Teaching English at Over Hall Community School
'Be supported, feel supported - make a difference'
English lead: Mrs Whitehead
Through the teaching of English, we intend for pupils to encounter a curriculum that is ambitious for all, is coherently planned and sequenced, is successfully adapted, designed and developed for pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities and is broad and balanced for all pupils. Our curriculum will ensure that pupils can read and respond to texts in an instructional and emotional way, communicate coherently, effectively and accurately when speaking and/or writing and equip them with the skills they need to achieve well and lead happy, successful lives beyond the school gates.
All children in Reception and Year One have a daily phonics lesson in school. As and when appropriate, children in Year Two will continue to access daily phonics lessons until their phonic knowledge is secure.
We use Floppy's Phonics through which children are taught about letters and the sounds that they make using a variety of approaches. These sounds are taught in a specific order to equip children with the knowledge and skills they need to decode words and read them accurately. The content of the phonic scheme is split into stages, of which there are five across Early Years and Key Stage One.
Generally, levels one to three (inclusive) are taught throughout Nursery/Reception. Level four and five are taught throughout Year One. Pupils in Year Two will consolidate level five (where appropriate) alongside their Year Two reading and spelling objectives. The scheme requires children to be supported in their learning at home through the use of reading books, sound tiles and activity sheets.
Children will be assessed regularly during the implementation of the scheme and, if required, intervention will be timely and focused on a particular 'gap' in learning. Daily phonics lessons are taught as a whole class with additional, targeted support for those pupils requiring it.
In the Summer of Year One, children will take a statutory phonic screen to assess how they are progressing with their knowledge of sounds and letters.
We will hear children read individually at least once a week and the lowest 20% of each class are listened to on a daily basis. In Reception and Key Stage One, regularly guided group reading sessions support pupils' letter-sound and word recognition alongside developing other skills for reading such as the context, the sense of the sentence, fluency, expression etc. as children's reading skills develop.
We provide a mixture of fiction, non fiction and poetry titles for children to access to read. Most of the books used, especially for our early readers, are published by the Oxford Reading Tree. These books are in line with our Phonics Scheme and are colour banded to represent each level in the phonics scheme. The books that children read are carefully chosen based on individual pupils' phonics knowledge so that each child is reading a text with 90% accuracy and a matched level of understanding. Children are assessed to ensure that they are reading the correct level of reading book.
We understand the importance of reading daily; we have a home-school agreement and expectation that children will be supported with their reading at home. It is expected that the children will read daily and record daily reading in their reading response books in Year Reception to Year Four, and in their school diaries in Years Five and Six.
You can find out more about how to support your child with phonics and early reading on the 'Phonics Support' tab under the 'Parent Zone' tab.
In Year Two to Year Six, we deliver regular, whole class, shared reading lessons using Steps to Read from Literacy Counts, where we focus on the comprehension aspect of reading. Our sessions facilitate pupils' understanding of vocabulary and their skills of inference, prediction, retell and summary. Every lesson is also used to model how to read aloud clearly, with intonation, expression and awareness of an audience. Lessons are adapted, using assessment outcomes, to ensure children are taught the specific skills they need in order to continue to develop their reading skills and achieve success. In Summer term, children in Year One will begin to participate in whole class shared reading lessons to prepare them and support their transition into Year Two.
‘When a child writes, they are often two distinct people. A composer and a secretary. Both need your teaching. Both need nurturing.’
The Writing For Pleasure Centre – promoting research-informed writing teaching
Writing is a complex task of which we unpick to identify key building blocks that allow children to become writers. It requires the coordination of fine motor skills and cognitive skills, reflects the social and cultural patterns of the writer’s time and is also linguistically complex (Myhill and Fisher, 2010; Fisher, 2012). Writing can be simplified into two main areas of transcription (spelling and handwriting) and composition (articulating ideas and structuring them in speech and writing).
Writing encompasses a range of genres, divided mainly in fiction (prose that describes imaginary events and people in a variety of genre such as poetry, playscripts, traditional tales, science fiction, mystery etc) and non-fiction (prose that is informative or factual, explaining and describing such as reports, explanations, manuals, prospectuses, travel guides and brochures; sometimes with examples of persuasion, argument or even advise.
Speaking and listening, phonics, spelling and handwriting skills lay the foundation for writing. Articulating ideas before writing means that children can focus more on their writing composition. Transcribing with increasing skill (spelling and handwriting) provides them with the confidence and flow. Writing for a purpose and ideally a ‘real’ audience provides a greater enthusiasm to write. At Over Hall, we aim to provide exciting writing opportunities, time for purposeful practice and effective feedback.
We base our lessons on an approach called ‘Talk for Writing’ that takes children through three stages. Firstly, they learn to imitate the language needed for a particular topic orally, before moving onto reading and analysing it, and then writing their own version. Over time, our teachers reduce the amount of scaffolding and modelling they provide, and children are able to write high-quality texts independently.
Over Hall has adopted Literacy Counts’ ‘Read to write’ scheme that works alongside the ‘Steps to Read’ scheme. ‘Letter join’ and ‘No nonsense spelling’ provide the framework and progression in handwriting and spelling beyond the phonics scheme of ‘Floppy Phonics’. The units ensure that teaching and learning begins from a high quality, language rich text and teaches the writing skills that children need to acquire in a coherently planned and sequenced way. The progression of writing skills we teach year on year is documented in the attachment below.Staff endeavour to provide writing opportunities wider than the English lesson allowing them to write for different purposes and to experience first hand the impact of great writing.
Intervention and support are offered in each of these key areas through personalised learning, adapted teaching alongside adult led or online programmes such as IDL, Phonics International …
Staff at Over Hall teach and nurture composers, secretaries, and above all, confident and enthusiastic writers.
The impact of our English curriculum will be that pupils can communicate effectively through speaking, listening and writing in an accurate, clear, coherent and engaging way.
Pupils will secure knowledge of a variety of genres in reading and writing, use a wide, ambitious vocabulary and apply their English skills to access the wider curriculum.
Pupils will achieve, at least, expected standards for their age and take their enjoyment of and achievement in English beyond the school gates and into their future lives.