1 Lydiate Primary School English Policy Introduction This policy outlines the practices followed in the teaching of English at Lydiate Primary School. This policy is intended to complement and fully implement the statutory requirements of the English National Curriculum and the National Framework for Literacy, whilst never forgetting the needs of our own children and the professionalism of our staff. Policy Statement English is the study and use of language and literature through speaking, listening, reading and writing. These four modes of language are interdependent and complementary. Children learn most effectively through their own first-hand experiences-it is through the sharing of these experiences and making them known to others that English skills are developed. English is central to the curriculum in the primary school and enables children to communicate effectively and appropriately. It contributes to the emotional, aesthetical and intellectual development of our children. It is vital that each child is taught to communicate to a variety of audiences in a variety of ways, which includes the use of Standard English where appropriate and to develop their knowledge about language across the curriculum. The Aims Of Teaching English To offer all children the opportunity to develop and reach their full potential in speaking, listening, reading and writing; To provide a range of teaching activities of English that are meaningful, using the four modes of language, and to develop each child s competence and confidence in using each of them; To foster opportunities for each child to find enjoyment and success in English; To provide a literate environment, recognising and building upon each child s existing knowledge and experience of language; To encourage the development of visual literacy; To encourage each child to understand and use appropriate language, including Standard English, for different purposes. Principles Of The Learning And Teaching Of English When teaching English we keep in mind what we are trying to achieve with and for our children. We aim to help children to:- speak, listen, read and write with confidence, fluency and understanding; be able to orchestrate a full range of reading cues (phonic, graphic, syntactic and contextual) to monitor their reading and correct their own mistakes; understand the sound and spelling system and use this to read and spell accurately; have fluent and legible handwriting, where letters are correctly formed;
2 have an interest in words and their meanings and a growing vocabulary; know, understand and be able to write in a range of genres and forms; understand, use and be able to write a range of non-fiction texts; plan, redraft and edit their own writing; have a suitable technical vocabulary through which to understand and discuss their speaking, listening, reading and writing; be interested in books and evaluate their preferences; develop their powers of imagination, invention and critical awareness, through reading, writing and experiences of drama. Progression In English Across The School In the Early Years, pupils are following the Foundation Stage, which includes the early learning goal, Communication, Language and Literacy. Elements of literacy are covered under this umbrella in focused activities and in continuous provision activities. There is a heavy emphasis on synthetic phonics, where we follow the scheme Letters and Sounds, as published by the Department for Education. During the FS and Key Stage 1 pupils learn to speak confidently and listen to what others have to say. They begin to read and write independently and with enthusiasm. They use language and explore their own experiences and imaginary worlds. Throughout the F.S. and Key Stage 1, children will be taught phonics through daily, discrete 20 minute sessions, which will be differentiated to the child s level. Throughout Key Stage One the children receive a daily 20 minute synthetic phonics session, based on the Letters and Sounds the children are assessed every term for their progress and if necessary the children will receive a boost in Year 2 to further improve their phonic skills. At the end of Year 1 children take the Year 1 Phonics Screening Test, as directed by the Department for Education. During Key Stage 2 pupils learn to change the way they speak and write to suit different situations, purposes and audiences. They read a range of texts and respond to different layers of meaning in them. They explore the use of language in literary and non-literary texts and learn how language works. Children in Year 3, if they have not completed the synthetic phonics syllabus, will continue with a daily 20 minute phonics lesson, until they have grasped all the necessary sounds.. An outline of each attainment target of the National Curriculum is given in the appendix at the back of this document. Planning From The National Curriculum Our teaching is based on the programmes of study for key stages 1 and 2 as set down in the National Framework for Literacy. The programmes of study inform our planning and help ensure progression and continuity. The attainment targets and end of key stage descriptions are used to monitor the progress of individuals. The objectives are used as the basis for our medium term plans. Each objective/s being used daily is written on our weekly short term planning sheet and using these objectives, the weekly
3 slots for shared reading/writing, sentence/word level, guided activities (reading/writing), independent work and the plenary are entered. After it has been completed, the lesson is evaluated, both in terms of the class as a whole and also noting children who have not achieved the objective or have excelled, so that future planning is well informed. Strategies For The Teaching Of The Literacy Framework The learning objectives and content of the lessons determines the teaching method used and the activities completed. The structure of the Literacy Framework is designed to provide continuity of teaching and learning throughout the school. It provides common practices and class routines for children and consistency in planning for teachers. However, we believe that the use of a flexible approach will derive the greatest benefit for our children and ensure a high standard of achievement. As a rule of thumb every lesson should involve all the elements of Word/ Sentence level work and textual work, which then leads into the independent/guided sessions. As a rule the independent/guided work comes out of one element of the first half hour s shared sessions and it makes more sense to have common sessions next to each other. The National Literacy Framework requires ability-based groups within a class, which is further necessitated by the mixed-age nature of some of our classes. Work is differentiated to take account of different ability levels within the class-this may take the form of differentiated tasks, stretching the most able through more challenging texts or providing word banks for the SEN pupils to support their writing, so that language skills can be accessed by all. The school has a number of resources which are aimed at different levels of ability - the Literacy co-ordinator is always available for advice. Teaching assistants are used to extend learning, for example through working with groups to examine texts or record in a specific way. Strategies For The Teaching Of Extended Writing The learning objectives and content of the lessons determines the teaching method used and the activities to be completed. A suggested lesson format might be: - Introduction- The teacher introduces a concept, which may include a stimulus (such as a text or photograph) or a discussion extending a theme already studied-it might also include a short video or the use of a child s text. It also involves the pointing out of the lesson s objective(s) and it might also follow on from objectives covered in the main Literacy lessons and the use of success criteria to show children what success actually looks like. Another good opener may be speaking for writing sessions to stimulate creative thought and ideas. Main Teaching Activity-this may involve the writing of a whole text, or an element of a text, such as the writing of a setting or the recording of ideas in bullet points. Usually the teacher chooses to work with a group (as in normal Literacy lessons) on guided writing to focus in on one area of the text - this is a recognition of the need to
4 teach at the point of composition, rather than relying on marking and correction to address any weaknesses that arise. The guided group may change each week. Plenary-this might involve a group sharing their progress with the class or the teacher extending the learning objective through further questioning to probe for misconceptions or extend knowledge. However, it usually revisits the learning objective and success criteria so that children can self-evaluate their progress. It may also be used for the setting/ explaining of homework. Assessment, Recording And Reporting Assessment is carried out in line with the school policy. This can be summarised as: - Each term or even half-term) a formal or informal assessment is carried out, levelled and attainment recorded. The work children do themselves serves as a record for classes working on a unit and provides evidence for Teacher Assessments. The Literacy Framework s objectives provide broad descriptions of achievement within each unit and help teachers to decide a child s progress. Each child s progress is recorded against the key objectives to track progress and enable teachers to identify children who need intervention strategies or independent education programmes. These are kept in the teacher s assessment or planning files. APP (Assessing Pupil Progress) - teachers choose a piece of work per term to level, which reflects their attainment that term of three representative children per year group(one average, one above average and one below average). The levelling is done to help support staff s knowledge of microlevels of attainment. The children are also levelled across a range of work and their micro-level recorded on the APP sheet. Staff are given time to do this in a staff meeting. Children are assessed every half-term and then they are tracked for attainment in reading and writing intervention strategies are then put in place where deemed necessary. Teachers make notes of any children, who are excelling or struggling in the evaluation columns of the short-term plans to inform future planning. Formal assessments are set as follows: i. Reception-Early Years Foundation Stage Profile ii. Year 1 reading test and Phonics Screening Test iii. Year 2-End of Key Stage 1 SATs iv. Years 3, 4 and 5-QCA assessments v. Year 6-End of Key Stage 2 SATs Attainment in the formal end-of-year tests is recorded on the office computer to allow for tracking and monitoring of each child s progress. They are also benchmarked against other similar schools and all schools nationwide to help us identify areas for celebration and development.
5 Opportunities to monitor progress occur during every lesson in marking, talking to pupils and watching their responses. The marking of work is in line with the school Marking Policytargets for improvement are noted in books, where applicable. Pupil progress is reported at every Parents Evening and in the end of year reports, by stating what a child can do and what they need to do next to improve. Intervention Strategies ELS,Year 3 intervention, Toe-by-Toe And Centra IDL In Year 1 children who are assessed as not achieving the expected levels of literacy at the end of Year 1 Term 1 of the NLS are given time in small groups with a trained adult to boost their skills. In Years 3 and 4 small groups of children, assessed as those just above Level 1 at the end of Key Stage 1, are given an extra boost in developing their reading and writing skills with an adult. Booster Classes/Easter School In Year 6 extra lessons in Literacy are given to boost borderline children as they approach their formal end of key stage tests. This takes both the form of extending the high achievers and those struggling to meet the levels expected for each age. Links With Other Subjects Most other subjects have a special link with Literacy, particularly in the non-fiction learning objectives in the text level work, but also in the use of language for formal writing in the sentence level work. We encourage pupils to practise skills such as spelling and reading for meaning, the writing of recounts and chronological reports, using technical vocabulary, formal and impersonal sentence formation and the passive voice as pupils cover such ideas in the Literacy Strategy. Writing frames and concept maps can also reinforce the structural elements of language. For English to be meaningful, the elements of the Literacy Strategy have to be practised in all other subjects where appropriate. Links With ICT Opportunities for the use of ICT, which will enhance the children s learning of English are indicated in the National Literacy Strategy. Some activities are:- juxtapositioning a text on the screen by cutting and pasting, presenting ideas using a word processing package and power point using specific CD Roms that extend knowledge of literature, creating databases of places, people or events, analysing presentation skills such as fonts, sizes and layouts reading texts. Pupils With Special Educational Needs In English Children who have learning difficulties in Literacy are brought to the attention of the SENDCO, who then coordinates the assessment (according to school policy) of the child s needs. This may then include an Independent
6 Education Plan, drawn up and reviewed termly by the class teacher. Further support may be needed and sought by the SENDCO (see SEN Policy). However, through the use of differentiated activities, most children s needs should be met through the usual teaching programmes. Homework Homework can provide opportunities for children to follow up class activities and complete tasks at home. All children are set at least 1 piece of English homework per week, although the length of time taken to complete that piece increases with age(see Homework Policy for approximate timings). Activities may include: - the gathering of sources of evidence; researching a topic at the library or on the computer; interviewing people; learning spellings; phonic work reading to parents or reading a text in preparation for a lesson; redrafting a piece of work creating a short project on a specific issue. Homework is rewarded through praise, stickers or certificates. Excellence In English Excellence in English is celebrated by: - the school reward system-this is underpinned by the abundance of verbal praise, earning team points, stickers and certificates, displaying good examples of work in the classroom and around the school, especially in communal areas, sending pupils to the Headteacher for praise and stickers, giving a weekly Merit Badge in the Monday morning assembly. A Statement On Equal Opportunities In English In society as a whole, gender and race lines are often reinforced in Literature. School language activities do not follow those barriers: on the contrary, the study of English seeks to dismantle them wherever possible. We also seek to reduce the differential in boys attainment compared to girls (this may be done through the careful choosing of some texts to appeal to boys and girls). The shared nature of some of the activities used in the Literacy Hour provides opportunities for working together across barriers and for celebrating the achievements of everyone. Wherever possible groups are mixed and a variety of group mixes can be positive. In the careful choosing of a variety of stimuli from different cultures, eras and genders, we recognise common human qualities and appreciate the cultural variety in society.
7 Resources Resources are kept in each class, although there is a library, where reading books, reference books and group text books are stored. Health And Safety In English In covering the programmes of study, it may be advisable to visit places. We: ensure the correct procedures are followed (see staff handbook), ensure correct insurance procedures are followed, ensure the correct level of supervision is provided (see the Educational Visits Policy for ratios)), give attention to possible hazards through pre-visits to sites. When using ICT, the Health And Safety section of the ICT Policy is referred to. Reviewing The Policy This policy is to be reviewed with the staff after three years. Policy adopted by the staff on February 3 rd Policy adopted by the Governing Body in April Appendix The Attainment Targets Of The National Curriculum Attainment Target 1 Speaking And Listening Speaking and listening are the principal means by which people communicate-in school it is our responsibility to develop the children s understanding of the spoken word and their ability to express themselves clearly, confidently and appropriately, for a range of audiences and in a variety of situations. Oracy is a basic life skill-it is a vehicle for learning and communicating, building relationships and developing social, linguistic and cognitive abilities. The nature of talk ranges from social to transactional. In order to develop their confidence and competence throughout this range, children need the sensitive, skilled and active support of their teacher. We devote time to listening to children talking, individually, in small groups and in whole class sessions. We respond to children s talk so that it is valued and, by carefully planned and managed intervention, extended. We provide learning contexts which provide genuine and demanding reasons for children to communicate, so that we facilitate the move from social talk to that of a transactional nature. We provide a stimulating environment which affords the opportunity to develop all the senses. We use drama to encourage the children to participate as speakers and listeners in group activities, to stimulate discussion and to improve self esteem We involve the children in decision-making via events, displays, presentations and assemblies.
8 We use positive discrimination in certain situations (e.g. reluctant speakers-girl/boy dominance). We take into account the children s attention span and are sensitive to the time, subject-matter and mood of the children. Attainment Target 2 Reading Our prime objective is to develop the child as an independent reader, who reads a range of material regularly for enjoyment. There is no single method or approach to the teaching of reading that will guarantee success with all children. We have no reading scheme, as such, though we have a large library of books, ranging from Wolf Hill to Oxford Reading Tree. We believe that it is vital that all children in the early stages of their reading development are taught phonics regularly. Children need a basic sight vocabulary, based initially on the key words from the new Literacy Framework and those used in the early reading books. Building on this we teach the child to develop the searchlight approach to tackling new words:- phonic knowledge grammatical knowledge word recognition and graphic knowledge knowledge of context All children are taught and encouraged to use all the methods listed above. Activities to develop reading build on the child s oral language and earlier experiences to give the process meaning and necessity. The written word can be found in conjunction with other media (drawing, photographs and videos). These have their own way of making sense, which the children have learnt before they came to school. They are reading visual texts and using visual cues and this should be encouraged and valued. We work closely with the nursery practitioners, who are introducing their children to Letters and Sounds (synthetic phonics) and ORT characters. We provide a print-rich environment, which promotes the reading development of all children, in order to enable children to appreciate the purpose of reading and its everyday use. This includes a reading corner/library in every class and other essentials are:- the labelling of trays, coat-pegs, materials used every day by the children and the use of written signs. the use of titles and questions on all displays. the display of maps, diagrams, captions and other varieties of print. the display of books changed on a regular basis. the teacher modelling reading for fun. The teacher reading to the class (regularly each week in KS1) a library, properly classified for children to search for books and use the preference-process. Displaying of children s own work where it can be read. Activities ensure that children have a regular diet of reading, either by themselves or by the teacher. Shared reading experiences are vital to the
9 development of a good attitude to the reading process. Texts composed and dictated by the children figure prominently among the books children enjoy. We believe that it is vital that each child is assessed in their reading regularly by reading to an adult, so that reading material is always appropriate and problems identified at an early stage. An annual standardised reading test will be introduced in 2006 so that children s progress can be tracked. Attainment Target 3 Writing We believe that reading and writing are inextricably linked. Therefore activities for both are linked and evolve from each other. Each of the searchlights taught in reading and listed above are also used in the teaching of writing and especially spelling. Children also need to be able to see that we write for an audience and therefore the written voice varies for that audience. It should also show the need for legible writing and appropriate organisational styles. When teaching writing, we do the following:- provide opportunities for independent writing at all ages (a writing corner includes different papers and writing media). model the writing process wherever possible, teaching children about sentence structure and how to create interesting sentences. show children that their efforts (especially their early attempts) are valued. encourage children to accept ownership for their writing and treat the writing process as a craft. encourage children to take risks-the use of practise pads for spelling and the developing of a personal style of handwriting (at Year 6) are encouraged. encourage children to use their oral language as a basis for their writing, but the need for using Standard English is also important in developing a sense of audience. provide opportunities for collaboration on writing tasks, so that children can learn skills from teachers and their peers and provide a structure for children who find writing difficult to promote their ideas. Teach children to develop a critical approach to writing as they get older, so that they learn to evaluate their own skills and develop them. provide rich and lively contexts for writing so that writing is not a chore, but becomes fun and necessary. Tips For Handwriting a. Correct letter formation is taught at all stages of the handwriting process. b. Teachers model the formation or joins to the children and do not just put up work to be copied on the board. c. Teachers adopt the school script wherever possible, especially in displays, marking and sometimes in the creation of recording sheets.
10 Tips For Spelling a. Spelling skills follow the searchlight skills used in reading and listed above. b. Good spelling is modelled at all times-especially in displays to support the development of graphic recognition. c. Spellings for a task can be given to the children before a task is undertaken to develop the children s vocabulary. d. Have-a-go spelling pads or whiteboards may be provided, so that children can practise their spelling. e. Using look, cover, spell, check to learn spellings f. Using visualisation g. Using own ideas to remember irregular spellings All children from Year 1 are given spellings to learn each week in the Reception Classes children will be given phonic sounds and words to learn each week.