English - Intent, Implementation and Impact
At Gothic Mede, we follow the National Curriculum objectives for English. Our intention is to ensure that all children can express their ideas confidently, both verbally and in writing, in preparation for their next steps in education and future career.
Through our text-based English curriculum, children are taught to understand and appreciate a range of different text types, as well as developing their cultural, emotional and social understanding. Our curriculum provides opportunities for children to develop their writing, speaking and listening skills by widening their vocabulary, developing sentence structure and ensuring children have a secure phonics knowledge. We aim to provide children with the knowledge they need to become proficient at the spelling, grammar and punctuation for their year group by ensuring that these elements are taught rigorously and children understand their importance. By the time they leave Gothic Mede, we hope that all children have a good understanding of a range of text types, are able to discuss these confidently and most children can replicate these successfully in their own writing.
Children are encouraged to have a Growth Mindset approach to their learning and are always challenged to push themselves in their English work. Teachers ensure that all children understand the importance of having pride in their work and in English this is highlighted through our handwriting scheme, Letter-join.
Handwriting is a basic skill that influences the quality of work throughout the curriculum. At the end of Key Stage 2 all pupils should have the ability to produce fluent, legible and, eventually, speedy joined-up handwriting, and to understand the different forms of handwriting used for different purposes.
We aim to make handwriting an automatic process that does not interfere with creative and mental thinking.
As a catalyst to speedy handwriting we encourage parents and carers to use the Letter-join resources at home.
We aim to provide an enjoyable and inspiring English curriculum that encourages and promotes imaginative thinking, celebrates children’s successes and leaves children with a lifelong love and enthusiasm for the English language and literature.
English is taught daily at Gothic Mede. The National Curriculum objectives are taught through a book-based curriculum, focused on sharing high-quality texts with rich language, grammar and sentence structures from Years 1-4. Texts were originally taken from the Babcock Education teaching sequences. However, the texts and plans used have been adapted recently following further training undertaken by staff and the English lead and teaching staff are constantly reviewing planning to suit the needs of the learners in their class. Texts are carefully selected to ensure that they meet key objectives for each year group and build on prior knowledge year on year, term on term and week on week. Each unit aims to explore the book in depth and allows the children to ‘linger’ over a text.
We follow the Pie Corbett Principles for Writing when teaching a unit of work. Children are taught to familiarise themselves with the book in the Imitation stage, then move to the Innovation stage and finally the Invention stage, with an aim to create independent, enthusiastic authors at all levels. These three stages are then supplemented with lessons that build on key elements of the book, enhance understanding and allow children to make links in their learning. An overview of the list of books currently used in English is available on our website.
In addition to the daily English lessons, Years 1-4 also complete at least one cross-curricular piece of writing every half term. This aims to follow up on objectives covered in English lessons, but allows children to apply these elements in a different context. An overview of the cross-curricular writing covered in each year group is available on our website.
In Years 2, 3 and 4, spelling is taught everyday. Children are grouped according to their spelling knowledge and the English Lead works closely with teachers to ensure that children move on as soon as they are ready. Teachers plan spelling lessons based on the spelling patterns covered in the National Curriculum. In addition to their phonics sessions (see below), children in Year 1 learn specific spelling patterns through the high quality texts that they are exposed to. Children in Years 1-4 take home spellings to learn every week and these are tested weekly. Teachers will ensure children are using these words in their writing and will use results from the tests and spellings across their work to choose children who require extra support.
Handwriting is a cross-curriculum task and is taken into consideration during all lessons. Formal teaching of handwriting is to be carried out regularly and systematically to ensure Key Stage targets are met.
Handwriting is taught from Nursery to year 4. In Nursery, children are encouraged to form print letters correctly through their phonics sessions based on Scrap’s phonics (Espresso). Print letters are further developed in Reception and year one as we use Letterjoin Print Plus resources (mirroring the font children see in phonics sessions). Progression in handwriting continues in year two as children are introduced to a cursive style of writing using Letterjoin no lead. In key stage 2, children continue to build on producing fluent, consistent and legible cursive handwriting, applying size-appropriate handwriting to all areas of the curriculum in order to improve their quality, speed and stamina for writing.
For our youngest pupils we aim for two to three weekly sessions totalling 30 to 45 minutes that will include the following;
• Movements to enhance gross motor skills such as air-writing, pattern making, dancing.
• Exercises to develop fine motor skills such as making marks on paper, whiteboards, blackboards, sand trays, iPads and tablets.
• Letter learning to familiarise letter shapes, formation and vocabulary.
In years one to four, children continue with two or three weekly sessions totalling 30 to 45 minutes covering:
• Gross and fine motor skills exercises.
• Cursive handwriting reinforcement, learning and practice.
• Numerals, capitals and printed letters: where and when to use, learning and practice.
Children are taught to sit correctly at a table and tripod pencil grip is modelled and encouraged to ensure comfortable and controlled handwriting. Left-handed children are shown alternative ways to position their paper and hold their pencils. Links to correct pencil grip and posture are included on our website.
The impact of our English curriculum at Gothic Mede is evident in the children’s engagement and interest in lessons. Teachers are expected to ensure children have time to talk through their ideas, share these and then evaluate them as a class. This allows teachers to quickly assess how well children are meeting the objectives of the lesson and where support or stretch is required.
At Gothic Mede, most ‘marking’ is completed with the children. Children therefore benefit from immediate feedback and are able to make improvements to their work during the same lesson. Through formative assessment, teachers are constantly reviewing planning and ensuring that lessons are delivered at the appropriate level and differentiated accordingly to support and challenge all learners. Target Tracker is used half termly to assess children against their year group objectives in reading and writing and this is monitored by the English Lead and discussed in Pupil Progress meetings.