Mrs Heidi Lewis and Mrs Lisa Spiller are our school’s English Subject Leaders. English skills underpin all aspects of our curriculum and, from the very beginning, we strive to instill a love of reading and writing in all our pupils. We pride ourselves on our creative approach to the curriculum, which is full of enrichment opportunities for English, not only as a subject in its own right, but through the wider curriculum. We believe in a multi-sensory approach to learning and we maximise opportunities for the use of engaging texts, active learning across all environments and a thorough immersion in a variety of genres.
By the time children leave Skyswood in Year 6, our aim is that every pupil is able to confidently read sustained texts with accuracy and fluency in order to access the next stage of their learning. Our journey to becoming a fluent reader is a combination of decoding strategies, based primarily around the understanding of phonics, as well as language comprehension.
In Reception and Key Stage 1, we deliver the teaching of phonics 4 times a week through our Read Write Inc Scheme. The children work in small, focused groups to learn all the sounds that form the building blocks to our language, along with the skills to blend these together to form words.
Across the school, regular Guided Reading sessions focus on the importance of reading for meaning, teaching the children how to draw upon language clues and understand what they have read.
Bob Bridle, Headteacher, has created a spelling scheme to support the delivery of the national curriculum in Key Stage 2 English. The scheme, ‘Spell to Excel’, uses spelling in the context of developing a wider range of literacy skills, including the development of vocabulary and consolidation of grammar and punctuation. The scheme places emphasis on children taking greater ownership of their own learning and also develops a wider range of thinking skills. TTS, one of Britain’s leading educational suppliers, have now published the scheme nationally. We also have an innovative approach to the teaching of grammar, introducing a range of ‘grammar games’ to support and consolidate children’s learning in this area.
In addition, children receive daily English lessons which blend the components of speaking and listening, reading and writing. We provide our learners with the chance to become fully immersed in a range of texts, unpick the aspects which form each genre and then write sustained pieces in a variety of styles. We encourage our learners to not only see the value of their writing, but also enjoy the writing process and the impact that they as a writer can have on their audience.
We want all learners to reach their full potential and recognise the importance of not placing a ‘ceiling’ on what children are able to achieve. As such, we employ a ‘limitless learning’ approach to our teaching, where children self-assess in order to select an appropriate level of challenge for themselves. The use of guided groups are also there if children need to seek support to aid their understanding. We encourage children to have a Positive Growth-Mindset and relish the opportunities to challenge themselves, learn from their mistakes and develop the resilience required to embark on the next steps of their learning journey.