“Reading is like breathing in and writing is like breathing out. Storytelling is what links both.” – Pam Allyn
At Southill we believe that a quality 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. We prioritise the teaching of reading and invest heavily in books and reading materials to excite, inspire and encourage all children to read for pleasure. 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.
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 is crucial to a high quality education and will give our children the tools they need to participate fully as a member of society.
These aims are embedded in our reading and writing lessons and across the wider curriculum. We have a rigorous and well organised English curriculum that provides many purposeful opportunities for reading, writing and discussion. Reading is taught daily through a mixture of whole class sessions, guided groups and individual sessions. We use the Talk for Writing approach consistently across the school and also ensure that cross curricular links with topic work are woven into the programme of study. Our curriculum closely follows the aims of the National Curriculum for English 2014.
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.
In addition to their daily English lessons, children in Reception and KS1 follow ‘Letters and Sounds’; a systematic phonics programme. Short, daily lessons focus on the sounds that individual letters and groups of letters (phonemes) make and then blending them together to be able to read words. Our phonics sessions are designed to be fun, lively and interactive, developing children’s skills and confidence day by day. We learn Jolly Phonics songs and actions to aid memory and we use the Floppy’s Phonics reading scheme to ensure that children get the opportunity to practise and apply their new reading skills at school and at home at exactly the right time. Children get many opportunities and are encouraged to apply their phonic knowledge throughout the day. Teachers monitor the children’s progress carefully and keep in touch with parents/carers about how this is going.
Our phonics results are well above national average (97% in 2018, 94% in 2019)
Children in EYFS and KS1 make good progress from their starting points.
Generally children in KS2 make good progress across the key stage – disappointing results in 2019 due to a number of factors. Those pupils who are disadvantaged and with SEND make good progress in line with their peers. Formative and summative teacher assessments are accurate and these are validated by observations, internal and external moderation and standardised assessments. Our effective tracking system ensures that gaps in learning are addressed.
We recognise the need for the results to be better at Southill and are working collaboratively to address this issue.
Whilst data is important, the greatest impact can be felt in the way children enthuse about their reading and writing. They love weekly story assemblies and discuss authors and illustrators they enjoy; not just in reading lessons but at breaktimes too. They bring books in for each other to borrow and Bookflix is always a central hub of activity with children chatting about their recent reads. The effervescent energy evident in the digital ‘Cracking Good Reads’ book reviews, the storytelling videos and the range of high quality writing genres represents the joy that children experience through our English offer at Southill.