All children – regardless of gender, starting point or background – will have the opportunity to engage with a high-quality English education which will teach them to speak and write fluently so they can communicate their ideas and emotions to others. Children will develop their reading and listening so others can communicate with them. We intend to inspire a sense of enjoyment and curiosity about the subject.
At Westminster Community Primary School, we believe that literacy is fundamental to the overall development of the child and their access to the curriculum in all its aspects. We aim to deliver quality teaching of basic and higher order reading, writing and listening skills to enable children to become confident and successful in their learning. Language acquisition is the foundation of thinking and learning. Reading, vocabulary development and phonics – alongside opportunities which give real life experiences are at the heart of our curriculum design. Our vision is for all of our children to flourish. We believe in providing opportunities to inspire each child, so they believe in their own ability to achieve their very best. We develop the whole child, enabling all our children to live life in all its fullness, through exciting learning experiences.We have high expectations of ourselves in providing a positive climate for high academic achievement, as well as for our children’s confidence, character and motivation to learn for life in modern Britain.
At Westminster Community Primary School, we believe that a quality English curriculum should develop children’s love of reading, writing and discussion. One of our priorities is helping children read and develop their all-important comprehension skills. 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 across our English lessons and the wider curriculum. We have a rigorous and well organised English curriculum and framework, that provides many purposeful opportunities for reading, writing and discussion. We use a wide variety of quality texts and resources to motivate and inspire our children. Teachers also ensure that cross curricular links are woven into the programme of study.
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 Westminster Community Primary School, we identify children who need support and provide intervention in the most effective and efficient way that we can. We run intervention reading groups. Most children on the SEND register have reading and comprehension as one of their targets. Teachers plan and teach English lessons which are differentiated to the particular needs of each child. We help each child maximise their potential by providing help and support where necessary whilst striving to make children independent workers once we have helped to equip them with the confidence, tools and strategies that they need. We run parent information sessions on phonics for EYFS and Year 1 parents, reading and SATs for Year 2 parents and a SATs meeting for Year 6 parents so that they understand age-related expectations.
Marking is rigorous in English and across the curriculum, with regular ‘Response Times’ and spelling corrections to help children correct and consolidate their work. Regular English book scrutinies are carried out to check all teachers are following our rigorous planning and marking policy to ensure progression. We love to celebrate success of all learners and strive to help all children achieve their goals. Reading is celebrated in classrooms and around school at Westminster Community Primary School, where our displays celebrate children’s writing. In addition, throughout the school year our literacy curriculum is enhanced through World Book Day, performances, whole school assemblies, drama workshops and a range of trips and visits which enrich and complement children’s learning. Every class has a reading reward scheme to encourage children to read regularly at home.
The impact on our children is clear: progress, sustained learning and transferrable skills. With the implementation of the writing journey being well established and taught thoroughly in both key stages, children are becoming more confident writers. By the time they are in upper Key Stage 2, most genres of writing are familiar to them and the teaching can focus on creativity, writer’s craft, sustained writing and manipulation of grammar and punctuation skills. Termly assessment is used to assess progress and attainment. We hope that all the new literacy initiatives outlined above will help to boost children’s learning and progress. As all aspects of English are an integral part of the curriculum, cross curricular writing standards are improving and skills taught in the English lesson are transferred into other subjects; this shows consolidation of skills and a deeper understanding of how and when to use specific grammar, punctuation and grammar objectives. We hope that as children move on from Westminster Community Primary School to further their education and learning, that their creativity, passion for English and high aspirations travel with them and continue to grow and develop as they do.
English Across Our School
At Westminster Community Primary School our aim is to instil a love of reading in all our children that will stay with them throughout their lives.
As soon as children join us they take a book home to share with their families. We ensure books match the reading ability of the child to enable children to make successful progress. We ensure children are accessing a range of books; ficton, non-fiction, pcture books, books from different authors. Reading a variety of books develops good habits and independence. Children read different authors and types of text, such as poetry, stories, reports, explanations and recounts or diaries. This develops preferences and teaches children how to use different styles in their own writing.
“The more you read, the more things you know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” – Dr Seuss
With challenging texts in school and taking home books at an appropriate level, children gain fluency and mastery in both decoding and understanding their books. We follow the Read Write Inc scheme to deliver our Phonics sessions in Early Years and Key Stage One, which teaches the children decoding skills. Children begin to read by using phonetically decodable books which allows them to apply the phonemes taught. Children then move to develop inference and comprehension skills, whilst developing a rich and varied vocabulary.
Our aim is to nurture lifelong readers and hope children will curl up with a book and read their favourite stories over and over again. Just for the love of it!
At Westminster Primary School we follow Literacy Counts Read to Write scheme of work. We use high quality texts to engage a wealth of writing oportunties for our children. These texts have strong thematic links to Science, History and the Geography curriculum.
Our programmes of study for writing at EYFS, KS1 and KS2 are built around two areas: transcription (spelling and handwriting) and composition (articulating ideas and structuring them in speech and writing)
In addition to these two dimensions, we teach our children to plan, revise and evaluate their writing. Reading feeds our writing. We use a large variety of texts and poems to inspire our children and help them to develop a rich and varied vocabulary.
Pathways to Progress is a writing intervention programme designed to be delivered in addition to pupils’ English lessons. The programme is predominately aimed at pupils who were working just below expected in summer term assessments and those who have fallen behind due to disruption to learning during the COVID-19 pandemic.
It is designed to be facilitated by a teacher, teaching assistant or tutor and provides targeted interventions each half term for the key skills to be taught. The Pathways to Progress intervention programme has been designed following recommendations from the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) on running high-quality structured interventions (Improving Literacy in KS1 - 2020, Improving Literacy in KS2 – 2017).
The sessions will focus initially on consolidation of the previous year’s learning objectives but as the year progresses will support pupils in achieving age-related expectations. The lessons can be delivered 1:1 or with small groups of pupils. For pupils who are working significantly below expected standards for their year group, children will work on modules from lower year groups to create a more bespoke intervention.
We teach a cursive script from Reception to allow children to become confident in the correct letter formation from an early age. Cursive handwriting has been shown to support better spelling with words learned both by sounding out and as single hand movements. It means that children can be a little slower to write at first. Joining comes naturally to children taught to write cursively. The script is approved by the British Dyslexia Association and so is suitable for children with specific learning difficulties.
We know that writing down ideas fluently depends on effective transcription – spelling quickly and accurately through knowing the relationship between sounds and letters. We teach phonics using the Read Write Inc scheme of work. All children in EYFS and KS1 have a daily phonics lessons. Those children who still need support with their reading access a daily phonics lesson.