Our English Co-ordinator is Miss Taylor
At Upperby Primary School we want pupils to enjoy writing for a range of purposes and feel confident communicating their knowledge, ideas and emotions through their writing. We believe that by exposing our pupils to high quality texts, films and providing drama opportunities, our children can acquire a wide vocabulary and the understanding of how to use what they have learnt effectively in their writing. We equip our pupils with the skills they need to become skilful writers. This includes developing their understanding of a range of grammar terminology and introducing spelling patterns to enable them to become accurate and confident writers. We want our pupils to write coherently and precisely, adapting their language and style to suit the range of contexts and audiences we write for. In addition, we want our pupils to take pride in their work and strive for consistent presentation, in part through the development of a legible, joined handwriting style by the time they move to secondary school. We encourage our children to edit and refine their writing, understanding this as an important skill in the writing process. This will enable our pupils to take possession of their writing and encourage their independence throughout the writing process.
At Upperby Primary School we recognise that writing is built upon the foundations of reading and the texts that we expose our pupils to. We encourage our children to read widely and develop their reading skills so that in turn they can become confident writers.
Our writing curriculum is derived around a range of high-quality, age-appropriate texts and short films. Each stimulus is adapted by the teachers and used for a range of different writing opportunities, including drama and oracy tasks.
At EYFS, children are given a range of opportunities to explore their writing stimulus through mark marking in their continuous provision. As the children learn phonics using the Read Write Inc. approach, children are taught the correct letter formation and will begin to write words and short sentences using the sounds they are familiar with.
As children progress into Key Stage One and Key Stage Two the focus remains on high-quality stimuli and children are also taught the appropriate grammar and punctuation knowledge from the National Curriculum. Grammar is taught both discretely and alongside writing so that children can become familiar with a technique and learn how to apply it in their writing. Children will learn the features of a range of different text types which are continually revisited throughout their time at Upperby to ensure familiarity and confidence when writing for different purposes. Pupils are given time to explore a writing genre (often through discussion and drama); plan their own writing; see a modelled write; write independently; edit their work and present a finished piece of writing.
Spellings are taught according to the rules and words contained in Appendix 1 of the National Curriculum. Teachers use Spelling Shed to support their teaching of spelling and to provide activities that link with weekly spellings. Children are given spellings to learn as homework and are tested on these each week. Children are encouraged to use their learnt spellings within their writing and are taught how to use a dictionary and thesaurus to support their own spelling and word choice independently.
Cursive handwriting is taught at Upperby from Year Two. Teachers use Letterjoin to support their teaching of handwriting and children learn joining patterns progressively. Handwriting is taught in small bursts to ensure that children feel confident with the join they are learning.
We measure the impact and effectiveness of our writing curriculum in a variety of different ways. We use national and summative testing to assess pupils’ outcomes for Grammar, Punctuation and Spelling as part of the Statutory Assessment Tests (SATS for Year 6 pupils) and through termly summative assessments across school to ensure pupils’ progress can be evaluated. Additionally, pupils complete writing assessments on a half-termly basis which are assessed by teachers to inform of pupils’ next steps. Each year group (with the exception of EYFS) also completes a No More Marking assessment during the year which allows teachers to rank children’s progress and compare them nationally to other schools.
At Upperby Primary School we teach English so that children can communicate clearly in any genre. We want our children to have an awareness of their audience so that they can speak clearly and audibly; taking account of their listeners. We also want them to be active listeners, being able to listen to others effectively and be able to recall key learning. In collaboration with developed oracy, we want our children to become confident, enthusiastic independent readers. We also want our children to enjoy writing, being able to adapt it for a range of purposes.
We strive to achieve this through a rigorous Systematic Synthetic Phonic Programme which gives the children the skills they need to become a fluent reader. We also provide a wide range of high-quality fiction and non-fiction books, film, pictures, trips, visits and other hooks as a vehicle for teaching creative writing.
We follow the Read Write Inc. approach to teaching Reading and Phonics, supplemented with additional reading materials. Our approach is systematic, consistent and rigorous in order that all children become readers as quickly as possible.
We use the same phonics program across the school providing continuity and a vehicle for guaranteed progression. Pupils are taught in ability groups from Reception to Year 2 thus enabling them to be taught according to their reading level. Teaching is very precise and tailored to the needs of each child irrespective of year group.
We then use the Accelerated Reader Programme to teach reading and vocabulary development once the pupils have acquired enough reading skills to be independently accessing texts. Pupils are able to access a range of reading resources and texts in the central school library. Once pupils have finished a text they undertake a comprehension ‘quiz’ and vocabulary test. This assessment is then analysed and a report produced which informs the class teacher of the child’s attainment in reading.
Through the teaching of systematic phonics, our aim is for children to become fluent readers by the end of Key Stage One. This way, children can focus on developing their fluency and comprehension as they move through the school. We track each child’s progress in RWI every half term; this enables us to accurately group them, ensuring that the teaching is linked to their learning.
Attainment in reading is measured using the statutory assessments at the end of Key Stage One and Two. These results are measured against the reading attainment of children nationally. Attainment in phonics is measured by the Phonics Screening Test at the end of Year 1. Half-termly STAR reading Assessments from Accelerated Reading, NTS reading assessment and Teacher Assessment are used termly.
M P Robertson
We have been really lucky to have the author and illustrator, M P Robertson, visit our school in November. He got the whole school excited sharing his secrets about dragons in our assembly. He then visited classes to read stories or show us how to become illustrators ourselves. Mark inspired the children and the teachers throughout the day. Take a look at some of the class pages to see pictures of this fun day!
At Upperby, we follow the READ WRITE INC. literacy programme. It is taught in EYFS and Key Stage 1.
Starting in Reception, all children are taught to read phonetically using the Read, Write Inc. scheme. Reading books are provided that also follow the scheme. Other reading schemes are used to supplement these as the children progress through the school, such as Collins Big Cat, Oxford Reading Tree, Oxford Songbirds and Project X.
We use Renaissance Learning Accelerated Reading program from Year 1 onwards. This is a structured online reading program. It involves children reading a book from their appropriate level, taking on-line quizzes which gives them immediate feedback and increases their level of literacy. The children develop their reading skills most effectively when they read appropriately challenging books - difficult enough to keep them engaged but not so difficult that they become frustrated.
We use lots of different strategies to engage the children in the writing process. All children will spend an appropriate number of weeks learning about a text type, discovering the key elements, practising these skills, composing, drafting and editing their work until they are ready to complete their extended writing.
We use Power of Reading to supplement the teaching of English using high quality books and creative teaching approaches (such as art and drama). This enables children to deepen their understanding of challenging texts and provides a meaningful context for writing.