The Winslow Church of England School English vision
At Winslow Church of England School our aim is to foster a life-long love of language, literature and communication in our pupils so they leave us with a strong command of both the spoken and written word, underpinned by a passion for and appreciation of reading a wide variety of texts.
- From Years 1 to 6, planning overviews for each year group include opportunities for reading, writing and drama through poetry, narrative and non-fiction.
- Medium Term plans show opportunities for children to engage with texts through prediction, interrogation, capturing ideas and creating their own work based on what has been read.
- Planning shows opportunities for writing are (mainly) created from texts studied and real-life opportunities (and planned ‘wow’ / experience days).
- Planning and teaching show opportunities for children to develop skills in reading comprehension and both transcription (spelling and handwriting) and composition (articulating ideas and structuring them in speech and writing)
- To ensure a broader, richer, deeper experience for all pupils, discussion, reading and writing are developed through the wider curriculum.
- Teachers use a wide variety of inspiring texts, including fiction, non-fiction and poetry, to ensure children have a rich and varied literary experience.
- Children have opportunities to develop their reading through 1:1, guided group and/or shared reading with adults, depending on age and what is appropriate in order to ensure progress and enjoyment.
- To foster a love of language and literature, book talk techniques are used for the planning and teaching of reading.
- Reading for enjoyment is encouraged through regular sessions where children and teachers read for pleasure, recommend reading material and share thoughts about their reading.
- Children visit the school library once a week where a wide variety of literature (including newspapers, comics, magazines, picture books, electronic texts and audio books) is available for the children’s enjoyment.
- We have invested in the Accelerated Reader programme as a structured platform to help children to develop their reading skills. Children take regular ‘Star’ assessments and are then allocated an appropriate coloured reading book which is linked to their current reading level.
- We have monthly Key Stage Reading assemblies, where reading is celebrated and shared with the children. We also use these assemblies to celebrate children’s achievements with our Accelerated Reader programme.
- Children are encouraged to read as readers and to read as writers to develop an understanding of how language impacts on an audience.
- To develop children’s understanding of the texts they read, comprehension activities are carried out weekly. Each Year group has a set of current and relevant comprehension text books.
- Throughout the school, children have individual Reading Records to log their reading and to further strengthen home-school links with reading.
- We want children to have an understanding that writing has a real purpose and that word choice and style can greatly affect the reader’s perception. We are focusing more closely on vocabulary in order for children to further develop their understanding of words and to transfer these more readily to their writing.
- Children should always be aware of their audience. They are taught and encouraged to make language and stylistic choices in their writing which will evoke the desired response from their readers.
- Modelled / sentence stacking, guided and shared writing are used to assist children in making enhanced progress.
- Most writing opportunities stem from the reading material being used in lessons. This should create opportunities to write for a meaningful purpose (eg: reporting on events in texts, writing in role / as a character; letter writing to /from a character, etc)
- Other opportunities for experiential writing are given to the children as appropriate (eg: recount of a trip; letter of thanks to a visitor, persuasive speech about a relevant issue, etc)
- Children edit their work using a green pen to demonstrate that they are able to proofread accurately. This ‘green pen editing’ technique is also used to improve and develop work – eg: re-writing parts of their work, adding additional ideas etc.
- Our ‘Talk 4 Writing’ and ‘IPEELL’ approach provides children with a scaffolded approach to support their independent writing.
Drama & talk
- Drama activities are a regular part of the English curriculum and provide opportunities to empathise with characters; explore issues and situations from a variety of perspectives; create and sustain a range of roles; script and perform ideas for an audience and respond sensitively and critically to drama performances.
- Children have opportunities to learn, recite and perform poetry using expression, intonation and actions creatively.
- Children have regular opportunities to discuss and explain their ideas for writing verbally, in sentences, using correct vocabulary.
- Children are taught to talk about their reading and writing. Teachers use a range of strategies to facilitate talk, including: peer assessment, planned questions and rigorous talk partner activities.
- Each classroom has a working wall for English, where sentence starters are on display in all classrooms to support children in developing their verbal reasoning within all subjects. Teachers and support staff regularly model how these can be used effectively.
- Children change place in class regularly to allow opportunities to discuss their writing and reading with a wide range of other children.
- Children are encouraged to discuss personal areas of development. We use a wide range of motivational messages in our classes to support children’s positive thinking.
- Cross-curricular or topical class discussion, such as P4C, takes place regularly.
Grammar, punctuation & spelling (GPaS)
- Grammar, punctuation and spelling skills are taught contextually wherever possible. Year 6 children also have weekly discrete grammar lessons to further develop their skills.
- When discrete learning of GPaS skills is necessary, contextual links are made through future reading and writing.
- Children have weekly spellings linked to the curriculum expectations and ability. These spellings are practised through a variety of activities including games.
- Continual cursive handwriting is taught from Year 1 with regular modelling throughout the school as necessary.
- Cursive script helps most children become confident, fluent writers and helps with spelling.
- Presentation is important and a clear, cursive script helps children to produce work of which they can be proud.
Learning to learn
- Planning incorporates clear differentiation of tasks, with challenge and support as necessary for all children.
- Teaching promotes independence and responsibility. Using the ‘Five Bs’ of Brain, Boards, Book, Buddy and Boss and promotes Growth mindset and encourage resilience.
- The learning environment supports and stimulates current learning in English including a Working wall. Children are encouraged to find things that will help them with current work.
- ‘Lead learners’ are used in classrooms, whereby children of all abilities have the opportunity to teach and support their peers (shared writing, buddy reading etc)
- Dictionaries and thesauruses are available for children to use at any time and within any lesson. Children are taught to access information from these independently.
- The classroom culture is about developing understanding, identifying and learning from errors and misconceptions, and discussing methods, strategies and techniques to improve.
- Part of our marking and feedback policy focuses on the use pink (tickled pink to show areas of success) and green (green to grow to show areas for development / editing required) highlighter marking. Children are given planned opportunities to read and respond to marking. This process allows them to engage with the next steps in their learning.
- In KS2 peer and self-assessment are a form of marking, however even when this takes place, teachers still acknowledge the work and further respond if needed. (LKS2 – at least twice a week, UKS2 – three times a week as appropriate).
- As part of our IPEELL work, children are taught how to reflect on their work and to score the different elements of their writing.
- Our regular and rigorous assessment reveals which pupils are falling below expectations. Support and interventions are put in place as appropriate to facilitate rapid catch-up and to further support those children who need it.
- More able pupils who have already mastered the expected level within a unit of work are provided with opportunities to broaden, enrich and deepen their learning through challenge activities (e.g. independent critical thinking)
- Grammar skills are regularly revisited and revised contextually by all abilities to ensure children understand the relevance and impact and develop solid foundations which they apply to written work.
- We aim for all children to be securely working at expected level for their age in English, which is sustained over time. For higher attaining children we aim to provide a broader, richer and deeper experience of the work.
- Teaching Assistants have effective learning conversations in all phases of lessons with individuals, pairs and groups. Where possible, teaching assistants work with children from across the attainment spectrum.
- All children have regular opportunities to engage with rich reading and writing activities.
- Ensure planning and learning reflects 2014 National Curriculum.
- Ensure writing opportunities are planned with purpose and audience in mind. As part of the IPEELL strategy we use the acronym, ‘PAT’ to help the children. Purpose (P) Why are you writing? What do you want to achieve? Audience (A) Who will read your writing? How might you change your content for different audiences? Type (T) What text type and form of writing would be best for your purpose and audience? E.g. are you writing a letter, leaflet, story, etc?
- Use reading as an opportunity to explore and discuss impact of language / layout.
- Allow time in plenary for work to be shared with a peer – proper peer assessment, not just swapping books.
- Teach grammar and punctuation in context wherever possible. Look for taught grammatical devices in reading; model in shared / guided writing.
- Using Talk 4 Writing in conjunction with the IPEELL structure to ensure children are planning and writing well-structured writing.
- Finding opportunities to teach vocabulary and to widen children’s vocabulary base.
- Taking wider opportunities to further develop writing across the curriculum to the same standard.
- Use of a revised Reading Record to log children’s reading, both in and outside of school. We want to celebrate reading and to foster and enjoyment of books.