Our English Curriculum
‘Academic Excellence and Intellectual Curiosity for All’
We believe that a high quality English curriculum should develop children’s love of reading, writing and discussion. English has a pre-eminent place in education and society and a high-quality English education will ensure the development of fluency in all areas of English; speaking, listening, reading and writing. This is especially important due to the needs of our children, whom have different literacy experiences. We recognise the importance of nurturing a culture where children are excited to capture their ideas in the written form and take pride in their writing, can clearly and accurately, articulate and adapt their language and style for a range of contexts and genres. We want to inspire children to be confident in the art of speaking and listening and to be able to use discussion to communicate and further their learning. We believe that children need to develop a secure knowledge-base in English, which follows a clear pathway of progression as they progress through the primary curriculum. We believe that a secure foundation in literacy skills is crucial to a high quality education and will give our children the tools they need to participate fully as a member of society.
Our whole school approach to teaching English is for all staff to create a love of writing and a culture of speaking and listening within their classrooms alongside teaching the necessary skills and knowledge for children to become proficient and confident writers. Our English curriculum is mapped in detail to ensure the consistency of content and teaching approaches; as well as setting clear expectations for each year group. Clear documentation provides staff with an overview of core texts, genres, language features and skill and enables them to confidently understand the continual development and knowledge progression for each area of the curriculum from mark making in the EYFS through to extended writing in Upper Key stage 2.
We believe that reading and writing is intrinsically entwined. Through our reading curriculum, we focus on using high quality texts to provide exposure to a wide range of literature which develops children’s understanding of narrative, language and knowledge of the wider world; this enables them to apply this understanding to their own writing. Wherever possible, children should be given the opportunity to write based on their real-life experiences, as this will ensure they have the schema to support high quality writing.
Children will be taught to apply their writing skills across all curriculum subjects and themes, which have been carefully developed around quality, challenging and diverse texts. We strongly believe in a core book approach and feel that we are able to meet the needs of our pupils and Talk for Writing. All writing in class will be modelled by the teacher. This provides children context and understanding of the task in hand. At HNPS, we believe that children should be given all the tools necessary to create high quality work. We achieve this by ensuring that children build their understanding of the relationship between reading and writing; and their ability to become confident storytellers and writers.
Our curriculum allows for opportunities to build upon key learning to consolidate skills. We follow a core book approach, it provides a language rich environment which we desire our pupils to adopt and use. Talk for Writing is used to support the teaching of the diverse core text, with approaches weaved throughout to allow for in depth understanding of a text and planned opportunities are utilised. This can range from debates to role plays. Each class will focus on one particular text each term. Guidance has been produced so specific texts are covered each term to ensure we reflect the realities and lived experiences of our children, whether that be; ethnicity, beliefs or orientation.
High quality phonics teaching (RWI) is used across the school, particularly in EYFS and KS1 to ensure the underpinning foundations that the letters on the page represent the sounds in spoken words. High quality phonic work is our prime approach to teaching early writing; we have developed a highly skilled team of practitioners that ensure all children meet their full potential for phonic knowledge and early mark making skills. This approach has led to well above national outcomes in phonics. We ensure that phonic work is a continued part of our approach throughout the key stages, particularly for those who need further consolidation of their phonetic knowledge to support their spelling.
Components of teaching English
English based subjects feature as a large part of each year group’s timetable ensuring sufficient weekly coverage of the following areas:
There is a separate Reading Curriculum Statement which outlines the curriculum intent and how teaching and learning is implemented across the school, through shared reading, independent reading, book borrowing and reading sessions. Please check our reading page for full details.
We follow our own handwriting curriculum which ensures progression of skills across the school from EYFS to Year 6. In EYFS the focus is on mastering pre-writing skills and developing secure fine motor skills before progressing onto letter formations. It is important that throughout displays and adults writing we are also modelling the correct handwriting. The children have opportunities to practise their handwriting and are supported to do so throughout all curriculum lessons
Phonics & Spellings
We are a Read Write Inc school. Read Write Inc (RWI) is a systematic synthetic phonics programme which helps all children learn to read fluently and at speed so they can focus on developing their skills in comprehension, vocabulary and spelling. Please check our phonics page for full details.
Children in Years 3-6 engage in daily spelling lessons which focus on the teaching of spelling conventions, common exception words and morphological knowledge through a recap, teach, practise, apply, assess cycle.
Grammar and punctuation: Grammar and punctuation is taught in context through the studying of specific features in core texts, this is built upon with short, discrete grammar activities during English lessons to ensure children’s ability to recall grammar and punctuation knowledge.
English: Daily English lessons provide children with an opportunity to apply the skills they have learned across the English curriculum as described above. English lessons are based on the study and enjoyment of high-quality diverse texts and follow a three phase structure: text immersion, innovation and independent application. All writing based lessons should follow the review-practise-teach-apply four part lesson structure to ensure attainment and progress and should also employ the I do, We do, You do strategy to ensure an effective transition from modelled writing to independent learning.
We understand that children have missed opportunities of learning because of the COVID pandemic and the resulting distance and blended learning models that were used in the previous school years. Our current teaching model ensures that any missed opportunities are addressed before teaching new concepts and topics. This pre-teaching approach ensures that children are able to access the new learning and build upon their knowledge and skills.
Aspects of the English curriculum are embedded in learning for our most complex learners, to ensure that all children have access to a broad and balanced curriculum. Themes are planned throughout the year that allow for reading, writing , speaking and listening skills and knowledge to be embedded and built upon. Children with high levels of need have a broad curriculum offer, linking into National Curriculum themes, but with their learning scaffolded to meet their needs, ensuring they are also making good progress from their initial starting points.
Music and English
As music is a core subject, our music curriculum supports the teaching of English at Hackney New Primary School. Music is taught using the same process, with children first being taught to sing fluently before learning to decode musical symbols. Children also learn to read music notation in Key Stage 2 where children will write their own music. There is a close link with music and poetry teaching across all year groups. Children learn a range of poems and songs and develop the skills and knowledge need to compose their own. Music lessons enable children to confidently perform, present and articulate themselves through a range of poems, songs and musical arrangements performed as live concerts and performances.
At HNPS, we want to instil a love of reading and writing by creating a community of enthusiastic readers and writers, who enjoy showcasing their developing writing knowledge and skills. By choosing high quality texts to engage, our pupils will be confident to take risks in their learning and are confident speakers. This is noticeable in the high quality of work the children produce and evident in the children’s ability to discuss topics, interest and debate. . Our pupils will be confident in writing for a purpose and apply that in other areas of their curriculum. Progress will be visible in other curriculum areas and will clearly demonstrate a love of writing. By using our progression in taught skills over the course of the primary years, we will be ensuring that our pupils have the skills they need to progress in secondary school and into their future.
Grammar and Punctuation Progression
Speaking and Listening Progression
Writing Knowledge Progression