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English will cover all aspects for the lifelong practitioner: gaining a love of the written word, being able to read and fully comprehend what is written, writing for readers, gaining a clear handwritten style, accuracy in spelling, speaking in a clear, understandable style, being a reflective listener and being confident to project oneself in presenting or drama situations. These will all be learned and demonstrated  within a clear context and children will be exposed to high quality texts and learning materials to facilitate a true enjoyment for the subject. Children in both Key Stage 1 and 2 will experience a range of high quality teaching in English, Phonics and Guided Reading. In addition some children will receive an intervention in addition to enable faster assimilation of phonics or to improve their writing structure or their ability to read and comprehend. The use of this focused attention on English across the Key Stages, in addition to independently demonstrating skills across the curriculum will enable children to meet the ambitious targets the Academy has set.

Planning for English

Crabbs Cross Academy will use the National Curriculum as the basis for high expectations in English, accordingly staff will use this as the guide for planning, backed up by their ongoing assessment of children to ensure that the children make consistent progress.  It will also use genre in line with the new National Curriculum draft as the spine for pupil exposure and learning over a two year period in KS1 and KS2.  In EYFS the staff assess children on entry and use the expectations in the Early Years 2012 Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum to plan learning experiences for pupils.

Each term staff will create an overview of genres and skills they plan to develop which the curriculum lead monitors, speaking to year groups if necessary to ensure children have a wide exposure to genres, text types and breadth of provision.

The overview will be woven into the whole curriculum, so that discrete skills are planned to be taught appropriately before they can be applied through other curriculum areas.  For example, immersing children in drama scripts and the conventions of writing them prior to them writing a script for a short animated film to be filmed in computing. This gives meaning to learning in two subject areas for children in a context that inspires them. 

Classes are mixed ability and careful and close assessments in line with school protocols will enable staff to plan for each child within the class, meeting their learning needs by selecting objectives from other year groups if there are children with significant gaps in knowledge and skills or who are exceeding those of their peers.  Classes will be systematically therefore taught the skills, understanding and knowledge to enable all pupils to make excellent progress.

The length of each focus will vary, dependant on relevance but will generally be between two and five weeks in length.  Each unit will begin with immersion and analysis of the text type, leading to rehearsal of concepts and finally written text.  All aspects of learning will be supported by carefully, tightly phrased objectives, modelling and exposition leading to pupil demonstration of the concept.  Staff will utilise the full range of approaches to English which include Drama and Talk for Writing to develop pupil confidence and immersion.

Assessment and marking will be in line with policy as discussed earlier in this document, and will lead to planned lessons that consistently take children's learning forward. Children from Year 2 upwards will be expected to respond to close the gap marking comments in red pen.

Gaining a love of the written word, being able to read and fully comprehend what is written

Philosophically we believe children need to be exposed to high quality texts and they need to hear them in addition to reading them.  School will therefore provide a banded range of high quality books from a range of providers, with a high interest level for children in different phases.  Additionally, there will be a new lending library established in the school during the Autumn Term of 2013 following building work in the summer to provide the space in which to develop this important area of the school. Every opportunity across the curriculum, in whole school assemblies and through adults sharing their love of reading will be used to garner pupils engagement in this important aspect of life. Furthermore, approaches to reading will be shared with parents regularly through workshops and parent booklets to enable deeper inference comprehension to be strongly developed which will lead to excellence standards in reading for our pupils. Alongside this children will consistently be taught to develop their deeper understanding of texts, character motivations and to predict what will happen next through text and media interrogation.

Phonics will be taught daily in EYFS and KS1 for 20 minutes and monitored by the English coordinator.  The basis of the Phonics programme will be Letters and Sounds.  The Academy has also purchased 'Reading Eggs' a reading and comprehensive tool which parents and children can access at home which will support, particularly boys, in becoming avid readers who understand their reading.    Additionally, children across the school falling behind will receive high quality interventions with KS2 using the Rapid Phonics Programme. Rapid Reading will also be used for KS2 pupils to aid them with quickly improving their reading skills if necessary. This has a very high success rate.

Reading Schemes which will be used are:

  • Big Cat
  • Dandelions
  • Project X
  • Rapid Phonics
  • Oxford reading tree
  • Floppy Phonics
  • Rapid Read
  • Phonics Bug - an interactive phonics programme

Writing for Readers

By interrogating texts in Reading children will develop an understanding of how writers choose their words, develop their ideas and create atmosphere in their writing to engage the readers. Author study will develop a feeling of a genre or specific style developed across fiction, non-fiction and poetry texts.

Staff will use modelled and guided writing, alongside the development of word choice, writing devices, grammatical understanding, punctuation, organisation and written structure to demonstrate to children how to structure a written piece. This will support the children's own independent writing output, with individual or group scaffolding to match their needs.  Children will be expected to draft and redraft, identifying what would improve a written piece until they produce a high quality written piece.  Peer support and challenge will play an important part in recognising where improvements can be made and internalising learning through the editing process.

Writing skills will be taught in discrete English sessions, but independent application will most usually take place across the curriculum, providing a body of evidence for assessment of progress.

Writing will be moderated within school and across the Trust, drawing on external processes across our cluster of schools to ensure we are accurate in Coordinator meetings.

Gaining a clear Handwritten style

The Academy will use 'Pen Pals' Cambridge University Press as the style for all pupils.  Children will practise writing daily during registration periods and guided reading sessions. Handwriting anomalies will be picked up in marking work across the curriculum, with activities being put in books for children to practise prior to the next lesson.  There will be a short handwriting lesson each week as part of a whole English session.  Correct style will also be part of modelling in the phonics lesson and children will be expected to practice their 'sound' for the day using the this style.  Staff will support children in how to hold a pencil correctly from the day they enter school.

Children from the end of Year 2 upwards will be able to earn a 'Pen Licence' for accurate, clear and legible handwriting using a pen.

Accuracy in Spelling

Being able to spell accurately is an essential skill that Crabbs Cross will aim to develop in all pupils to a high level.  There may be an argument that IT systems spell-checks eradicate the need to spell however it is only through being able to accurately spell that children will be able to identify the reasonableness of a corrected spelling - it could be a homophone, it could be an Americanisation of a word or it could just be incorrect as the spell check cannot find the correct spelling because it is so inaccurate.

In KS1 the spelling patterns will be taught linked to phonological awareness, tricky words will be learned using the models in the new national curriculum. In KS2 the school is planning to use 'Support for Spelling' as a systematic approach to developing the skills in pupils, linked to the conventions in the new National Curriculum.

Spelling will be systematically taught and tested using the 'Look, cover, write, check' system of learning which will be shared with parents.  Results of spelling tests will be recorded to enable a picture of the child's ability and shared with parents so they are clear about successes in this area.  Once learned, it will be expected that children demonstrate independent use in their own writing, if this is not evident children will be expected to continue practising.

Speaking in a clear, understandable style, being a reflective listener and being confident to project oneself in presenting or drama situations.

A true life skill necessary for interactions with others, which is particularly necessary in the workplace, is the ability to present ones views clearly and with confidence whilst reflecting on the opinions of others to improve or develop thinking.  The Crabbs Cross Academy aims to develop a high level of skills in this area by embedding speaking and listening within English and across the whole curriculum. 

Staff will harness children's natural enthusiasm to talk, and develop the intrinsic skills of active listening so that children can inform and develop their ideas socially and in learning situations. They will also develop pupils dramatic skills in for example role play, story characterisation, acting out scenarios in PSHE and developing empathetic understanding in History which enable a deeper appreciation of historical events.

All children will be expected to 'perform' in front of parents yearly in class assemblies, and in Year group productions. This will engender confidence, voice projection and teamwork. It will give a real reason to read.

Children will also be asked from Reception upwards to present their ideas verbally to others, explaining and justifying them.

The expectation will be that children speak in full sentences, and use Standard English and staff will model this.