English at Eaton Bray Academy
Our English Curriculum
At Eaton Bray Academy our intent is to deliver a creative and informative English curriculum which will develop children’s love and aptitude of speaking, reading and writing.
We recognise that oracy is a powerful tool for learning: by teaching children to become able speakers and listeners we empower them to better understand themselves and the world around them. We inspire an appreciation of excellent literature and a habit of reading widely and avidly for both pleasure and to build knowledge. We strive to develop a culture where children take pride in their writing, make deliberate choices leading to clear and accurate writing and adapt their language and style for a range of contexts both real and imagined. A thorough grasp of literacy skills is crucial to a high-quality education and we plan our curriculum to give our children the tools they need to build on their understanding each year and therefore participate fully as a confident member of society.
Progression of Skills in the English Curriculum
English teaching at EBA is structured around the Foundation Stage Profile and the National Curriculum. We have a rigorous and well-organised English curriculum utilising a wide variety of quality texts that provide many purposeful opportunities for reading, writing and discussion of wider issues.
Phonics is a way of teaching children how to read and write. It helps children hear, identify and use different sounds that distinguish one word from another in the English language.
At EBA we use the synthetic phonics approach, ‘Little Wandle revised Letters and Sounds’. From pre-school the children are taught phonics in daily sessions. They begin with letter sounds for hearing and saying, followed by reading and writing. This progresses to more complex phonological knowledge in Key Stage 1. The progression for phonics and spelling can be found below.
Activities are differentiated to meet individual needs, with regular assessment and tracking of progress taking place. At the end of Year 1, the children are required by law to undertake a Phonics Screening Check and expected to meet a required standard. If this standard is not met the Check will be retaken at the end of Year 2.
Due to the wide range of needs and abilities, if needed, the children continue to learn phonics into Key Stage 2 to fill any phonological gaps they may have.
The teaching of writing includes learning about writing for different purposes and audiences, thus, enabling the children to write fluently in a variety of styles. We use high quality texts, teacher modelling and collaborative writing to demonstrate good practice.
Many of our lessons follow the approach advocated by literacy expert Jane Considine where children are encouraged to gather vocabulary to support their writing, then watch the teacher modelling sentence structure by speaking the thought processes aloud and then given an opportunity to have a go at writing themselves. This heavily structured writing environment enables all children to be successful writers and to have the freedom to experiment with their own style. Children are expected to be able to write clearly and take pride in the presentation of their work. Cursive writing is encouraged from Year 2. Writing lessons also include the technical aspects of spelling, grammar and punctuation required by the National Curriculum. Grammar is taught both discretely and through guided reading and writing sessions.
Application of writing skills is seen in all areas across the wider curriculum. Throughout the school the teaching of writing follows the writing process of planning, drafting, editing and improving and finally publishing. This process is completed in conjunction with an understanding of the purpose and audience of the writing.
Speaking and Listening
Eaton Bray Academy is a Voice 21 school. We continually strive to support and promote pupils’ confidence and competence in the arts of speaking and listening. Fluency in spoken language enables children to express their ideas and feelings, discuss and understand new ideas and underpins the development of reading and writing. Most English lessons involve aspects of speaking and listening and children develop these skills further by sharing ideas with talk partners, participating in class debates, engaging in drama and role play and presenting to the school and wider audiences in assemblies and performances throughout their time at school.
We do our best to encourage a love of books from the minute children start school. Children at EBA are taught to read using the synthetic reading programme ‘Little Wandle Revised Letters and Sounds’. This is continued in KS2 as a programme called ‘Support for Spelling’.
We believe it is hugely important for all pupils to read daily, where possible aloud to an adult but otherwise to themselves. Parental support is essential and the children regularly take home books to share at home. We ask parents to fill in an online reading record called GoRead to record shared reading. In the classroom children read books that have been carefully matched to the phonic stage that they are learning. We believe it is our job to teach children to read and ask parents to foster a love of stories and story time by sharing a range of fiction, non-fiction and poetry then we will send home weekly. The books that children take home are intended to be shared for pleasure. Parents can see which sounds their child has already learnt by looking at the phonic progression below.
Teachers, teaching assistants and volunteers regularly hear children read individually and children are also asked to read independently during specific times in class. Every class visits the school library weekly where children are encouraged to select books and enjoy reading purely for pleasure.
At school, comprehension skills are taught through whole class texts and guided reading sessions. During these sessions high-quality, challenging texts selected to cover a broad range of genres and style are shared with the children. Teachers read these to children to ensure the whole class can access the text and that they are exposed to quality models of reading aloud.