Good English skills underpin all the other subjects, offering children the means to access the other areas of the curriculum. It is through speaking, reading and writing that children gain access to Maths, Science, Humanities, Computing, Religious Education, Personal and Social Development, Art, Music and PE. With this principle in mind, at Firs Farm we strive to offer all our children the best start in life by supporting them in the acquisition of language, reading and writing.
At Firs Farm English is taught as a discrete subject. Children are exposed to diverse range of texts to read and study in class. Non-fiction units use the texts used in the foundation to build on existing knowledge and develop the skills being taught.
In the Early Stages, children start their Literacy adventure through listening to stories, role- playing, creating narratives or re-telling stories; through the early introduction of sign making- in water, sand, foam, paper and other surfaces; through the discrete teaching of phonics using Little Wandle (revised Letters & Sounds) phonic scheme. Children are encouraged to love books and read them, starting with the early stages of the Little Wandle Scheme. Children have opportunities to write and develop their handwriting.
As children move to KS1, they develop their reading skills further, progressing through the books in The Little Wandle Scheme. They read with an adult-led group in class and then take these books to read home. Parents/carers are encouraged to complete a weekly entry in the Home School Reading Book. Children may also take a Reading for pleasure book, from the class or school library, that they may need to have read to them. Children may become a "free" reader during KS1 - this means they are no longer on a scheme and chose a home-reading book from a range in the class/school library.
Children in Year 1 and 2 will still have regular Little Wandle phonic sessions; with most children finishing their phonetic education in Year 2. They start writing words more consistently, reading and writing the spellings including learning key words for weekly spelling tests. Their writing becomes recognisable stories or simple information texts, culminating with the very accomplished writing that our children develop by the end of Year 2. Our pupils are also encouraged to take part in class discussions and have the opportunity to speak publicly during their class assemblies.
By KS2 our focus is on honing listening, reading and writing skills that children have started to develop in the Early Years and KS1.
In KS2 each class takes part in Whole Class Reading (minimum 3x a week). This includes texts chosen to develop a particular skill or to improve children's inference/deduction. The school uses MIDAS as a framework for improving comprehension.
Writing in KS2 is delivered throughout a vertically sequenced curriculum that allows children to develop a range of writing techniques that they can apply in English and across other subjects. Children write with increasing levels of complexity and teachers use Talk For Writing to plan and deliver extended writing lessons.
The emphasis is on using, in ever greater detail, the conventions of different genres of literature and, later on, in unpicking the fabric of the texts themselves at word, sentence and text level. This analysis leads to the creation of pieces of writing that follow the conventions and features. In reading, children demonstrate their ability to decode words of increasing difficulty; they develop their skills of understanding, initially through simple information retrieval, followed by discovering implied and suggested meanings and culminating in the ability to understand and comment on language choices made by the author.
Grammar and punctuation is taught within English Units. Spelling is taught as a discrete subject using the PenPals scheme.
Some children may still need support with their early English skills during KS2. These children receive additional group reading or individual reading support. In KS2 we use CODEX as a framework for improving reading. We may use other interventions/schemes as needed.
Speaking and listening are promoted throughout lessons, assemblies and the various clubs and activities that children get involved with.