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English

The English Curriculum at St Thomas

 

At St Thomas’ we deliver an English curriculum that inspires, engages and motivates children to develop a love of reading and writing. We aim for the children to form good habits of reading widely: both for pleasure and information, and have reading securely at the heart of our curriculum. We want our children to have an understanding of our literary heritage and to be exposed to a wide range of authors and books.

 

By the time children leave St Thomas’, our pupils will acquire a wide vocabulary and an understanding of grammar in order for them to have the literacy skills and tools needed in order to communicate appropriately through spoken and written English, and to be prepared for the next steps in their learning. Our children are able to write clearly, accurately and coherently, and are able to adapt their language and style for a range of purposes and audiences. They are skilled in using discussion to explore ideas and can explain their understanding clearly, as well as participate in debate and make formal presentations.

Our rigorous and well-organised English curriculum provides many purposeful opportunities for speaking, reading and writing, and ensures that all children can enjoy and access the learning, while also seeking to challenge children to achieve their potential.

 

 

How is English taught at St Thomas?

At St Thomas’ we follow the CLPE Power of Reading scheme, which provides a wealth of quality texts and teaching sequences for our English lessons. Teachers carefully adapt the scheme accordingly to meet the needs of their respective classes and to ensure that our pupils are exposed to a wide range of enriching texts that provide the stimuli for a broad variety of writing opportunities.

 

All children within KS1 and KS2 are explicitly taught English using the Power of Reading scheme through 1-hour sessions from Monday – Thursday.   Children in KS1 are also exposed to rigorous and progressive daily phonics lessons as well as Whole Class Guided Reading (WCGR) twice per week.  Children in KS2 explore and refine their reading and comprehension skills through daily WCGR.

 

Structure of English lesson:

Read

Our pupils begin all English lessons by reading a section of their current study text together as a whole class.  We believe reading is the key to all learning, so have therefore made reading a priority in every lesson.  The class teacher will select an element of the text that will then form the basis of that day’s English teaching.

Vocabulary:

Children will be introduced to key vocabulary (STAR words) throughout the lesson.  They will be challenged to learn the meaning of these words and apply them correctly during the lesson. Teachers will provide children with actions to match each of these words, to support the children in remembering them.

Teach:

The teacher will share the core knowledge for the lesson with the children. This is an opportunity for children to listen to and understand the new information. 

Partner Talk:

Children will work with a partner to complete a short task or discuss new information. Children will be expected to apply their understanding of the new information taught and may even use their STAR words.

Independent Task:

The children will now work independently on a task. This is often a written task that will require the children to apply everything they have learned. The children may also demonstrate newly acquired skills in this part of the lesson.  Each week, the children will be required to produced and extended piece of writing which the teacher will mark in detail providing areas to celebrate and suggestions for improvement.

 

What do we expect to achieve through our English curriculum? 

 

By the end of KS1, our pupils will:

 Reading:

  • read accurately most words of two or more syllables, those containing common suffixes and most common exception words
  • read most words accurately without overt sounding and blending, and sufficiently fluently to allow them to focus on their understanding rather than on decoding individual words2
  • sound out most unfamiliar words accurately, without undue hesitation
  • check their reading makes sense to them, correcting any inaccurate reading
  • answer questions and make some inferences about what they have read
  • explain what has happened so far in what they have read

 

 

Writing:

  • write simple, coherent narratives about personal experiences and those of others
  • write about real events, recording these simply and clearly
  • use capital letters, full stops and question marks correctly
  • use present and past tense mostly correctly and consistently
  • use co-ordination (e.g. or / and / but) and some subordination (e.g. when / if / that / because) to join clauses
  • segment spoken words into phonemes and represent these by graphemes, spelling many of these words correctly and making phonically-plausible attempts at others
  • spell many common exception words
  • form capital letters and digits of the correct size, orientation and relationship to one
  • another and to lower-case letters
  • use spacing between words that reflects the size of the letters.

 

By the end of KS2, our pupils will:

 

 Reading:

  • read age-appropriate books with confidence and fluency (including whole novels)
  • read aloud with intonation that shows understanding
  • work out the meaning of words from the context
  • explain and discuss their understanding of what they have read, drawing inferences and justifying these with evidence
  • predict what might happen from details stated and implied
  • retrieve information from non-fiction
  • summarise main ideas, identifying key details and using quotations for illustration
  • evaluate how authors use language, including figurative language, considering the impact on the reader
  • make comparisons within and across books

 

Writing:

  • write effectively for a range of purposes and audiences, selecting language that shows good awareness of the reader (e.g. the use of the first person in a diary; direct address in instructions and persuasive writing)
  • in narratives, describe settings, characters and atmosphere
  • integrate dialogue in narratives to convey character and advance the action
  • select vocabulary and grammatical structures that reflect what the writing requires, doing this mostly appropriately (e.g. using contracted forms in dialogues in narrative; using passive verbs to affect how information is presented; using modal verbs to suggest degrees of possibility)
  • use a range of devices to build cohesion (e.g. conjunctions, adverbials of time and place, pronouns, synonyms) within and across paragraphs
  • use verb tenses consistently and correctly throughout their writing
  • use the range of punctuation taught at key stage 2 mostly correctly (e.g. inverted commas and other punctuation to indicate direct speech)
  • spell correctly most words from the year 5 / year 6 spelling list, and use a dictionary to check the spelling of uncommon or more ambitious vocabulary
  • maintain legibility in joined handwriting when writing at speed.

 

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