English is the base on which every other subject builds. Learning English means learning to communicate through reading, writing, speaking and listening - and doing it well requires a huge range of skills.
To help speed-up our progress in reading, spelling and phonics (in particular), we use the Read Write Inc programme from Nursery to Year 2. Every day, children are taught in small groups, alongside others who are at the same phonics or spelling level as them, in addition to whole-class English teaching. They focus on specific sounds each day, and read and write texts which include only the sounds they know - so that everyone can read, write and spell with confidence, making rapid progress as a result.
Once phonic knowledge is secure, we teach spelling through daily lessons in Year 2-6, again based around the Read Write Inc programme. Children in these classes are also set spellings to learn every week - click here for guidance on strategies you can use to support your child in learning their spellings.
Our approach to writing is built around the principles of the Primary Writing Project and Talk for Writing, using learnt-texts, shared writing and an 'imitation, innovation, invention' process that we follow in English throughout the school. You can find out more about all this in our Writing Policy.
We also prise reading particularly highly (as shown by the enthusiasm with which our entire school community engaged with both our Reading Week and World Book Day). Throughout the school, we work our way through a levelled reading scheme, which follows the OUP Levels numbering system, but also includes a wide and varied selection of books from other publishers and sources. You can find out more about our approach in our Reading Policy.
We have grouped the skills required to be a ‘good’ reader into six key areas. To support us in understanding the skills we are being taught, practicing and using, each of these is then linked to a corresponding character.
Year 5 - Fox class organised a Stay and Read session, where they invited our parents and carers to join them in school for an hour of fun reading activities. They based the session around a brilliant book called The Mystery of the Clockwork Sparrow, and shared some of the ways they get 'into' a story with our families, including vocabulary games, exploring character feelings and choosing pictures to match sections of the story.
Year 2 - Hedgehog class have have been learning how to write reports. They started off with a report about fire fighters, learning all about their job - and to help with this they visited Stevenage Fire Station, where they met a group of real fire fighters! They went armed with a huge number of questions, which they happily answered before allowing Year 2 to try using a real hose and then climb inside one of their engines!