Our vision at Skyswood Primary and Nursery School is to promote a love for learning, encourage children to grow in self-confidence and develop positive partnerships with our families. All Skyswood children, of all races, cultures, aptitude and ability, will be supported to achieve their potential as tomorrow’s adults, through all subjects, including English and Literacy.
Our main aim is to ensure that our children develop and progress in the fundamental areas of speaking, listening, reading and writing. Our children will leave Skyswood with the essential literacy skills to successfully access the next phase of their education and equip them into adult life. They will have the reading skills and fluency to be able to enjoy and understand a range of genres and build an intrinsic love of literature in many forms. Our children are encouraged to share and communicate their ideas, views and feelings, whilst listening to each other. They have rich opportunities to express themselves creatively through role play and drama, and through their writing and poetry, as they build their enthusiasm for reading and writing with purpose.
As a team, we are aware of the differing groups of learners and vulnerable children in our classes. Teachers plan and adapt learning to suit the specific needs of each child. We recognise that each child has their own starting points and build positively on their previous experiences, celebrating their achievements.
Children and teachers have high expectations for their written and spoken language. These high expectations are continually modelled by all staff so that our children are clear as to what they need to be successful at each stage of their education. Fluency of language skills is developed across the breadth of the curriculum , aspirational vocabulary is taught and children are encouraged to use adventurous vocabulary in their speaking and writing.
With this intent in mind, we aim to create a climate whereby every child is a reader. Through daily Read Write Inc sessions, children build up their understanding of phonics. Children are then encouraged to apply their phonics skills within the classroom. A home/school reading scheme is in place across the school, which enables parents and the school to develop a partnership in supporting children’s reading. Shared reading is an important part of the school day. From early years right through to Year 6, children share and enjoy an appropriate range of texts with their class teachers. Whole class reading takes place during English lessons. SEND or lower-ability readers benefit from this time as they have appropriate exposure to age-related texts. Whole class guided reading in Upper KS2 ensures that all pupils can read with the teacher, moving at an appropriate pace through extended texts and benefiting from the teacher’s explanations, guidance and feedback. Teachers provide opportunities for guided reading, topic-related reading, reading as a stimulus for writing, daily reading aloud to a class and following a ‘class reader’, alongside a wide range of activities to support the development of a progressive range of comprehension skills. The four skills of questioning, predicting, clarifying and summarising provide a clear focus for whole class guided reading sessions. In lower KS2, and throughout KS1, children are organised into smaller ability groups to work alongside a teacher or teaching assistant.
The school have a well stocked central library and a volunteer parent who is a librarian, who supports the children with their choice of appropriate texts during their library time. Reading books are also available in every classroom, in an inviting, high-profile library area. All children choose a reading book to take home, and their reading books are changed regularly. All classrooms have a wide selection of books which are directly linked to class topics. Pupils are encouraged to apply their reading skills across the breadth of the curriculum. Children are read to each day by their class teacher. They also have the opportunity to work cross-phase as reading buddies. Children in Key Stage Two who are working towards greater confidence as ‘free readers’, and who require additional support with phonics, reading and writing, are identified during pupil progress meetings and receive appropriate interventions to support their reading development.
World Book Day is celebrated annually and authors are often invited into the school.
A positive writing climate has been established at Skyswood, whereby everybody is seen as a writer (pupils, teachers, teaching assistants and learning support assistants.) Writing is taught through the use of well chosen texts, exposing the children to inference, high-level vocabulary and a range of grammar and punctuation. All texts, both for reading and writing purposes, are carefully selected in order to promote a love of reading, pupil engagement and high quality writing experiences for each child. ‘Talk for Writing’ strategies give children the opportunities to write in the style of a selected author; ‘imitating and internalising writing through hooks, drama and visual stimuli. The children build up their personal toolkits for writing and celebrate the writing journey through a wide range of genres. Children are encouraged to write for purpose, increasing their independence and confidence, along with applying their year group expectations for grammar, punctuation, spelling and handwriting.
The Spell to Excel Spelling Scheme supports the delivery of the national curriculum for spelling throughout the course of Key Stage 2. The scheme uses spelling in the context of developing a wider range of literacy skills, including the development of vocabulary and the 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. We also have an innovative approach to the teaching of grammar, introducing a wide range of grammar games in Key Stage 2 to support and enrich the children’s learningh.
The English Subject Leaders conduct learning walks and ascertain pupils’ views of English through pupil voice. This monitoring ensures consistency and progress across the breadth of the school.
Along with regular in-school CPD, the English Subject Leaders also attend the Herts County English cluster updates.
Pupil Voice – Children tell us that they enjoy reading and they are intrinsically motivated to read independently. Story-telling and book talk is part of the daily life at school and children will freely discuss the authors and texts that they have enjoyed reading, and be proud to share and celebrate their own writing.
Knowledge -Children read and write to their full potential and are able to apply their skills across the curriculum. Children are clear about different genres within the writing process. Children self-evaluate and polish their writing. They are confident to tell you how they have improved and what their next steps are.
Evidence in Skills– Children are taught in line with the expectations of the National Curriculum. Teachers’ subject knowledge ensures that lessons are taught at a pace which allows appropriate coverage and a wide range of opportunities to read and write across a breadth of genres.
Outcomes – At Skyswood we strive for all pupils to achieve their maximum potential; by having high expectations and excellent standards. We aspire for all children to have reached at least Age-Related Expectations (ARE) for their year group, and through daily opportunities for extension and challenge, aim for a high proportion to exceed ARE. Where children do not reach this expectation, appropriate support is put in place to address any barriers in learning and accelerate progress.
Through the implementation of Whole Class Guided reading in Upper KS2, smaller ability groups in Lower KS2 and KS1, along with Talk for Writing practices, children make good to outstanding progress from their respective starting points.
Children develop their confidence as readers, becoming familiar with a variety of genres, whilst applying and developing their grammar, punctuation and spelling skills. Through Talk for Writing sessions, children have developed their creativity, crafting their writing and their manipulation of grammar and punctuation. All aspects of English are transferrable to other subjects across the curriculum, providing a deeper level of consolidation and understanding.
Below are some suggested websites that you could use at home with your child;
Inclusion in Writing:
All children at Skyswood have the opportunity to make progress in their writing whether they are working towards, achieving, working above the expected standard or have a Special Educational Need (SEN).
To ensure all children can achieve their full potential, children requiring additional support are identified during pupil progress meetings. We differentiate for all pupils, use a range of strategies and provide opportunities including those outlined below:
Whole class handwriting sessions.
Handwriting interventions in addition to classroom practise.
1:1 or small group sessions with Teacher or Teaching Assistant.
Use of scaffolds (word mats, sentence starters).
Please click here for more information about our Phonics programme.