As a school we aim to deliver a high quality English curriculum that gives children the best possible opportunities to become confident, literate and successful members of our community with a deep love and understanding of English language and literature. We believe the development of Literacy skills is central to improving a child's life chances. Teachers have high expectations for all children to achieve and enjoy English and to be able to use the skills they have acquired in a range of contexts. We work hard to ensure all children can communicate clearly in spoken and written form and become masters of language. Exciting and engaging texts are at the heart of our teaching and a love for reading is promoted throughout the school and our recently refurbished Learning Hub. Teachers use cross curricular inspirational ideas to engage children in work providing memorable experiences, bringing topics to life through real life contexts. Curriculum coverage is carefully monitored by the English Coordinator and the Senior Leadership Team to ensure all staff are delivering the quality English curriculum in line with our creative curriculum vision.
Our English curriculum is made of the following areas:
SPaG (Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar)
We teach Phonics at Easingwold using the Letters and Sounds programme. This is a fun and interactive way to support the children in their ability to read and write. The children are introduced to this in our EYFS Class and they progress through each phase during their time in Key Stage 1. They learn how to read and spell words using their phonic knowledge to decode words. We use a wide range of teaching techniques and resources in our daily phonics sessions to make them fun, visual, practical and exciting. To compliment the Letters and Sounds programme we also use Jolly Phonics. Jolly Phonics represents each sound with an action and a song, helping the children to remember both more easily.
The alphabet contains only 26 letters. Spoken English uses about 42 sounds (phonemes). These phonemes are represented by letters (graphemes). In other words, a sound can be represented by a single letter (e.g. ‘s’ or ‘h’) or a group of letters (e.g. ‘ow’ or ‘air). Once children begin learning sounds, they are used quickly to read and spell words. Children can then see the purpose of learning sounds. For this reason, the first six letters that are taught are ‘s’, ‘a’, ‘t’, ‘p’, ‘i’, ‘n’. These can immediately be used to make a number of words such as ‘sat’, ‘pin’, ‘pat’, ‘tap’, ‘nap’. In Early Years and Key Stage 1 we teach Phonics daily. The structure of each lesson is as follows: revisit and review, where the children sing the alphabet and recap the sounds they have already learnt, teach - where the new sound is taught, practice - where we play games to apply the sound we have just learnt and then we apply the sound through games and short written tasks. All classes follow this approach to provide consistency in the teaching of Phonics.
To learn to read well children must be able to smoothly blend sounds (phonemes) together. Blending sounds fluidly helps to improve fluency when reading. Blending is more difficult to do with longer words so learning how to blend accurately from an early age is imperative. Showing your child how to blend is important. Model how to ‘push’ sounds smoothly together without stopping at each individual sound. This builds on their phonic skills. It is also recommended to talk to your child about what blending is so they understand what they are trying to achieve. Don't just give them the word if they are stuck - encourage them to apply their Phonics and they will succeed.
When children start with us in Reception they are introduced to our reading scheme. The books are colour coded into bands according to their difficulty. To see the order of the banding please see attached document below.
Your child will progress through the scheme at their own speed and move to each next level when the class teacher feels they are ready. We recommend that they read their take home book, borrowed from our Library, three times during the week. This is to help build fluency and develop their ability to recognise words that were unfamiliar at the start of the book. It isn't about reading the book and moving to a new one, it is the chance for the child to apply their Phonics, discuss what has happened and encourage them to make predictions about what they think might happen next. The majority of our take home books have tasks for after reading at the back. These are superb discussion points for parents to engage in with their children as well.
After the children have moved through all of these levels they become a free reader. Most children do not become free readers until they are in Key Stage 2. They are then able to choose books to take home from our recently refurbished and restocked library, read their own books from home or books that have been borrowed from the local library.
Whatever it is they read - please record it in their reading record. Every child in school has one and it is a fantastic tool to work in partnership with us, sharing your child's reading success and interests. Each class in school has their own colour EPIC points. These are awarded for various reasons throughout school. To encourage children to earn EPIC points we ask that they read 5 times through the week, and record this in their reading record. Reading records are checked by an adult to see if an EPIC point is needed. When an EPIC point has been awarded, the children drop them into their box. At the end of the half term or term, the tokens are counted by our Mini Leaders and a reward is awarded to the winning class in EYFS & KS1/KS2. Reading doesn't need to be your child's school book - reading is all around us in the world and children, as they develop their skills, want to apply them when they see writing. Reading can be books, sign posts, sides of lorries, sub titles on the television, a magazine or newspaper or learning lines for a play.
All children take part in weekly Guided Reading sessions where they read in their group with the teacher, read in their group with the teaching assistant, where appropriate they complete a follow up task to show their understanding of the text read, Roll and Write and a SPaG based activity to develop their basic skills of the English language. Once the children have developed their reading skills they will take part in Reciprocal Reading sessions with their teacher and teaching assistant. Reciprocal Reading is a model in which pupils become the teacher in small group reading sessions. Teachers model, then help students learn to guide group discussions using four strategies: predicting, clarifying, questioning and summarising. Once the children have learned the strategies, they take turns assuming the role of teacher in leading a dialogue about what has been read.
For children who are younger and still developing their reading skills teachers will ask questions that encourage the children to think about what might happen next in the story they are reading, therefore developing their predicting skills. The same skills are applied without directly using the reciprocal reading model as the children need to be moderately fluent in their reading to apply the skills required.
SPaG (Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar)
We have altered the structure of our lessons to enable all classes to focus specifically on the teaching of SPaG skills. All children from Year 1 to Year 6 will have three thirty minute focused SPaG sessions throughout the week. During these sessions a range of approaches will be used by teachers to teach the child the skills they require to aid their ability to be a published author. During some of these sessions the children will choose the level of work that they do through a Children's Choice Sheet. This provides three way differentiation and allows individuals to choose the level of difficulty that they work on. The levels of challenge refer to well-known authors: Dr. Seuss, Cressida Cowell and Roald Dahl. Within these sections the children will have the opportunity to show us their understanding through a fluency approach before moving on to a SPaG challenge to apply the new skill further. By taking this teaching approach, we are teaching the children the grammar skills that we want to see in their writing, which we timetable in addition to the SPaG sessions, as well as the cross curricular writing that we complete.
The learning objectives for the SPaG sessions are taken from the EGPS documentation produced by NYCC. These are attached below. There are four documents, showing clear progression through the year groups.
Also attached below you will find a grammar reference guide - this gives you the current grammatical terminology, along with definitions so that you know what your child is talking about at home.
At Easingwold we believe that every child is a published author. Their writing is always important. All children will be taught handwriting using the pre cursive approach. Your child will call it 'whooshes and flicks'. This journey begins in Early Years when the children start school. All adults model this approach so that the children see the same as they progress through school. Initially the letters are modelled individually but we link to our Phonics and teach the children that the digraphs and try-graphs are holding hands. To see how each letter is formed see the attachment below.
Children will have the opportunity to write daily at Easingwold Primary School and staff will view their work as ‘published’ work, as per their favourite author. This enables the children to aim high and strive for success. Each class uses a book to hook the children and this is the starting point for all writing. The skills that have been taught in SPaG are then applied to the extended pieces of writing that the children complete. All writing is done with the audience and purpose in mind. The children will write in a range of genres and they will also write creatively through the foundation subjects.
The Library and Learning Hub
Our recently refurbished library is now accessible to all our children from the day that they start school. All classes have an allocated library slot throughout the week and during this slot the children are able to change their take home books, and borrow other fiction or information books. All children have a library card, which enables an adult or the children in KS2 to record the books that they have. The books are then returned and checked back in to our library. There is no set time that the children need to have the books - all we ask is that they return the books in the same condition they took them. The borrowing and returning of books takes place within the class library slot weekly. All children are also encouraged to join the local library and classes visit the local library to encourage a love of reading.
During the Autumn term we held a competition to continue to raise the profile of Spelling in school. The words that the children were tested on were the Common Exception Words. These are words that follow no specific pattern and simply need to be learnt. The children thoroughly enjoyed the competition and everyone was included.
To build upon the spelling abilities in school we will be holding a second Spelling Bee towards the end of the Spring term and the vocabulary that the children will be tested on for this competition will focus on Maths vocabulary.
Below are Maths vocabulary lists for year group. Further information will be sent in the coming weeks, along with the lists your child needs to focus upon.