The aim for English in the national curriculum is to promote high standards of language and literacy by equipping pupils with a strong command of the spoken and written word, and to develop their love of literature through widespread reading for enjoyment.
Our pedological approach to teaching this subject in the Robert Piggott CE Schools:
At Robert Piggott reading is at the heart of everything that we do. We recognise that learning to read is a fundamental part of a child’s education (as they need to read fluently and confidently in order to access the other areas of learning), but reading also has the capacity to engage, excite and open doors to new worlds of understanding! From the day the children walk through our doors we teach them the skills to enable them to read well but also aim to instil a love of reading and books. To do this we provide high quality texts, both fiction and non-fiction, cross curricular units of work, storytellers, authors, a Reading Corner in each classroom, a modern, beautiful library with book banded and free reading texts, and we celebrate World Book Day every year.
Most of our children’s reading journeys begin in EYFS. There, we focus on developing the children’s speaking and listening skills and developing their language and vocabulary through stories, rhymes, games, songs, role play, and the introduction of our ‘Favourite Books’. The children also begin Read, Write, Inc (RWI), a systematic and structured approach to English which covers phonics, reading, writing and spelling. It is taught in small, ability-level groups from across the school and enables children to learn at their own pace.
In KS1 this journey continues, until they complete the RWI programme. Then (generally) from year 2 – year 6 children learn within Whole Class Reading lessons. These are daily and use high quality, whole class texts and study a skill from VIPERS (Vocabulary, Inference, Prediction, Retrieval, and Summary). As they have already been taught the skills of decoding and demonstrated a level of fluency, children develop other strategies to become proficient readers, develop literary understanding and articulate their comprehension of a text.
Our overarching aim within writing is to promote high standards of language and literacy by equipping children with a strong command of the spoken and written word. Within their time at Robert Piggott children learn to write for a variety of purposes and audiences, and use both narrative and non-narrative forms. Activities such as book making, invitation writing, hypothesising, book reviews, and instruction writing offer a variety of genres to broaden and extend their writing experience. This is imperative in order for children to communicate and express themselves, to be prepared for writing tasks throughout their lives, have confidence in the sense, accuracy and clarity of their own writing and develop good transcription skills.
In EYFS and KS1 children follow the RWI programme, which begins by forming letters, spelling words, and then composing written ideas step-by-step. This systematic approach to fiction and non-fiction develops confidence within writing and trains children to approach different text types. Alongside RWI, we use Talk for Writing. This ensures our children’s creativity is nurtured, whilst also being taught how to write accurately and apply their handwriting, spelling, punctuation and grammar skills.
Within KS2 we also use Talk for Writing, which follows the ‘imitation, innovation, invention’ approach to writing. In addition, GPS (Grammar, Punctuation and Spelling) is also taught systematically as an integral part of our English lessons and writing across the curriculum.
Within both the Infant and Junior School, we foster an environment where children are enthusiastic about writing and flourish in a print rich, inspirational setting.
Speaking and Listening
As a school we believe that well developed Speaking and Listening skills are crucial to a child’s development. Strong Speaking and Listening skills will enable a child to receive a good education and allow them to function as a member of society.
Children are given plenty of opportunities to develop Speaking and Listening skills across the curriculum. Activities such as role play, drama, P4C lessons, PSHE discussions, RE talk activities, and debating all aim to develop a confidence and competence when speaking aloud. They present children with the opportunity to express themselves, explain and offer a point of view, listen intently to someone else and follow instructions successfully.
In addition, our whole-school approach to Talk Partners across all subjects is key to ensuring all children have an opportunity to express their ideas in lessons and respond appropriately to what they’ve heard. We strongly believe that talk is invaluable in moving learning forward, it enables children to explore their ideas before writing and encourages them to find language to communicate their thoughts. This can be seen within Talk for Writing specifically, as children learn to imitate and innovate ideas verbally, which helps them to identify areas for improvement.
At Robert Piggott children are encouraged to listen to what others say and respond appropriately to them. They learn to ‘nod along’ during RWI and are then coached in ‘active listening’ in KS2. This encourages them to show interest, ask specific questions about what someone is saying and build on someone else’s point.