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, pupils continue to learn to read through the Read Write Inc. programme, with daily phonics and reading sessions. Students are assessed, both formatively and summatively (approximately every six weeks), to ensure that they are working at the appropriate level to embed and stretch their skills. Once pupils have completed the Read Write Inc. programme, they advance to Destination Reader (a simplified version to the one our KS2 pupils receive).
In Key Stage 2 pupils continue to develop their reading and comprehension with a daily Destination Reader session. The original Destination Reader programme 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.
For pupils who may require extra support with decoding, our staff provide intervention lessons from the RWI 1:1 programme. These are short, quick gap-filling lessons, aimed at getting a child reading more fluently and back on track.
See our Destination Reader map in Appendix C.
Our Early Years pupils are encouraged to make marks in a variety of mediums and situations. Pupils’ writing is valued and as such, is displayed and celebrated within their environment. It is also captured and shared with loved-ones through Tapestry.
In all year groups, from Y1 to Y6, we use The Literary Curriculum to teach writing skills. Each unit is based on a high-quality, carefully chosen book. The aim of this curriculum is that pupils have real reasons to write, whether to explain, persuade, inform or instruct. Objectives are often covered more than once and pupils have opportunities to apply these several times over the course of a year, as well as to consolidate prior knowledge from previous years. This approach supports pupils to think deeply and develop skills with depth.
Provision is made for pupils who require extra support through intervention programmes and differentiated class teaching.
See our writing text in Appendix B.
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.
Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar
At Peterhouse our teaching of spelling, punctuation and grammar is embedded within our writing units, through The Literary Curriculum’s Spelling Seeds. This programme covers the teaching of the statutory spelling patterns and rules and also the common exception and word list words for each year group.
Our Intended Coverage
Through the delivery of a knowledge rich curriculum children in EYFS build a focused and sequenced body of knowledge which students are able to remember. Story is at the heart of our curriculum as it is essential children develop a life-long love of reading and it acts as a ‘gateway’ into all other areas of learning. They explore a range of high quality texts including fiction, non fiction, poetry and wordless books. The children learn about story structure, characters and settings, they map stories and by using a ‘talk for writing’ approach use actions to retell them. ‘Helicopter stories’ are used to give a purpose to their writing and storytelling. Non fiction texts are used to investigate and discover information, whilst the children learn to write in various styles i.e. postcards, instructions and stories.
By the time children leave Reception they will be expected to;
- Demonstrate understanding of what has been read to them by retelling stories and narratives using their own words and recently introduced vocabulary;
- Anticipate – where appropriate – key events in stories;
- Use and understand recently introduced vocabulary during discussions about stories, non-fiction, rhymes and poems and during role-play.
Children start their phonics journey in our Nursery where they explore: environmental sounds; instrumental sounds; rhythm and rhyme; body percussion; voice sounds; alliteration; oral blending and segmenting; before beginning the Read Write Inc Phonics programme followed by the rest of the school.
In Reception the children follow the Read Write Inc sequential phonics scheme which allows us to deliver a robust phonics curriculum to the children. Phonics begins on day 1 in reception with a recap of phase 1 phonics focussing on the sounds children hear and identifying them. They will then move on to phase 2, 3 and 4 spending time building skills such as phoneme and grapheme recognition, word blending and word segmenting. They will apply their phonics knowledge on a daily basis both in their adult led work and in their play. By the time children leave Reception they will be expected to;
- Say a sound for each letter in the alphabet and at least 10 digraphs;
- Read words consistent with their phonic knowledge by sound-blending;
- Read aloud simple sentences and books that are consistent with their phonic knowledge, including some common exception words.
- Write recognisable letters, most of which are correctly formed;
- Spell words by identifying sounds in them and representing the sounds with a letter or letters;
- Write simple phrases and sentences that can be read by others. Fine Motor Skills
- Hold a pencil effectively in preparation for fluent writing- using. The tripod grip in almost all cases.
KS1 & KS2
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. Texts are carefully chosen so as to cover the requirements of the National Curriculum.
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 using the PiXL writing descriptors. 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.