English at St. Joseph's
English has a pre-eminent place in education and in society. A high-quality education in English will teach pupils to speak and write fluently so that they can communicate their ideas and emotions to others and through their reading and listening, others can communicate with them. Through reading in particular, pupils have a chance to develop culturally, emotionally, intellectually, socially and spiritually. Literature, especially, plays a key role in such development. Reading also enables pupils both to acquire knowledge and to build on what they already know.
English is taught daily following the Success for All (SFA) programme from Reception to Year Six. This scheme encompasses speaking and listening skills, phonics, reading, writing and is centred around high quality texts.
Children are placed in groups according to their reading ability and then learning is differentiated so that their writing skills can develop and grow. Each child across the school is in a group which is suited to them and this allows all learners to be successful – hence the name Success for All. The scheme is broken down into the following:
KinderCorner – (Reception)
This focuses on oral language development, phonemic awareness, phonics, alphabet knowledge and early reading. Lessons use a selection of age appropriate, high quality texts in a range of genres and incorporate drama and singing to help promote early literacy skills.
Roots (aimed at KS1)
Children use shared storybooks to develop their reading and comprehension skills and extend their vocabulary of ‘tricky’ and high frequency words. The specially selected texts provide the focus for creative writing tasks.
Wings (aimed at KS2)
This focusses on a wide range of literature including fiction, non-fiction, poetry and play scripts and continues to both support and challenge more competent readers. Vocabulary is extended and there are numerous opportunities for extended writing.
Groups are small and thus allow pupils to gain in confidence and access the very best teaching. Success for All encourages collaborative learning and this is a strength which can be seen throughout St. Joseph’s. Children learn together, help and encourage each other and have plenty of opportunity to reflect on their own learning and assess the learning of their team mates. Speaking and listening is therefore a huge focus. SfA also encourages the development of a rich and varied vocabulary.
Children write everyday and in KS2 children are given opportunities to draft their writing. This is then marked by the teacher and edited by the children using purple pens. This encourages the children to improve their learning following feedback and allows them to correct their own punctuation or spelling mistakes.
Spelling, punctuation and grammar forms part of each SfA session (each session lasts for 75 minutes). SPAG skills are also taught explicitly in additional lessons in Key Stage Two.
Through SFA, a synthetic approach to phonics is taught daily. It is systematic, intensive and age appropriate. In KinderCorner, children are taught sounds alongside picture cues, all with the help of Kinderoo the Kangaroo. In addition they are introduced to ‘green words’ (those that can be sounded out) and ‘red words’ (tricky words that they have to recognise). In Roots, the children’s knowledge of sounds and green and red words is further extended.
At the end of Year 1 children’s phonic knowledge is assessed using The National Phonics Screening Check. This is a short simple assessment which all schools must complete. This check allows teachers to identify the children who need extra help to improve their reading skills. These children will then retake the Check in Year 2.
Cursive script is taught throughout the school and staff have consistently high expectations of handwriting and presentation across all areas of learning. In addition, the updated writing guidance states that children should write in a joined and legible manner to obtain the expected standard in writing at the end of Years 2 and 6. Children are encouraged to achieve a pen license and this is available to all children regardless of key stage.
Learn pads are used to supplement learning. SfA uses Computing effectively to begin discussions, share learning via a visualiser and enrich topics.
We hold a themed book week/day every year promoting reading for enjoyment and reading to learn. Events are always well supported.