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St Peter's

CE Primary Academy

Strive Beyond; Defy Limits

English

 

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

 

Curriculum Intent:

 

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 which reflect a diverse and progressive world view. 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 poetry alongside 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):

 

Writing:

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 and visual units. For each unit of work (key text) the children are expected to produce at least two pieces of high quality writing. 

 

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:

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 2. 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.

 

Reading:

Reading is the bedrock of our English curriculum. At St Peter’s, the children are encouraged to read for enjoyment and understanding, as well as for information with the aim that all pupils will develop an appreciation and love of reading. Children leave St Peters as confident, competent readers with a tangible love of reading. We encourage children to read widely in fiction, non-fiction and poetry. Reading focuses on two areas; decoding (word reading) and comprehension. Decoding skills are seen with both the segmenting and blending of unfamiliar words and the speedy recognition of familiar words. Effective comprehension is the result of secure linguistic knowledge (in particular vocabulary and grammar) and a knowledge of the wider world. Reading also feeds pupils’ imagination and opens up a treasure-trove of wonder and joy for inquisitive young minds thirsty for inspiration.

 

From Year 1 to Year 6 all children across the schools participate in daily whole class reading sessions where key skills are taught alongside in depth book discussion and drama. These sessions also focus upon:

 

- Deep understanding of the context of a story- geographically, historically and socially.

- Drawing reasoned conclusions from a text using evidence.

- Comprehension questions- VIPERS.

- Drama/character hot seating.

- Summarising for a peer and making reasoned predictions.

- Rich discussion about a character's motivations, intent.

- Rigorous discussion of vocabulary whilst drawing links between language.

 

Our Reading Progression of Skills sets out which skills need to be taught in each year group.

 

Home learning

Each week, each child is to receive spellings as homework, using our online platform EdShed. The spellings focus on spelling patterns. At the beginning of the following week, children are tested on the spelling of these words and their definitions.

 

Reading at home

The schools main reading scheme is ‘Oxford Reading Tree’ however this is supplemented with other schemes including: Project X and Graphic Novels. All children in EYFS, Yr 1 and Yr 2 take home purely phonetically decodable books which reflect their learning in class. The reading scheme across school is constantly evolving and as a result children are provided with books that not only challenge but also interest them and encourage a love of reading.

 

In addition to high quality scheme books, the school has a well-stocked library which is regularly audited and refreshed. The children go out, a class at a time, each week to change their library books. We use a computerised system to log the books that the children have selected to take home. (All data stored on this system is held securely and is deleted when children leave the school).

 

St Peter’s has high expectations of home reading as set out in the expectations of home learning document. Children must be reading at least five times during the week. Daily reading is incentivised using a whole school reward system. Those children who haven’t read the requisite amount,  stay inside and are read a high quality, engaging key text by Mrs Morris.

 

 

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.

 

 

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