At Manor Park the teaching of English is the foundation of our curriculum. Our main aim is to ensure every single child becomes primary literate and progresses in the areas of reading, writing, speaking and listening. English at Manor Park is not only taught through daily discrete lessons, but is at the cornerstone of the entire curriculum. It is embedded within all our lessons and we will strive for a high level of English for all. Through using high-quality texts, immersing children in vocabulary rich learning environments and ensuring new curriculum expectations and the progression of skills are met, the children at Manor Park will be exposed to a language heavy, creative and continuous English curriculum which will not only enable them to become primary literate but will also develop a love of reading, creative writing and purposeful speaking and listening.
Our principal aim is to develop children’s knowledge, skills, and understanding in English. It is expected that each class undertakes daily English lessons. Some aspects, such as Phonics, Guided Reading, Handwriting and Spelling, Grammar and Punctuation are taught outside of that lesson in their own discrete sessions. We ensure that we provide suitable learning opportunities for children of all abilities by matching the challenge of the task to the ability of the child. We teach the ‘Stage not the Age.’ Children are taught as a whole class, in groups and individually, supported by Teaching Assistants where required. The children’s written work, in all genres, is enhanced through their participation in a variety of different speaking and listening activities. They have the opportunity to experience a wide range of texts and to use a range of resources, including ICT, to support their work. Many opportunities are provided throughout the week, for children to use and apply their learning in other areas of the curriculum.
At Manor Park Primary School, Early Years children follow the Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage (2021). They are taught the EYFS Statutory Educational Programmes within Development Matters (2021). The children are assessed at the end of their Reception year against the Early Learning Goals (ELGs). The ELGs of ‘Listening, Attention and Understanding’ and ‘Speaking’ are within the Prime Area of Learning of Communication and Language. The ELG of ‘Fine Motor Skills’ is within the Prime Area of Learning of Physical Development. The ELGs of ‘Comprehension’, ‘Word Reading’ and ‘Writing’ are within the Specific Area of Learning of Literacy. The ELG of ‘Being Imaginative and Expressive’ is within the Specific Area of Learning of Expressive Arts and Design.
Phonics is taught systematically using the ‘Read Write Inc’ (RWI) Phonics programme. The teaching of Phonics is given a high priority as the acquisition and development of phonic skills supports the children to unlock the alphabetic code of the English language. The teaching of RWI begins in the summer term in Nursery, then daily 9-9.45am in Reception and Year 1. Pupils in Year 2 who don’t pass the Year 1 Phonics Screening Check and those pupils who need to consolidate their phonics skills are included in Phonics teaching and placed in an appropriate RWI group. We group pupils homogeneously, according to their progress in reading.
In Reception we emphasise the alphabetic code. The pupils rapidly learn sounds and the letter or groups of letters they need to represent them. Simple mnemonics help them to grasp this quickly. This learning is consolidated with regular ‘Fred Talk’ (oral blending) and Speed Sound card recognition. In the summer term of Reception and throughout Year 1 the focus is on learning and consolidating Set 2 and Set 3 sounds and words. Pupils also have frequent practice in reading ‘red words’ (key words) with irregular spellings.
We make sure that pupils read books that are closely matched to their increasing knowledge of phonics. This is so that, early on, they experience success and gain confidence that they are readers. Re-reading and discussing these books with a member of staff supports their increasingly fluent decoding. This shared reading takes place daily as part of the Phonics session. Alongside this, the staff read a wide range of stories, poetry and non-fiction to pupils. Also, within the Phonics session the pupils learn to write words and sentences. We encourage them to compose each sentence aloud first which enables them to be confident to write independently. Children are encouraged to make use of phonic strategies they have learnt in RWI when taking part in all reading or writing activities throughout the curriculum.
Phonics is delivered by a team of teachers and teaching assistants who have been trained and regularly coached by the Phonics leader. All of the phonics team attend a fortnightly 30-minute practice session with the Phonics leader. The school subscribes to the RWI Online Portal which provides videos for parents and training videos for staff. The Phonics leader assesses all children every 6 weeks. The assessment data allows us to support children with daily one-to-one Fast Track Tutoring or small group afternoon sessions so that the children keep up with their peers.
Reading is taught discretely, as well as in conjunction with other subjects in the National Curriculum and Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage. From Year 2 - Year 6, children follow the Accelerated Reader scheme. This involves children being assessed using an online STAR Reading Test. From this, children are giving a ZPD (Zone of Proximal Development) and can then choose books from our well- resourced school library to take home and to read in school within this ZPD. Once children have finished their book, they take a quiz on an Ipad or laptop to test their comprehension. There are many rewards in place for the children such as raffle tickets for children who achieve 100% on a quiz, points rewards for children who achieve a set amount of points and Millionaire reader certificates for children who have read 1 million words. These incentives encourage children to read frequently and more importantly, it ensures the reading they are undertaking is quality. Children will be read to and be heard read by teachers, other adults and each other during both Guided Reading and English sessions and at many other times during the school day as part of a broad and balanced curriculum. The children read a range of quality fiction and non-fiction books from a variety of genres. They will have the opportunity to read Accelerated Reader scheme books, Education Library Service books, ICT based texts, posters, big books, newspapers, information books and topic books. Children select books to take home to share with their families soon after starting school. Reading books and key words are taken home to practise and share and this is all recorded in their home/school planner. This system continues throughout the school and children are encouraged to independently select books from our reading scheme that are of interest to them and across a range of genres. The value of parents and other family members helping children with their reading cannot be underestimated, with progress and frequency detailed in the home/school planner where parents and teachers are free to comment. In Foundation Stage and Year 1, reading is taught mainly through phonics and Guided Reading follows on from phonics every day. From Year 2- Year 6, all children take part in daily Guided Reading sessions led by a teacher. Guided reading groups and targets are set using the STAR reading assessment data and teachers then focus on these targets with the children. Reading from Year 2- Year 6 is assessed through the Star Reading tests and through termly written tests.
From Reception to Year 6, all classes follow the Pathways to Write scheme of Work as written by Literacy Pathways which is underpinned by the National Curriculum. We follow a Mastery approach to English through the programme. Units of work are delivered using high quality texts and children in all year groups are given varied opportunities for writing. Skills are built up through repetition within the units, and children apply these skills in the writing activities provided. Many opportunities for widening children’s vocabulary are given through the Pathways to Write approach and this builds on the extensive work we do in school to provide our children with a rich and varied vocabulary.
Writing is planned so that children can follow the process through incorporating modelling, scaffolding, independence, re-drafting and producing a final draft at the end of each half term. Separate redraft books begin in Year 3 and follow children throughout Key Stage 2 so that by the end of Year 6, they will have 24 high quality redrafted pieces of writing spanning 4 years. Star writers are chosen every 3-4 weeks as an incentive to children to produce quality final pieces of writing. Assessment results are entered onto Insight to track progress across the school. Writing is moderated internally and externally with The Literacy Company.
Children learn to form letters correctly as part of their daily RWI Phonics sessions. Each letter has a corresponding handwriting verse which supports the children with orientation of each letter.
Handwriting is very important at Manor Park and children from Year 2- Year 6 who require Handwriting support receive an English book with Handwriting lines to support this. Children in Key Stage 2 are able to earn a pen licence when their current teacher believes they have earned it. Each class teaches Handwriting in discrete sessions every week. Children have their own Handwriting Books which use the same Handwriting lines as the English books.
Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar
In the RWI sessions, spelling is taught using ‘Fred Fingers’. The children write words linked to the sounds they are learning each day.
Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar is taught within English lessons and in short discrete afternoon sessions. We use the online program Edshed to help facilitate Spelling and Grammar Teaching. Weekly differentiated spellings are given to all children Reception- Year 6 and these are taken home, learned and tested in school the following week.
Speaking and Listening
We give children a range of purposes for speaking and listening, using conventions of speech e.g. manners. We encourage using a variety of different sized audiences for children to perform to. Speaking and listening will sometimes be taught discretely, but more often it will be taught within other areas of the National Curriculum and Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage. Some of the strategies used to encourage speaking and listening skills are debates, conscience alley, hot seating and presentations.
The impact of the English curriculum is triangulated using several measures. Delivery of English lessons (including Guided Reading and Phonics) is monitored through Lesson Observations, Coaching, Data Analysis, Book Scrutiny, Pupil Voice and Learning Environment reviews. All monitoring is recorded and feedback is given to class teachers to ensure that teaching practice is supported and improved. Daily feedback is given to children verbally, written and through whole class Feedback and Improvement slides in order to support them to progress within and across lessons. English is monitored by the Subject Leaders and the Senior Leadership Team. The work of the subject leaders also involves supporting colleagues in the teaching of English, being informed about current developments in the subject, and providing a strategic lead and direction for the subject in the school. The subject leaders create an annual action plan which informs the School Development Plan of areas for further improvement. The leaders have allocated management time in order to enable them to undertake monitoring of English teaching across the school. All of these measures help to monitor the curriculum and raise the aspirations of the children so they can become creative, enthusiastic and imaginative readers, writers, speakers and listeners.