English Curriculum

Intent

At Pinewood Infant School, English is an integral part of the curriculum. We plan an inclusive learning journey that allows all children to receive a rich education in reading, writing and speaking. We encourage children to articulate their thinking, be imaginative and to be successful.  We want to immerse our children in stimuli to inspire them and present our pupils with creative opportunities to develop and apply their reading and writing skills across the curriculum. At Pinewood, we want our children to be able to express themselves with confidence, and to communicate their ideas clearly. We strive to build a culture where reading for pleasure is valued. We intend for our children to build their knowledge and develop an increasingly wide range of vocabulary and grammar. Children should leave our school being able to use fluent and legible handwriting using a cursive script. The teaching of spelling is intended to show pupils how to understand the relationship between words, recognise spelling patterns and take with them a variety of useful strategies. We equip children with transferable skills which can be adapted to support them in all their learning.

Implementation

At Pinewood, our teaching of English is built upon the foundations of the National Curriculum. However, teachers ensure that our curriculum is enhanced and extended with additional skills and knowledge; as and when appropriate or necessary for our children.  English lessons take place every day and are supplemented by additional daily guided reading, alongside daily phonics and grammar lessons. English learning journeys make clear to the children what they are learning and follow the HIAS stimulate and generate; capture sift and sort and create refine and evaluate model.

Reading is taught through a daily blended approach of whole class or guided sessions. We teach our children key reading skills and apply these to high quality texts. Children are encouraged to read widely from the library, selecting from a range of authors and genres. Children are expected to read at least five times a week at home, they are then rewarded with an incentive to motivate them.  Developing readers have access to a reading scheme which is phonetically decodable. Intervention programmes such as precision teaching and paired reading provide timely support for those children who are falling behind their peers and it supports us in closing any gaps.

Writing is inspired by and planned around stimuli, which is selected by teachers, to engage their pupils. These include a combination of high quality texts, topic links or stimulating experiences. Through our English lessons our children are able to plan, edit, and evaluate their writing. We often use a Talk For Writing approach where children learn a text through actions and drama. They are encouraged to use innovation to change parts of the story or rewrite new endings. We actively look for opportunities for children to apply their writing skills across the curriculum.

Our school has a clear focus on the development of speech and language. We have implemented tiered vocabulary development throughout the curriculum and use working walls, visual prompts and pre teach vocabulary. This helps children to make links and develop their speaking and listening, as well as their writing across the curriculum.

Grammar and spelling are mainly taught in context and through our daily phonics and grammar lessons. It is modelled through live and shared writing. We base our progression in punctuation and grammar on the Hampshire Assessment Model (HAM) to ensure full coverage in Key Stage 1. High frequency words and tricky spellings are sent home each Friday for the children to practise and apply to sentence writing. Sending these spellings home also supports parents and carers in supporting their child to be successful. We also run a range of parent workshops throughout the year which include phonics, reading and early mark making.

We encourage fluent and legible handwriting by using a cursive script for all displays, texts or teaching materials that we generate. Teachers’ model cursive handwriting and weekly handwriting challenges are being sent home to children in Years 1 and 2 each Friday. Where necessary OT and handwriting intervention groups, such as Write Dance, take place to intervene when problems are identified.

Impact

At Pinewood Infant School we can judge the success of our English curriculum in the following ways:

  • Pupil conferencing – are all children happy, engaged, challenged and motivated? Can the children express what they have learnt and what they now know?
  • Progress for all children is evident, regardless of their starting points.
  • End of key stage attainment data is at least in line with National expectations.
  • Attainment is measured against the Hampshire assessment model and STA guidelines.
  • Learning walks (including those with governors and external visitors) – show evidence of our intent in action.
  • Planning allows all children to gain knowledge and master skills and it meets the needs of all learners.
  • Books are presented to a high standard, with all children making at least expected progress from their various starting points.
  • The learning environment is rich in language to support children’s learning and support independence.
  • Moderation of reading and writing takes place regularly, both internally and as part of a cluster group. Learning is measured through careful analysis of the application of skills.
  • Class teachers and the leadership group conduct half termly pupil progress meetings where performance analysis is linked to monitoring, measuring performance against individual and school targets.
  • There are high expectations for children to reach greater depth.

Our rich curriculum must ensure that our pupils are academically prepared for life beyond our school and the wider world.