English

What is English?

English is the ability to read, write, speak and listen in a way that helps us to communicate effectively and make sense of the world in which we live.

The overarching aim for English in the National Curriculum is to promote high standards of language and literacy by equipping pupils with a strong command of the spoken and written word, and to develop their love of literature through widespread reading for enjoyment (DfE, 2013). At Leagrave, English is at the heart of our curriculum and underpins everything that children do and learn.

Literacy is... the road to human progress and the means through which every man, woman and child can realise his or her full potential.

Reading Vending Machine at Leagrave Primary

Reading

Reading is fundamental to all education. In Early Years and Year One, reading is taught using the phonics scheme, Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised. Children take part in short, focused phonics and spelling sessions within their classes and small groups, working at an aspirational pace to move each child on to meet their potential. The progression of phonics has been devised so that children are taught a cumulative progression of grapheme-phoneme correspondences (GPCs) that they immediately practise through oral blending, reading and spelling words and sentences, and, later on, reading fully decodable books. The English curriculum is language and story-rich, with activities based on fiction and non-fiction texts. Pupils enjoy extended conversations about stories, learn new vocabulary, and build their vocabulary and knowledge as they progress through the curriculum.

In Year Two, children consolidate their segmenting and blending skills to become fluent readers. Reading fluency increases and children read familiar words automatically without the need to sound out and blend.

In Key Stage Two, reading skills are taught explicitly to ensure the entirety of the National Curriculum is covered. During lessons, pupils are exposed to different texts and genres. Pupils learn a range of techniques which enable them to comprehend the meaning of what they read.

Pupils learn how to: 

  • Explain the meaning of words in context
  • Retrieve and record information from fiction and non-fiction texts
  • Summarise the main ideas from more than one paragraph
  • Make inferences from the text, explaining and justifying using evidence from the text
  • Make comparisons within the texts
Children outdoors at Leagrave Primary School
Children in a class at Leagrave Primary School

Writing

The Early Years Curriculum provides children with the opportunity to develop their fine motor skills, essential for physical development, allowing them to gain the skills to write. They are taught how to use the correct pencil grip. Children are exposed to different experiences, allowing pupils to extend their vocabulary, and explore the meaning of sounds and new words. Children are taught how to write short sentences with known sound-letter correspondences, using a capital letter, full stop and spaces between words.

In Key Stage One, pupils build on their prior knowledge and begin to write for a range of purposes including fiction, non-fiction and poetry. They begin to learn grammar skills, including word classes, and are taught how to plan and write simple, coherent narratives using accurate punctuation. By the end of Year Two, pupils are able to to implement a range of writing skills into their work including correct tense, conjunctions to join clauses, and to spell words making phonically-plausible attempts. Children regularly practise their handwriting, ensuring work is legible. At Leagrave, we follow the Penpals scheme, providing us with a consistent approach to ensure progress across the school.

In Key Stage Two, lessons are planned to ensure pupils learn further grammar and punctuation skills. Pupils have opportunities to write effectively for a range of purposes and audiences, selecting language that shows a good awareness of the reader. Children are taught how to write effective descriptions of settings and characters, through a series of short-burst writes, to support them in their narrative writing. Pupils learn how to apply a wide range of punctuation into their writing including inverted commas for dialogue, dashes to separate clauses and hyphens to create compound words.