Here at Ainsdale St Johns, we are all readers, writers and accomplished linguists. We communicate in many forms because we understand that communicating and making meaning from language is the essence of human life. We embrace the challenges of reading and writing knowing that with determination we can ‘Grow, Develop and Achieve in all we do!’
Celebrating a rich and relevant curriculum, we work passionately to ensure that the essential skills of English can be applied in every subject we encounter. At the core of our inclusive English curriculum are our Christian values which direct our cognition and drive our desire to work collaboratively alongside one another creating, critiquing, reflecting and evaluating.
Through high quality teaching and inspiring activities we foster a rich and varied love of literature from the outset, using captivating characters and settings to celebrate the beauty of diverse worlds - both real and imaginary. Through carefully planned whole class and group discussion we aim to master our critical understanding of English and encourage all pupils to develop their own viewpoint about literature and learning.
Above all we celebrate the beauty of the English language and its fundamental place both in our curriculum and in our world.
The English curriculum is based on the National Curriculum Programmes of study and has been carefully designed to ensure progression and repetition in terms of embedding key learning, knowledge and skills in spoken language, reading and writing.
Throughout the day, children are given opportunities to develop their confidence and competence in spoken language and listening skills. Children are encouraged to explain their understanding of books and other reading, and to prepare their ideas before they write. They are assisted in making their thinking clear to themselves as well as to others.
Here at Ainsdale St. John's we follow the Read Write Inc. Phonics programme which teaches children to read accurately and fluently with good comprehension. They learn to form each letter, spell correctly and compose their ideas step by step. All staff have been trained to deliver the programme and children are taught in an ability group for an hour a day. Regular assessments ensure the children make rapid progress through the scheme. This approach is consistent – first children learn to read the 40+ sounds and blend these sounds into words, then learn to read the same sounds with alternative graphemes. Lively phonic books are closely matched to their increasing knowledge of phonics and ‘tricky’ words and as children re-read the stories, their fluency increases. Home reading books are linked to the books studied in school so children only read sounds/words they have been introduced to the school. Letter formation, handwriting and basic sentence formation is taught through the school.
Once children have progressed their way through the RWI phonics scheme and have mastered the code for the reading they can access the banded reading books housed in the well-resourced school library. Children work their way through the Big Cat Collins branded phonics based reading books. As the children progress through the bands, they are encouraged to read a range of literature and different genre types.
Reading skills are taught in twice weekly guided reading sessions. Teachers focus on teaching the features of different genres. Each text is purposefully selected to promote a love of reading and address some of the challenges the children will face at secondary school (eg non-linear narrative).
Reading is not only celebrated in classrooms at Ainsdale St. Johns- around school you will find displays which celebrate authors, children’s favourite books and a well-loved library which challenges readers by band as well as offering a range of material for independent choice. Throughout the school year the importance of reading is enhanced through Love4Reading Assemblies, World Book Day, National Poetry Day, Roald Dahl Day, parent reading workshops and a range of trips and visits which enrich children’s learning.
Early writing in Reception and Year 1 is linked to the RWI scheme. Children relearn what they want to say before spelling the words with the graphemes and ‘tricky’ words they are able to apply.
They practise handwriting every day, sitting at a table comfortably, they learn correct letter formation and how to join letters speedily and legibly. Children’s composition (ideas, vocabulary and grammar) is developed by drawing on their own experiences and talking about the stories they read.
Once children have mastered the code for writing, they learn how to write for different purposes and audiences.
As we believe consistency and well-taught English is the bedrock of a valuable education, at St Johns we ensure that the teaching of writing is purposeful, robust and shows clear progression for all children. In line with the national curriculum, we ensure that each year group is teaching the explicit grammar, punctuation and spelling objectives required for that age groups.
As well as teaching the objectives, teachers embed the skills through cross-curricular writing opportunities and ensure that most children are achieving the objectives at the expected level and that some children can write at a greater depth standard.
In order to expose children to a variety of genres which helps to utilise and embed the writing skills, teachers use a writing journey to plan, structure and teach their English lessons. This journey is designed to show progress, teach the pertinent year group objectives, apply and consolidate these skills, provide models of excellence and develop vocabulary. Writing is taught through the use of a quality text, which exposes the children to inference, high-level vocabulary, a range of punctuation and characterisation. WAGOLLs are used to consistently provide the children with What a Good One Looks Like.
We have consistently high expectations of handwriting and presentation across all areas of learning. Children can take pride in their learning and recognise the need to write carefully and clearly so their work can be celebrated by everyone.
Teachers use formative assessment in lessons and this informs their short term planning and helps them provide the best possible support for children.
Read Write Inc assessments occur each half term. From Y3 onwards we assess the children twice a year in November and June using the NFER Reading tests which provide as standardised score and aged standardised scores thereby allowing staff to track progress over time.
All year groups use the same format for assessing writing which have been produced in line with the end of Key Stage assessment frameworks as published by the Department for Education. Summative assessments are made at the end of each term.
Monitoring in English includes: book scrutinies, learning walks, pupil and staff voice. Information gathered is used to gain an accurate understanding of the quality of education.