The 2014 National Curriculum for English aims to ensure that all children:
“English has a pre-eminent place in education and in society. A high-quality education in English will teach pupils to speak and write fluently so that they can communicate their ideas and emotions to others and through their reading and listening, others can communicate with them. Through reading in particular, pupils have a chance to develop culturally, emotionally, intellectually, socially and spiritually.” (National Curriculum 2014)
At Holmleigh Primary School, our literacy teaching embodies Lawrence Clark Powell’s philosophy which states that we: “Write to be understood, speak to be heard, read to grow.”
We strive to develop, in our pupils, the habit of reading so that they acquire a lifelong love of reading. We want our children to read fiction and non-fiction fluently, independently and enthusiastically and to be able to express their opinions about what they’ve read. We instil the confidence necessary for pupils to be able to effectively articulate their views and engage in meaningful discussions. We want our pupils to not only see themselves as writers but to see writing as a meaningful activity. We provide our pupils with the skills required to write accurately and coherently for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences and across every curriculum subject, not just English. We want pupils to acquire a wide vocabulary, a firm understanding of grammar and be able to spell new words by effectively applying the spelling patterns and rules they learn throughout their time in primary school. We believe that all pupils should be encouraged to take pride in the presentation of their writing developing a fluent, joined, handwriting style. We believe that all good writers refine and edit their writing and we aim for children to develop the independence to identify their own areas for improvement, editing their work effectively during and after the writing process. We believe that children need to develop a secure knowledge base in Literacy, which follows a clear pathway of progression as they advance through the primary curriculum. We believe that a secure basis in literacy skills is crucial to high-quality education and will give our children the tools they need to participate fully as productive members of society.
Our Literacy curriculum is in line with the content and principles underpinning the 2014 National Curriculum for Literacy. These aims are embedded across our literacy lessons and the wider curriculum. We have a rigorous and well organised English curriculum that provides many purposeful opportunities for reading, writing and discussion. As well as our daily literacy lessons, we have a rich and varied enrichment programme.
Reception & Year 1: Daily Supported Reading
Year 2: Daily Supported Reading and Guided Reading
Year 3 – Year 6: Daily Guided Reading
Each child has a reading record book that logs the books they have read and their feedback. Parents and teaching staff are able to write comments about their reading. Children are expected to read at home every day.
Reception – Year 2: Bug Club & class books (eBooks are assigned to children allowing them to practise their phonic skills at home). They are also encouraged to take ‘real books’ home.
Year 3 – Year 6: We use Accelerated Reader (where students read a book at their level, take an online quiz, and receive immediate feedback). Teachers and support staff help children with their choice of books, finding themes and authors which interest the child whilst also encouraging them to try something new.
Where possible we encourage daily storytime in all our classes. Through regular storytimes, guided reading, whole-class reading and home reading books, children are introduced from nursery onwards to a wide range of challenging and engaging texts and authors.
Speaking and Listening:
We recognise that spoken language underpins the development of reading and writing. The quality and variety of language that pupils hear and speak are vital for developing their vocabulary and grammar and their understanding of reading and writing. Teachers ensure the continual development of pupils’ confidence and competence in their knowledge of the spoken language and listening skills. They are assisted in making their thinking clear to themselves as well as to others and teachers ensure that pupils build secure foundations by using discussion to probe and remedy any misconceptions.
Each year group has a yearly overview of writing genres to be taught ensuring the appropriate coverage of the key genres as well as progression from year to year. Grammar, punctuation and spelling is planned to match, where possible, the text type being taught or through a Whole Class Text. Lessons are effectively differentiated to ensure that every child can be successful in their achievement of the learning objective, with high expectations for all learners. Success criteria are shared with the children prior to independent work and these also indicate how greater depth can be achieved and demonstrated. These lessons cover knowledge and skills in writing, spelling and grammar and discussion.
In EFYS and KS1 there are daily phonic sessions using Bug Club. Some KS2 children receive phonic interventions if it is needed. (Please see Phonics)
Spellings are taught according to the rules and words specified by the English National Curriculum. Spellings are sent home to learn on a weekly basis. Spelling rules, letter strings and high-frequency words are taught and then tested.
Grammar and Punctuation:
Grammar and punctuation knowledge and skills are taught through Whole Class Texts as much as possible. Teachers plan to teach the required skills through the genres of writing that they are teaching, linking it to the genre to make it more connected with the intended writing outcome. Teachers sometimes focus on particular grammar and punctuation skills as stand-alone lessons if they feel that the class needs additional lessons to embed and develop their understanding or to consolidate skills.
At Holmleigh Primary School we use Penpals – a handwriting scheme that offers clear progression through the five developmental stages of handwriting.
We have a ‘best writing always’ policy at Holmleigh Primary School and this means that whenever a pupil is writing, in whatever subject, they need to apply all the skills that they’ve been taught in their literacy lessons to that piece of work.
Pupils enjoy reading regularly for information and for pleasure. A range of genres is being taught across the school. Next Steps Marking provides positive support and directs pupils on their next steps to improve their writing. Pupils respond to the feedback which is shown by their IW work and they are able to redraft their work.
At the end of KS2, our results for reading and writing are above the national average and the local authority average and when looking at pupils achieving a higher standard in reading and writing, our pupils are again above the national average and the local authority average.
For the last two years running (2017-2018, 2018-2019), Holmleigh Primary School has been awarded Master School status from Renaissance Learning with two classes being awarded Master Class status which is testimony to the success of our reading program. We are only one of nineteen primary or secondary schools in the UK to achieve this honour.