English Curriculum Overview
The teaching of English at Hadrian is designed to instil in children a love of speaking and listening, reading and writing that will last them a lifetime. The ability to communicate is one of the most fundamental skills that a child can learn. Although communication may appear to be a natural development, if a child is to be able to engage fully with the curriculum, and to achieve the higher levels of written and spoken communication expected in the world today, they have to have these skills carefully nurtured. Hadrian Primary School aims to ensure that all of our children are given the learning opportunities to achieve their full potential in all areas of English. We believe that the development of language skills in our pupils is critical to their future and to their ability to be happy and successful. We are committed to ensuring that pupils learn to enjoy reading, writing and speaking, to appreciate the world of books, and to feel pleasure in writing creatively. Giving pupils the key skills in English enables them to access material in all curriculum areas, and provides a foundation for their learning throughout their school career.
To achieve this, teachers are focussed on making English interesting and exciting, engaging the pupils with the joy and wonder of books and piquing their imagination and creativity. At Hadrian we view the teaching of English as a fundamental part of the holistic development of the pupil, fostering positive behaviours and attitudes toward learning, and providing key knowledge and skills, to benefit pupils throughout their education and beyond. The development of reading in pupils is carefully planned through the teaching of phonics, details of which are provided below. This programme is structured in line with the latest research to ensure that each pupil is guided through the process to maximise their progress. The curriculum has been designed to provide pupils with opportunities to write in a wide variety of contexts and with a range of outcomes. Central to all of our work with English is the belief the pupils should enjoy the experience - not only does this maximise the engagement of pupils, but also underlines the fact that reading, writing, speaking and listening should be pleasurable activities, matching our intention that our school should foster a love for English.
At Hadrian Primary School we develop children’s abilities to listen, speak, read and write for a wide range of purposes. Children learn to use language to communicate ideas, views and feelings. This enables children to express themselves creatively and imaginatively both verbally and through the written word. We aim to share with children the joy of reading and to help them to become enthusiastic and critical readers of stories, poetry and drama, as well as non-fiction and media texts. We are proud to have been awarded the Basic Skills Quality Mark. The revised English National Curriculum is followed. Our pupils leave with highly developed communication skills, skills which they take with them into secondary education and beyond. We measure our success not only though pupils' attainment but also through their engagement with, and enthusiasm for, the many English opportunities we provide them with.
Reading and Phonics
At Hadrian it is our aim to provide children with the skills necessary to be able to read confidently, able to access information throughout the curriculum and above all, to get pleasure from reading. We believe that children should be able to read a wide variety of texts and enjoy doing so.
Children are given daily opportunities to develop their reading skills. In Nursery, pupils begin to develop their listening skills and to discriminate between sounds, recognising rhythm, rhyme and alliteration. They develop oral blending and segmenting of sounds in words. In Reception and Year 1, children learn to read using a synthetic phonics program, in which they learn that individual sounds are represented by letters, or combinations of up to four letters. Children learn that sounds may be spelled in more than one way, and that many spellings may represent more than one sound. They then develop the skills of blending, segmenting and manipulating sounds to read and spell words correctly. This is carried out daily in Reception and Year 1 and is supported by Polly Phonics facilitated by South Shields FC. In Year 2 the synthetic phonics approach is continued and the rules and concepts of spelling are introduced. Pupils who require further support in phonics in KS2 continue with dedicated synthetic phonics sessions. Once children master accurate decoding, a greater emphasis is placed on comprehension. Through reading independently, guided, shared and paired reading children learn to read with confidence, fluency and understanding. Reading takes place with a variety of adults, peers and mixed age groups. Younger children are paired with a reading buddy, an older pupil who listens to them read. Home/school reading partnerships support every child to become an independent reader. Oxford Reading Buddy, Bug Club and Reading Plus are accessed at home and school. At Hadrian Primary School we encourage a love of Reading through a well-resourced library, special events, themed days, author visits, book fairs, clubs and a very strong partnership with The Word in South Shields. DEAR time (drop everything and read) engages the children with reading at the end of each day.
We celebrate National Poetry Day with a school Poetry Slam. 2020's World Book Day theme of "Star Books" was enjoyed by the children. Author visits by Kate Pankhurst and Sam Davies McGill were successful in inspiring our pupils.
At Hadrian children learn to read fluently and effectively. They learn to appreciate the joy and wonder of reading, fiction and non-fiction. This is a lifelong skill which will make them secondary ready, and which they will take further into their adult lives.
The ability to communicate effectively through writing is a skill we at Hadrian believe is critical to children's futures. We aim to ensure that the children learn to write clearly, with neat and legible handwriting, to spell and punctuate accurately and to write in grammatically correct sentences. Further, we focus on the need to be able to use appropriate writing styles in context, and to structure extended pieces of writing to achieve maximum impact.
As children enter the Foundation Stage there are writing opportunities in all areas of learning. In KS1 and 2 transcription (spelling and handwriting) and composition (articulating ideas and structuring them in speech and writing) form the basis for what is taught. Children apply the skills they have been taught in all areas of the curriculum. Children are taught how to plan, revise and evaluate their writing. Writing takes place in many forms - word and sentence level activities, independent, modelled, shared and paired - and requires an awareness of audience, purpose and context. IPADs and technology are used to engage pupils and give a purpose to their writing. Song lyrics and film clips are used as a stimulus for pupils' writing.
Our youngest children are enjoying making their own helicopter stories. On World Book Day children enjoyed writing book reviews.
Through the teaching of writing at Hadrian our pupils develop the skills to effectively communicate and express themselves with the written word. They are well-prepared to move into secondary school and to further develop their skills to tackle more challenging tasks. They have a well-developed attention to detail for handwriting, spelling and grammar, and are confident writers.
Through synthetic phonics children are taught the different ways of spelling sounds and then apply their growing knowledge to write words, captions and sentences. Alongside decodable words, the reading and spelling of common exception/tricky words (those which can't be sounded out) are taught. Spelling rules and strategies are introduced in Year 2 to help the children to spell accurately. We encourage children to explore words and think about the origins and connections between words. Wordlists for Years 3&4 and Years 5&6 are taught and contain a mixture of frequently used words as well as those that children often misspell. We aim to embed spelling opportunities in all areas of the curriculum.
The Letter Join scheme is followed. In the Foundation Stage children develop many pre-writing skills. Correct letter formation is taught in a variety of enjoyable ways. As they become able, children begin to write letters using a variety of materials. Children are taught how to hold their pencil correctly. Children learn to regulate the size of letters which leads to neatly presented work. They are taught to join letters which leads to fluent, legible and speedy writing. Children are working very hard to obtain their "Pen Licences".
Vocabulary, grammar and punctuation
Through talk, reading and topic work, children's vocabulary is developed. Children are taught grammatical concepts and then encouraged to apply and identify these in the written and spoken word. Specific punctuation and grammatical terminology is taught in each year group.
Speaking and Listening
The ability to clearly express oneself through the spoken word with clarity, and to listen carefully to others, is an essential skill throughout a child's education and beyond in the wider world. Hadrian Primary School believes that these are key skills for pupils to learn, and that they must be explicitly developed in children if they are to achieve the highest levels of communication.
Speaking and listening are not taught as discrete subjects, but are embedded in all aspects of school life, across all areas of the curriculum and are part of everything we do. Pupils are provided with many and varied contexts for talk enabling them to communicate confidently and effectively. In some classes a take home bear provides children with a context in which to talk about events and experiences. The School's Christmas productions in all Key Stages develop children's language, speaking and listening and drama skills and gives them the opportunity to perform to an audience.
The pupils at Hadrian develop a confidence in speaking and listening which allows them to communicate with others effectively. They learn to express their ideas verbally, to discuss and debate issues with others, listening and responding to alternative views. They learn that their choice of language and sentence structure must be varied to reflect the purpose and audience of their conversation. These skills are invaluable to the children in the modern world.
We were very fortunate to spend a whole day working with Tony. Children from nursery to year six had personalised workshops. "Hadrian Primary is one of those schools where you are made to feel welcome from the instant you walk in and the level of concentration, participation and cooperation from the staff and pupils is exemplary. My visit was made all the more enjoyable with the warm enthusiastic response from all of the classes I received. Well done!" - Tony Wilson (Storyteller)
You can find out more about Tony on his website.
Reading for pleasure- useful websites on children’s books to help promote a love of reading.