Policy statement on the teaching of English at Millbrook Primary School
English is taught on a daily basis within the school, reflecting its’ standing as a core subject within the curriculum. The English curriculum is mapped out over the key stage with year each group planning units of work which denote the various genres, such as poetry, narrative writing, diary writing and play scripts etc. During their time at Millbrook, children will experience a broad and balanced English curriculum exploring the various text types as they progress up through the school.
At Millbrook Primary School, children are encouraged to develop a love of books and reading. Reading is at the heart of the curriculum and allows children access to a world of discovery and learning.
The school teaches phonics through using the Read, Write Inc. programme. This is at the heart of our early reading programme. Children are taught letter / sound correspondence from nursery and consolidate the skills of blending and segmenting as they move through Reception and Year 1. This approach is very successful and year after year, the results for children at Millbrook in the Year 1 Phonics Screening Check are above the national average. In 2019, 93% of our children passed the check, whilst the national figure was 82%.
Children following the phonics programme will take reading books home that are in line with the sounds they are learning in school.
All children are encouraged to read for enjoyment and pleasure, both fiction and non-fiction books, to acquire knowledge, to pursue interests and preferences, to feed the imagination, allowing them to use a varied and rich vocabulary in their own writing and developing the art of communication which will serve them well not just for now but throughout their lives.
The school is extremely well resourced to deliver a rich reading curriculum. The school library is fully stocked with both fiction and non-fiction books which are regularly reviewed and updated. Staff use the wide resources available from the School Library Service to engage children in various topics throughout the curriculum.
In addition to their English lessons within school, children participate in two hours per week of guided reading sessions, where they explore a variety of text types, discuss texts in depth and develop those key skills of summarising, clarifying, predicting, retrieving information and decoding to name but a few. Activities may include role play, reciting of poems, research, group reading, web based activities and hot-seating, but fundamentally the children are engaged in focused reading for a sustained time.
Reading is indelibly linked to all areas of the curriculum and as such is pivotal to learning, promoting challenge and creating a climate for success in all we do!
Text based planning
The school adopts a text based approach to the teaching of English where appropriate, using quality texts, chosen to engage and inspire the children. The school has compiled a literature spine which runs through the school, comprising of carefully selected books and stories which will act as catalyst to motivate and enthuse children’s study of literature.
Talk for Writing
Over the last year, Talk for Writing has featured greatly in the teaching of narrative writing. This involves the children playing creative warm up games, taking well known tales and poems, imitating them and then innovating them, creating their own poems and stories by changing and embellishing the original. Using this approach, the children learn the focused text by heart, devising actions to help them remember the pattern of the story or structure of a poem. Once the children have internalised the text, they can then re-tell it, but then create their own version of the story using story maps or boxing up techniques, with the children ultimately writing or performing their own work. This process can be adapted for a variety of texts and has proven to be a highly effective tool in developing the children’s skills of narrative writing.
Word of the Day
Word of the day is becoming a familiar sight in the classrooms, with the children being given a Word of the Day, which is generally taken from the text the children are working on, and which could be used in future writing, to improve the quality of their writing. The children explore the definition of the word, then use white boards to create exciting sentences writing.
Grammar and Punctuation
In line with the new curriculum, grammar and punctuation are taught during English lessons in all classes, within the teaching of reading, writing and speaking. Aspects of grammar and punctuation are revisited throughout Key Stage 2, to allow for consolidation of knowledge and to promote a deeper understanding. All classes display the terminology, which the children need to learn and use in the course of their English work, as explicit knowledge of grammar is important in giving children a more conscious control and choice in the use of their language.
Spellings are given to children on a weekly basis. The spellings are based on the spelling patterns included in the new curriculum for English.
Handwriting and Presentation of Work
The importance of maintaining a high standard of presentation in all children’s work in all subjects is stressed in all lessons throughout the curriculum, and all staff expect the children to ensure that they present their work to the best of their abilities and to be proud of the work they produce. The school uses Nelson Handwriting to teach the children a simple joined script.