English at BSJ begins in Kindergarten where the foundations are laid with its prime focus on Communication, Language and Literacy from the UK Early Years Foundation Stage Framework. In Years 1-6, English is then guided by an adapted English National Curriculum, informed by good practice from around the world. The Talk 4 Writing framework is the vehicle we use for the delivery of English. This emphasises the development of speaking and listening into reading and then into writing, as the progression for learning. English is taught every day throughout Primary, both in dedicated lessons and throughout the rest of the curriculum. Planning is linked to other curriculum areas and to local and international contexts where appropriate, to ensure that English learning is purposeful, stimulating and progressive.
SPEAKING AND LISTENING
Speaking and listening skills are crucial as the first steps in developing English and are taught through Talk 4 Writing, Philosophy for Children, Enrichment Activities, Student Leadership groups and through planned opportunities for discussion, collaboration and presentation with peers and adults in all areas of the curriculum.
Drama and role play further support this and have a large part to play throughout the school. This is encouraged both through planned and student-initiated opportunities which help to consolidate learning, explore personal or social issues, and engage with texts. This is further enhanced in Years 3-6 where a specialist primary performing arts teacher provides a lesson weekly.
As students move through Kindergarten and Key Stage One, we encourage them to first develop the necessary gross-motor skills, before moving on to fine-motor skills, which eventually enable them to form individual cursive-style letters based on the Spectrum font. First they are taught individual cursive shaped letters, before they are taught to join the letters together. If new students arrive at the school already demonstrating a neat cursive style in Key Stage 2, they will not be asked to change to the Spectrum font.
Students are encouraged to participate in whole class, shared and individual reading opportunities on a daily basis. They will also be involved in focused, small group, guided reading sessions at least once per week. These are planned specifically to ensure the progress of the group, who will be at a similar level of development. Students will be assessed regularly through these various reading opportunities, and in the younger years will take home colour level books carefully matched to their skill level to ensure success when practising reading independently at home. As the children progress with their reading skills beyond the colour levels, they will choose books from the library or year group to read at home.
Specific writing skills are taught through shared writing or group guided writing sessions. As with reading, these are carefully matched to the skills and ability of each child to move them forward. Opportunities for practising writing are numerous, throughout every area of the curriculum, and children are encouraged to investigate how we write for a multitude of purposes throughout the context of our daily lives. Students are taught to reflect on and improve their writing using success criteria and key performance indicators. Students are taught to take control of their own progress as they move through the success criteria.
Students in Kindergarten and Key Stage One continue to develop their phonic knowledge through daily sessions in streamed groups according to their phase. As they progress through the phases, they steadily gain confidence in their reading and spelling. They are also encouraged to instantly recognise the most common words found in English texts, especially those to which phonic rules do not apply. In Years 3 to 6, (or as soon as students have progressed to Phase 6), learning spelling skills is based on UK expectations.
All areas of English are supported through the use of both physical and online resources. Reading Eggs, Spelling Shed and Phonics Play are the key online resources we use to support English both in school and at home. We also utilise the online collaborative learning resources of the Google Suite to support all elements of English: video and slideshow creation with Google Slides for speaking and listening, Docs for collaborative writing, Sheets for mathematics, Forms for data collection and Google Classroom for managing resources.