our English curriculumAt Christ Church Primary School we believe that the skills in English: reading, writing and speaking and listening; provide the foundations for pupils’ achievement throughout the whole curriculum and all other areas of learning for now and the future.
English is a core subject of the National Curriculum, with reading, writing and speaking and listening being taught and practiced in a range of ways and across all subjects. Through a range of situations, pupils have the opportunity to develop culturally, emotionally, intellectually, socially and spiritually.
At Christ Church we promote high standards of language and literacy by equipping pupils with a strong command of the spoken and written word, and by developing their love of literature through widespread reading for enjoyment.
We aim to ensure that all pupils:
- Read, write and communicate orally with confidence, fluency and understanding.
- Have an interest in books and literature; whilst practising reading for enjoyment
- Develop and foster a love of words, phrases and sayings; explore their meanings and use a growing vocabulary in both spoken and written forms
- Discuss reading and writing comprehensively: expressing opinions; explaining techniques and justifying preferences; referencing a wide range of literature and using appropriate vocabulary.
- Understand a range of text types and genres; develop knowledge to appreciate our rich and varied literary heritage
- Write well using a variety of styles and forms.
Our values of Trust, Compassion, Respect, Wisdom, Perseverance and Service are embedded within our curriculum.
Speaking and Listening
We seek to ensure our children develop the highest levels of oracy and critical thinking. We aim for them to use these skills well and apply wisdom, whilst demonstrating respect and compassion. We aim that our children become excellent and active listeners who develop their visualisation skills, subsequently enhancing their imagination and in turn, supporting their reading and writing skills.
We achieve this by ensuring children have opportunities to use language appropriately and explore the rich wealth of vocabulary provided through role-play, story telling, poetry and good quality literature. We teach daily "Vocabulary Ninja" lessons, which directly impact on our children's knowledge of vocabulary and promote a wider understanding of the power of words.
We encourage parents to read to their children daily. We know that, in order for children to develop their vocabulary, they need to have access to high quality texts which are read to them, discussed and thus promote a greater extensive vocabulary, wisdom and a deeper understanding of texts.
A school wide "Big Question" is used to stimulate fortnightly discussion in classes. Pupil voice is an integral feature of learning and we seek to develop personal independence, trust and leadership through providing a variety of opportunities such as School Council, whole school conferences, House leadership roles and Playground Friends. Older children are encouraged to take on responsibilities, and service, such as lunchtime duties, school magazine and they organise and run lunchtime clubs for younger children.
Our children are excellent speakers using an extensive vocabulary to enjoy recalling, questioning and exploring information. They are able to communicate their ideas and thoughts clearly; developing an awareness of their audience in order to interject when appropriate and maintain eye contact and positive body language. They are encouraged to be inquisitive, question and challenge through debate and discussion.
Reading is at the heart of our learning and teaching and essential to every area of the curriculum. It is through literacy that concepts are formed and we are able to make sense of the world and our place in it. Literacy is at the heart of all we do and it is taught through high quality texts with children encouraged to immerse themselves in books, leading to excellent writing outcomes. We aim for our children to have a genuine love of reading, a respect for the pleasure it can bring, and to develop the perseverance to achieve this goal.
We have a well-stocked library in school which supports our desire to ensure that our children develop a passion for reading. Our children, and their families, are encouraged to use this regularly and the classes visit at least once a week to listen to stories and change their books. Our library is a central resource to developing wisdom and our books are regularly updated to ensure they are current, diverse and inclusive.
Children are taught to read using a number of different strategies. Each week children read individually and in groups; they are also given regular opportunities to share a book with others. Teachers read a variety of texts daily with each class; fiction and non-fiction, stories, reports, diaries, poems etc.
We place a strong emphasis on phonics (letter sounds) in the early stages of learning to read, and our ability to teach this is excellent, but we are mindful that developing a love and passion for reading and a literate environment are essential factors to ensure our children are lifelong readers. We want our children to develop perseverance when reading and the ability to enjoy many different genres.
We have a home-school reading system which recommends that parents read with their children every day. We encourage parents to read to their children, in addition to hearing them read, and this is important beyond the free-reading stage. We use the Collins Big Cat Reading scheme, which has been produced to ensure all reading books are inviting, with excellent illustrations and well written. As well as hard copies, we provide access to all books online for parents to use freely. We also support these with “real” books which the children also love to read.
In the early stages of reading development there is a strong focus on developing excellent phonic skills and the children read texts that enable them to practice the phonemes they have been taught in class.
We link our reading to our writing using “The Power of Reading”, a resource developed by CLPE (Centre for Literacy in Primary Education), to ensure children have access to high quality literature and texts.
Our children are encouraged to read a variety of genres and we use a Reading Road Map to support this. Our older children are set a goal to read 40 books over a year.
We encourage our children to read and be read to and as part of this we have a Book Buddy system whereby older children read with the younger children weekly. This is a well-loved activity and supports Service and Compassion.
We aim to inspire children to love reading, to choose to read for pleasure and to become lifelong readers. Our children leave Christ Church as highly competent readers, with a love of literature, and the wisdom and compassion that this provides.
Our aim is that children become confident, able, independent writers who enjoy and understand the structure , purpose and forms of writing and can apply these skills to adapt their writing to different audiences. Children will be able to express themselves in a variety of different ways using their knowledge of Standard English, Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar and clear handwriting, to allow their ideas to be recorded successfully and their writing to flow.
At Christ Church we believe that children develop as writers through having a sense of audience and purpose. The children will be immersed in the text through visualisation, role play, discussion, etc.
The children will cover a range of different types of writing from instructions to story writing. As a result of experiencing a range of texts and genres, children develop an awareness of the author’s intentions; this underpins their ability to write for effect with an awareness of the reader.
We use a variety of strategies to support writing including “Talk For Writing,” which is a learning tool that encourages our children rehearse and compose their ideas before writing them down.
We draw upon high quality literary texts derived from the "Power of Reading" books to stimulate writing. This approach engages and motivates children in their literary learning and enables children to deepen their understanding of texts and provides a meaningful context for writing.
A quality text is used as a basis for learning over several weeks. Children will explore and discuss the text through creative activities. They will also write in a range of genres as part of the unit. For example, they may write a letter in character or write a newspaper recount about the events in the text.
Reading aloud is a key part of our writing curriculum and we value the process of the teacher modelling expressive and fluent pieces of text to the children who, in turn, echo what they have heard read in their own writing.
Children learn spellings each week and spelling is taught daily in Key Stage 1 phonic lessons, and weekly in Key Stage 2.
Our children develop a love of writing and are confident to write for a variety of purposes and to different audiences. They make excellent progress from their starting points and leave our school being able to effectively apply spelling rules and patterns they have been taught. They will develop our values of wisdom through their reading, and perseverance through their editing in their writing and achievements. They will acquire knowledge of literary techniques and styles and a respect for the writers who produce them.
Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar and Phonics
Our intent is to give pupils the knowledge and strategies required to become confident writers and accurate spelling using their knowledge of the structure of English grammar.
The school places a high emphasis on enabling our children to develop their phonic skills from Nursery through to Key Stage One., and when necessary, beyond. We have a consistent approach to phonics teaching and use "Little Wandle" to support our daily systematic phonic sessions. In EYFS and Key Stage 1 our children receive daily phonic sessions.
During the summer term in Year 1, children nationwide are tested on their phonic knowledge. This test helps to identify children who have gaps in their phonic knowledge and may need further support in Year 2 .
We ensure that the test is always carried out by the class teacher and, in many cases, the children are unaware that they are being tested. Parents are informed as to whether their child has achieved the national expectation, or not, at the end of the year.
Our Key Stage Two children receive discrete spelling, grammar and punctuation teaching in weekly lessons.
Our children consistently achieve well in the statutory phonics test and develop a secure knowledge of phonics. They move on to apply their SPAG skills to their writing and reading to good effect.
They produce writing that is grammatically correct and apply spelling rules consistently.