded below.
- We follow the Literacy Counts ‘Steps to Read’ throughout the school for our reading lessons. Many of the units link with other topics in our year group curriculum: history, geography and science.
- In writing, we use ‘Read to Write’ from Literacy counts from Reception to year 6, which builds on key skills for each year group, many of these units also link with year group curriculum topics.
- Each class completes at least three units of writing a year and each unit contains two different pieces of writing.
- Each block of writing has a set format that comprises of Immerse, Analyse, Plan and Write. In reception, the format of learning follows a similar plan but it is called: Jump In, Look, Plan and Write.
- The format allows the children to immerse in the vehicle text and analyse a WAGOLL (What A Good One Looks Like) text before planning and writing their own piece of independent writing. In every section there are opportunities for the children to complete an independent writing task.
- Writing is teacher assessed every half-term.
- Each half-term the children also complete an additional piece of writing that focuses on writing skills that the children need to develop further. The writing covers a range of genres to ensure that children have the opportunity to write for different pruposes.
- Reception and Year 1 classes have at least 1 reading lesson a week using the Literacy Counts ‘Steps to Read’. These year groups have other reading lessons during the week following the Little Wandle scheme (please see the phonics page for more information).
- Year 2 to Year 6 classes have 2 reading lessons a week following the ‘Steps to Read’ programme.
- Each class completes at least three units of the ‘Steps to Read’ programme a year and each unit contains a programme of study for 4 or 5 different books that include fiction, non-fiction and poetry.
- Each book study comprises of 5 lessons that contain a read, model, practise and apply section for each lesson.
- Each lesson lasts about 30-40 minutes. In lesson 2 onwards, the previous lessons vocabulary is shared to reinforce prior learning and build the vocabulary knowledge of the children.
- In Reception and Year 1 the key focus is on developing the children’s Phonics, so the children are able to access Phonics ebooks to practice the sounds that the children are learning in school at home.
- In Reception and Year 1 the children take home a book that they can read together with family to promote the love of reading.
- Once children reach the expected standard for Phonics in Year 1, they are benchmarked to ascertain their reading level and move onto the Oxford Reading Scheme.
- Children are benchmarked throughout the school year to ensure that they are making progress.
- Challenge books are for those children, who require an extra challenge with their reading to promote further fluency and stamina in their reading and an activity book ensures that the comprehension skills are being challenged as well.
- The children have a home reading record that enables communication about reading between school and home.
- Every class has a 'Reading at Home' reward chart to promote reading at home.
Grammar, Punctuation & Spelling
- In Reception and Year 1 classes, GPS is taught within their English writing lessons and their daily phonics lessons.
- Year 2 to Year 6 classes have one grammar and one spelling lesson a week using Headstart Primary, Twinkl and BBC Bitesize to support the learning.
- GPS is also incorporated in the Literacy Counts ‘Read to Write’ lessons.
- Teachers regularly assess children’s understanding through daily questioning and marking.
- At the end of every term, all children from Year 1 to Year 6 are assessed using the Headstart Termly reading and spelling, grammar and punctuation assessments.
- Writing is teacher assessed at the end of each half-term based on the final piece of writing for the unit that they have completed.
- Results from the assessments are used to inform future learning and to target any specific support or interventions for pupils.
- At the end of each academic year, teachers determine an overall attainment and effort judgement based on their summative and formative assessments for each of the English disciplines. Teachers determine whether a child is working towards, working at or working at greater depth (for writing only) in relation to their age-related expectations for reading, writing and GPS.