English Statement of Intent
At Stalyhill Junior School, English and the teaching of English is the foundation of our curriculum. Our main aim is to equip all pupils with a strong command of the spoken and written word, and to develop their love of literature through widespread reading for enjoyment, and exposure to high quality texts and authors. English is at the cornerstone of the entire curriculum and all children are provided with many and varied opportunities to develop and apply their writing skills across the curriculum in a purposeful and robust way, showing clear progression for all learners. Children are taught writing with awareness of audience, purpose and context, and with an increasingly wide knowledge of vocabulary. Taking a pride in the presentation of their work is emphasised through children developing a fluent and legible handwriting style and having the opportunity to earn a pen licence.
Implementation of Writing
At Stalyhill Junior School, a range of fiction and non-fiction genres are carefully planned in order to ensure that there is a clear progression of knowledge and vocabulary, embedding key aspects of learning as genres are revisited, Our units of work are planned by teachers using the National Curriculum objectives, and using ‘The Write Stuff’ approach by Jane Considine. These units bring clarity to the mechanics of writing and provide clear systems through which to focus the writer’s attention. Our English objectives are designed for skill progression throughout each year group, and planning ensures year-group specific skills and knowledge, grammar, punctuation and spelling are enriching and weaved within the final written piece.
To ensure that children leave our school as proficient writers, at Stalyhill Junior School, we build writing over time, developing both pupil’s writing stamina and outcomes. High-quality texts are used to inspire writing and skills are taught following a sequence of lessons which usually include:
Reading a high quality example of the text type
Identifying the features specific to the genre
Focusing on appropriate grammar opportunities often taught as discrete SPaG lessons
Opportunity to see high-quality writing demonstrated by the teacher
Planning using their range of writing tools
Independent writing in sections, including the relevant text-type features
Final draft or publish (where appropriate)
Staff are aware of the differing groups of learners in their class, and adapt plans in order to focus on the particular needs of each child. Children are also challenged to independently draw upon previously learnt skills and apply them to their independent writing. All pupils are taught the spellings and rules appropriate to their year group and are encouraged to apply these independently in their writing.
Reading at Stalyhill
As well as English lessons, we teach dedicated reading lessons too. We spend 30 minutes each day reading texts that match to our reading ability and answer questions about what we have read. Questions are linked to a range of reading skills, including prediction, summarising, inference and vocabulary. We sometimes read in our heads, sometimes out loud together and sometimes out loud in a small group. We read fiction, non-fiction, plays, poetry and extracts from longer texts. We use our school library weekly to change our library books and spend time choosing books we really want to read.
At Stalyhill Junior School, we believe that handwriting is a skill that must be explicitly taught and practised regularly. We follow Martin Harvey's approach throughout school which ensures a consistent approach. Sessions are typically no longer than 20 minutes, and begin with a warm-up taken from the Improvement in School handwriting document. Children will then focus on forming specific letters, or joins, depending on where they are working within the scheme. Those who consistently form their letters clearly earn a pen licence which is awarded in assembly. Please see the below documents for clear examples of how we teach children to form their letters.