English Policy - October 2016

Introduction

Here at Lord Blyton School, English is obviously taught as a core curriculum subject with every child from year 1 upwards receiving a daily one hour lesson, plus discreet daily phonics sessions in KS1 and Spelling sessions in KS2. However, we recognise that in order to develop reading, writing and speaking & listening skills effectively, children must be given a wide range of contexts in which to practice and consolidate their skills and understanding, which is why we place a strong emphasis on English within our creative curriculum.

Rationale

Teachers should develop pupils’ spoken language, reading, writing and vocabulary as integral aspects of the teaching of every subject. English is both a subject in its own right and the medium for teaching; for pupils, understanding the language provides access to the whole curriculum. Fluency in the English language is an essential foundation for success in all subjects.

Dfe 2013 National Curriculum (Language and Literacy section)

Aims and Objectives for Literacy

At Lord Blyton Primary School we aim to develop in our children:

• A positive attitude towards all aspects of English, including spoken language
• The confidence to work with growing independence in the different areas of English
• The competence to produce a high standard of work
• An awareness of audience
• A fluent handwriting style and a good grasp of phonics, spelling, vocabulary, grammar and punctuation (using the Hartlepool Scheme and Spellodrome for Spelling)
• The ability to apply these skills to sustained pieces of writing

We hope to achieve this by:

• Providing stimulating environments in which all aspects of literacy can thrive
• Developing trusting relationships in the classroom, involving good use of peer and self-assessment, so that pupils feel confident to express themselves without fear of embarrassment or criticism
• Motivating children through exciting topics which they help to plan and drive forward
• Making lessons highly interactive and productive, so children have time to do, evaluate and improve.
• Making sure that learning is personalised as much as possible to meet the needs of individual children.
• Following Jolly Phonics and Letters and Sounds
• Implementing the Twinkle Handwriting scheme from as early as the Early Years to include flicks for joining letters.

Teaching and Learning Principles

Our teaching and learning strategy at Lord Blyton School is based upon the new 2014 National Curriculum for English. We teach children by year groups, although we do differentiate tasks to suit pupils who are working below age-related expectations. This will enable those pupils to develop basic skills, as well as their confidence and independence at a more manageable pace. We have also identified those pupils who would benefit from additional English support and they follow schemes such as Blast in Reception, Lexia, Project X, One to One reading support, REAL project, Listening Skills.

Planning

Planning guidelines for Years 1-6 are taken from the new 2014 National Curriculum (published 2013). As teachers are covering aspects of the curriculum, they highlight areas of the curriculum in their planning files. This is used alongside the school’s assessment materials so that we can tailor lessons to meet the needs of our pupils. Teachers feel confident in choosing their own texts and materials to best support the teaching of a specific unit or to help achieve a learning objective.

ICT can play a big part in lessons, but only if it is the best option. We do not feel the need for over-use of ICT and value the importance of ‘real’ texts, with classes reading and analysing whole texts together.

Because ‘personalised’ learning is held with such high regard, teachers do a medium plan of the objectives to be covered during a unit. From this they will produce a weekly plan which can be adapted/amended as the week goes on through daily evaluations. This will ensure that the needs of the children are being met, either through more consolidation and practice or extension activities, for example.

Planning formats are consistent across the key stages and hard copies of annotated plans are kept in teacher’s planning files, which are moderated half termly by the English coordinator and Head Teacher.

Nursery and Foundation Stage:
English in the Nursery and Foundation Stage is taught as an integral part of the children’s work. The children have experience of aspects of English everyday, e.g. Jolly Phonics, Letters and Sounds, shared text work, writing, focused tasks etc. Our Nursery and Reception classes follow the New EYFS Curriculum 2014. Prime areas of English development are Communication and Language (Listening and attention, understanding and speaking) and Literacy Development (Reading and Writing of simple sentences by the end of Reception). Pupils are given the opportunity to talk and communicate in a widening range of situations, to respond to adults and to each other, to listen carefully and to practice and exchange their range of vocabulary and communication skills.
They have the opportunity to explore, enjoy, learn about and use words and text in a range of situations, through the carefully planned learning environment. We encourage the love of reading by continually updating our reading areas, through reading as a whole class and hearing children read individually at least twice a week. We have strong parent links enhanced through home-school records and the use of story sacks. Guided reading is introduced in the Spring term of Reception class. Role-play is changed on a half-termly basis to enthuse and inspire children to be creative in their use of language.
Nursery and Reception teach discreet daily phonic lessons. By the summer term in Reception, pupils begin to follow a more structured literacy lesson to aid with their transition into year 1.
Entitlement and Provision
All children are entitled to an English curriculum that meets their needs. The following is done to try to ensure this happens:
• Differentiated activities will be provided to support less able and extend more able pupils.
• In extreme circumstances, a child may be allocated one to one in-class support.
• Parents will be kept informed and encouraged to assist in helping their children.
• Teaching assistants are used to support groups and/or individual children. This includes additional support outside of the daily English lesson.

Assessment and Recording

Writing

We firmly believe that the focus should be on ‘learning’ rather than teaching, and value the importance of our school assessment materials as a tool for all of our children in Key Stages 1 and 2. The assessment focuses in writing are made clear to children and they are included in the evaluating of their work and future target setting. Self-evaluation is key in getting children to understand what they can do well and what they need to improve on further.

Assessment in writing is now firmly embedded. Our children have personal targets and especially in year 6 children are expected to take an active part in the assessment of their own work.

Assessment is an ongoing process, though summative samples are also undertaken with the children once each half-term. Evidence of achievement is then highlighted on to the assessment grids for Writing and Reading. This can be done in literacy sessions but also in the many opportunities we create for extended writing during our topic, science and RE work.

Reading

The class teacher and HLTAs listen to children read on an individual basis as often as possible. Home-school reading journals are used to record comments and provide evidence of assessment and also provide a good home-school link. Our school library is also used regularly, with children choosing their own books.

Shared reading is obviously done frequently during literacy lessons and comprehension activities are also used in other subjects, which gives teachers opportunities for more formative assessments, which they may choose to record.

Guided reading takes place daily within classes. Teachers are now formally recording assessments linked to the different assessment focuses (using Reading Assessment Grids containing objectives from the 2014 National Curriculum). This is firmly established in year 2, where evidence of guided reading is a requirement for SATs moderation.


Speaking and Listening

We do not use any summative assessments or formal assessment materials for Speaking & Listening and purely base our judgements on how children respond during lessons. We report on their confidence levels, articulacy and ability to listen to others when we record our levels on the end of year reports.

Summative assessments in the areas of Writing and Reading are recorded on assessment tracking grids. Throughout the year, the children are tracked against Year Group objectives stating whether they are emerging in the expected level for their year group, working at the expected level or exceeding at the expected level.
For more information on assessment, recording and target setting please refer to the Assessment Policy and Marking Policy.

Monitoring

Because improving writing is a major part of our School Development plan, English and Foundation books/Learning Journals are selected for regular work scrutiny to ensure children are learning basic literacy skills and being provided with ample opportunities to produce sustained independent writing to put these skills in to practice.

Lesson observations can be carried out by the English co-ordinator, head teacher, SMT or School Improvement Partner, where the focus is primarily on the learning, progression and the rates of engagement and productivity of pupils.

Roles and Responsibilities

It is expected that the English co-ordinator will fulfil the following role:
• Support colleagues in planning, teaching and assessing English
• Undertake any training, courses, etc. to keep teaching practice and knowledge of new initiatives up-to-date
• Keep colleagues informed of any changes in practice, providing training and/or information when appropriate.
• Monitor the planning and teaching of English throughout the school.
• Ensure that resources are appropriate, available and of good quality.
• Liaise with the headteacher, SENCO and SMT when necessary.

(Updated October 2016 – K. Simpson)
 

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