Powell's C of E Primary School

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PDF icon English Policy July 2016

PDF icon English - Grammar Policy

 PDF icon Spelling Word List Year 3/4 

PDF icon Spelling Word List Year 5/6 

The staff and governors of Powell’s school recognise the central importance of English as a medium for thought, learning and expression across the curriculum and as a subject in its own right. Children need a facility with language in order to learn and to play a full and active part as individuals within society.  We view the acquisition and development of language skills as an essential part of the school curriculum.  English is, therefore, given a high priority in the school.
  • To develop pupils’ confidence, fluency and competency in a range of different speaking and listening situations and for a range of audiences.
  • To learn to read, understand and respond to a wide variety of different types of texts and to use reading for the purposes of gaining information and personal enjoyment.
  • To construct and convey meaning in the written language for a variety of purposes and audiences.
  • To have good understanding of the age related grammar needed in order to construct Standard English sentences.
  • To be able to consistently spell age related key words confidently within their writing.
  • To develop a neat, fluent, joined handwriting style.
In Early Years, Communication, Language and Literacy is planned using the Early Years Foundation Stage Framework. At both Key Stages 1 and 2, English is planned in year groups in accordance with the criteria set out in the 2014 English Curriculum. Where possible, links are made with other subjects to provide increased opportunities for non-fiction writing and the reading of appropriate texts.
The work is differentiated so that each child can progress at the appropriate level, marking and assessment being key factors in this. The methods of differentiation are shown in detailed weekly plans.
Phonics is introduced in Early Years following the DfE ‘Letters and Sounds’ publication using a range of resources and teaching methods including ‘Jolly Phonics’, this is continued throughout KS1. The children are encouraged to use their phonic skills to both blend and segment in order for them to become independent and confident readers and writers.
Parents of new Early Years children are invited to attend an information session on how phonics, reading and writing are taught at Powell’s and how they are able to support their child at home.
For any children who need additional support with phonics we run tailored intervention groups using carefully selected resources.
Phonic assessments take place throughout the year; the children’s progress is then tracked and then passed on to the next teacher. Children in Year 1 take the Phonics Screening Check during the summer term; these results are reported to parents as part of their annual school report.
Aims of the three language modes
Although the following is divided into three sections, Speaking and Listening, Reading and Writing, we recognised that the three language modes are interdependent.
Children use their speaking and listening skills daily in a wide range of situations across the whole curriculum.
Key Stage 1 and Early Years
When children first arrive, they are encouraged to take part in many activities to develop their confidence and their speaking and listening skills. Examples:
  • share in circle time
  • take part in role play activities
  • respond to stories or poems that are read
  • learn to listen to others
  • listen to stories on the tape recorder
  • tell stories and recite rhymes they have learnt
  • express their opinions
  • take part in productions and class assemblies
  • Performance Poetry with in class assemblies
Key Stage 2
Examples of planned activities which develop speaking and listening skills:
  • whole class discussions – e.g. RE or PSHE and Citizenship sessions
  • small group or partner activities – expressing views and listening carefully to the opinions of others
  • take part in performances for own class, rest of school and for parents – learn to adapt the way they speak to suit the needs of the task and the listener
  • tell stories and recite poems – learning to speak with expression
  • class assemblies
  • Leading Worship and church services
  • Presentations e.g. the Mock Trial
We want our pupils to enjoy reading, to be able to use their reading to help them learn and to develop increasing confidence and competence so that they become fluent readers with accurate and in depth comprehension skills. A variety of reading activities take place throughout the school including shared reading, guided reading (outside English lessons) and one to one reading where appropriate.
As part of our creative curriculum where possible links are made with the current topic including the use of high quality ‘class readers’ which have proved to inspire a love of reading within our pupils. Cross curricular links also occur in many ways, naturally supporting the learning in all curriculum areas, e.g.
  • Research for other subjects
  • Using a dictionary/thesaurus
  • Use of ICT
  • Interaction with ‘Buddy Reader’
Objectives for Reading
By the end of KS1 most pupils should:
  • be aware of the sounds of the spoken language in order to develop knowledge of phonics
  • be aware of punctuation when reading and be able to use context clues for unfamiliar words – story structure, pictures, phonics knowledge
  • be able to read with enjoyment alone, with others and to the teacher, from a range of texts
  • read their own writing to the teacher and to others
  • begin to access dictionaries, encyclopaedias, thesauruses and information books
By the end of KS2 most pupils should:
  • read with fluency, accuracy, understanding and enjoyment
  • understand and respond to a wide range of texts, both fiction and non-fiction
  • be able to skim to gain an overall impression, scan to locate information and read closely to obtain specific detail
  • be able to use inference and deduction to support their opinions with reference to the text to comment on authorial intent
  • be able to distinguish between fact and opinion
  • understand the more complex patterns and irregularities in phonics
  • access information using organisational devices
  • use dictionaries, glossaries and thesauruses to explain unfamiliar vocabulary
  • be able to make clear notes following close study of the text
  • be aware of the structure and vocabulary of standard English
Early Years and Key Stage 1
Children begin reading through word boxes, which include pseudo words. When ready they progress on to reading books alongside this. They read to the class teacher, both in groups and where appropriate individually. We encourage parents to play an important supporting role in developing reading. A home – school reading diary ensures close contact between parents and teachers.
Reading Scheme
Reading books are levelled using the ‘Books Bands’ system, this ensures the books the children are reading match the Letters and Sounds phase they are working on and also relates to National Curriculum age expectations. A wide variety of books including fiction and non-fiction are used to extend the children’s reading experiences. This is used in Early Years, KS1 and where appropriate in KS2. In KS1 children are given the opportunity to choose their own books, giving the children the choice gives them the extra incentive to learn to read.  The teacher will, of course, sometimes need to guide a child’s choice if that child is experiencing difficulty and needs a closely controlled approach.
Guided Reading
Children are organised into groups for guided reading according to reading ability. The guided reading books are also organised into Book Band levels. When carrying out guided reading with their teacher, the children are generally reading a one level higher than their home books as they have the support and expertise of the teacher teaching new skills and concepts.
Guided Reading Record sheets that include 2014 Curriculum expectations are used by the teacher to both plan and assess their guided reading sessions.
School Library
All children visit the library once a week during a timetabled slot where they can enjoy books in the library setting and also choose books to take home and share with their parents/carers.
Reading Buddies
All of the EY and KS1 children have a “buddy” in KS2. There is a 20 minute “buddy” reading session once a week.
Key Stage 2
Children read independently, and where appropriate to their teachers or other adults, from a wide range of colour-coded fiction and non-fiction books which are located in classrooms. Children who continue to experience difficulties are encouraged to select from a number of schemes, including one especially for older juniors.
Reading Journals
All KS2 children keep a reading journal in which they list the books they have read. This enables staff to check that a range of fiction and non-fiction is being attempted.  Children take the books home and are encouraged to read as much as possible.  All juniors use this book to respond to what they read in a wide variety of ways.  This work is done both in class time and for homework and what is expected will depend on the age and ability of the child. Staff encourage children to think carefully about what they are reading.
Guided Reading
All children are organised into guided reading groups according to reading ability. They read and discuss their guided reading books with their teacher once a week.  The books are selected from a variety of sources including ‘real books’, the Collins Pathway scheme, “Cliff-hangers” and “Literacy World”.  Year 6 children also read a range of novels at different levels, the most able studying longer novels by classic authors.  Upper KS2 children are often asked to read between sessions and to do a piece of written work based on what they have read or what has been discussed.  This is done in the reading journal.
Guided Reading Record sheets as KS1.
School Library
All classes have timetabled slots for the school library where children can independently select both fiction and non-fiction books. Children use library books for topic work to seek and find information. How to use the library and research skills are specifically taught and help develop the higher reading skills necessary in the KS2 classroom – skimming, scanning, making inferences and recognising fact and opinion.
Many subject areas include and depend on written communication. We want our pupils to develop increasing confidence and competence in writing so that they are able to write in a widening variety of forms for different purposes and be able to develop their ideas and communicate effectively with the reader.
Teachers encourage the children to write and to enjoy the writing process in a number of ways, such as; making each piece of writing purposeful, entering writing competitions and where possible linking writing activities to the current topic.
Objectives for Writing
By the end of KS1 most pupils should:
  • be able to write independently on subjects that are of interest and importance to them
  • be able to write in response to a variety of stimuli: stories, poems, activities, experiences
  • be aware of audience: teacher, family, friends, themselves
  • present their writing in many different ways appropriate to the purpose – fiction or non fiction
  • punctuate their writing using capital letters, full stops, question marks, exclamation marks, speech marks and begin to use commas
  • spell commonly occurring words and words with simple spelling patterns
  • know how to check the accuracy of spelling
  • be able to form letters correctly in a clear printed style and with regular spaces in between
  • build on their knowledge of letter formation to join words
By the end of KS2 most pupils should:
  • be able to use the characteristics of different kinds of writing – specific non-fiction types and different styles in different genre
  • use features of layout and presentation: titles, subheadings, paragraphs and types of print
  • plan, draft, revise, proof read and present to improve their work on paper
  • use punctuation marks correctly; build on the punctuation already introduced and use apostrophes, colons and semi-colons
  • use dictionaries using a knowledge of initial and subsequent letters
  • use a thesaurus to develop vocabulary
  • have accumulated a bank of words that can be spelt correctly including those with more complex spelling patterns
  • have a legible cursive style
  • use different types of writing for different purposes including print for labelling maps and diagrams
  • understand the grammar of complex sentence structure including some of the functions of the different parts of the sentence
Key Stage 1 and Early Years
In Early Years, children are encouraged from the beginning to see themselves as writers and to have the confidence to express themselves by making marks on paper. They are asked to write developmentally (emergent writing) and to “read” this back to the teacher.  This writing is valued and displayed.
Through our phonics teaching the teacher progressively introduces the children to the letters of the alphabet, blends and vowel digraphs following the progression set out in ‘Letters and Sounds’. Children are encouraged to use their emerging knowledge of words and letters in their own independent writing. At the same time, the teacher becomes a model by writing for children and encouraging children to follow the example. The teaching of correct grammar and punctuation is focused upon during shared writing activities and is part of all English lessons. As the children develop in knowledge and confidence, they are encouraged to write at greater length and in a wider range of forms.
Spellings are taught alongside phonics following the tricky/common exception words from ‘Letters and Sounds’/2014 Curriculum. Children are taught both phonetically decodable words and ‘tricky’ words that cannot be sounded out. Alongside phonic children are taught spelling rules including the use of suffixes etc.
Key Stage 2
As children become more experienced writers they will be given the opportunities of writing in a wide range of styles for different purposes and different readers, including both fiction and non-fiction.
Writing frames are used to support children until they become confident independent writers. These frames are used across the curriculum to support and develop all relevant study skills and genres of writing.  English at Powell’s school is taught both as a specific subject and across the curriculum.
Children learn how to draft, proofread and revise text using dictionaries and thesauruses to correct spellings or enhance vocabulary.
We believe that self esteem in spelling is very important. Spelling patterns and rules are introduced in line with the 2014 Curriculum progression, with reinforcement and extension planned as necessary.  KS2 children are sometimes set investigations to find word roots, homophones, plurals, the meanings of prefixes and suffixes etc. in line with their word study work each term.
Emphasis on spellings and comments on spelling rules are made during the shared reading and writing parts of English lessons so that children do not see spelling as something separate.
The children’s spelling is assessed over the year with the use of standardised score tests that can then be used to track and assess each child’s progress.
Early Years and Key Stage 1 use PenPals handwriting as the main resource for teaching handwriting. As each grapheme is introduced in Early Years the children are taught the correct formation of each letter including the flicks. When focusing on the letter formation some letters that are formed in a similar way are taught in groups e.g. c,a,d,o,g,q. When digraphs are introduced in phonics the children are then taught the beginnings of joined handwriting.
The focus on correct formation is continued in Year 1, with the aim of children being fluent, joined writers by the end of Year 2 .
Key Stage 2
In KS2 handwriting continues with the cursive style based on the style taught in Key Stage 1. Teachers will not seek to alter the joined handwriting of a child who comes from another primary school so long as the writing is neat and legible.
All staff keep their own personal records of the performance of children in their class in order to inform planning. These include guided reading record sheets, spelling test results etc.
In the summer term, teachers write comments about English for parents as part of the annual report. Verbal reports are made at parents’ evenings twice a year.
Formal reading age standardised tests take place throughout the year. These are used alongside teacher’s Guided Reading records to track children’s reading progress. These results are entered on the Whole School tracking system (OPT) and are monitored and analysed by teachers and SLT.
The home school diary at KS1 and the reading log at KS2, form reading records for each child.
In KS1 records are kept tracking the children’s progress across the book bands, this information is then passed on to the next teacher to ensure a smooth transition.
Children at the end of each key stage will take SATs that include a reading test.
In Years 1-6 Powell’s writing assessment grids based on the 2014 Curriculum are used to assess each child’s writing ability against age related expectations. This is carried out 3 times a year for each child using at least 3 pieces of writing that has been carried out across the term. The pieces of writing are a range of different text types that have been written by the child independently at least 2 weeks after each genre has been taught. This method of assessment provides a much clearer picture of the skills and knowledge that the child has retained. These results are entered on the whole school tracking system which are monitored and analysed by teachers and SLT.
Children at the end of each key stage will take SATs which will include an assessed writing task.
All children are given equal access to English irrespective of race, gender, religion, or nationality. Activities are differentiated to ensure that all children are able to access the subject. Mutual respect and tolerance for all cultures is promoted and encouraged, and we highly value personal worth and self esteem. We reject all forms of discrimination.
  • To work as part of the staff team to implement the School Improvement and Action Plan
  • To act as a good role model for classroom teaching in the subject.
  • To review the policy for English.
  • To co-ordinate and maintain an overview of all English teaching in the school.
  • To monitor the quality of teaching and learning in the subject, through lesson observation and scrutiny of teachers’ plans.
  • To manage the appropriate budgets
  • To identify and address staff training needs.
  • To provide ‘in house’ support and training where appropriate.
  • To ensure resources are adequate, accessible and appropriate.
  • To keep up to date and detailed co-ordinator information, which includes evidence of pupil achievement.
On-going staff development takes place continuously on a number of levels:
  • at department meetings when monitoring, moderating and assessing work
  • personal development – INSET
  • information passed to staff at meetings
  • courses run by co-ordinator or guest
Next Review – July 2018