English Curriculum Statement
At Carnagill School, our curriculum is built around the attitudes and values of independence, curiosity, aspiration, commitment, kindness and pride. Our school motto of ‘Inspiring Bright Futures Together’ demonstrates our commitment to developing the whole child so that they can succeed in life. Mental health and well-being is a key driver in restoring our school community after the disruption of the pandemic.
At Carnagill School, the curriculum we offer is based around the four key principles of:
We underpin all of this with:
Carnagill Primary School is a new school and has moved forward and redefined itself under the leadership of the new Headteacher. Since being judged as inadequate in June 2018, rapid improvements have been made in English to ensure children have the basic literacy skills they require for life and the ability to communicate effectively, both orally and in writing. The new vision and values feed into all aspects of school life and curriculum.
Within our unique school community, children’s experiences can be very varied. Many of our pupils from military families may have experienced multiple mid-year moves, which often result in significant gaps in the teaching of reading and writing, due to different aspects of the curriculum being taught at different times and particularly different approaches to early reading (phonics) in different schools. Any negative parental experiences of learning to read and write can also impact on children’s attitudes to the subject and their pre-school experiences. Many children arrive in EYFS lacking the vocabulary for their age and lacking the rich experiences of nursery thymes and story sharing. A key priority is to develop this basic vocabulary and expose them to a story-rich rich environment, which enables and supports their purposeful and imaginative play.
Engaging parents, particularly in supporting reading, is another key priority. Not only to ensure that pupils can practice and embed their phonics, but to develop a positive attitude to books through sharing stories and books, often beyond what they can read themselves.
The ongoing impact of the pandemic is being seen across school, from our EYFS who are finding it challenging to adjust to school after so much time at home, to our older pupils who not only have gaps in their learning, but are really struggling with mental health, self-esteem and resilience. During the pandemic, staff worked hard to support children to continue to progress in phonics, reading and writing; class story times and video recordings were popular across all ages. However, it was difficult for pupils to learn new skills without direct instruction and limited numbers engaged in extended writing tasks, resulting in learning losses particularly around the stamina for reading and writing, and punctuation skills. Our road to recovery has to be sharp in focus, nurturing in approach and overly engaging in order to ensure our pupils regain what they have lost.
At Carnagill, we wish to create life-long learners through a curriculum which is accessible to all and that will maximise the outcomes for every child. We believe that English underpins almost every area of the wider curriculum; enabling our pupils to access the knowledge they need and give the ability to communicate this effectively. Because of this, we have designed a text-led curriculum, where high-quality engaging texts open the door to other times, cultures and experiences, which are often limited due to the often-insular nature of military life. We seek to overcome these barriers and support children to develop writing as the means through which to express their voice.
Intent for English:
We want children to:
- Develop independence in their speaking and writing, making choices about their vocabulary, form and style according to their chosen purpose and audience, and to create the effect they want; to become independent in their reading – decoding and blending until they can read whatever they chose; able to select reading material that excites them or provides the information they seek.
- Demonstrate pride in their learning in English, through consistent and careful presentation– excited to share their skills and products whether in writing or orally;
- Be curious about what they hear and read – a starting point for the development of knowledge and the application of skills;
- To show commitment to their learning and build resilience and stamina; able to persevere, whether through a challenging text or an extended piece of writing;
- Demonstrate kindness when discussing and sharing ideas, building on the work of others and challenging sensitively when in opposition. Be kind when giving feedback to peers, providing support and challenge to a partner or group, helping everyone succeed.
- Take inspiration from their reading and aspire: to see new places, meet new people, create new worlds, do good and great things – anything and everything they can imagine.
Speaking and Listening
We want our pupils to be confident speakers, able to express their thoughts, ideas and opinions effectively, taking account of their audience. They should learn to listen effectively, able to take in information from what they hear and respond appropriately. They should be able to use Standard English when it is required and recognise when it is appropriate to use less formal vocabulary. We want our pupils to be expressive in their speech, able to use their tone and body language or facial expression to add meaning – whether taking on a role in a performance, reciting a poem or delivering a speech. At Carnagill, effective speaking is also seen as the gateway to writing. Through oral rehearsal, high-quality vocabulary and sentence structure is developed and refined, impacting on their other English skills.
Key features of our implementation are as follows:
– Speaking and Listening will be explicitly planned and taught in order to ensure effective development of the required skills;
– Opportunities for performing poetry and plays, making presentations and speeches are included in long-term plans.
– Talk is planned for across other curriculum areas as a tool for oral rehearsal, exploring and investigating, sharing of viewpoints, and the presentation of work.
– Understanding of different types of talk, audiences and how this should affect how we speak are reinforced throughout the curriculum.
– Through the use of sentence stems, high –quality talk is modelled and high expectations ensure children use these models to structure their own talk;
– Accurate grammar and appropriate vocabulary modelled by all adults in school.
– Promotion of rich language is essential and its use and its understanding is prioritised across the curriculum;
– New vocabulary is collected and defined early in topics and is revisited regularly to embed. Evidence of this is seen in books and on working walls and children are expected to use this accurately both in their speech and writing.
– Speak accurately and expressively for a variety of purposes;
– Listen effectively to peers, adults and recordings and be able to retrieve and retain key knowledge from what they hear;
– Confidently share their thoughts and views, giving justification to back them up;
– Respectfully engage in group discussion, able to challenge the views of others in a mature and courteous manner;
– Know how to modify their vocabulary, voice and sentence structure to suit their audience;
– Recite and perform confidently in front of audiences.
We want our pupils to develop a love of books from an early age. By sharing stories, poems and rhymes, pupils learn to join in, to recall and to retell in their own words or actions. They talk about books they enjoy, authors they know and make links between books, stories and their own lives.
Children develop into readers themselves, accessing words through synthetic phonics and reading books appropriate to their phonic development, while enjoying more challenging texts through shared reading. As fluency develops, they read with pace and expression, sustaining their reading and their interest in longer, more complex texts, becoming curious about words, their meanings and how they are used.
They become familiar with characters, settings and the language of story-telling and poetry, taking on the role of characters and making inferences about emotions and behaviour. Through analysis of language, children learn to appreciate the beauty of the written word and recognise the impact and effect a phrase or image creates in them as a reader.
They access non-fiction confidently, retrieving relevant information, summarising and assessing its reliability as a source, to support their learning in other curriculum areas.
Key features of our implementation are as follows:
– High profile of reading and books throughout school. High quality texts act as drivers for topics across the curriculum and all other curriculum planning (including continuous provision in KS1) ‘hangs’ off the English text;
– Rigorous teaching of phonics in EY and KS1 using Read Write Inc, as well as for individuals throughout school, secure synthetic phonics as the prime approach to decoding;
– Comprehension skills are fully embedded into the teaching of English/RWI, ensuring knowledge is connected and relevant to our pupils;
– Building the desire to read for pleasure, through shared class reading, engaging reading style by adults and access to a range of high quality reading material;
– Exposure to a wide range of vocabulary, including strategies for using context to work out unfamiliar words;
– Making predictions and connections; summarising what they read independently and what is read to them;
– How to make inferences and justify those with evidence from the text;
– Identifying themes and conventions, genres and authors, and how to choose books that interest them and share those choices with peers.
– Demonstrate a love of books and reading, and be able to talk about the part reading plays in their life;
– Talk confidently about the books they enjoy, why they enjoy them and make regular recommendations
– Read fluently and confidently with expression;
– Have a range of strategies to tackle unfamiliar words, both the decoding and definition;
– Enjoy learning new words and retain that new knowledge;
– Be able to analyse texts effectively, making comments about the plot and characters, as well as their genre, structure and language;
– Comment on the author, the language or technique they have used and the impact it had on them (or could have on another reader).
Children should learn to write so that they can be easily understood – forming letters effectively and efficiently in a neat, joined writing style; as well as having accurate spelling knowledge backed up by secure synthetic phonics.
They should write with purpose, giving meaning to even early writing; learning to manipulate the form to suit their audience and have the vocabulary to convey their meaning. They should develop the grammar and punctuation knowledge to facilitate this.
Finally, and most importantly, they should become authors – able to make choices about vocabulary, sentences, ways of presenting – consciously making those choices that will affect how their reader responds to their writing. In the words of one pupil, “we should write to inspire others to read it.”
Key features of our implementation are as follows:
– Quality of writing is a key focus across school and is displayed and celebrated;
– High-quality texts form the focus of all teaching in English in KS2, providing context and purpose to their writing as well as providing a scaffold from which to hang other knowledge (The Literary Curriculum);
– Key and text specific vocabulary is identified, discussed and displayed; its use is modelled in shared writing and children are encouraged to use it in their independent writing.
– Grammar, punctuation and vocabulary teaching is fully embedded in the teaching cycle for English;
– Writing is a focus across the wider curriculum, providing opportunity for the application of skills learned – with the same high standards – and time for this is given in the timetable
– Spelling and handwriting are taught discretely (or as part of RWI) and expectations in these basic skills are high and consistent throughout the curriculum areas.
– Be keen writers, showing pleasure and pride in their writing;
– Talk confidently about their writing, commenting on what they wrote, why they wrote it and how they did it;
– Use accurate grammar and spelling, and neat handwriting (appropriate to their age and stage) so that work can be easily read and understood;
– View writing as a method of communicating with the world around them.