At Gilbertstone Primary we believe that a high-quality English curriculum should develop children’s love of reading, writing and discussion. Using the aims set out in the Early Learning Goals and the National Curriculum, we aim to develop secure knowledge and skills in Literacy, which follows a clear pathway of progression as pupils advance through the primary curriculum. Rigorous assessment and review ensure that we are able to provide targeted support so that all children experience success in literacy.
We aim to inspire an appreciation of rich and varied literature and develop a habit of enjoying reading widely. Our aim is for all pupils – irrespective of their needs, abilities, or background – to learn to read fluently and with understanding. We aim to meet, and where possible exceed, the expectations laid out in the Early Learning Goals and National Curriculum, by building upon children’s prior learning so they learn more and remember more. Once children can decode text effectively, we aim to build word recognition and develop comprehension skills in order to produce secure, confident, independent readers who enjoy and understand the benefits of reading.
We intend for pupils to encounter and develop a rich and varied vocabulary by being immersed in a wide range of high-quality texts and through direct vocabulary instruction within lessons. We want all our children to consider, experiment with and to come to love words when speaking, reading and writing.
We recognise the importance of developing and nurturing a culture where children take pride in their writing, can write clearly and accurately, and adapt their grammar, language, and style for a range of contexts. We want our children to secure the basics in spelling and grammar so that they are then well equipped to consider how to write for purpose and effect.
We want to inspire children to be confident in the art of speaking and listening and to participate in discussion and debate confidently.
We teach the National Curriculum, supported by a clear skills and knowledge progression. This ensures that skills and knowledge are built on year by year and sequenced appropriately within the year. The acquisition and development of key Literacy skills is supported by lessons in phonics, spelling, grammar, handwriting, guided reading and writing.
The systematic teaching of phonics has a high priority throughout Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1 and is taught daily. We follow the Bug Club Phonics accredited scheme to support pupils to become secure in their phonic knowledge and how to use this to decode unfamiliar words. Lessons follow the outlined progression model and are skilfully adapted and delivered by staff to meet the needs of all learners. Staff systematically teach children the relationship between sounds and the written graphemes which represent them. Rigorous and regular phonic assessment ensures that additional phonic teaching is provided to those pupils who are identified as working below expected levels or who have not met the expected standard in the Phonics Screening Test at the end of year 1. Pupils who are developing their phonic knowledge are provided with reading books which closely match the phase of phonics that they are currently working within.
Reading forms the core of our curriculum. All children read and are read to so that they develop a love of Reading. Our Reading curriculum consists of:
Home Reading – all children are expected to read at home and are encouraged to do so through our reading reward scheme. Gilbertstone Primary uses a variety of different reading schemes to provide a wide variety of appropriate quality texts for children to read covering all genres. Schemes incorporated into our reading provision include: Bug Club Phonics, Oxford Reading Tree, The Pie Corbett Reading Spine, as well as other current and popular texts. All books are ‘Book Banded’ in order to ensure progression and challenge for all children. Once children are fluent readers, they are encouraged to choose texts according to their reading preferences and to develop reading for pleasure.
Read Aloud – children in all year groups have high quality texts read to them. This includes traditional fairy tales and rhymes in EYFS and KS1 to established classic novels in KS2.
Guided Reading – all children from Reception to year 6 take part in taught guided reading lessons. Guided reading sessions are planned by all teachers to teach a range of word-reading and comprehension skills and techniques which enable children to understand the meaning of what they read and develop their understanding of the vocabulary used by authors. Teachers plan to embed children’s understanding of key comprehension skills through the use of ‘RIC’ skills. Each taught session has a planned comprehension skill focus such as Retrieval, Interpret or Choice and children’s independent activities also provide opportunities to practise and embed these skills.
Bug Club - All children have access to Bug Club which is a web-based reading scheme which they can access at home and school. Children in Reception and year 1 have phonic books set for them on this program.
Rapid Reader – We use the Rapid Reader intervention programme to support children who are working below the expected standard for Reading. The programme supports struggling readers through access to a collection of finely levelled fiction and non-fiction books, and eBooks, covering a variety of engaging topics.
Writing is taught daily and there is a focus on applying specific grammar, spelling and punctuation skills into different genres of writing for a range of purposes and audiences. Pupils are taught to develop the stamina and skills to write at length, with accurate spelling and punctuation using legible and correctly formed handwriting. Children are taught to use ‘joined’ handwriting from Reception onwards. Grammar skills are mapped out to ensure progression and opportunities are provided for children to build on what they have been taught in order to expand the range of their writing and the variety of the grammar they use. The writing process is integrated into each unit of writing, with planning, editing and redrafting being key aspects that are explicitly taught, in order for pupils to use them independently.
Children’s reading skills are further developed in writing lessons through a ‘shared read’ approach. Staff prepare ‘Shared Read’ texts to support with subject content, grammar, and comprehension skills. An emphasis is given to cross-curricular writing and a range of high-quality texts and visual Literacy clips are used to support children’s understanding and act as a ‘hook’ for their writing. Pupils are given the opportunity to apply their writing skills across the curriculum and they are encouraged to use high standards of written English.
Emphasis is placed upon the development of key vocabulary to promote an interest and enjoyment in language. Appropriate ‘Tier 2’ language is identified within the vocabulary rich texts which are used to support learning across the school. Direct instruction of new vocabulary is planned for to expand the vocabulary choices that are available to pupils when they write and enable them to understand the meanings of words they meet in their reading across all subjects.
Speaking and Listening
By the time pupils leave Gilbertstone we aim for them to be confident, fluent speakers who are able to use a wide range of adventurous and ambitious vocabulary in the correct context. In the EYFS, children’s early communication skills are developed through a language-rich environment and the delivery of the ‘WellComm Speech and Language’ programme. Opportunities to develop children’s spoken language are planned for across the curriculum so that pupils are enabled to communicate their understanding and clarify their thinking, as well as organise their ideas for writing. Pupils are encouraged to become good listeners who can follow instructions and ask and answer relevant questions in all lessons.
The intended impact of our curriculum is that all children leave Gilbertstone having developed a love of reading and writing with the key age-appropriate skills and knowledge necessary for the next stage of their learning. As a result of our carefully planned and skilfully implemented curriculum, we would expect the impact to be that pupils will: