"Embracing our values today… to be a successful part of the world tomorrow!”
At South Farnborough Junior School, English and the teaching of English is the foundation of our curriculum. Our main aim is to ensure every single child becomes primarily literate and progresses in the areas of reading, writing, speaking and listening so that they have high-quality communication skills which will help them to communicate effectively with others in a variety of mediums. This prepares them for our ever-changing and developing world.
Staff at South Farnborough feel it is seminal to highlight and be aware of the differing groups of learners and vulnerable children in their class so that lessons are inclusive. Once this information is acquired, teachers can plan and teach personalised English lessons, which focus on the particular needs of each child. We recognise that each child has their own starting point upon entry to every year group and progress is measured in line with these starting points to ensure every child can celebrate success.
In addition to being a daily discrete lesson, English is at the cornerstone of the entire curriculum. It is embedded within all our lessons and we strive for a high level of English for all. Through using high-quality texts, immersing children in vocabulary-rich learning environments and ensuring new curriculum expectations and the progression of skills are met, the children at South Farnborough will be exposed to a language heavy, creative and continuous English curriculum which will not only enable them to become primary literate, but will also develop a love of reading, creative writing and purposeful speaking and listening. By using a variety of texts and teaching strategies, children’s spiritual, moral, social and cultural understanding will develop to help them be understanding of how to be a successful citizen and value others.
With these aims in mind, we have ensured that half an hour of discrete reading teaching happens daily across a two-week planner. This ensures that reading is explicitly taught every day and that vulnerable groups can be highlighted and supported appropriately to further ensure progression, and that specific year group skills are secure. Lessons are planned based upon appropriate texts and allows the children to learn comprehension skills but also independence, a love of wider reading and exposure to rich vocabulary, which is absolute key in all sessions for all learners. Engaging pupils is crucial for high quality learning. Reading is not only celebrated in classrooms at South Farnborough, around school and in our library, you will find displays which celebrate authors and children’s favourite books to promote a love of reading and complement children’s learning. We have regular reading celebrations to promote a love of reading. Every year we participate in ‘World Book Day’ with whole-school themed activities, we have frequent author visits and close links with the School Library Service helps us to promote Summer and Winter reading challenges. The SLS support also allows us to work with a dedicated and experienced team who provide access to the very best library resources. This ensures our school library and classroom reading areas support the curriculum and give pupils a wide range of stimulating reading material.
As we believe consistency and well-taught English is the bedrock of a valuable education, at South Farnborough we ensure that the teaching of writing is purposeful, robust and shows clear progression for all children. In line with the new national curriculum, we ensure that each year group is teaching the explicit grammar, punctuation and spelling objectives required for that age group. As well as teaching the objectives, teachers are able to embed the skills throughout the year in engaging and purposeful writing opportunities and ensure that most children are achieving the objectives at the expected level with some children achieving at a greater depth standard. In this sense, assessment of writing is also more fluid as teachers can assess against a set framework. All year groups use the same format for assessing writing, which have been produced in line with the end of Key Stage assessment frameworks as published by the Department for Education.
In order to build strong links between reading and writing teachers use text-led learning journeys. Writing is taught using a quality text to drive each journey. Each text is purposefully selected in order to promote a love of reading, generate rich written outcomes and teach the key knowledge and skills that pupils require to be successful, not only in primary English but across the curriculum. Each journey is designed to build on prior knowledge, demonstrate progression in skills and teach the pertinent year group objectives. This approach allows for immersion in a text, pupil response and the teaching of vocabulary before moving on to the analysis of text, and the direct teaching of grammar in context culminating in pupils crafting writing to be proud of. Children are given the opportunity to apply and consolidate their skills, while enriching their store of knowledge, allowing them to creatively imitate great writers.
Below are examples from each year group where children will have the opportunity to use their English skills across the wider curriculum:
|Year 3||Year 4||Year 5||Year 6|
Diary entry from the POV of a child in the Stone Age.
Information leaflet/non-chronological report on volcanoes.
Non-chronological report of a chosen national park.
Newspaper report about the Viking raid on Lindisfarne.
Write an explanation text about mummification.
Biography of Samuel Cody.
Information leaflet/fact file of the Amazon River
Persuasive writing Athens vs Sparta.
Information text/non-chronological report on the Maya civilisation.
Contrasting diary entries. A child who lives in Hampshire and a child who lives in Florida.
In class, there are a variety of opportunities for the children to work collaboratively with others, whether this be through group work or participation in class discussion.
The impact on our children is clear: progress, sustained learning and transferrable skills to support their success now and in the future. With the implementation of the writing journey being well established and taught thoroughly, children become more confident writers and 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 the manipulation of grammar and punctuation skills.
As all aspects of English are an integral part of the curriculum, cross-curricular writing standards have also improved 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 punctuation and grammar objectives. We hope that as children move on from us 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.