High-quality texts are at the heart of our English curriculum. We recognise the importance of representation and inclusivity and aim to provide sources where every child can ‘see themselves’ physically or connect emotionally within a source. Here are just a small selection of the fabulous texts and sources we will be using across the school this year.
Planning our English Units
Teachers plan for meaningful writing outcomes using the 4-phase model. Often, core texts and sources are used to provide contexts for these writing outcomes. Units typically last 2 to 3 weeks and are split into 3 ‘phases’:
Core Phase – Immersion into the text
The core phase will be completed at the beginning of a half term or whenever a new core text is introduced. This phase is used as an opportunity to immerse children into a core text, it’s genre and generate excitement / enjoyment about the new units alongside continuing to develop a pleasure in reading, which is a vital objective in every year group.
Phase 1 – Immersion into outcome type
- Share high quality examples of the outcome type based on the core text. Teachers should write their own examples to reflect the core text and to ensure the vocabulary is age appropriate and equally challenging.
- Discuss known features of the outcome type based on prior knowledge. Build upon these skilled Use progression maps to check for year group coverage.
Phase 2 – Context and SPAG tools to support writing
- Exposure to 1-2 unknown features or grammar / punctuation of the outcome.
- a) Drama - Use speaking and listening curriculum and feed through a range of drama lessons. Taught slowly and progressively, building language and key phrases daily.
- b) Super SPaG– fine tuning spoken language into written form with support from teacher. Next steps can focus on the impact of these choices upon the reader.
- Feature spot to check for independent understanding of the features or grammar taught. Ensure this links well with your outcome type and is not a tick box activity. Remember these can be planned in a variety of ways in or out of books.
Phase 3 – Writing
- Planning – using structural features of the text outcome and focus on specific vocabulary, phrases, sentences, grammar or punctuation
- Writing lasts 1 – 3 English sessions.
- Assessing – peer or self
- Editing – specific and focused
- Publish or present as needed.
All classrooms at our school have an English Learning Wall which provides scaffolds and models for the pupils’ writing, including examples of relevant and rich vocabulary; models of a range of sentence types and shared or modelled examples of the quality written outcome that the children are working towards.Links to real world topics such as global warming. The learning walls are updated over the course of a writing unit to support our pupils’ learning.
Speaking and Listening
We understand that speaking and listening are a fundamental part of learning in English, and therefore children of all ages are provided with opportunities to participate in a range of different drama-based activities in lessons. In Reception and Year One, the children have role-play areas in their classroom which help stimulate learning.
We value the role of drama in our curriculum in enabling children to explore a range of perspectives and communicate ideas effectively, as well as working collaboratively with peers. It is also an opportunity to practise new vocabulary in a setting that is less permanent than paper. We strive to ensure that children learn in a safe and engaging environment, in which they can feel comfortable and confident to share their ideas and take risks in their learning.
What our pupils say about writing at our school
Joyce (Year 6) – I love that we get to write different types of outcomes and explore formal and informal styles. Recently we wrote a setting description about Victorian London but before that we wrote and performed poetry about the Second World War. Each unit is different and my vocabulary grows each time I write something new.
Fareed (Year 5) – Writing starts by looking at our core text and we usually learn about it in a really exciting way. I remember when I was in Year 1, we found a rocket that had crash landed outside our classrooms and we wrote and performed a news report about an alien that we thought might have escaped from our core text ‘The Way Back Home’. Right now we are using ‘The Lost Words’ by Jackie Morris and I have loved writing my own poem.
Nadia (Year 4) – Writing is my favourite subject! I like learning all the different ways to use punctuation and I love writing stories. I like it when I learn how to make my writing more powerful and we recently have learnt how to use fronted adverbials.
Nico (Year 3) – I really like that our writing gets turned into a published display. It makes me so proud when I see that my teacher has put my work on the display because I work really hard to use all the different things that we learn about before we do our big piece of writing.
Meet the English Leader
I am Mrs Tilley and I have been the English leader at our school since December 2019. I have taught in both Key Stage One and Key Stage Two throughout my career.
From a young age, I always loved reading and writing; I have a degree in English Literature and Creative Writing and now enjoy passing my delight for creativity and imagination onto the next generation. Like many people and researchers before me, I recognise that reading for pleasure is the single greatest indicator of a child’s future success and strive to support every child in our school to access, understand and enjoy reading and writing.
If you have any queries, questions or concerns about reading, writing, phonics or handwriting you can find me at home time on the KS2 playground daily!