At Liberty Primary School we aim to develop a love of reading, writing and communication in each and every pupil. Our English curriculum focuses on the skills and knowledge our children need to become confident and capable readers and writers. Our English curriculum has been looked at closely to ensure skills and knowledge progression from Early Years all the way up to year 6. Texts have been carefully selected (for both reading and writing) to cover a range of different genres, to reflect the diversity of and to engage our children. High quality texts, used in reading and writing, ensure children have access to the vocabulary required of their age. We give our children experiences both inside and outside the classroom to help develop their reading and writing.
We want all children to leave Liberty with the skills and knowledge to be confident communicators and independent learners of the English language so they are ready for secondary school and beyond.
At Liberty Primary School we follow the aims of English from ‘The national curriculum in England’
How we do this at Liberty includes:
The writing cycle
English lessons are taught daily. Children follow the Liberty Writing Cycle of looking at a genre of writing, identifying what makes it a particular type of writing, looking at a good example, participating in activities to develop the skills and knowledge required for the genre (hot seating, drama, questioning, working on grammatical features etc) as smaller steps and modelling help long term memory, then completing a BIG (Brilliant, Independent, Great) write for the genre of writing (an independent piece of writing) and then checking own work and editing before the cycle starts again on a new genre. Verbal and written feedback is given to the children to ensure impact on outcomes.
We ensure the children have the chance to write through cross curricular links mainly linked to our Cornerstones Curriculum, therefore making it more relevant to what they are learning. The children are given purpose to write which leads to a higher quality outcome.
Writing across the school
English is integrated throughout school life at Liberty. Children are given the opportunity of participating in writing competitions, World Book Day and themed whole school writing days and weeks.
Grammar, Punctuation and Spelling (GPS)
GPS is taught as part of English lessons. Teachers will teach the required GPS alongside the genre of writing.
At Liberty Primary School, we are very proud of our pupils’ handwriting and take particular care in our cursive/joined-up handwriting style. This is progressive throughout the school and covers the requirements of the 2014 National Curriculum. Handwriting is a basic skill that influences the quality of work throughout the curriculum. At the end of Key Stage 2 all pupils should have the ability to produce fluent, legible and, eventually, speedy joined-up handwriting, and to understand the different forms of handwriting used for different purposes.
By the end of Year 6 pupils will understand the importance of neat presentation and the need for different letter forms (cursive, printed or capital letters) to help communicate meaning clearly.
We are delighted that our school is part of the Letter-join handwriting scheme and any of our pupils wishing to practise their handwriting at home can log in to the Letter-join website on iPads and tablets as well as desktop and laptop computers. There you will find the same, easy-to-use handwriting resources we use at school.
At Liberty Primary School we have designed our early reading curriculum with the intent that all children, regardless of background, will become fluent, insightful readers. We have developed a curriculum that will instil in all children a love of reading that we hope will stay with them for life. We understand that children who are confident adept readers will be empowered to succeed in all other areas. We understand that parents and carers play a vital role in the development of early reading and in nurturing positive habits and attitudes towards reading. We welcome this and their contribution.
We will deliver an early reading program that comprises of:
- Direct, focused phonics which is taught every day in Reception and Key Stage 1
- Phonics will be taught progressively from Foundation Stage to Y2 as an effective way of developing children’s reading and spelling skills. Sight-recognition of words will complement the teaching of phonics.
- Children will read from books with the sounds they know, while they are learning to read
- Teachers and teaching assistants provide extra practice through the day for specific children
- Teachers instil in children a love of literature: the best stories and poems
Children are explicitly taught the skills of reading (outlined in the National Curriculum and the KS1 and KS2 test domains) through the use of VIPERS which were created by Rob Smith (The Literacy Shed).
The Reading Vipers are used by both KS1 and KS2 with a little adaptation. The difference being the S.
VIPERS whole class reading lessons take place twice a week for 20 minutes in KS1 and four times a week for 30 minutes in KS2.
In KS1 the children participate in reading practice sessions three times a week. These sessions allow the children to apply the phonics they have been taught to decodable books to help ensure fluency, meaning and comprehension when reading. This in turn helps our KS1 children to become confident readers.
Reading across the school
Dedicated time in the school library at least once a fortnight, reading displays, book corners, book fairs and time to read for pleasure all enrich our English curriculum.
We use the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds to plan and provide daily engaging phonics lessons. In phonics, we teach children that the letters of the alphabet represent a different sound, that these can be used in a variety of combinations and are put together to make words. The children learn to recognise all of the different sounds and combinations that they might see when they are reading or writing. Our phonics teaching starts in Nursery and follows a very specific sequence that allows our children to build on their previous phonic knowledge and master specific phonic strategies as they move through school. As a result, all our children are able to tackle any unfamiliar words that they might discover. At Liberty we also model these strategies in shared reading and writing both inside and outside of the phonics lesson and across the curriculum. We have a strong focus on the development of language skills for our children because we know that speaking and listening are crucial skills for reading and writing in all subjects.
Learning and spelling words is important to your child’s future. Spelling words help lay the basic foundation that your child will need throughout their education and life. Spelling is important because it aids in reading. It helps cement the connection that is shared between sounds and letters.
At Liberty Primary School we use the ‘No Nonsense Spelling’ scheme from year 2 through to year 6. It is a complete spelling programme designed to meet the needs of the 2014 National Curriculum. Spelling is explicitly taught for 15 minutes (everyday in year 2 and 5 times every fortnight in KS2) showing clear progression throughout the school. The programme focuses on teaching the rules and patterns of spellings which enables children to learn spellings including statutory words, common exception words and topic spellings. The spelling lessons follow the structure of revise, teach, learn, practise, apply and assess (which is very similar to the teaching of phonics). This means that the children will not take home spellings to learn for weekly tests but will be assessed in the spelling lesson after being taught the rule or pattern. Children will however be given common exception words (KS1) and spelling lists (KS2) to take home. These are words the children are expected to know how to spell by the end of the year and although they will be taught as part of the spelling programme, you may wish to practise them with your child at home.
We measure the effectiveness and impact of our English Writing, Grammar and Spelling curriculum in a variety of different ways. We use National and summative testing to assess pupils' outcomes for Grammar, Punctuation and Spelling as part of the Statutory Assessment Tests (SATs for Year 6 pupils). Additionally, pupils complete writing assessments on a half termly basis, where written work is assessed to inform teachers of pupils' next steps and successes. The impact of the curriculum is seen through pupils' national assessment results.
Through lesson and pupils' book monitoring, it is evident that pupils are being well supported to acquire the necessary skills and subject knowledge in order to become established and confident writers and work monitored in books demonstrates that the curriculum is taught at an age-appropriate standard across each year group, with additional opportunities planned for pupils to demonstrate their ability to work at a higher standard. Lesson observations demonstrate that learning is being broken down into smaller steps and modelling supports pupils in the writing process - ensuring that the subject as a whole is regularly being reviewed to ensure learning is being embedded into pupils' long term memory.
The impact of our writing, grammar, spelling and punctuation curriculum can also be measured through the acquisition of pupil voice and talking to the children about their own learning. Pupil voice indicates that the children are enjoying their learning and can talk about the subject and curriculum opportunities.