English Curriculum Statement
“What an astonishing thing a book is. It's a flat object made from a tree with flexible parts on which are imprinted lots of funny dark squiggles. But one glance at it and you're inside the mind of another person, maybe somebody dead for thousands of years. Across the millennia, an author is speaking clearly and silently inside your head, directly to you. Writing is perhaps the greatest of human inventions, binding together people who never knew each other, citizens of distant epochs. Books break the shackles of time. A book is proof that humans are capable of working magic." Carl Sagan
At St Peter’s CE Academy we strongly believe that English has a vital role to play in education and in society as a whole. A high-quality education in English will enable pupils to speak and write fluently so that they can communicate their ideas and emotions to others and through their reading and listening, others can communicate with them. Our English Curriculum is driven by a deep rooted passion for high quality texts. These texts are used as a stimulus to drama, to discussion, to debate, to explore ideas, to expand vocabulary, to improve reading comprehension and writing skills. Driven by high quality texts and opportunities for talk, writing skills develop. Through reading in particular, pupils have a chance to develop culturally, emotionally, intellectually, socially and spiritually. English, especially, plays a key role in such development and engenders our children with a global consciousness. Reading also enables pupils both to acquire knowledge and to build on what they already know. All the skills of language are essential to participating fully as a member of society therefore we place high value of the quality first teaching we deliver as part of our English curriculum.
The overarching aim for English in our school is to promote extremely 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. We aim to ensure that all pupils:
- sharing collective wisdom is the cornerstone of their learning. Children use peer and group discussion in order to learn; they should be able to elaborate and articulate clearly their understanding and ideas.
- see themselves as authors. Children write clearly, accurately and coherently, adapting their language and style in and for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences.
- read with ease, fluently and with clear understanding and expression so as to engage and excite the reader.
- immerse themselves in language. Children develop the habit of reading widely and often, for both pleasure and information so as to acquire a varied and ambitious vocabulary, an understanding of grammar and knowledge of linguistic conventions for reading, writing and spoken language.
- have a varied and diverse literary diet. Children are exposed to a wide variety of high quality literature from all cultures so as to appreciate our rich and varied literary heritage and that of other countries.
- are eloquent and confident speakers. Children are competent in the arts of speaking and listening, making formal presentations, demonstrating to others and participating in debate.
The school places huge importance on developing discussion skills, speaking and listening and drama as we firmly believe that children need to develop a wide and exciting vocabulary. A variety of media is used as a stimulus to learning, including e-books, drama and computers.
Curriculum Design (Implementation):
We want all of our children to become successful and confident writers. From the beginnings of EYFS through to the end of Year 6 the children develop their writing skills through immersion in high quality key texts, visual units. For each unit of work (key text) the children are expected to produce at least two pieces of high quality writing. This includes a nonfiction piece.
There are three essential components in the way we teach writing at St Peter’s. These are the deconstruction, e-plan and success criteria.
- Deconstruction: The children analyse a high-quality piece of text of the same genre as the piece they themselves will write. This will be a teacher written piece of extremely high quality; by writing it oneself we believe we truly gain a deeper understanding of the task which the children then have to undertake. Children are taught to identify applicable key features and narrative techniques. These sessions focus on deep discussion of authorial intent and its impact on the reader.
- E-plan: Having gained a clear understanding of the genre, the children now plan their writing using the e-plan format. Explicit instruction is given as to how to note take and draft.
- Success criteria: Children use a success triangle to self-select their areas for development- take ownership over their learning. This is scaffolded by the class teacher so as to ensure the level of challenge remains high.
Handwriting is taught weekly from Reception to Year 2, beginning with mark making and patterns in Early Years all the way up to legible, joined handwriting in Year 6. Children begin to learn the cursive style in Yr 1. When this is introduced will depend upon the cohort although all children (with the exception of children with additional needs) will be using the cursive style by the end of the year. When a child is deemed to have legible, joined writing they are awarded a pen.
Knowledge Acquisition and Lesson Design:
English is timetabled daily during the morning session. English lessons involve the teaching of reading, writing, speaking and listening. The school regularly monitors the standards of English within the school, with the aim of raising standards. English is used across the curriculum and we ensure that we provide purposeful, extended writing opportunities to apply English skills and enable pupils to see themselves as writers in a range of contexts particularly throughout our extended curriculum.