English at Friars
Through our English curriculum we want or children to:
Use their speaking and listening skills to solve problems, share ideas, make decisions and reflect upon their learning
Read with fluency, understanding and enjoyment
Use their comprehension skills to find and use information, infer, summarise, predict and enhance their vocabulary choices
Use their writing as a means of communicating experience, knowledge and understanding
Write imaginatively and accurately for a variety of purposes
Spell words independently, using appropriate strategies and patterns to attempt unknown words
Have a legible and fluent handwriting style
Know what they need to do to further improve their reading and writing
Curriculum and Planning
At Friars Primary School and Nursery, English is an integral part of our curriculum. We use the 2014 National Curriculum to plan engaging units of work based upon a theme and the different genres of writing. We aim to make those units as engaging as possible. English grammar, handwriting and spelling skills are embedded every day through our connected curriculum.
Speaking and Listening
Opportunities for speaking and listening are planned into all curriculum subjects in order for our children develop their skills and grow in confidence.
From the early years, the children use language to imagine and recreate roles, take part in active listening sessions and interact with others in free play activities.
In Key Stage 1, we build on pupil’s prior learning in speaking and listening. They are encouraged to speak according to the context, with consideration for their audience, use oral language imaginatively and express their ideas and feelings within drama and classroom discussions. The children are taught to work effectively and collaboratively in groups and join in discussions making relevant contributions.
In Key Stage 2, the children develop the ability to speak in range of contexts with an increased sense of audience and purpose. We develop the pupil’s ability to respond appropriately to others by having opportunities for children to critically self and peer assess. We use drama as an exciting way to use expressive speech and to deepen their understanding of the content and purpose of what they are studying.
All children take an active role in a class assembly where they present their work to parents and carers.
In EYFS and Key Stage 1, our children begin to learn to read and spell using phonics. Key words and sounds may be sent home in their reading records for you to practise at home.
In the early years, children develop their reading within class lessons by participating in shared reading activities. Using carefully chosen texts, they read the texts together, share ideas and complete work based around the focus book. The children discuss the text in detail to help build early skills in comprehension, as well as developing their vocabulary and understanding of stories.
Whole class reading
Friars Primary school has adopted whole class reading as its primary source of teaching reading and comprehension skills. Each year group has a set of carefully chosen age appropriate texts, which are then used for mixed ability paired reading and modelled reading by the class teacher. The children analyse the text in detail to answer greater depth questions and develop their skills of comprehension.
In EYFS and Key Stage 1, the children select a book from an appropriate ‘Book Band’ colour as their individual reading book. Individual reading books are changed as frequently as appropriate and the children move through the colour bands as their reading skills develop. The main reading schemes used are the ‘Oxford Reading Tree Songbirds’ and ‘Project X books’.
Please remember to initial or tick when you have heard your child read at home as they can earn reward stickers through our ‘Rainbow Readers’ award scheme. Key words are also sent home with their home/school reading records from practise at home.
In Key Stage 2, whilst most of our reading assessment is completed via whole class reading, children will still have a reading book at home. The children can select their books from their class book boxes or the school library. They are encouraged to choose books appropriate for their ability. There are no home/school reading records for you to complete in KS2.
Across the school, each class teacher has identified those children needing additional reading support but should you have any concerns about your child’s reading, please speak to their class teacher.
At Friars Primary School and Nursery, a range of teaching techniques are used in order to develop writing skills.
Helicopter stories – story scribing
Helicopter stories are used in EYFS and KS1 to allow children to ‘tell’ their stories which are then scribed by an adult. Each story can then be acted out for the child to ‘see’ their completed work.
Modelled Writing - The teacher acts as the writer and shares his/her thoughts as the writing is produced.
Shared Writing - This is a teacher-led writing activity with child involvement. The children offer ideas to a whole class piece of writing which can then be edited and improved to model the correct way of structuring their ideas.
Guided writing - Guided writing takes place in whole class or small groups. The children writing with teachers intervening as appropriate to support the development of their writing skills.
Independent Writing - From EYFS onwards, the children are given opportunities to write independently for a range of purposes. All children are expected to be writing extended pieces regularly.
Marking and Feedback
Verbal feedback may be given during the lesson or written feedback may be provided to give children the opportunity to expand, extend or improve their piece of work.
In KS2, following next step marking, children respond by correcting and modifying their work in green pen.
Opportunities to write across the curriculum are given to enable children to apply the skills from their English lesson cross a range of different contexts. This could include a post card from a different country in geography, a historical report or an explanation text in science.
Spelling is a key focus at Friars Primary School. From Years 1-6 the children are taught the spelling rules identified for their year group in the 2014 National Curriculum. A different ‘spelling rule’ is taught each week and these are sent home to practise further. Weekly spelling tests are then taken in each class.
Grammar and Punctuation
Specific grammar and punctuation elements may be taught discreetly as separate lessons or as part of the main English lesson. Children are then given the opportunity to apply these skills in writing sessions and across the connected curriculum. GPS elements are also reinforced through early morning work activities.
At Friars we follow the Pen Pals Handwriting Scheme. In EYFS and Key Stage 1 children are taught how to form letters correctly. When they have achieved correct formation, they are introduced to letter joins. In Key Stage 2, the children practise joining letters correctly and develop their own handwriting style. Once the children can join their handwriting correctly and consistently, they are awarded a ‘Pen License’ allowing them to write using a handwriting pen. If you would like to support your child with their handwriting at home, please click here to see basic letter formation.
Whole School Events
The school encourages our pupils to take part in several whole school events across the year. These include BBC 500 words competition, The Friars and Portico Spelling Bee and World Book Day celebrations as part of our book week.