The teaching of English aims to enable children to express themselves in creative and imaginative ways.
English at Pear Tree Mead is a vital part of school life and our curriculum as a whole.
The main intention for English is to create a lifelong enjoyment of literacy through an active, creative and cross-curricular approach.
We also intend for each child to:
- read easily, fluently and with good understanding
- read a range of text types and to read often, for both pleasure and for finding out new information
- choose books that they want to read and be able to recommend these books to other children
- develop their own imagination and be creative with it
- continually add to their growing knowledge and understanding of words and the power they can have
- write clearly and confidently, for a range of different purposes and audiences, including writing about what is important to them
- understand spelling rules and patterns and be able to apply these to all their work
- use grammar and punctuation effectively
- produce well-presented written work that they are proud of
- use speaking and listening to explore new language
- express their own opinions
- challenge themselves and constantly strive for more
The Teaching of English
The National Curriculum 2014 forms the basis of teaching and learning.
The subject is taught across the school using a cross-curricular approach, lessons teach text, word and sentence level work, speaking and listening, and focus upon different genres.
We ensure pupils enjoy their work by choosing texts that are lively, interesting and that are cross-curricula. We use wordsmith which supports the daily English sessions, giving a fantastic range of resources for effective, dynamic lessons. It brings together everything needed to plan, allocate and assess all in one place.
The staff at Pear Tree Mead aim to enrich the children’s learning and we play interactive games to develop basic skills. The introduction of the new curriculum has enabled the cross-curricular learning to become more focused through the range of opportunities that the children have to read and write.
Teachers work towards independent learning and plan for different working groups. Clear objectives are set for each session and are shared with pupils.
Speaking and Listening
At Pear Tree Mead we believe that the quality and variety of language that a child is exposed to underpins the development of reading and writing. Therefore we ensure that pupils have access to a wide range of speaking and listening opportunities that include:
- Talking about their own experiences, recounting events
- Participating in discussion and debate
- Retelling stories and poems
- Expressing opinions and justifying ideas
- Listening to stories read aloud
- Presenting ideas to different audiences
- Taking part in school performances
- Responding to different kinds of texts
- Talking to visitors in school
- Listening to ideas and opinions of adults and peers
- Role-play and other drama activities across the curriculum.
Speaking and listening activities are planned through English sessions and all other subjects.
At Pear Tree Mead we wish for children to find reading a pleasurable and meaningful activity. We want to inspire children to be lifelong readers so we ensure that all children have access to a wide range of reading opportunities that include:
- guided reading
- shared reading
- regular independent reading
- hearing books read aloud on a daily basis
- selecting own choice of books
- reading in other subjects
We feel that all staff in the school should be good role models and each class is asked to choose a shared text, which is an invaluable tool for the teacher to model the reading process to the whole class.
In guided reading, texts are chosen to match the ability of the group but still provide an element of challenge. The groups are used to teach children of similar abilities the skills they need to be able to read confidently with expression and to understand the meaning and style of different text types. Guided reading is planned through looking at different Assessment Focuses and the core learning objectives from the National Curriculum.
We have an amazing school library stocked with modern and varied books that will suit all readers at PTM. Reading is rewarded in all classes and library rewards are also given to those that continue their quest to read all the school books!
Each year we take part in World Book Day, this works around a theme to interest the children through dressing up and practical activities.
At Pear Tree Mead pupils have access to a wide range of writing opportunities that include:
- shared writing
- guided writing
- creative writing which is related to their own experiences and enjoyment
- creating different text types
- writing in different curriculum areas
- handwriting practice
- planning, drafting, editing and presenting
- using ICT
Teachers promote writing and look for ways to inspire and motivate pupils so that they see themselves as ‘writers’. Teachers work with the children to establish the purpose and audience for writing, this we believe motivates the children and provides them with more ownership in their learning. All teachers make teaching objectives explicit to pupils so they know why they are studying a particular text type, the kind of writing activities they need to undertake and what the expected outcome will be.
As a staff we believe in the importance of modelled writing. This allows the teacher and children to share their thought processes and observe how a piece of writing is created. During these sessions children have the opportunity to critique the teacher’s work, which in turn helps them not repeat similar mistakes.
Guided writing takes place with selected groups of children in English sessions to support the children and scaffold their writing.
Phonics and Spelling
Phonics is taught in line with Letters and Sounds, we also use the Jolly Phonics actions to teach phonemes. This is a clear and systematic programme for teaching phonic skills for children starting by the age of five. As a school we try to adhere to this programme of study with the aim of all children becoming confident readers by age seven
In KS2 identified children are taught phonics as part of interventions. KS2 classes teach spelling patterns and consolidate phonics knowledge.
At Pear Tree Mead we have adapted Letterjoin for Handwriting. In Reception letter-join’s animations present pre-cursive patterns with fun sounds that can be copied by air-writing or by tracing on IWBs, tablets and, most importantly, by practising with a pencil on printed worksheets. This naturally leads on to the introduction of real letters. Watching and copying the shapes of letters and the various joining techniques enable pupils to learn to write simple words in a cursive style at this early stage. In KS1 children are introduced to new letterforms and are also looking to produce neater handwriting with consistent spacing and letter sizes as well as learning ‘speedy handwriting’ which can be practised using Letter-join’s dictation exercises. In KS2 pupils will have covered all the criteria necessary by the end of Year 6 to reach the standards set out in the 2014 National Curriculum for handwriting.
The Assessment of English
We use a variety of Assessment tools in Pear Tree Mead –
- Assessing Pupil Progress Grids and National Curriculum termly objectives
- Big Write Books
- Guided reading and individual reading records
- Reading Journals
- Children’s work
Writing is assessed at set points through the year and the teachers and the co-ordinators track the children’s progress carefully. The staff in the variety of phases meet termly to moderate writing and to assess writing in their teams. The children’s progress in reading is tracked every half term and intervention is then provided.
Speaking and Listening, reading and writing are all assessed on a half termly basis. Assessment tools used:
- Levelled Steps
- Progression Papers
- Guided reading and individual reading records
- Children’s work
In the Early Years, assessment is an on-going process linked to the EYFSP outcomes.
Teachers are expected to follow the school’s marking policy.
Year 2 and Year 6 teachers are also asked to track the percentage of children who are likely to achieve in the end of key stage SPaG test.
Teachers in Early Years assess against the 7 areas of learning (prime areas in Pre-school) every half term.
Teachers have access to book banded reading tests through our Pearson’s subscription.
- Phonics screening test (Year One) – children in year one take the screening test. They are given opportunities throughout the year to practise a similar activity.
- Year 2 SATS – reading and Grammar, Punctuation and Spelling
- Year 6 SATS – reading and Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar
Teachers at Pear Tree Mead value quality first teaching, This is when teaching staff look at, develop and aim for:
- ‘highly focused lesson design with sharp objectives
- high demands of pupil involvement and engagement with their learning
- high levels of interaction for all pupils
- appropriate use of teacher questioning, modelling and explaining
- an emphasis on learning through dialogue, with regular opportunities for pupils to talk both individually and in groups
- an expectation that pupils will accept responsibility for their own learning and work independently
- regular use of encouragement and authentic praise to engage and motivate pupils.’
(DCSF, 2008) Personalised learning – a practical guide 00844-2008DOM-EN
Teachers will also adapt work according to the needs of the individual and use intervention programmes for targeted support.
Additional adults are used to support the teaching of English. They work under the guidance of the teacher with small groups of children or individuals.
We have many schemes available in the school which are used to support and challenge each pupil, to ensure they all achieve their best. An example of this is ‘Rapid Reading’, which is the only intervention programme with a proven record of success. A full scale, independent study by NFER (National Foundation for Educational Research), showed that children using it make twice the normal rate of progress in reading.
Our library books are all banded in colours; each colour relates to the previous National Curriculum levels. We have also purchased additional phonic reading scheme books “Phonic Bug” which is being used in conjunction with the main scheme for children who require further support to develop their reading. These books work in a systematic way gradually building on each child’s phonic knowledge and help to fill gaps and develop confident fluent readers. The children really enjoy these books as they are presented well and use television characters of which the children can relate to.
At Pear Tree Mead we want to improve children’s learning and increase parent partnership, therefore, we ask parents and children to change their reading book in our school library. The school library is open every day after school from 3.10pm to 3.30pm. There are members of staff in the library to support with any needs a visitor may have. The librarians reward the children with stickers on their bookmarks as well as updating a register in order to reward regular attenders.
We have a home access area to busy things. The log on codes are available on request.