ENGLISH
We follow the National Curriculum:
Purpose of study
English has a pre-eminent place in education and in society. A high-quality education in English will teach pupils to speak and write fluently so that they can communicate their ideas and emotions to others and through their reading and listening, others can communicate with them. Through reading in particular, pupils have a chance to develop culturally, emotionally, intellectually, socially and spiritually. Literature, especially, plays a key role in such development. Reading also enables pupils both to acquire knowledge and to build on what they already know. All the skills of language are essential to participating fully as a member of society; pupils, therefore, who do not learn to speak, read and write fluently and confidently are effectively disenfranchised.
Aims
The overarching aim for English in the National Curriculum is to promote high standards of language and literacy by equipping pupils with a strong command of the spoken and written word, and to develop their love of literature through widespread reading for enjoyment. The National Curriculum for English aims to ensure that all pupils:
  • read easily, fluently and with good understanding
  • develop the habit of reading widely and often, for both pleasure and information
  • acquire a wide vocabulary, an understanding of grammar and knowledge of linguistic conventions for reading, writing and spoken language
  • appreciate our rich and varied literary heritage
  • write clearly, accurately and coherently, adapting their language and style in and for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences
  • use discussion in order to learn; they should be able to elaborate and explain clearly their understanding and ideas
  • are competent in the arts of speaking and listening, making formal presentations, demonstrating to others and participating in debate

At Sauncey Wood, we follow the Herts For Learning planning modules.  These form an overview from which we plan weekly lessons tailored to meet the needs of individual classes.  The English programme of study is made up of four key areas:
 
Spoken language
Reading
Writing
Spelling, grammar, punctuation (SPAG)
Reading
Intent
We want our children to be motivated and confident readers who read with accuracy and fluency whilst having a strong understanding of what they are reading. We aim to provide pupils with opportunities to build, consolidate and reinforce their Reading skills within a broad and balanced yet purposeful curriculum.

From Nursery through to Year 6 Reading is central to our curriculum to allow pupils to access the full curriculum offer. At all stages, reading attainment is assessed and gaps addressed quickly and effectively for all pupils.  Alongside, structured learning opportunities in Reading, we support children in developing an intrinsic interest in reading through access to reading opportunities in our library, reading areas and an ongoing timetable of reading events.
Implementation
  • reading has a high profile at Sauncey Wood, as it is the key to effective learning. We aim to foster pleasure in reading, which will remain with the children for life. Children are encouraged to love books and read independently for progress and pleasure.
  • guided Reading takes place in classes to further develop word recognition and comprehension skills. Key questions are focused on specific texts that challenge children's ideas and develop their ability to infer, deduce and speculate on the reasons for authors' choices.
  • ​in Reception classes, Year 1 and Year 2, reading is taught through our phonics scheme.  ​As well as the teaching of phonics, there is also a focus on comprehension and reading for enjoyment. 
  • through phonics teaching, pupils learn to hear, identify, and manipulate sounds and understand the link between the sound (phoneme) and the way it is written (grapheme).
  • we follow the Letters and Sounds programme and Jolly Phonics. This is a phonics programme in which individual letters or letter sounds are ‘blended’ to form groups of letters or sounds, and those groups are then blended to form complete words.
  • Children throughout Reception and Key Stage 1 take part in a daily phonics session. These focus on developing reading, writing and speaking and listening skills. The ‘Letters and Sounds’ programme is divided into six phases, with each phase building on the skills and knowledge of previous learning.
  • Children are also taught to read and spell ‘tricky words’ – words with spellings that are unusual. These include the words ‘to’, ‘was’, ‘said’ and ‘the’. ‘Tricky words’ are ones that we can’t sound – so these words just need to be remembered.
  • ​In class, teachers also spend time sharing their favourite books with their class and read books that the children recommend to their teachers!  (Take one Book)
  • ​Furthermore, part of learning to read well is about finding your way around a good library. We are fortunate enough to have a fully stocked library that is run by children as well as staff.   Pupils can access the library for pleasure and research to further develop a love of learning.
  • Reading  Comprehension lessons take place across the week where teacher works in a more focused way on developing reading comprehension skills – the text may be from the daily English lesson.  Lessons are based around the KS1 & KS2 Reading domains (HFL guidance), supporting children’s skills in decoding and understanding different text types in a structured way and through practice.
  • Staff hear children read aloud as often as possible. 
  • Reading comprehension strategies are taught in explicit lessons each term during Reading sessions and applied to English and other subjects too. The skills teachers develop are literal, evaluation and inferential : questioning, sequencing, predicting, summarising, skimming and scanning, visualising plus the importance of learning new vocabulary and checking the meaning of words. Pupils in KS2 complete a reading comprehension test each half term.
  • Each classroom has a dedicated reading space or display to highlight how fundamental an ability to read is.
  • Class teachers will, at different points of the year, read a ‘class novel’ to pupils in their classes as a further opportunity to build the children’s exposure to different kinds of texts. They also use it as an opportunity to develop pupils’ understanding and enjoyment of books.
  • ​We have many exciting initiatives that are all designed to get the children reading.  These have included celebrating World Book Day, inviting in famous authors to talk to the children, Bed Time Story, the 'Shelfie', Reading Bingo and most recently our 40 book expectations.
 
Impact
Through the teaching of systematic phonics, our aim is for children to become fluent readers by the end of Key Stage One (phonics continues if needed into KS2). This way, children can focus on developing their fluency and comprehension as they move through the school. Attainment in reading is measured using the statutory assessments at the end of Key Stage One and Two. These results are measured against the reading attainment of children nationally. Attainment in phonics is measured by the Phonics Screening Test at the end of Year 1.  However, we firmly believe that reading is the key to all learning and so the impact of our reading curriculum goes beyond the results of the statutory assessments. We give all pupils the opportunity to enter the magical worlds that books open up to them. We promote reading for pleasure as part of our reading curriculum. Pupils are encouraged to develop their own love of genres and authors and to review their books objectively. This enhances a deep love of literature across a range of genres, cultures and
styles.
Writing
Intent
We strive to develop in our pupils the ability to communicate effectively in speech, writing, to listen with understanding and have passion for reading.
 
We want our pupils to be motivated and confident readers who read with accuracy and fluency whilst having a strong understanding of what they are reading.  As writers we want them to have confidence to write for a range of purposes both formal and informal and to be able to write for a communication purpose as well as engaging audiences with imaginative short stories and poetry.
Implementation
  • In the EYFS, pupils are given the opportunities to write during their curious learning time by having access to a range of writing materials both in the indoor and outdoor classroom.  Reception are also explicitly taught in small groups through focussed teaching sessions with the teacher and/or nursery nurse and throughout the year are exposed to many different genres and write lists, facts, stories, poems and recounts.
  • In Years 1 to 6, through the school’s medium term plans, based on the National Curriculum and following Herts for Learning Guidance, pupils are given opportunities to write in a wide range of genres and become familiar with the features of each e.g. narrative stories, writing in role and discursive and persuasive writing. Pupils also explore poetry at different points across the year with a focus on creating and performing poetry.
  • Teachers use a range of strategies including oracy, modelled and shared writing, planning, drafting and editing.  Pupils are given opportunities to evaluate and reflect on their own work (purple polishing) in order that they may develop their own sense of achievement.  Teachers give clear verbal feedback to pupils so they know how to improve and what they did well. In KS1 and KS2 planning includes grammar and punctuation focuses for each week.  
  • Grammar and punctuation skills are linked to the text type being taught so that skills can be embedded and applied through whole class teaching and in the children’s writing. Relevant websites are available on the school’s website for further research. 
  • Spelling is taught discretely and encouraged to be practised at home.  
  • Each year group has a set of ‘non-negotiables’ for their writing lessons, based around the objectives in the National Curriculum. These guidelines help the pupils to remember the skills that a child in their year group should be including in their writing independently at all times, as well as new skills they are learning. In this way, we scaffold children’s writing, supporting them in integrating all the age-appropriate features.
  • English writing lessons are based around a high quality book or books. This allows pupils to explore writing from a range of texts, to identify and then adapt and use the features in their own writing. Other extended pieces of writing may be generated from learning in other subjects such as Science, History, RE, PSHE  or Geography such as recounts, reports or writing in role, or from trips and workshops.​
Impact
Writing assessment is ongoing throughout every lesson and cross curricular themes to help teachers with their planning, lesson activities, targeted pupil support and enable appropriate challenge to all children. Pupils are given detailed feedback and next steps to respond to in order to personalise learning and provide the children with opportunities to edit and improve their own writing. Herts for Learning Steps and AfL inform our on-going assessment.   SLT monitor all pupil’s books and hold individual termly meetings with all teachers to assess every individual child’s learning needs and progress. In addition, pupil voice is used to enable leaders to assess the impact of writing across the curriculum.
 
Learning beyond the classroom
Recommended reading lists:
Reception
Year 1
Year 2
Year 3
Year 4
Year 5
Year 6