Our vision for English is that children leave Heyes Lane as active, positive readers, with the confidence and skills to communicate successfully with others.
Our English lessons provide children with creative opportunities to apply their reading and writing skills. Teachers make imaginative and motivating connections to themes, which empower children to apply their subject knowledge and express themselves with confidence.
Inspiring and engaging hooks are used to bring reading and writing to life: trips, visitors, teachers in role and special curriculum days immerse children in their themes, broaden their subject knowledge and provide them with rich, varied and unique experiences. All Themes lead to an outcome. This gives the pupils the opportunity to be active and contribute in a real and relevant context. Their writing skills are showcased and form an integral part of outcomes such as: persuading parents to stop buying palm oil products; opening a healthy café for parents; hosting a VE day party; or running a NASA convention.
Quality texts are used to teach reading and writing and are carefully chosen to support the acquisition of subject knowledge across the curriculum as well as to develop the core reading, writing and speaking skills. Dedicated ‘Grammar Time’ is given to teaching core skills but this is always within the context of the current theme, genre or text. This provides a purpose to learning core grammatical skills and the opportunity to apply these with engaging and immersive writing tasks.
Daily English lessons contain three interlinking sections: reading; reading into writing; and writing. In addition to this, our children are active learners, who know how to practise their core reading and writing skills. This consolidation leads to fluency and a secure knowledge of skills that are then applied, with confidence, to independent writing.
During the reading part of the lesson, the children explore well-chosen class novels, extracts and model texts ‘as a reader’ to improve their reading skills: developing the skills to sound and blend words; their knowledge of common exception words; the skills to retrieve and record facts; an ability to explore vocabulary within the context of a range of texts; and the skills to infer and support inferences with evidence. Texts are linked to themes and widen the children’s knowledge and of vocabulary. A love of reading is extended beyond English lessons: our teachers love reading to their classes and the children continue reading for pleasure at home, developing a life-long love of reading.
In the next part of the lesson, the children explore class texts ‘as a writer’. They investigate grammatical structures and practise sentence types within the context of reading and their theme. Through this guided grammar work, the children are able to collaborate to rehearse sentences and collect ideas for the writing part of the lesson. They are empowered by gaining a secure understanding of grammar and are able to apply these skills independently.
The writing part of the English lesson follows a sequence that builds towards a clear outcome. The children begin each learning journey with a memorable and immersive hook; they explore texts as a reader and a writer; they use talk for writing and drama skills to plan writing; they are given feedback on their writing and edit and improve their writing; and they take pride in presenting a final draft. The writing part of the lesson provides children with the opportunity to apply their grammatical skills and communicate their ideas, knowledge and understanding of themes and subjects.
It is our belief that children learn best when learning contexts are immersive and fun. Our English lessons and sequences of learning are engaging, enjoyable and lead to learning that is remembered and lasts. This empowers our pupils to have the confidence and skills to communicate successfully with others. They develop a secure knowledge of core skills that enable them to enjoy applying their English skills to both their reading and their writing: they have an enjoyment and understanding of language, especially vocabulary; they are active readers who enjoy reading widely and frequently, outside as well as in school; they are able to innovate and make choices about their writing; they know how to edit and improve their writing; they can discuss the impact of their word choices and sentences structures; and they end Key Stage 2, with the fluency to manage the demands of the Year 7 curriculum.
The curriculum and sequences of lessons are planned to be progressive and build upon knowledge - supporting the layering of new knowledge on secure foundations. This approach to English learning allows our pupils to develop within our core beliefs:
Promoting a culture of experience – Writing expectations are high for all and our children want their writing to be the best that it can be. They learn how to draft and edit their work and they develop the ability to do this independently. Their reading and writing skills are applied to the wider curriculum.
Championing individuality and personal growth – the daily teaching of core skills empowers pupils to be able to make choices about their reading and writing and apply skills independently. Making choices about characters, viewpoints, levels of formality, word choices and sentence structures provides pupils with the opportunity to reach a higher standard.
Designing a dynamic curriculum for today’s learners – a range of hooks are used to generate enthusiasm, interest and excitement in English learning. The immersive links to themes and the use of mantle of the expert create meaningful and exciting contexts for writing. Pupils write for a range of purposes and audiences enabling them to develop the skills and control of sentence structures to prepare for secondary education and beyond.
Teaching should inspire and lead to learning that lasts – writing outcomes are engaging and purposeful. Pupils enjoy using class texts as a reader and as a writer to gather ideas, collect words, research, explore sentence types and plan writing. Daily Grammar Time sessions are linked to our themes and are used to teach core writing skills. These sessions are active, collaborative and pacey, which leads to fluency and secure understanding.
Active and ethical citizens – as children progress through school, they are taught editing skills and become autonomous in checking their work. They take pride in publishing or sharing their work and are given the opportunity to showcase their writing skills and share their writing with the wider school community. As ethical citizens they write to persuade and to raise awareness of world issues such as the use of palm oil and working conditions.