At Micklem Primary School we believe that a quality English curriculum should develop children’s love of reading, writing and discussion. We have the ambition of all children leaving Micklem Primary School as fluent lovers of reading for pleasure. We believe this will contribute to future attainment and life prospects. We aim to inspire an appreciation of our rich literary heritage and a habit of reading widely and often. We want the range of books our children access to reflect their cultural heritage, to reflect the relationships and family structures they have outside of our school. We recognise the importance of nurturing a culture where children take pride in their writing, can write clearly and accurately and adapt their language and style for a range of contexts. We want to inspire children to be confident in the art of speaking and listening and to be able to use discussion to communicate and further their learning. We believe that children need to develop a secure knowledge-base, which follows a clear pathway of progression as they advance through the primary curriculum. We believe that firm foundations in literacy skills is crucial to a high quality education and will give our children the tools they need to participate fully as a member of society.
These aims are embedded across our English lessons and the wider curriculum. We have a rigorous and well organised English curriculum that provides many purposeful opportunities for reading, writing and discussion. Teachers in KS1 and KS2 use the Herts For Learning English planning for their year group. This ensures progression across the key stages. We use the No Nonsense spelling pathway to teach the words and the spellings children need to know to write well. Where we can, we aim to make links through the teaching of literacy to our other curriculum areas. Our curriculum closely follows the aims of the National Curriculum for English 2014.
The National Curriculum for English aims to ensure that all pupils:
● read easily, fluently and with good understanding
● develop the habit of reading widely and often, for both pleasure and information
● acquire a wide vocabulary, an understanding of grammar and knowledge of linguistic conventions for reading, writing and spoken language
● appreciate our rich and varied literary heritage
● write clearly, accurately and coherently, adapting their language and style in and for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences
● use discussion to learn; they should be able to elaborate and clearly explain their understanding and ideas
● are competent in the arts of speaking and listening, making formal presentations, demonstrating to others and participating in debate.
In addition to daily English lessons, children develop early reading skills through the teaching of phonics. Our prime approach to teaching reading is through our systematic synthetic phonics programme - Essential Letters and Sounds. Reading skills are practised by reading phonically appropriate books, which are closely matched to the sounds that children have learnt. Whilst we are rigorous on teaching children the sounds they need to decode (read) and encode (spell) words, this is supplemented by a literacy rich environment. Each class has a well stocked book corner and we have relocated our library to the heart of the school. Built into KS1 and KS2 timetables is ERIC time (every child reading in class). Every class has story time at the end of the day. Children in EYFS will experience story time several times during their day. In EYFS and KS1 the children internalise one familiar text each half term.
We use a wide variety of quality texts and resources to motivate and inspire our children. In KS2, we use a whole class guided reading approach to teaching the comprehension skills of inference. We also provide a wealth of enrichment opportunities, from celebrating World Book Day within our school community each year to inviting authors to visit and share their love of stories and their professions of being authors and illustrators. In this way, children benefit from access to positive role models from the local and wider locality.
Any children who do not initially make the expected progress are assessed and supported through targeted interventions in order to ensure that they are able to achieve their full potential.
We want an increasing number of children in KS1 to meet the phonics screening test. Our ambition is for every child to leave KS1 a reader to enable them to access our KS2 curriculum.
Our systematic synthetic phonics scheme is Essential Letters and Sounds. We use a mix of decodable readers from a range of schemes for children to practise their decoding skills. We ensure that each child has a closely matched phonics home reader and one that they have chosen to read with their parents. Children who are fluent readers will have a reading book of their choice to read at home.