As a school, we are committed to the high quality teaching and learning of English. Having good literacy skills is vital. We believe strongly in equipping children with the necessary skills and confidence that they will need. We promote high standards of literacy by equipping pupils with strong skills of the spoken and written word and developing their love of literature through widespread reading for pleasure. To achieve this aim we teach the programmes of study from the new National Curriculum (September 2014) which are split into:
Spoken Language

We follow Learning Journeys based on the Cornerstones curriculum as a context for teaching the fundamental skills above in the EYFS, KS1 and KS2. We also use Read Write Inc Phonics (Ruth Miskin) to teach a synthetic and rigorous phonics system as well as Big Reading and weekly Exciting Writing. A cursive handwriting approach is taught throughout the school and Grammar, Punctuation and Spelling lessons are also taught frequently to secure basic skills.

Regular assessments are carried out in English to identify gaps in the children’s learning, which can be subsequently planned for. We use the Oxford Writing Criterion scale to assess children’s writing, the Oxford Reading Criterion scale alongside national Book Bands to assess children’s reading and the Read Write Inc Phonics assessments to assess phonics. The objectives in the Oxford Reading and Writing Criterion scales are used to teach reading and writing each term.

Links to Cornerstones Curriculum
Each week the Learning Journey Project gives a specific genre / text type to focus on. Examples include: biographies; poetry; newspaper reports; persuasive letters; diaries; narratives; non-chronological reports etc.
Then over the week the essential spoken language, reading and writing skills are taught building up to a finished written piece, e.g. in a Learning Journey Project called ‘A Child’s War’ to teach about the experience of children in war time, diary entries for William Beech (Goodnight Mr Tom) and Anne Frank, a formal letter from Mrs Hindenburg to Leo’s parents as well as a discussion text about friendships were some examples of writing over the course of this project.

Read Write Inc Phonics
To teach early reading skills we use a synthetic phonics scheme called ‘Read Write Inc.’ The programme gets children reading quickly, accurately and fluently. Every child’s progress is tracked through ongoing assessment and children are grouped by ability, so they all learn rapidly and at the right level. Lots of partner work means that every child participates in the whole lesson. The programme develops from the forty-four initial phonemes that the children need to know, which then develops into blending, segmenting and looking at graphemes for spelling.

Big Reading
To be a reader means much more than just being able to decode a book, so when a child can decode a text, we then turn him or her into a real reader. Big Reading teaches the key skills for reading with rigour – applying the reading for pleasure principle too. The key skills below are taught through talk, collaboration and fun!
Key skills for reading
READ – phonics, sight words and other decoding strategies
R – Retrieve
E – Explore
A – Analyse
D – Deduce and Infer

Friendly characters, e.g. Rex Retriever, Expi Explorer, Ansa Analyser and Dood Detective, are used to support the teaching of the skills above. A Big Reading session happens each week focusing on a specific reading skill, as well as daily Reading SPIES time to consolidate learning.

Exciting Writing
Running alongside the Learning Journey Projects in the Cornerstones curriculum, we also teach Exciting Writing every week. This is an opportunity for the children to use the skills they have built up over the week within a piece of extended writing that fits with the context of that Learning Journey. Children also have the opportunity to edit and redraft their writing in order to make improvements. The final piece is then marked in more detail by staff. Exciting Writing is highly enjoyable, motivating and impacts on all children.