At Wivelsfield Primary School we believe that a high quality Literacy (English) curriculum should develop children’s love of reading, writing and discussion. We aim to inspire an appreciation of our rich and varied literary heritage and a habit of reading widely and often, texts of all different kinds. We recognise the importance of nurturing a culture where children take pride in their writing, can write clearly and accurately and adapt their language and style for a range of contexts. We want to inspire children to be confident in the art of speaking and listening and who can use discussion to communicate and further their learning, not just in Literacy but across the curriculum.
We believe that children need to develop a secure knowledge-base in Literacy, which follows a clear pathway of progression as they advance through the primary curriculum. We believe that a secure basis in literacy skills are crucial to a high quality education and will give our children the tools they need to flourish in their onward learning beyond primary school. At Wivelsfield, the English Lead is also an SLE (Specialist Leader of Education) and part of that role involves supporting other colleagues both in school and in the locality - ensuring that the most effective approaches to the teaching of English are utilised.
Book Led Approach
Teachers planning focuses on a book-led approach where appropriate by using rich high quality texts . Sometimes teachers will use a text linked to the topic, sometimes it may just be extracts from a rich text and at other times it may be a rich text. We believe that writing is strengthened by instilling a love for reading within our pupils. We value the importance of reading to supplement writing, providing a purpose and a context to writing. We believe that pupils who are provided a reason for writing demonstrate flair and effective writing composition, leading to high quality outcomes.
Each week, the children are taught to develop an understanding of the texts through reading comprehension (known as 'VIPERS' - please see our Reading page for more information) - exploring the key themes, events, and plot of the texts being studied. From this element of the curriculum, pupils are taught the grammar from the National Curriculum which is taught to correspond to the genres being written as part of the writing process. Children are then supported in how to apply the grammatical content taught in identifying features of a high quality modelled text, before progressing to plan, write and re-draft a written piece which is fit for task, audience purpose and audience. Children receive regular feedback from both teachers and their peers in the writing process; class teachers endeavour to provide guidance and feedback during lesson times through live marking and verbal feedback, in order to ensure this has maximum impact on pupils' outcomes.
Language Acquisition & Vocabulary Development
We endeavour to ensure we provide our pupils with a 'language rich' environment; we do this with our links to the School Library Service, which ensures we have a wide range of texts displayed around our school, to correlate with our wider curriculum. We raise profile of reading to ensure we share the importance of reading with our parents, carers and wider community. Within our classrooms, we explore ambitious vocabulary across the wider curriculum to ensure we acquire an understanding of tricky language across the wider curriculum through the use of our knowledge organisers (where appropriate) and working walls. Working walls are regularly updated to ensure learning is documented within a unit of work. Class teachers ensure that the writing process is clearly evident on working walls, with modelled examples being available to all pupils as the sequence of lessons develops. Within the wider curriculum, school displays of pupils' work include tier 2 and 3 vocabulary. Tier 1 – high frequency in spoken language (table, slowly, write, horrible) Tier 2 – high frequency in written texts (gregarious, beneficial, required, maintain) Tier 3 – subject specific, academic language (osmosis, trigonometry, onomatopoeia), which we hope that through displaying in, pupils begin to use this vocabulary in their everyday discussions and therefore broaden the range of academic vocabulary in their repertoire. Teachers have a 'word of the day' or 'word of the week' depending on the age of children to further promote vocabulary development.
We measure the effectiveness and impact of our English Writing, Grammar and Spelling curriculum in a variety of different ways. We use National and summative testing to assess pupils' outcomes for Grammar, Punctuation and Spelling as part of the Statutory Assessment Tests (SATs for Year 6 pupils) and through termly summative assessments across school which enables pupils' progress and attainment in the subject matter to be evaluated. Additionally, pupils complete writing assessments on a half termly basis, where written work is assessed to inform teachers of pupils' next steps and successes. We have a robust system of internal moderation and external moderation where appropriate to assess progress in writing. The impact of the curriculum can be seen through pupils' national assessment results.
Through lesson and pupils' book monitoring, it is evident that pupils are being well supported to acquire the necessary skills and subject knowledge in order to become established and confident readers and writers and work monitored in books demonstrates that the curriculum is taught at an age-appropriate standard across each year group, with additional opportunities planned for pupils to demonstrate their ability to work at a higher standard. Lesson observations demonstrate that learning is being broken down into smaller steps and modelling supports pupils in the writing process/reading skills process - ensuring that the subject as a whole is regularly being reviewed to ensure learning is being embedded into pupils' long term memory.
The impact of our writing, grammar, spelling and punctuation curriculum can also be measured through the acquisition of pupil voice and talking to the children about their own learning. Pupil voice indicates that the children are enjoying their learning and can talk about the subject and curriculum opportunities.