At our school we believe good communication skills are essential in order to develop positive and effective relationships and to gain a better understanding of ourselves and the World around us. We recognise that children arrive at our school with broad and diverse language experiences (including children with English as a second language) and we endeavour to help all children become fluent and confident communicators, whether through writing, reading or speaking.
Our teachers are passionate about what we teach and how we teach it. We aim high and expect our children to make rapid and sustained progress. We feel that this can best be achieved through a stimulating topic based approach, writing from first-hand experiences and rich stimulus (picture, drama, video, high-quality texts) which inspires the children to develop necessary skills in writing, reading and speaking and apply them in a range of cross curricular contexts.
The English curriculum consists of several strands, including:
Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar
Speaking and Listening
The sections below provide some further information about the children’s experience of each aspect of English at our school.
Throughout the school we have very high expectations for writing. This can be seen in the high-quality learning displayed in each of the classrooms, in books and the wider school environment. We adopt a consistently creative approach to the teaching of writing, in order for the children to develop essential skills in an engaging and exciting way. Through inspirational starting points and topics, the children develop confidence and accuracy when writing across the curriculum. We enrich learning through visitors, authors and real-life experiences in order to give the children a real purpose for their writing. In lessons, children see themselves as authors/writers and are taught to use learnt skills and techniques to appeal to who the reader of their story/poem/biography/science investigation etc. would be.
We aim to:
Through creative and purposeful activities, the children will develop the diverse skills needed to become confident and critical writers of different genres. The children build up stamina, confidence and enthusiasm for writing because they are regularly exposed to extended writing opportunities. They will be taught the conventions of non-fiction writing (writing as a historian/scientist/geographer etc.) as well as being helped to develop their creative skills in poetry and story writing.
We encourage the children to write independently from an early age. Whilst an emphasis in the FS2 is on speaking and listening, storytelling, singing of nursery rhymes and role play, there are plenty of opportunities to experiment with writing through meaningful child initiated and teacher led activities.
In all year groups the children are encouraged to take pride in their learning and to try their very best to present it using neat handwriting.
In FS2 the children are encouraged to develop a simple print style letter formation until they are comfortable with a correct pencil grip and are confident with mark making. From Year 1, the children are taught to join their writing in a cursive script and this continues throughout the school. There is a strong link between cursive joined writing and the development of effective spelling, therefore all children are encouraged to develop a fluent handwriting style. Formal handwriting sessions take place regularly, however the children are given plenty of opportunities to explore, play and mark make with a range of resources to develop fine and gross motor skills.
Spelling, Grammar and Punctuation
Spelling, Grammar and Punctuation are predominant in the 2014 National Curriculum. Expectations are high, so we have adapted our provision in these areas to ensure that the children make the very best progress. We recognise that it is a whole school priority and every class from FS2 teaches grammar, spelling and punctuation. Each classroom has its own English ‘Working Wall’ display, which highlights to the children the importance of spelling, grammar, punctuation and vocabulary in a child friendly way. Classrooms are well equipped with word banks and resources to support these areas and the children with their learning.
In FS2 and KS1 we follow the daily Letters and Sounds programme, which is the synthetic phonics approach to early reading and spelling. In Key stage 2 some children will continue to use this programme, whilst others will engage in discrete spelling sessions that progressively teach spelling patterns and rules that will support the children in becoming independent spellers. The National curriculum have lists of words for each year group to learn, as well as a range of spellings from other subject areas, which the teachers are all familiar with. From Year 1 spelling lists are given for the children to learn and practise at home. These will be checked weekly in class or as part of their ‘Spelling Passport’. In order to raise standards and to promote the importance of accuracy, each class has a range of non-negotiable words which the children will be expected to spell independently in their writing. Sample spelling lists, strategies for supporting spelling, spelling passports and further information about Letters and Sounds can be found on this website.
Specific grammar skills are taught throughout the school. There are formal grammar assessments in Year 6 and there is due to be a new assessment introduced to Year 2 children in 2016. Each year group teach elements of grammar, in a range of ways, in order to promote the use of correct spoken and written Standard English. The children are encouraged to identify and use different word classes and play with word choice to up level their learning. A key element to our teaching of grammar is the message that grammar can be fun! Jokes, limericks, and changes in word order or use of punctuation can help the children explore our diverse and rich language. As authors/ writers, they are also taught how grammar can have purpose and powerful outcomes within their writing, which allows them to change the pace, emotion and tone, depending on genre and the target reader.
A glossary for grammatical terms can be found on the school’s website.
Speaking and Listening
In the 2014 curriculum, Speaking and Listening is mentioned across the different subject range and children are expected to develop effective speaking skills whatever the subject area. At Queens’ Crescent School we embrace this. We firmly believe that the bedrock to becoming a successful learner is being able to talk about your ideas in a clear and confident manner before committing them to paper. High quality talk is an essential part of our curriculum and this is often done through dialogic discussion. These discussions are key in our classrooms and allow the children to pose each other different questions and challenge ideas in an articulate and confident manner. We encourage children to listen to and respond thoughtfully to contributions of others, as well as becoming clear and fluent speakers themselves. The use of talk partners and talk triangles encourage the children to share their ideas and listen to those of others. Turn taking, respect, use of eye contact and understanding body language are essential skills when developing positive relationships. We encourage the children to develop these skills from an early age in order to develop a trusting ethos within our classes. This in turn, allows for deeper understanding of each other and our learning.
Nursery rhymes, songs, poetry and oral stories are used in every classroom as a way to promote pronunciation as well as developing creativity. We firmly believe that good oracy will enhance the children’s creative writing and always encourage the children to talk through their ideas in full and extended sentences. This then allows the children to develop a bank of words, phrases and themes which they can then use in their own story writing. The children have great fun changing the characters settings and endings in their own versions and performing them to different audiences.
The use of drama is powerful in allowing the children to explore and understand themselves and their relationships with others. We often use it in our everyday teaching as a way of stimulating imagination and empathy. This can lead onto effective writing and deeper understanding. Key Stage 1 classes have role play areas and in Key Stage 2 the children are encouraged to act in role and consider different scenarios to support topic work. Drama specialists often visit the school to hold workshops for the children and our teachers are confident when acting in role and providing characters for hot seating. We are not at all surprised when we see historical figures walking down our corridors!
At Queen’s Crescent we love a good drama and every year each team put on a high-quality production full of extraordinary surprises! The children at our school are so confident on stage and many exhibit otherwise hidden talents. In FS2 the children perform in their first nativity. In Key Stage 1 the children perform different versions of a Christmas theme. Whilst in KS2, past productions include ‘Oliver!’, ‘Bugsy Malone’, ‘Wicked!’ and ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’, to name but a few. The children love performing to their adults and to each other. Each year the quality of singing, dancing and acting appears to get better and better and many of our children have gone onto to perform in other shows outside of school. The opportunity to perform in front of others is such an important one. It allows the children to develop confidence, take risks, work collaboratively and most importantly ‘shine’.
At Queen’s Crescent we aim to foster a love of reading in all children regardless of background or ability. Our aim is that the children in our school are exposed to a broad and inspiring range of fiction and non-fiction texts throughout their time with us in order to spark a life-long love of books. Our intention is to build learners who begin their journey by learning the mechanics of decoding individual words and leave us as effortless readers who are able to describe, discuss and debate their understanding of texts from an extensive selections of works from across time-periods, genres and cultures. Through effective reading, we endeavour to support children in accessing so much more than the curriculum and it is our goal to help the children recognise the endless possibilities that reading can offer.
What we offer:
Promoting a love of reading
· Teacher’s read to children regularly from a wide range of text types
· Each class has an inviting book corner with a range of age appropriate texts which appeal to a range of tastes
· Our inviting school library has a wealth of reading materials on offer which children can access at school or at home
· Library ‘clubs’ are available to allow children to access school books and take ownership of the running of their school library
· Our curriculum is centred around high quality texts which link children’s wider learning
· The mechanics of reading is taught by segmenting and blending individual phonemes in words
· Phonics is taught daily throughout all of Key Stage 1
· Phonics sessions continue into Key Stage 2 for those who still need to continue this aspect of their learning journey
· Children’s individual reading books (Big Cat phonics books) are linked to their phonic phase and, so, are fully decodable. Thus allowing children to feel successful and build their confidence when reading at home.
· In Key Stage 1 children take part in small group reading sessions
· These are linked to their phonics phase and the books will be fully decodable to children (Big Cat Phonics books)
· In key Stage 1 and 2 children take part in whole class VIPERS sessions 4x per week (VIPERS is an acronym for the skills taught in these sessions: Vocabulary, Inference, Prediction, Explanation, Retrieval, Sequencing (KS1)/Summarising (KS2).
· All children are exposed to the same text regardless of their individual reading level in order to promote a rich and varied textual diet for all
· Children respond to texts through discussion, oral and written responses as well as drama and art in these sessions
· Better Reading Partners is an intervention carried out by TA’s, parent helpers and governors who receive training and continued support from Queen’s Crescent Reading Specialist Teachers. Their focus is on developing strategies for building fluency and comprehension. They work 1:1 for 15 minutes three times a week and the programme lasts for ten weeks. If you feel you are able offer further support to the school and would like to be trained as a Better Reading Partner, please contact the school for more information.
· Children from years 4-6 can receive training as ‘Peer Reading Buddies’ from a Reading Specialist Teacher. They aim to read daily with a Key Stage 1 or FS2 child promoting independence, confidence and an enjoyment of books.
· We offer a range of dyslexia friendly texts that offer KS2 children age appropriate reading material that they can enjoy at their own level
· Phonics interventions are provided by Teachers and TAs throughout KS1 and KS2 to those children who require additional support
· Toe by Toe is a reading intervention provided by specialist TAs to children in KS2 who require additional assistance with reading
· We hold regular reading events and workshops which have allowed us to invite storytellers, authors and parents into the school to share in our passion for books
· We encourage children and families to visit the school library, and the town library – through initiatives such as the Summer Reading Challenge, to enjoy the experience of having a wealth of books to choose from.
· We celebrate World Book Day enthusiastically every year with a wide range of exciting and creative activities to promote excitement about books and reading
Reading at home
· All children take home a reading book appropriate their reading level to enjoy with an adult
· In the lower school these books are colour banded to allow an appropriate level of challenge and allow children to feel successful as readers
· As they grow in confidence children will be offered a supplementary chapter book of their own choice to promote reading for pleasure
· Children and parents are encouraged to record anything they have read in a Reading Record (this includes texts from home and even magazines, pamphlets or comics etc.). Children receive class rewards for regular reading.
· Our well stocked Library also allows children to access a Non-Fiction text to take home and share once a week
For further support in how to help your child read, please look at our parent booklet on this website.
Please click to view:
Reading Policy 2020/2021