At St Mary Bourne Primary our main aim is to develop children’s love of reading, writing and debate. We recognise that every child has their own starting point and progress is measured to ensure that every child can achieve their own excellence. We believe that a secure and embedded understanding of basic skills is crucial to a high quality education and will give our children the tools to become independent and successful learners.
We have a rich, text-driven English curriculum and framework that provides many purposeful opportunities for reading, writing and discussion. We use a wide variety of quality texts and resources that immerse children in rich and adventurous vocabulary. Not only do our stimuli motivate, they also aim to inspire our children. Cross-curricular links with topic may be woven into the programme of study where appropriate. At St Mary Bourne School we plan English lessons which meet the needs of all children and help them to maximise their potential by providing help and support where necessary whilst striving to make children independent learners equipping them with the confidence, tools and strategies they need.
English encompasses the teaching of speaking, listening, reading, writing skills, spelling strategies and rules and the use of drama. These skills are used and embedded across all areas of the curriculum.
Children take part in a variety of situations and activities in which they are taught how to discuss and ask questions. Many opportunities are planned for so that children can tell stories and build up a repertoire of poems learnt by heart, with increasing confidence and enthusiasm. Whilst sharing and presenting their ideas, children are also taught the value and importance of being active listeners, across all situations and subjects to help children to gather ideas and structure their writing.
From Year R onwards, children are taught specific decoding skills including the use of phonics, recognition of common exception words (tricky words), and making links to known words in order to develop reading fluency.
Children experience a wide range of authors and text types during their time at St Mary Bourne School and will regularly hear books being read to them, in addition to reading for their own pleasure. We aim to foster a love of language and literature and an active use of our school library and class libraries is encouraged. Children take books home to share and a Homework diary is used to develop dialogue about their progress, and for children to reflect on their reading. It is also used to encourage children to identify words that capture their imagination and interest (Magpie them) so that they can broaden their vocabulary and understanding and in turn their use of phrasing in their writing.
In Early Years and Year One reading books are linked to the phonic levels that they can access and are either currently learning or to recap sounds that they have been previously taught and is supplemented by a variety of reading schemes. When children are ready, they will start the colour coded scheme within the school , so all children are accessing books at their reading ability.
We are lucky enough to have many reliable volunteers, who alongside teaching staff, contribute towards the development of the children’s speaking and listening, allowing children to participate in discussions where they can express their views about a variety of books and poems.
Children are given opportunities to write for a variety of purposes and wherever possible real audiences, using a range of writing types . They will learn to plan, draft, revise, edit and present their work, before evaluating the success of their writing. Feedback from the intended audience will be part of this process wherever possible. Writing journeys inform both the teacher and the children of the sequence of learning. Children are expected to write frequently across a range of forms.
To help children realise their full potential and maintain high expectations, we devise a list of writing expectations to be met and ensure that all previous learning is built upon. Any children that need extra support to achieve these expectations will have strategies in place with their class teacher. Shared and modelled writing, takes place within English lessons. This allows the teacher to demonstrate good writing practice while using the children's ideas. Teachers ensure that the writing demonstrated shows high expectations and covers the success criteria they would expect to see in the children’s writing.
In the English curriculum, punctuation, grammar and spelling play a key role in the child’s writing. Some sessions are taught as stand-alone lessons and others are taught to ensure that the writing purposes extend from any skills that have been taught. This allows children to develop their understanding or technical terms to be able to discuss and justify choices. Children will steadily build on their understanding of spelling patterns and rules across the school outlined in the National Curriculum. The school has adopted a strategy designed to reinforce and strengthen spelling rules and patterns, using repetition across a tri-stage approach gradually building on prior knowledge and moving children to the stage that most benefits them.
Cursive script handwriting is taught from Year One and is considered a skill that affects written communications across the curriculum. Our aim is that pupils will be supported to develop a cursive handwriting style which is clear and fluid with joining becoming a focus from Year 2 onwards. Inevitably some will be neater than others, but each child will acquire a consistent and fluent style enabling them e to write with ease, speed and legibility.
Drama forms part of the English and wider curriculum and aims to encourage self-confidence, imagination and empathy. It is used to stimulate, explore and challenge ideas.
The impact on our children is clear: progress, sustained learning and transferrable skills as lifelong learners. We hope that their creativity, enthusiasm for English and high aspirations continue to grow as they continue on their educational journey.