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.
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. 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.
Phonics and Early Reading
We teach early reading through the systematic, synthetic phonics programme Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised. Right from the start of Reception children have a daily phonics lesson which follows the progression for Little Wandle Letters and Sounds and this continues in Year One to ensure children become fluent readers. We teach phonics for 20 minutes a day. In Reception, we build from 10-minute lessons, with additional daily oral blending games, to the full-length lesson as quickly as possible. Each Friday, we review the week’s teaching to help children become fluent readers. Half termly assessments take place through Reception and Year 1 to help inform future teaching and help identify children who have gaps in their phonic knowledge and need additional practice. Daily assessment of learning also takes place within the classroom so staff can quickly identify any children who are in danger of falling behind and provide the appropriate daily ‘Keep Up’ intervention.
Reading Practice Sessions
Children in Reception, Year 1 and 2, read fully decodable books with an adult three times per week during our ‘Reading Practice’ sessions. These books are then sent home for children to build their reading fluency and showcase their developing skills and phonetic knowledge to their parents/carers. These three reading practice sessions each have a different focus; decoding, prosody (teaching children to read with understanding and expression) and comprehension.
After the children have completed the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised programme, 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.
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.
We use Letter-join as the basis of our handwriting policy that covers all the requirements of the 2014 National Curriculum. Handwriting is a basic skill that influences the quality of work throughout the curriculum. At the end of Key Stage 2 all pupils should have the ability to produce fluent, legible and, eventually, speedy joined-up handwriting, and to understand the different forms of handwriting used for different purposes. We aim to make handwriting an automatic process that does not interfere with creative and mental thinking.
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.