English is a core subject in the National Curriculum. We use the 2014 National Curriculum as the basis for implementing the statutory requirements for the programmes of study for English.
We carry out curriculum planning in English in three phases (long-term, medium-term and short-term). The 2014 National Curriculum details what we teach in the long-term and identifies the key objectives in English that we teach each year.
Teachers ensure that English lessons reflect the teaching required to meet the learning objectives and planning is differentiated appropriately to meet the needs of the children.
At our school, we believe that these plans are working documents that may be amended in order to reflect the progress and assessment of learning along the way.
Writing is a crucial part of our curriculum at St. Columba’s so all children from Foundation Stage to Year 6 are provided with many opportunities to develop and apply their writing skills across the curriculum. Our intention is for pupils to be able to plan, revise and evaluate their writing. To be able to do this effectively, pupils will focus on developing effective transcription and effective composition. They will also develop an awareness of the audience, purpose and context and an increasingly wide knowledge of vocabulary and grammar. We also intend for pupils to leave our school being able to use fluent, legible and speedy handwriting.
At St Columba’s, we believe that writing is a life skill and key to independent learning. We provide an abundance of different opportunities for children to write throughout school, from ‘Learning Journey’ books in Reception to writing for different audiences and purposes in KS2. Cross–curricular links are used wherever possible to develop children’s writing skills, particularly in topic work and in science books. We also recognise the importance of grammar in writing and ensure our children are taught all aspects needed for specific genres.
We believe that spelling has a direct effect upon progress in all other areas of the curriculum and is crucial to developing a child’s confidence, motivation and self-esteem. We provide children with a range of spelling strategies throughout school which cater for different learning styles. Early spelling is taught through phonic work in the Early Years Foundation and Key Stage 1. As children move from Key Stage 1 to Key Stage 2, the emphasis shifts from the teaching of phonics to more focussed teaching of spelling strategies, conventions and rules to build upon the children’s established phonic knowledge. School is signed up to Spelling Shed too where work is set based on what has been taught in the classroom.
We believe that most children should be able to achieve an efficient legible style of handwriting. We also recognise that handwriting is a skill that needs to be taught. The teaching is largely whole class based and is direct and systematic. Children are encouraged to develop and maintain a good posture and pencil grip. From Reception onwards they are taught to write using the school’s preferred style and this is shared with parents and carers.