At Princess May, we want our children to leave us as ﬂuent speakers, readers and writers. The English national curriculum states that:
‘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 language, and to develop their love of literature through widespread reading for enjoyment.’
We believe the exposure of children’s literature within the primary school setting is vital as a rich context for learning; not only within English as a subject but to support building a reading culture throughout the school.
We aim to use high quality books that offer opportunities for empathy and can aid philosophical enquiry, as a means of developing the spoken language requirements through debate, drama and discussion using the issues raised through, and within, the text.
We will always aim for our writing opportunities to be meaningful; whether short or long and that the audience is clear. Books offer this opportunity: our final aim would be that that children have real reasons to write, whether to explain, persuade, inform or instruct and that where possible, this can be embedded within text or linked to a curriculum area. Writing in role using a range of genres is key to our approach as is writing a critique of the text and making comparisons – all writing skills that will support children in preparation for their time in secondary school.
Through use of The Literary Curriculum we have mapped the coverage of the entire English Programme of Study for KS1 and KS2, as well as meeting the needs of the new statutory Early Years Framework. In many cases objectives are covered more than once and children have opportunities to apply these several times over the course of a year, as well as to consolidate prior knowledge from previous years. We believe strongly that children should be secure in applying the skills of curriculum within their writing and their reading and that this approach is fully comprehensive. Where needed, planning sequences are adapted, personalised and differentiated by the school to ensure all access arrangements can be made to support children with the requirements.
Our teachers share their love of reading within and outside of their classrooms. Reading for pleasure is a part of our school ethos. A rigorous programme of systematic synthetic phonics (Read, Write Inc.) provides children with a tool to decode, before building ﬂuency and the ability to comprehend and question independently. As children move through the school, they are taught to retrieve, summarise, infer, predict, discuss meaning and make comparisons and links through our use of Destination Reader.
We use a variety of strategies to evaluate the knowledge, skills and understanding that our children gain as they progress from Nursery to Year 6:
CPD to ensure that teacher pedagogy and assessment is secure.
Regular feedback marking and pupil voice feedback.
Subject monitoring, including book looks and learning walks.
Regular low stakes knowledge assessments, using a range of creative approaches.
Hackney Education cross-school moderation to ensure secure teacher judgements.
NFER tests to support our teachers’ assessment.
Half-termly phonics and reading assessments to ensure our children are provided with appropriate challenge and support.
With our firm belief that knowledge is transferable, our pupils are given every opportunity to participate in a wide range of learning experiences beyond their classroom. These experiences include trips to museums, theatres, adventure centres and community projects in and around London. They will meet and work with authors and build their knowledge of literature. English learning is practised and embedded across the curriculum. Speaking and writing outcomes draw from knowledge gained in other subjects and English skills are used to enhance learning elsewhere. Children learn to collaborate and learn from each other to achieve outcomes.