The Intent of our English Curriculum
At Torrisholme Community Primary School, we strive to create and provide a quality English curriculum that develops our pupils’ love of reading, writing and discussion while empowering them with the necessary knowledge and communication skills needed in our diverse and ever-changing world. Our rich, progressive curriculum offers many purposeful learning opportunities closely aligned to the aims of the National Curriculum for English 2014. Through careful planning, teaching and learning, we intend to ensure our children:
- 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.
Through regular assessment and review, we adapt approaches and provide targeted support to enable all pupils to experience success in English and also across all curriculum areas.
The Implementation of our English Curriculum
From the moment our children begin school in the Early Years Foundation Stage, they are exposed to numerous high-quality texts, learning environments and opportunities to promote spoken and written language understanding and development.
There is no doubt that spoken language provides the foundation for all areas of learning and development -cognitively, socially and linguistically. At Torrisholme Community Primary School, we want our pupils to speak confidently and to adapt their speech to different situations and audiences while also developing into careful and responsive listeners. Children are given many opportunities for their language to develop alongside their progress in reading and writing, and conversation-rich classrooms are encouraged in English and across the wider curriculum. As part of their English learning, all children take part in a year group production each year, further enhancing their opportunities for drama performance and speaking and listening opportunities on a larger scale.
Phonics is taught at pace in EYFS and Year 1 using 'Essential Letters and Sounds', a DfE validated systematic synthetic phonics programme. Once children reach Year 2, spelling knowledge progresses through the newly introduced use of 'The Spelling Shed', a scheme designed to enable children from Year 2-6 meet the spelling requirements of the National Curriculum 2014.
Spelling, punctuation and grammar learning is made meaningful and current for children; it is linked and applied to their writing genre/focus each week, taught as English lesson starters or as short key skills sessions. Each year group also strengthens their knowledge using the Vocabulary Ninja daily SPaG skills starters. These short, cyclical and progressive tasks give pupils a chance to recall previously studied learning while introducing new year-group specific content in small, manageable chunks.
At Torrisholme Community Primary School, we believe children should have pride in their written work; we have high expectations for handwriting and promote careful and clear presentation of written work for all. Handwriting is taught using the Nelson handwriting scheme in discrete sessions, where letter formation and joins are modelled and taught by the class teacher and practised by the children.
Assessment of progress and confidence is ongoing and meaningful across all areas of English. Pupils are encouraged to take an active role in their learning, reviewing the successes in their work against shared success criteria and writing expectations. With support and discussion, they identify target areas for future development to ensure continuity in learning and take ownership of their individualised areas for improvement.
The Impact of our English Curriculum
Our pupils here at Torrisholme love to discuss and share their ideas. The structure of our English curriculum has created a community of eager and reflective performers, readers and writers, who enjoy publishing and sharing their developing knowledge and skills. Our children are accepting of challenge; they show resilience when tackling new learning in their reading and writing and reflectiveness when discussing outcomes. Work in English and curriculum books evidence the wide-ranging opportunities children are given to develop and reinforce their literacy skills as well as experience different styles and layouts of high-quality presentation.