Our Vision for English
English has an unparalleled place in education and in society; it’s at the heart of all learning and the key to future success. To become successful learners and thrive in later life, a high quality education in English is crucial.
The children of Peterhouse Church of England Primary Academy face a greater number of barriers to their learning than many of their peers nationally and due to this many find that their opportunities in life are limited. Driven by the Academy’s Christian vision and in order meet the academic and spiritual needs of all, the Peterhouse curriculum has been designed to ensure that the Academy is a place where all can flourish, regardless of background or ability.
We strive to ensure that all pupils can speak, read and write fluently. Through reading in particular, pupils have the opportunity to develop culturally, emotionally, intellectually, socially and spiritually which will help them to become responsible citizens and participate fully as members of society.
Our Aims for English
At Peterhouse, it is our aim that all learners reach or exceed age-related expectations, supported by our clear, consistent approach to teaching and learning and our tireless mission to fill gaps in learning. Our English curriculum links reading, writing and skills development to provide opportunities for pupils to develop their knowledge and understanding of spoken and written English within a broad and balanced curriculum.
We aim for pupils at Peterhouse CE VA Primary Academy to leave Year 6:
- reading and writing with confidence, fluency and understanding, using a range of independent strategies to self-monitor and correct;
- with a love of reading and a desire to read for enjoyment;
- with an interest in words and their meanings; developing a growing vocabulary in spoken and written forms;
- understanding a range of text types, media types and genres;
- able to write in a variety of styles and forms appropriate to the situation;
- using their developing imagination, inventiveness and critical awareness; and
- with a suitable technical vocabulary to articulate their responses.
How do we deliver English?
In Reception, pupils have daily phonics lessons, using the Read Write Inc. programme. Cross-curricular planning in Reception is based around core texts and pupils develop their literacy, comprehension and vocabulary skills through daily input sessions. Pupils have opportunities to develop their communication, language and literacy skills on a daily basis in both adult led and child initiated activities.
In Key Stage 1 English lessons follow the Read Write Inc. programme, with daily phonics, reading and writing sessions. Students are assessed, approximately every six weeks, to ensure that they are working at the appropriate level to embed and stretch their skills. Pupils that complete the Read Write Inc. programme advance to class-based literacy lessons, focusing on the academy’s English curriculum and aiming to help students achieve the end of year attainment targets.
Pupils also take part in reading sessions outside the RWI hour. These are comprised of a combination of whole class, group and individual sessions, focussing on speed, stamina, pronunciation and comprehension. Each class has a daily story time to help develop a love of reading, improve information processing skills, vocabulary and comprehension.
In Key Stage 2 pupils continue to develop their reading and comprehension with a daily Destination Reader session. Destination Reader is an approach to teaching reading for Key Stage 2 pupils. Daily sessions incorporate the modelling of reading strategies and application of the same through independent and paired reading. The approach encompasses the key principles of effective reading provision and fully meets the requirements of the national curriculum. It builds a culture of reading for pleasure and purpose.
Pupils in EYFS are encouraged to give meaning to their marks as they write, draw and paint. They are provided with a range of opportunities to develop through writing for different purposes and about things that interest them.
At Peterhouse, literacy skills are developed and applied across the curriculum. Pupils take part in regular sessions to build skills and knowledge. These sessions focus on spelling, punctuation, grammar and handwriting. They also concentrate on the features of particular text types. Progression for each text type or genre is mapped out across year groups in our Progression Through Writing document. Pupils who have completed the RWI programme put this knowledge into practice and consolidated their skills during writing sessions, both within English lessons and across the wider curriculum. Provision is made for pupils who require extra support through targeted interventions. Pupils are then given the opportunity to apply this learning, both within English lessons and across the wider curriculum. Provision is made for pupils who require extra support through intervention programmes and differentiated class teaching.
The teaching of writing is laid out in the academy’s broad and balanced writing curriculum. Each unit is based on a quality text and teachers are encouraged to link units to experiences and cross curricular work.
Our comprehensive spelling curriculum covers the spelling rules for each year group, along with common exception words. Pupils are specifically taught these spelling patterns and given opportunities to use them. Spelling lists are sent home, along with information for parents on the spelling rule focus for the week and are tested in school.
Curriculum Design in English
At Peterhouse we deliver our Reading Curriculum through two programmes - Read Write Inc. and Destination Reader.
Read Write Inc.
Read Write Inc. is a whole-school approach to teaching literacy for children aged 4 to 9 that creates fluent readers, confident speakers and willing writers. Throughout the program, children learn and apply the 150+ graphemes that represent 44 speech sounds in the English language. Pupils read at least one decodable book, closely matched to reading abilities, per week and these focus on improving accuracy, fluency and comprehension. There are five core principles to teaching and learning:
Purpose: Each activity has very clear purpose and this is shared with pupils at the beginning of each one so that they know the one thing they should be thinking about.
Passion: As staff we are passionate about their teaching and the benefits of the Read Write Inc. We love teaching the sessions and this enthusiasm engages our pupils.
Pace: No time is wasted during teaching sessions. Pupils are active and involved in a fun and creative way. The aim is for pupils to quickly embed and practice their reading skills.
Participation: We ensure that each pupil participates in every part of the lesson as partner work is fundamental to learning.
Praise: We praise effort and progress - not ability.
Destination Reader is a pedagogically-based approach to the explicit teaching of reading at KS2. Daily engaging, structured sessions support pupils to read with greater understanding, enjoyment and purpose. Destination Reader blends a range of learning behaviours and reading strategies which, brought together, allow children to explore and understand texts independently, at a deeper level. These behaviours are:
- Support and actively listen to others
- Discuss and explain their ideas
- Take responsibility for their own/their group’s learning
Once these learning behaviours have been embedded, the children learn seven key reading strategies which help them deepen their understanding of texts. These are:
- Asking questions
- Making connections
By initially concentrating on one strategy at a time, teachers are able to support and challenge children to develop their skills through high expectations of oral and written use of the strategies. The strategies are then combined as the children progress and applied to different forms of texts such as poetry and nonfiction. These strategies equip children with a robust toolkit to apply when reading across the curriculum and at home.
We aim to develop pupils’ ability to produce well structured, detailed writing in which the meaning is made clear and which engages the interest of the reader. Attention is paid throughout the school to the formal structures of English, grammatical detail, punctuation and spelling.
Teachers model writing strategies, the use of phonics and spelling strategies in shared writing sessions. Guided writing sessions are used to target the specific needs of both groups and individuals, whilst pupils have opportunities to write at length in extended independent writing sessions. Where the text-type demands it, pieces of writing are developed over a period of time, with opportunities to draft and edit before finalising a piece of work.
Pupils in EYFS are encouraged to give meaning to their marks as they write, draw and paint. They are provided with a range of opportunities to write for different purposes about things that interest them.
Teachers can choose from a range of strategies to suit the genre and final written outcome. These may include, but are not limited to, a unit of work in the style of The Write Stuff or Talk for Writing and may include strategies such as slow writing, cold and hot writes and guided writing.
The Peterhouse Writing Curriculum outlines the units of work and genres to be covered by each year group. Teachers are given a selection of texts to choose from and can pick from several writing outcomes. Non-fiction units can be moved and moulded to fit with science or foundation subject units, allowing opportunities for cross-curricular writing and writing in context. Our overview can be found here.
Pupils have a copy of their final piece of work from each unit – unedited and unmarked – collected in a portfolio. This portfolio goes with them as they move up year groups and is a lovely record of their progress and growth as they move through the school.
A growing number of documents have been produced to support teachers in their planning and assessments in writing. Our Writing Progression Documents were developed for each writing genre to show the progress of word classes, punctuation, text structure, sentence structure and vocabulary for each year group. Our Greater Depth Booklets compare the year group expectations for reading, writing and maths with the expectations for greater depth, making it easier for staff to see how to move a pupil on to greater depth.
At Peterhouse we follow the Spelling Shed programme. This programme is broken up into 36 lists per year group. Together, these lists embed a logical progression and review of the patterns and rules set out in the National Curriculum. The overview can be found here.
Grammar is taught through the Spelling Shed SPaG programme. It covers the English National Curriculum expectations for spelling, punctuation and grammar. Each year group moves through a series of small steps covering all key areas: Word, Text, Sentence and Punctuation. Each small step is linked to a National Curriculum statement. The grammar overview can be found here.
Our Intended Coverage
Read Write Inc.:
We have high expectations for the progress our pupils make as they work through the Read Write Inc. programme. Below are the milestones that we aim towards for each year group:
As pupils progress through the Read Write Inc. programme, they practice their decoding and comprehension skills on increasingly more difficult texts. Click here for the list of storybooks within the Read Write Inc. programme and the focus sounds within them.
Each year group works with a variety of texts throughout the year:
Our writing curriculum outlines the units of work and genres to be covered by each year group. Teachers are given a selection of texts to choose from and can pick from several writing outcomes. Non-fiction units can be moved and moulded to fit with science or foundation subject units, allowing opportunities for cross-curricular writing and writing in context. A larger version of our overview can be found here.
English in the Early Years
At Peterhouse, we know how crucial it is for children to develop a love of reading and for this to carry on throughout their lives. Reading is made up of two strands - learning to decode and understanding language. At Peterhouse, we recognise the importance of talking with children in building their communication and language skills. Adults spend all day communicating with pupils, modelling correct sentence structure and speech patterns. Pupils in Nursery and Reception encounter daily nursery rhymes, songs and stories which are important for early brain development, securing foundations for early learning.
Reception pupils have daily phonics lessons, using the Read Write Inc. programme. These sessions teach pupils how to match sounds to graphemes and to read them in words. The programme also allows pupils to learn and use common exception and high frequency (undecodable to early readers) words which aids their fluency in reading.
Cross-curricular planning in Reception is based around core texts and pupils develop their literacy, comprehension and vocabulary skills through daily input sessions. Pupils have opportunities to develop their communication, language and literacy skills on a daily basis in both adult-led and child-initiated activities. Pupils in EYFS are encouraged to give meaning to their marks as they write, draw and paint. They are provided with a range of opportunities to develop through writing for different purposes and about things that interest them.
Assessment in English
Pupils’ progress through phonics is assessed every half term using the Read Write Inc. assessments. Pupils are then assigned to the most appropriate group for their current attainment. Once pupils have finished the RWI programme, they are then tested using the PM Benchmark tools. This gives us a very good indication of how well they are making progress relative to their starting points. We do this for all pupils, whenever they join us, so we can track all of them effectively.
In addition, PiXL reading assessments are used at regular times throughout the year to track and analyse progress in all year groups for reading. These assessments are used to populate question level analysis grids which allow teachers to analyse results forensically to inform planning for the cohort as a whole and for individual groups of pupils. These PiXL tests are also standardised so that results can be compared to other schools nationally.
Pupils’ writing is continually monitored and assessed against the National Curriculum and tracked on Pupil Asset and using teacher assessment frameworks. Internal moderation activities take place regularly, enabling teachers to compare their own judgments to either confirm or adjust them. External moderation meetings are attended regularly by teaching staff from all year levels.