English

“Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.” – W. B. Yeats

In English, we work to inspire and enthuse the children in our care, setting alight a desire to learn about all aspects of English while giving pupils the opportunity to taste the diversity of experiences and successes available through a rich and varied English curriculum.

Through English, our pupils can discover more about themselves and the world around them, developing confidence, imagination and creativity so that they can express their experiences, feelings and opinions.

We hold firmly to the belief that English is central to every aspect of our pupils’ personal, social, spiritual and academic development.  Being able to use language confidently, both written and spoken, is vital.

We encourage pupils to be articulate and confident. They will have the opportunity to develop a love of reading and a good understanding of what they read. As writers, they will be confident using a wide range of styles and be able to engage their audience through well-planned work. We are proud that our pupils achieve standards that are well above national averages.

Sets

In Prep 3 (Year 5) and Prep 4 (Year 6), pupils are split into smaller groups for specialist English teaching. Typically, this is a Set 1 and two smaller Set 2s, though other configurations may apply depending upon the cohort. When placing pupils in sets, we take into account their ability, working styles and the level of support they may require. This ensures that, while everyone receives the same core curriculum, each individual receives the teaching that they need to maximise progress. There are also regular opportunities for collaborating and interacting with pupils from other sets.

Assessments

Assessment is an integral part of all English teaching. Progress is continually monitored throughout a child’s time in Prep. There are also termly formal assessments, the results of which are reported to parents.

Reading

Reading is central to every aspect of the curriculum. Enthusiastic readers make good learners. We aim to introduce pupils to a wide variety of books, both in class and for their own personal reading. Dedicated reading time is included in the children’s timetables every week. The children look forward to this opportunity for undisturbed reading.  Audio books, individual book choices (either from home or the school library) and group reading are all practised in this session. This time is used to expose the children to a wide variety of challenging texts.

In lessons, pupils continue to hone their reading skills through use of a variety of reading schemes and a teacher, or teaching assistant, will listen to them read individually on a regular basis. It is also important that they have the opportunity to read out loud regularly at home to continue to develop fluency and expression.

As they move forward into Prep 3 (Year 5) and Prep 4 (Year 6), they are expected to spend more time reading independently and may be asked to provide book reviews or posters to share their favourite authors with others.

In class, pupils read a variety of texts – from fairy tales to spy thrillers, recipes to famous speeches. We aim to make children familiar with the features of specific genres and to build up their comprehension skills.

Authors are invited into the school on a regular basis to share their latest stories, talk about the creative process and run workshops.

Writing

Writing is often closely linked to the texts the children read. As well as being taught the skills needed to write clearly and coherently (grammar, punctuation, sentence structure etc.), pupils are encouraged to use exciting vocabulary and powerful imagery to express their creativity and imagination, and to discover their own voice as a writer.

Speaking & Listening

This is central to every lesson, with time in class dedicated to discussion in pairs, small groups or a whole class.  We encourage children to articulate their ideas and justify opinions before committing themselves to paper.

In Prep, everyone takes part in regular drama lessons. This is further supported in Prep 3 and Prep 4 through the very popular Drama Club, which stages regular productions.

Spelling

Each week, pupils are given a list of spellings to learn based around a particular spelling rule. Most tackle a core list of words. Others may be given a shorter list or challenged with some harder words. As well as learning to spell the words, they are expected to be able to use them correctly in sentences to help broaden their vocabulary.

Additional Needs

Some pupils may benefit from additional time to tackle issues arising in spelling, reading or writing. The English team work closely with the Learning Support department to identify areas of difficulty and plan appropriate intervention. This may be through small group work with a teacher or teaching assistant. Others might need individual Learning Support lessons to enable them to catch up with their peers. Everyone is constantly monitored to ensure they are making the best possible progress.

Other Events

Each year we endeavour to provide pupils with a diverse range of Literacy related activities. These include:

Book Fairs

Book Days – where pupils dress up as their favourite book characters and take part in workshops.

Author visits

Competitions – both in school and at a national level

Theatre experiences – we organise visits to the theatre or travelling theatre companies visit us.

 

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