At Edward Betham, we provide our pupils with a stimulating and enriching English curriculum, in which they develop the skills necessary to read, write, speak and listen with accuracy and confidence. Through high-quality teaching and well-planned lessons, we ensure that the National Curriculum aims and requirements are met and often exceeded: our pupils develop high standards of language and literacy, a strong command of the spoken and written language, and a love of literature through the reading a wide range of quality texts.
Through Phonics and Guided Reading, we teach children to read with fluency, understanding and enjoyment, fostering a lifelong enthusiasm for reading. Our pupils learn to blend and segment sounds easily and spell accurately using a range of approaches.
As a school, our intention in teaching writing is that the pupils will write in an increasingly effective and cohesive way, with a clear awareness of the audience and purpose for the piece, and a strong awareness of the rule of Standard English, including grammar, punctuation and spelling. We value presentation highly and intend that our pupils will take pride in using a fluent, cursive handwriting style by the end of Year 3.
Through their time with us, our pupils learn to communicate effectively and appropriately for a particular audience, speaking with increasing confidence, clarity and fluency. The English and wider curriculum enable pupils to learn how to listen to the views, opinions and ideas of others and respond to them appropriately, giving responses and asking questions with increasing relevance and insight.
- English (including Guided Reading and Phonics) is taught for a minimum of seven hours per week, and English skills are learned in all other subjects, and most particularly in History, Geography, Religious Education and Science. Reading is understood to be the foundation of all learning in school
- Each classroom is a stimulating language-rich environment, in which quality children’s literature and good English work are celebrated
- Throughout their time in EYFS and KS1, children’s early comprehension skills are developed. The Rocket Phonics programme supports the teaching of phonics and early reading (see separate page). Guided Reading in Reception takes place in small groups weekly. In Year 1 and 2 it is taught 3 times a week in a group matched to the child's independent reading level.
- Guided Reading is the main lesson in which children are specifically taught to become fluent in reading and skilled at comprehension, including inference and deduction
- In Years 3-6, children are taught as a whole class following this structure: Starter for Ten: 10 minutes of whole-class teaching to introduce a text and answer a key question about it, Strive for Twenty-Five: 25 minutes of independent reading and comprehension activities e.g. answering questions, completing a SOLO Taxonomy map. The teacher and TA work with key pupils during this time, Together Again for Ten: 10 minutes of plenary activity to consolidate and extend the independent work
- Guided Reading takes place twice a week in Key Stage 2 for a duration of 45 minutes each. The texts used for Guided Reading sessions are selected carefully, meeting at least one of these criteria:
- Texts are selected for Guided Reading according to these criteria:
- o Texts by significant children’s authors e.g. Malorie Blackman, Philip Pullman
- o More challenging than the child could read independently
- o Older literature e.g. AA Milne
- o ‘Resistant’ non-fiction texts i.e. subject-specific vocabulary, unusual layout
- o ‘Resistant’ fiction texts e.g. nonchronological, multiple viewpoints, poetry with figurative language
- In Guided Reading, provision for the lowest 20% of readers can include separate texts, differentiated questions or in-class support from a teacher or TA
- The texts used in English and Guided Reading are monitored by the English Subject Lead, who advises and resources the subject to ensure every text is of high quality
- In KS2, for individual reading, pupils select texts under the guidance of the teacher, using the school’s colour-banded system. Teachers monitor independent reading and discuss progress with individual pupils on a regular basis
- A minimum of four times a week, teachers read a text aloud to the class in story time; these are taken from a specific list which the subject leader devises on an ongoing basis with class teachers
- In Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2, a new spelling pattern is explicitly taught each week and a list of words, which contain the spelling pattern, are learned at home then tested the following week
- Children are taught Handwriting across one or two short lessons each week. To reinforce the school handwriting style, all teaching resources (Smartboards, handouts, display signs) are in this font
- Writing is the culmination of a one- or two- week teaching unit on a particular text or genre, and culminates in a piece of Extended Writing
- Teachers teach writing following the following teaching sequence when preparing for Extended Writing:
- o familiarisation with genre
- o capturing ideas
- o teacher modelling (What A Good One Looks Like – WAGOLL)
- o teacher scribing, supporting or leading guided writing
- o independent writing
- At least once per year, the children are taught a specific Talk for Writing unit, in which they learn a high quality text by heart before producing a similar piece independently
- Children are supported to produce excellent writing through the use of writing frames, spelling banks, collaborative work and peer or adult support
- Spoken Language is a key aspect of all lessons in all subjects and in Collective Worship
- Teachers and other adults speak clearly and in Standard English, correcting non-Standard English when pupils use it. This includes clear diction, reasoned argument, and the use of imaginative language
- All children are encouraged to contribute to discussion, through the use of scaffolding such as closed-choice questions and speaking frames with sentence starters
- All English planning centres around a key text and follows an agreed format. This includes daily sentence-level work
- A range of drama activities are planned in order to develop the children’s imaginations and deepen their understanding of the text being studied
- The English curriculum is pitched at a high level for each year group, to ensure that the more able pupils are challenged.
- The teaching team makes ongoing assessments of each child’s progress to ensure all are achieving as well as they can. Alongside the outcomes from summative assessments such as the NTS tests for Reading, this information is used when planning differentiated lessons and interventions
- The subject leader supports colleagues in the teaching of English (e.g. co-creating exemplar planning) and provides continuous CPD so that teachers are fully informed about evidence-based pedagogical excellence in the subject e.g. coaching meetings, INSET
We judge the impact of our English curriculum through formal assessments including those at the end of Key Stages, formative assessments using SOLO Taxonomy, book and planning scrutinies, learning walks and drop-ins, and talking to pupils. Due to the high quality and bespoke English curriculum, are pupils leave Edward Betham confident about their communication abilities and enthusiastic about the written word, both that which is crafted by others and that which they are rightly proud of producing themselves. English lessons are relevant to children; texts often relate to their current learning in other subjects and are always of a high quality. Children’s care for their English work reflects the care that teachers put into the planning and resourcing of an engaging and challenging curriculum. Our pupils see themselves represented in the diverse canon of literature that we use for English lessons and story time. Pupils who are in the lowest 20% of attainers are very well supported and make good progress; pupils who are more able at English also thrive and transfer to high school with outcomes well above expected standards. All pupils understand the importance of English for all aspects of learning and life; they speak accurately and confidently and show a strong understanding of what they hear and read. This is the foundation from which many of our ex-pupils return to tell us that they go on to study English and/or the humanities at ‘A’ level and university.
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