At East Tilbury Primary School, we understand that communication is a key aspect in every child’s learning so that they develop the knowledge, skills, self-belief and motivation to be successful in both their current learning and throughout their lives. We provide opportunities for all of our pupils to develop their use and understanding of Standard English to their full potential in all aspects of speaking, listening, reading and writing, including spelling and handwriting.
English is taught on a daily basis through specific lessons in writing and reading but is also prominent in the school’s enquiry based curriculum, where pupils can apply and enhance their English skills in a range of different ways across a broad range of subjects. Our aim is to develop the pupils’ abilities and confidence in communicating for different purposes and this often allows them to express themselves using their key strengths.
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. Literature, especially, plays a key role in such development. Reading also enables pupils both to acquire knowledge and to build on what they already know. All the skills of language are essential to participating fully as a member of society; pupils, therefore, who do not learn to speak, read and write fluently and confidently are effectively disenfranchised.
At East Tilbury Primary School, reading is encouraged throughout every year group. There are reading areas set up around the school, displaying a range of text types, which pupils may enjoy at their leisure. Time is given to pupils to read within the school day both in reading skills sessions, where pupils are completing structured activities to extend their skills, and through independent reading time. Challenging materials from CGP and Nelson are used to develop the children’s comprehension and understanding of language during reading skills sessions. Each child is provided with a levelled reading book that they may read to staff and are expected to read at home in order to experience a broad range of text types. Children who read regularly are rewarded for their dedication. Reading is also promoted through competitions, such as the ‘Extreme Read’ and national reading events such as ‘World Book Day’.
Writing at East Tilbury Primary School
As a school, our vision is to offer a fun, engaging and expansive writing curriculum across our school. We believe that writing is hugely important; it is beneficial in preparing children for life outside of primary school. Pupils write across a variety of genres, using various strategies to capture and engage the reader. Each year group has a bank of statements provided by Target Tracker (our data tracking system across the school), which are used to share the expectations of writing across all of the year groups. Years 2 and 6 have flexible writing targets in order to meet the Local Authority’s moderating standards – which are identical in all schools across the borough.
Teachers aim to inspire and engage pupils to find a natural love for writing creatively, by setting high expectations for all pupils. Irrespective of age, background or culture, our inclusive writing curriculum helps to capture the pupils’ imaginations and engrosses them in a culture where they develop a passion for writing in different subjects.
Through effective planning and teaching of lessons, our staff deliver interesting and immersive sessions; pupils fully engage with their respective text and endeavour to create written pieces which are suitable for their age range and ability. Pupils are encouraged to plan effectively before writing, in order to aid the quality and quantity of work being planned for.
Each teacher is aware of the expectations of writing, not just solely in their own year group, but the one above as well; this helps them to retain their high expectations of their pupils, as well as know how to extend the learning for those who have the potential to excel in writing.
As a school, we set high expectations of our pupils; individual writing targets are shared with each child and they aim to achieve them by the end of each term. Pupils will also take self-responsibility for their targets and either create a new one for themselves or adjust their current target accordingly. We sometimes create pieces of writing as whole class – enabling us to share ideas; other times pupils are encouraged to work in pairs. Although, our aim is to prepare all children to develop their independent writing skills.
Throughout every term, all classes are issued with a ‘class text’. This text is the main stimulus for the writing throughout that term. Sometimes the text will be related explicitly to the unit of work which the class is studying; other times the different themes, characters or settings within the book may be explored in writing sessions.
As children progress through the school, their writing increases in both quality and quantity. However, irrespective of the age range, all pupils are expected to write – at length – at least once a fortnight.
KS2 classes are using a writing process called ‘Talk for Writing’. This is a process of teaching and learning whereby each lesson is explicitly split into activities where pupils are able to embed different skills. As a result, pupils build a deeper understanding of a particular text before using the content and structure to produce a lengthy piece of independent writing.
Writing is exceptionally important across our whole curriculum. Not just a stand-alone subject, it links to every other subject we teach in our school: from reasoning in maths, all the way to writing formally in another language. Writing is expected to be maintained at the same high standard, regardless of the subject being taught and pupils are aware that their writing targets are relevant to all pieces of written work.
Celebration of writing:
Celebrating our amazing writers is hugely important at East Tilbury; both adults and children alike take pride in their work. Celebrating achievements in writing occurs not only in the classroom but also as a whole-school event. Every fortnight, the Star Award Assembly is explicitly based on celebrating writing across the school – from EYFS all the way up to Year 6. The work produced by the children is read aloud to their peers and placed on a special display board for all staff, pupils and visitors to enjoy.
All pupils within Reception and Key Stage one are taught a daily discrete phonics session. Each session involves the teaching of a new phoneme (sound) and pupils are encouraged to practise to read and spell through a range of games and activities. Lessons are highly interactive, involving the use of Bug Club games and support materials. Pupils are assessed and grouped according to their correct phase, in order to meet the pupils’ needs, and ensure they are equipped for the phonic screening check at the end of Year One. As a school we follow the letters and sounds scheme to encourage phonic knowledge. Identified intervention pupils are given extra support to accelerate development of their reading and writing skills. Pupils whose phonic knowledge is not secure as they move into Key Stage 2 receive phonics intervention and ‘Support for Spelling’ groups.
Grammar is taught on a daily basis through fun and engaging activities, following the Nelson scheme of work. Each day a short session is taught to recap prior learning through a range of activities, including games and creative tasks. Each week, a standalone Grammar session is taught during a timetabled English lesson. Throughout the entire curriculum, Grammar terms are referred to regularly, whether that is during teacher input or through marking and feedback. Every term, children are assessed on their learning and understanding by completing a test based on the Grammar areas that they have been taught.