At St. John’s, our aim is inspire pupils to be confident and skilful in their abilities to read, write, speak to and listen to others. Our desire is to help our children to enjoy English for its own sake as well as to become literate and competent.
We hope to inspire a love of reading for pleasure, where children develop a passion and enjoyment of quality books and texts. We know that reading widely has a major role to play in developing knowledge, understanding and vocabulary, the cornerstones of a good education. It is also a hobby for life if it can be inculcated and encouraged from an early age. That is our aim.
We also recognise the importance of nurturing children’s willingness to take pride in their writing. We want children to be able to write clearly, accurately and with the ability to adapt their writing style for a range of contexts whether they are creative, informative, descriptive or persuasive.
Language development starts with speaking and listening. For children of all ages, we want them to be confident in the art of speaking and listening and to be articulate in expressing their ideas and learning in various discussion forums. We aim to encourage them to speak in pairs, in groups and in whole class discussion and to listen and respond to others effectively and with respect.
With all of these aims in mind, children at St. John’s follow a clear and progressive curriculum designed to promote embedded skills and confidence in all areas of English and to give them the tools they need to support their continued development in becoming lifelong learners.
- In seeking to achieve our stated aims, children across the school engage in a well-planned and structured programme that meets the requirements of the National Curriculum and which is broad and balanced in its scope. Daily English lessons and skills taught are signposted and transferred to the wider curriculum. This programme is implemented in the following ways:
- Children participate in Guided and Shared Reading sessions and in Ks 1, Phonic lessons
- Reading skills such as information retrieval, inference, language and structural understanding, research skills etc. are explicitly taught
- Reading for pleasure is at the heart of teaching children to read across the whole school: classes are engaged in reading competitions and trips to the local libraries. Visits by authors are also an occasional feature.
- Children are exposed to reading on a daily basis through a combination of modelled, shared, guided, individual and independent reading approaches to read both for pleasure and to support their work in all areas of the curriculum.
- Writing development is incremental and purposeful with a clear focus in each year group on the explicit teaching of spelling, punctuation and grammar objectives which are required for that age group.
- Writing is taught through the use of quality text and each class teacher plans a half term around a class reader. These books have been carefully selected with the support of outside agencies to ensure a range of high quality literature from a range of authors which include classic texts alongside more recent stories. These stories are also the starting point for non-fiction writing and poetry works.
Speaking and Listening
- In English and across the whole curriculum we provide lots of opportunities for speaking and listening and for children to discuss their ideas and learning in a safe and meaningful way
- Pupils are taught explicitly what good speakers and listeners do and how they engage with and respond to others
- Opportunities are provided for pair, group and whole class discussion as well as debate and drama.
- As a result of our English curriculum, we have children who are developing their confidence and enthusiasm as readers and writers who enjoy showcasing their developing English knowledge and skills. They are confident to ‘have a go’ and love to discuss and share their ideas both in class and to a wider audience.
- We also measure progress to ensure that the curriculum is achieving its aims. To this end we use ongoing assessment activities such as regular reading, writing and speaking and listening tasks, as well as more formal testing, including SATs and end of term and year assessments. Regular monitoring enables our teachers to pinpoint strengths and address any apparent issues.