Learning to read, write and communicate effectively are the most important things children will learn at primary school. At HNPS we will have the highest expectations for all pupils.
English will be taught through whole-class English lessons, small group work and individual work with an adult. Our curriculum will be built around studying great stories and literature ranging from fairy tales and poems in Phase 1 to great contemporary and classic novels in Phase 3.
The National Curriculum Expert Panel’s report states that “there is a compelling body of evidence that highlights a connection between oral development, cognitive development and educational attainment. We are strongly of the view that the development of oral language should be a particular feature of the new National Curriculum”.
Oracy will have a central place in our curriculum, reflecting the vital importance of spoken language in our pupils’ development. Children will be supported and challenged to speak in Standard English at all times whilst at school. Adults will be expected to model effective speech when interacting with the children. There will be opportunities for children to talk right across the curriculum as this is an important way in which pupils develop their vocabulary and secure a deeper knowledge of a subject. In addition to regular opportunities to make formal presentations and participate in debates, pupils will be challenged to elaborate and explain clearly their understanding and use language to explore ideas in lesson time.
The teaching of reading, both the technical aspects of decoding language and developing the ability to understand complicated texts will be one of the most important aspects of school life here at HNPS. It is vital that every child learns to be a competent, confident reader if they are to access the wider curriculum and ultimately achieve well in later life. We hope that through inspirational English teaching and a school culture that values reading, we can help every child develop a love of books and become a lifelong reader.
Our reading provision will be based on the principles of the Simple View of Reading, a key element of the 2014 National Curriculum. From our Reception class, all children will take part in daily synthetic phonics lessons based on the framework set out in Letter and Sounds. In addition, daily small group-guided reading sessions using phonically decodable texts (in groups of up to five with a teacher) will give children the opportunity to practice their developing decoding skills using real books. For children who find learning these skills difficult, there will be extensive support and a rigorous catch-up programme. It is our intention that by Year 1 every child will be ready to achieve highly in the national phonics check.
Alongside word-reading, we will support children to develop strong comprehension skills through whole-class teaching, guided reading and listening to and discussing books and stories.
Small group-guided reading groups will be a key tool for teaching the comprehension strand of reading. Groups will be organised by attainment, but remain flexible enough for pupils to move between groups. On occasions pupils will work in slightly mismatched groups so they have the opportunity to work with stronger readers as role models. There will be a different focus for different groups, with some continuing to read as a group and focus on the mechanics of reading, whereas some groups will function more as a literature circle with pupils reading the texts individually at home, leaving a greater time for discussion and teaching of higher level concepts.
From Reception to Year 6, our English curriculum will be based on the study of high-quality literature. For younger children this will include modern and contemporary picture books, short chapter books, fairy tales and poetry. Planning for whole-class English lessons will be based on texts, with units lasting between one and six weeks. As children move through the school they will have the opportunity to study some great works of literature. By the time they leave us, our children will have studied Dickens, Shakespeare, Larkin, Hughes, Wilde and other important writers. At HNPS, we feel learning to appreciate our rich and varied literary heritage can play a key role in helping pupils develop culturally, emotionally, spiritually and socially, as well as learning to read easily, fluently and with good understanding.
Teachers from Reception to Year 6 will read to their classes each day, sharing good quality literature with them. This will help our pupils to develop their vocabulary as well as introducing them to unfamiliar ideas and concepts. It also gives pupils the opportunity to tackle longer or more challenging texts than they would be able to do alone.
In addition to teaching children to read, we will do everything we can to ensure every child wants to read. By creating an environment where reading is valued and championed, we can support children to develop a love of books. In addition to the positive effect this can have on children’s academic attainment, we hope it will help our children to become life-long readers.
All pupils who attend HNPS will leave us able to write clearly, accurately and coherently, with the ability to adapt their language and style to a range of contexts, purposes and audiences. Expectations with regard to handwriting and presentation will be high.
Writing will be taught through the same text-based units of work as reading and will be based on the demands of the 2014 National Curriculum:
Transcription- Grammar, punctuation, spelling and handwriting will be well-represented in the HNPS English curriculum. Learning to employ these elements gives children control over their writing, making it easier for them to communicate their meaning clearly.
The teaching of specific language features will be through direct instruction from teachers, but will be embedded as part of the writing process rather than simply as discrete activities. Teachers will be expected to teach children the meta-language of grammar and punctuation in line with the requirements of the 2014 National Curriculum.
A school-wide scheme for spelling will stretch from Reception to Year 6 and will be based on phoneme patterns and common exception words in the early part of the school. At the top of the school spellings will be closely linked to the development of children’s vocabulary and will use subject specific language, morphology and etymology to organise word lists.
Composition- At HNPS we will teach children to become confident writers through following a clear writing process:-
- Drafting and Writing
- Evaluating and Editing
- Reading Aloud and Sharing
By teaching children to do all of these things rather than simply ‘doing some writing’, we will teach children to be craftsmen, shaping their words to match their intended purpose and audience. This process of planning-writing-improving-sharing will run through every key stage and year group, from a child saying aloud the sentence they’re going to write in Year 1, to a Year 6 student proof-reading their answer in his final examination.
Naturally, the emphasis given to each of these stages will depend on the purpose of the writing and the expected outcome. Writing notes ready for a discussion in class might not need much in the way of planning, but they will certainly benefit from being evaluated and proofread before they are used. A piece of non-fiction writing might be planned carefully, ensuring that the key information is organised and appropriate vocabulary is employed. A story might follow all the stages, even if the final outcome is very different from the initial plan. By explicitly teaching children how to go about each of these stages, we will be teaching them to hone a piece of writing until it communicates exactly what they want it to say.
Music and English
The music curriculum will support the teaching of English at Hackney New Primary School. Music will be taught using the same process with children first being taught to sing fluently before learning to decode musical symbols. Staff notation will be explored further in Key Stage when children will write their own music. Music sessions will help children to present and articulate themselves through the preparation and presentation of performances.
HNPS is committed to ongoing professional development for teachers so that they may always strive to teach English in the most effective way possible.
We will share expertise across our staff and draw on expert training from phonics specialists, English consultants as well as accessing centralised training from the CLPE (Centre for Literacy in Primary Education) and teaching schools.