The English Curriculum at Thomas Harding Junior School
Our English Intent
The English curriculum at Thomas Harding, has at its heart, a focus on promoting high standards of language and literacy by equipping pupils with a strong command of the spoken and written language, and to develop their love of literature through widespread reading for enjoyment. At Thomas Harding we share a common goal: to develop children’s abilities to use language to think, explore, organise and to communicate significant meanings.
Our curriculum closely follows the aims of the National Curriculum for English 2014 to enable all children to:
● 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 in order to learn; they should be able to elaborate and explain clearly their understanding and ideas
● are competent in the arts of speaking and listening, making formal presentations, demonstrating to others and participating in debate.
These aims are embedded across our literacy lessons and the wider curriculum. Our ambitious English curriculum is built around the idea of the ‘purpose’ of communication and follows a clear pathway of progression as they advance through the primary curriculum. Each carefully sequenced learning journey creates a cohesive link between reading, writing and spoken language, which enables children to make systematic progress and embed essential concepts and skills. The English curriculum develops learning and results in the acquisition of knowledge and skills so that all pupils know more, remember more and understand more.
We also recognise the importance that language plays in the social, emotional and imaginative development of children as they use language to ascertain meaning of the complexity of human experience and communicate with the world at large. Through reading in particular, pupils have a chance to develop culturally, emotionally, intellectually, socially and spiritually.
At Thomas Harding the ASPIRE (aspiration, success, pride, integrity, resilience and equality) values, underpin the English curriculum and provides children with essential tools for learning. We aim to enable every child to develop their self-esteem, independence, confidence and to develop a positive mindset in order for them to be successful in their learning. We want pupils not only to reach, but exceed their potential at Thomas Harding Junior School and beyond.
- Clear Reading and Writing Progressions Documents outline key objectives that are taught and show how knowledge and skills are taught, revisited and embedded.
- Phonic lessons taught daily in LKS2 and phonic interventions in all year groups available for pupils who still require more support. Continued work with feeder school, Elmtree to ensure progression and consistency and to close any gaps in learning.
- No Nonsense Spelling scheme used in Y3-Y6 and spelling lessons take place at least twice a week. Children are tested weekly on the statutory words for their year group
- Tier 2 words and other vocabulary are identified and promoted through displays or word banks in class enhancing and encouraging a wider use of vocabulary
- Pre-teaching of vocabulary, which is aimed at our PP, SEND and EAL pupils to ensure that key vocabulary is taught beforehand
- Daily Whole Class Reading lessons in all year groups ensure teaching of reading strategies and also ensure all children read aloud daily. Texts are specifically chosen expose children to a variety of genres and also to make links with other subjects
- VIPERS – Pupils explore vocabulary, prediction, sequencing, making inferences and retrieving information, ensuring that they are able to make justified responses using evidence from the text. These reading skills are taught consistently from Y3 to Y6.
- High quality oracy skills modelled and promoted in discussions throughout English lessons.
- Headstart Comprehension Assessment is used consistently throughout the school in order to give teachers clear picture of baseline
- Reading and Spelling Assessments used effectively to identify children in need of regular and targeted intervention and Target Tracker is used effectively
- Reading is celebrated through Recommended Reads in class every month and children are encouraged to complete a page in the Reading Recommendation scrapbook
- Reading Records encourage children to aim for rewards and aspire to become a Reading Champion
- Reading Buddies Scheme where children looking forward to reading to a buddy, or hearing fiction and non-fiction texts read to them by older children
- Parent Readers will listen to children read aloud on a 1:1 basis giving children more opportunities to be heard reading
- Class Novels are read to the class every day. This promotes enjoyment and a love of reading
- ‘Grouping’ in 5 and 6 has seen a positive impact on pupil well-being in English and has allowed for greater progress to be made, especially for PP and GDS groups.
- Whole School agreed Memory Hacks (retrieval, note taking, chunking, scaffolding/modelling and big picture) are planned for and used consistently in lessons giving children skills to remember more
- Our Core Texts are carefully and purposely selected in order to promote engagement and high-quality writing from each child.
- The half- termly purposes for the writing units are planned and sequenced so key skills are revisited and embedded year on year. Each unit has a clear purpose and audience so children learn how to adapt their writing style and language used based on the desired outcome
- Clear Modelling and scaffolding from teachers to ensure children aware of outcome and expectations and are able to reach their potential
- Non-Negotiables in English to ensure basic expectations are met.
- In line with the National Curriculum, grammar and punctuation rules are taught both discretely and as part of English sequences of work to fit to the writing genre.
- Final writing pieces are celebrated and ‘published’ giving children a purpose and audience and to encourage pride in work and to show that work is valued.
- Reading and writing events (throughout the year) to encourage and promote enjoyment and opportunities to develop lifelong learning
- Learning Walks, book Scrutiny, Pupil voice, staff meeting will be held regularly to share good teaching practice and to develop teacher subject knowledge
- Internal moderation exercises as well as moderation with other local schools and within the Trust will take place throughout the year.
Throughout the year, we hold themed weeks and days which aim to promote and raise the profile of English and to instil in pupils a love of reading.
- Teacher’s lead reading assemblies where they share extracts from their favourite books
- We celebrate Star Readers regularly in celebration assemblies.
- Classes will create a ‘Living Library’ which brings their core text to life and extends their understanding
- World Book Day / Pyjamarama
- Author talks
- reading and writing competitions
By the time our children leave Thomas Harding Junior school they will:
- recognise the close relationship between reading and writing;
- write across a range of forms and adapt their writing successfully, considering the purpose.
- read for pleasure a wide range of literature: have instilled in them a love of reading and storytelling, poetry and plays, as well as non-fiction texts;
- gain sustained learning and transferable skills
- be able to express themselves correctly and appropriately;
- read accurately and with understanding to develop into confident and independent readers;
- have an interest in words, their meaning, and a growing vocabulary. This interest extends to the technical and specialist vocabulary of all subjects;
- leave primary school being able to effectively apply spelling rules and patterns they have been taught
- develop their thinking skills to help them on the path to becoming reflective, independent learners;
- experience learning opportunities which integrate speaking and listening, reading and writing activities;