At Budbrooke Primary School, we believe that a quality English curriculum should develop children’s love of reading, writing and discussion; therefore, promote high standards of language by equipping pupils with a strong command of the spoken and written word. We recognise the importance of nurturing a culture where children take pride in their writing, can write clearly and accurately and adapt their language and style for a range of contexts.
We develop their love of literature through widespread reading for enjoyment. We strive to teach 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.
We believe that children need to develop a secure knowledge-base in English, which follows a clear pathway of progression as they advance through the primary curriculum. We believe that a secure basis in literacy skills is crucial to a high-quality education and will give our children the tools they need to participate fully as a member of society.
These aims are embedded across our English lessons and the wider curriculum. We have a rigorous and well organised curriculum that provides many purposeful opportunities for reading, writing and discussion. Teachers adapt the Cornerstone scheme as appropriate to needs and interests of their classes. Our curriculum closely follows the aims of the National Curriculum for English, 2014.
The National 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 should be 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.
The systematic teaching of phonics, using Letters and Sounds by Jolly Phonics, has a high priority throughout Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1. Jolly phonics is visual, audial and kinaesthetic thus increasing the likelihood of rapid progress. Phonics is taught daily to all children in Foundation Stage, Year 1 and those in Year 2 who have not passed phonics screening in Year 1. Staff systematically teach learners the relationship between sounds and the written spelling patterns, or graphemes, which represent them. Phonics is delivered in a whole class format because it enables staff to ensure application across subjects embedding the process in a rich literacy environment for early readers.
Intervention is planned for those children who are working below expected levels; children are regularly assessed using Phonics Tracker and relevant support interventions are in place using Nessy.
If you'd like to practise your phonics at home, try Phonics Play: https://new.phonicsplay.co.uk/
Pupils will be given reading books which closely match their ability and reading preferences, using high-quality texts from Oxford Reading Tree, Songbirds, Rigby Star and All Aboard. All books are ‘Book Banded’ in order to ensure progression and challenge for all children. You can access free eBooks from Oxford Owl using this link: https://www.oxfordowl.co.uk/for-home/find-a-book/library-page
In KS2, books are grouped into appropriate age ranges organised into graduated levels of complexity of theme or vocabulary, length and comprehension. Children have the freedom to choose from an array of fiction, non-fiction and poetry to encourage frequent reading for pleasure. Our lovely librarians often make recommendations of riveting reads as well as take requests.
Guided Reading lessons (5 sessions per week) are planned by all teachers to teach a range of skills and techniques, which enable children to comprehend the meaning of what they read and develop their understanding of the vocabulary used by authors. Books are selected by teachers with the knowledge of how they link to other areas of the curriculum, with many class texts linking to the Cornerstones topics. These sessions focus on covering the reading content domains, making children explicitly aware of the reading skills required, using the acronym VIPERS (vocabulary, inference, predictions, explain, retrieve, sequence/summarise). Alongside reading a whole-class fiction text, sessions are supplemented with one non-fiction or poetry focus, as well as one comprehension or skills-based reading lesson using HeadStart resources, which often reviews and refreshes skills previously taught.
All children will have texts read to them in every year group (this may include traditional fairy tales / rhymes in EYFS and KS1 to established classic novels in KS2). All children are expected to read at home and take reading books from school. Children are encouraged to read at least five times weekly and should record this in their reading diary – a communication record between school and home. For an appropriate age reading list, please visit: https://schoolreadinglist.co.uk/
Spoken and written language
The promotion of a language rich curriculum is essential to the successful acquisition across the curriculum. The development of speech and language is identified as one of the most important parts of our school’s early years curriculum. The promotion and use of an accurate and rich cross-curricular vocabulary throughout school is planned in all subjects. This is evident in all learning areas and is a key part of the Cornerstone topics. Pupils are given a wide range of opportunities to use and develop their Speaking and Listening skills to help them with the writing process across all areas of the curriculum.
All children write daily; opportunities for children to apply their writing are planned and links to the wider curriculum are made when doing this. Writing is assessed at appropriate times when key skills can be applied in a meaningful way and next steps identified by the teacher (often verbally when collaborating with the child); also, through self and peer assessment. We assess using writing assessment grids that we share with the other academies in our Multi Academy Trust for moderation purposes.
Skills are taken from each year group’s Age-Related Expectations for writing and taught in skills lessons, which subsequently feed into longer writes. Pupils from Year 2 upwards are taught daily spelling sessions where key spelling rules and patterns are explored and effective strategies for learning, remembering, understanding and applying are taught.
Budbrooke school has presentation expectations that all children and staff adhere to. Handwriting sessions are regularly incorporated into English lessons using the Nelson Scheme.
Good presentation, impressive use of vocabulary, accurate writing skills and enthusiasm for the subject are celebrated weekly in a whole-school assembly.
Our lovely librarians from Y6 take their role very seriously. They encourage and nurture the reading of other pupils in the school, not only providing recommendations and taking requests, also leading twice weekly reading buddies sessions with members of KS1. They're extremely efficient and organised in tidying and updating our school library. Thanks to Gracie, Millie, Phoebe, Siobhan and Tilly!