English is a vital way of communicating in school, in public life and internationally. Literature in English is rich and influential, reflecting the experience of people from many countries and times. In studying English, pupils develop skills in speaking and listening, reading and writing. It enables them to express themselves creatively and imaginatively and to communicate with others effectively. The effectiveness of literacy teaching determines the success of the whole curriculum. Language is cross-curricular - it is an essential element of learning in all areas of the curriculum. We follow the Primary National Curriculum 2014 and believe the development of literacy skills is best ensured by providing a rich and varied linguistic environment. Talking is fundamental to a pupil’s learning. Pupils are encouraged and helped to talk clearly and confidently and with expression in order to communicate ideas and feelings. Similarly, and just as importantly, is the need to listen to others and respond appropriately. All children are provided with opportunities in all areas of the curriculum to develop skills in speaking and listening.
At Widewell Primary Academy our aim is not only to teach children the skills to read with confidence, fluency and understanding but, also to foster a genuine desire to read for pleasure and purpose. We want our pupils to become enthusiastic and critical readers of stories, poetry and drama as well as non-fiction and media texts. All children are encouraged to take books home each evening to practise and reinforce the skills taught in school. Guidance is provided on how parents can best support their children’s learning in this area. Pupils are helped to develop the ability to express their thoughts and ideas and communication skills through the written word. We believe it is important that children see their writing as having purpose and that they regard themselves as authors of their work. Opportunities are provided for children to develop the necessary writing skills required for different purposes and audiences. The link between reading and writing is strongly emphasised.
We follow the Foundation Stage Curriculum and Primary National Curriculum 2014 and aim, where possible, to link English planning to our topics. In FS/KS1 we use Read Write Inc, a structured and systematic phonics programme. Children then progress to Accelerated Reader in KS1 and KS2. We use this in conjunction with The Literacy Tree planning for English, which ensures that all genres and objectives are covered. Classroom Secrets grammar scheme is followed in years 1-6 to ensure consistency, progression and coverage within the grammar element of English.
The impact of our curriculum is that we foster an environment where English and theme books are packed with a range of learning outcomes showing rich evidence of English in a variety of contexts. Children’s exposure to rich and varied texts fosters a love of reading and allows them to become fluent readers with excellent comprehension skills. Our children take great pride in what they achieve and have a positive growth mind-set, which supports them in making measurable progress throughout their time here. As a result, we have a community of enthusiastic readers and writers who enjoy showcasing their developing literacy knowledge and skills. They are confident to take risks in their reading and writing, and love to discuss and share their ideas.