At Swallownest Primary school, we believe that literacy and communication are key life skills. Through the English and wider subject curricula, we will help children develop the knowledge, both substantive and disciplinary, that will enable them to communicate effectively and creatively through spoken and written language and equip them to become Gold Standard lifelong learners.
Literacy, and reading in particular, is at the heart of our curriculum. It enables children both to communicate with others effectively for a variety of purposes and to express their own and others’ experiences, feelings and ideas. As Literacy is central to children’s intellectual, emotional and social development, it has an essential role across the curriculum at Swallownest and helps pupils’ learning to be both coherent and progressive.
At Swallownest Primary School, we strive for all of our children to be literate. By the end of Year 6 we aim for all children to be able to:
- be effective, competent communicators and good listeners;
- express opinions, articulate feelings and formulate responses to a range of texts both fiction and non-fiction using appropriate technical vocabulary;
- foster an interest in words and their meanings, and to develop a growing vocabulary in both spoken and written form;
- have an interest in books and to read for enjoyment, engaging with and understanding a range of text types and genres;
- write in a variety of styles and forms showing awareness of audience and purpose;
- develop powers of imagination, inventiveness and critical awareness in all areas of literacy;
- use grammar and punctuation accurately;
- understand spelling conventions;
- produce effective, well-presented written work.
Statutory requirements for the teaching and learning of English are laid out in the 2014 National Curriculum and in the Communication, Language and Literacy section of the Early Years Foundation Stage (2014)
As a school from EYFS to Year 6, we follow the ‘Pathways to Write’ mastery approach which is an English long term planning tool that school has invested in. Pathways to Write provides children with specific “keys” for the children to focus on in their writing. These include objectives that the children have mastered in previous years –gateway keys- and new targets called mastery keys which are taken from the year group that the children are currently in. Each class has a visual display of these keys and the children regularly refer to them in all writing.
The school uses a variety of teaching and learning styles in English lessons and all staff follow the ‘mastery’ approach to the teaching of English. Our principal aim is to develop children’s knowledge and understanding in language, reading and writing. At Swallownest, we do this through daily lessons, which are adapted to suit the needs of the individual child and the class as a whole.
To support early reading, daily phonics lessons are taught for Foundation Stage and KS1 children and any children in KS2 that require continued phonics support. These sessions are delivered in ability-appropriate groups which are streamed across the Foundation Stage and KS1. These groupings are checked regularly to ensure that all children are receiving phonics that is accessible to them. All children who currently access the phonics programme have access to a fully decodable reading book, both in the form of a physical copy and an electronic version to read on our online reading platform.
Children who are working below the level expected for their age in phonics will receive additional daily ‘catch-up’ sessions to ensure that the gap between themselves and their peers is closed, while a daily ‘keep up’ session is delivered to ensure that any misconceptions from that day are addressed with immediacy.
Children with significant additional needs in terms of speech and language are identified early through using the NELI (Nuffield Early Language Intervention) assessment. Those children who meet the criteria for this programme receive a regular intervention.
Early reading is taught through Mechanics of Reading sessions which are delivered across Foundation Stage, KS1 (until the children reach a required level of fluency) and KS2 children who still require this continued support. These sessions are delivered daily in small groups by a mixture of class teachers and teaching assistants. High priority is placed on these sessions; highlighting our drive to promote excellence in the early stages of the child’s reading development.
Once a child can read with sufficient fluency, they then access reading fluency sessions (Y2-Y6). Reading fluency is taught 4 x weekly and focusses on a mastery approach; allowing children opportunities to re-read a wide range of age appropriate texts including fiction, non-fiction, classic texts and poetry. These sessions develop children’s reading accuracy, automaticity and prosody: 3 key elements in developing successful readers. Each session also includes an element of vocabulary development using a pre-selected tier 2 word from the chosen text. This selected vocabulary is revisited throughout the week in a variety of different contexts to ensure that a deep understanding of the word is gained. These words are displayed in each class where reading fluency is delivered.
The final reading session across KS2 is based on the reciprocal reading approach. This allows the children to develop ‘book talk’, while developing the 4 main elements of reciprocal reading: predicting, clarifying, questioning and summarising.
High quality and engaging texts are also used as the key driver for many of our foundation subject areas, including science, history, geography, art and PSHE.