At Charlton CE Primary School, children are encouraged to develop a broad range of skills in speaking and listening, reading and writing. Children participate in a daily English lesson in Years 1- 6 and in a wide range of language activities in Class R.
Spoken English and Oracy
Speaking and listening skills are developed across the whole curriculum. It regularly precedes written work, giving children a chance to try out ideas before committing them to paper. We encourage various opportunities for the children to speak in public, from whole school assemblies and school council meetings to celebrations in the church and productions.
Children’s curiosity and inquisitiveness will lead to a deep interest in exploring and communicating with others. Their desire to communicate will support them in establishing positive relationships and in making valuable contributions through this communication.
The spoken word is a child's first opportunity to share their capability with others. As such we aim to model and develop ambitious and interesting vocabulary on which children can base their communication. We have high standards for listening, which we take time to develop insuring children get as much as they can from any situation. Speaking and listening is core to our curriculum and embeds all learning through discussion; talk partners play an integral role in learning within our school as does Talk for Writing.
Children will learn to speak clearly and accurately, allowing them to interact and communicate for a wide range of purposes. They will be confident and respectful in sharing their opinions and listening to the opinions of others. Their positive approach to oracy will help them to speak with concision and precision.
At Charlton School we use Letters and Sounds. We may draw on other phonics resources and schemes to enable us to tailor the teaching of phonics to the children. The need for the use of other resources and schemes will determined by the needs of the children. Phonics can be taught in small groups or as whole class.
As children move through the school they may be taken for targeted intervention. This ensures they receive the right level and style of phonics teaching for them. Letters and Sounds is a phonics resource published by the Department for Education and Skills in 2007. It aims to build children's speaking and listening skills in their own right as well as to prepare children for learning to read by developing their phonic knowledge and skills. It sets out a detailed and systematic programme for teaching phonic skills for children starting as soon as the child is ready, with the aim of them becoming fluent readers by age seven. There are six overlapping phases which are described here.
The Year 1 phonics screening check:
This is a short assessment is to confirm whether individual children have learnt phonic decoding to an appropriate standard. To achieve the expected standard on the phonics screening check children should be confident with the phase 5 skills. We will identify the children who need extra help so they are given support by us to improve their reading skills. They will then be able to retake the check so that we can track children until they are able to decode.
After the children have completed the Letters and Sounds scheme, they then move on to learning spelling rules. At Charlton School we focus on the rules, as the English language tends to follow set rules with a few irregularities. We will teach the children a rule a week following Spelling Shed. It may be a prefix or a suffix, it may be what happens when you change a word e.g. stop becomes stopped. Children will be sent home a few words and are able to play games through their EdShed login to help consolidate their learning. The spelling tests focus on a range of words, as we are testing the children's knowledge of the rule and phonics rather than their ability to learn a list of words. There are many additional spelling websites on the web that help children to learn their spellings with fun activities that you can do.
Reading is a fundamental skill and we encourage parents to join in the excitement of their children learning to read. We encourage children to read a wide variety of genres and to fully immerse themselves into stories and characters. As well as reading themselves, the children are also given plenty of opportunities to listen to high quality texts, authors and poets to help build on their vocabulary and love of reading. This not only takes place throughout the day but also is timetabled daily for 15 discrete minutes. We use a variety of reading scheme that will best develop the skills and interests of our children. Every class has its own book corner with a variety of books suited to a particular age group. The children also have access to KS1 and KS2 library.
The reading culture will ensure that all children develop a life-long love of reading, whether it be for information, pleasure or other purposes. Children will be encouraged to respectfully express their opinions about a variety of texts through careful evaluation considering the context, purpose and audience.
Fundamental writing skills will be secured so that they become automatic for all children, allowing them to write with fluency and confidence. They will grow their own style and technique, while maintaining technical and grammatical accuracy. Children’s writing skills will be future-proof, ensuring that we will equip them to meet and exceed the modern-day expectation.
We aim for all children to leave primary education with the necessary writing skills to support them in education, employment and wider life. They will write with accuracy and precision, consciously developing their own style as a writer. Children will be able to reflect on their written outcomes from across the curriculum, evaluating them carefully by considering the impact on the intended audience and using mistakes as opportunities to learn.
The breadth of curriculum experiences provided by our school will encourage children to write through choice, applying the skills they have learnt to communicate effectively with a range of audiences. Children will feel confident to be creative in their writing, manipulating structures to achieve the desired effect. They will draw on real experiences and their interactions with the wider society to inform their writing outcomes, constantly striving to challenge themselves and aspiring to deliver excellence every time.
As a school, we ensure there is a thorough coverage of grammar, punctuation and spelling, through discrete lessons as well as embedded across the curriculum. We use a variety of games, quizzes and interactive activities to ensure the children are engaged at all times. Teaching will explicitly link communication skills to wider life outcomes and employability to ensure that pupils understand the importance of accuracy, when appropriate.
Having secured deep understanding of grammatical conventions, children will confidently apply these to independent learning tasks across the curriculum. Gaps in understanding will quickly and robustly be addressed to ensure that children’s’ writing skills are allowed to thrive beyond the technical. Children will develop a curiosity around language origins and text forms, ultimately leading to an understanding of the power of word choice.
Presentation and handwriting
We believe presentation and handwriting skills are important so that the children are proud of their work and always aim high. High expectations across all curriculum areas will lead to self-driven excellence in all that children do. Children will learn to take pride in their outcomes and to choose the most appropriate forms of transcription, depending on the context.
Children at an early stage develop gross motor movements that lead into fine motor. Children, at Charlton, are taught cursive script from the outset, first using a pencil and progressing to handwriting pens. All classes undertake extended writing sessions with activities ranging from poetry, creative writing, persuasive letter writing and factual work.
We closely moderate and track the children’s progress in all areas of English to ensure children are making good progress. If areas for development are highlighted, these are acted upon swiftly in order to plug any gaps.