Our English Vision - Intent
At St Thomas’ Leesfield, we aim to offer a lifelong passion for reading, writing, speaking and listening where English is at the helm curriculum. By offering a broad and balanced topic-based curriculum, Speaking, Listening, Reading and Writing are integrated in a creative and inspiring programme, which enables the children to be submerged in a language rich environment.
Our children have access to a broad range of reading material. They are encouraged to read a variety of genres for different purposes. In the classrooms, we have created a reading rich environment to support the curriculum. Our guided reading books encourage children to develop their comprehension skills, whilst our graded reading material develops sight vocabulary and reading fluency. In addition, EYFS and Infants follow a decodable reading scheme which is carried on in KS2 for pupils who continue to require a structured phonic approach. Our Top Hall library consists of a variety of reading material, including decodable books and ‘Real Books’ which are age related to support pupils’ reading levels for home readers. Our local library is in very close proximity to school and all classes access this invaluable resource on a weekly basis to further enhance our children’s love of reading with a variety of material both fiction and non-fiction. We intend that our pupils will be both independent and reflective readers who can read fluently and for meaning. The children will use a variety of reading skills to enable them to access all other areas of learning. Children will leave St Thomas’ Leesfield reading, writing, speaking and listening with confidence, fluency and understanding using a range of strategies to take responsibility for their own learning.
We understanding vocabulary is vital for comprehension and for wider learning and progress. Through a variety of topics, vocabulary will be developed and the importance of suitable and technical words encouraged. We select the vocabulary necessary to access learning and use the Word Aware Programme to develop topic or selected words. These are embedded with quick daily activities to teach the meaning and application of selected words. Due to our effective cross curricular approach, writing in the school is purposeful and motivational. Our children become capable writers by being given exciting, inspiring and original materials linked through a topic-based curriculum that supports their learning but also challenges them. This encouragement will enable them to become confident, capable and enthusiastic writers. They will reflect on their own and others writing through their growing green comments and fix-it time and have an understanding of different genres and purposes through the IPEEL programme. They will take responsibility for their own learning including self-monitoring and correcting. Teachers provide good models for the pupils to deconstruct and learn from.
Reading is explicitly taught every day throughout school and each group of children have time with the teacher, in a Guided Reading session. Vulnerable groups are highlighted and interventions are in place in every class to support these individuals further to ensure that specific year group skills are secure. In EYFS, KS1 and for older children who have not mastered the foundations, a validated, decodable scheme is used to teach the basic mechanics and core principles of reading. These children follow a daily synthetic, systematic phonics programme. In addition, Guided Reading is planned in to the day so that as well as Phonics and 1:1 reading, children are given Guided Reading sessions with the class teacher weekly. We provide appropriate age related texts and suitable resources to support and enhance lessons during whole class reading sessions. With a structured timetable of learning tasks being rotated throughout the week, children are not only learning comprehension skills but also independence, a love of wider reading and exposure to rich vocabulary, which is an essential element in all sessions for all learners. Reading workshops for Reception / Year 1 pupils provide parents with the skills needed to support at home. In addition, extra-curricular Reading Club is offered to pupils who require more support in Y2.
As we believe consistency and well-taught English is the bedrock of a valuable education, at St Thomas’ Leesfield we ensure that the teaching of writing is purposeful, robust and shows clear progression for all children. In line with the national curriculum, we ensure that each year group are taught the explicit grammar, punctuation and spelling objectives required for that age groups through our Non-Negotiables (Basic Busters/BBs). As well as teaching the objectives, teachers are able to embed the skills throughout the year in cross-curricular writing opportunities and ensure that most children are achieving the objectives at the expected level and that some children can achieve at a greater depth standard by the use of challenging learning objectives and success criteria. In this sense, assessment of writing is also more fluid as teachers can assess against these age-appropriate BBs/learning objectives. All year groups use the same format for assessing writing which have been produced in line with the end of Key Stage assessment frameworks as published by the Department for Education. All children have the opportunity to write using a variety of genres including poetry, narrative, plays as well as non-fiction types; these are carefully planned into topics so that children are able to practise specific skills and to write in a manner that helps them to make connections with their wider learning and which helps to support them in their later lives and further education.
The impact on our children is clear: progress, sustained learning and transferrable skills. With the implementation of the writing journey being well established and taught thoroughly throughout school, children are becoming more confident writers and by the time they are in upper Key Stage 2, most genres of writing are familiar to them and the teaching can focus on creativity, writer’s craft, sustained writing and manipulation of grammar and punctuation skills.
As all aspects of English are an integral part of the curriculum, cross-curricular writing standards have also improved and skills taught in the English lesson are transferred into other subjects; this shows consolidation of skills and a deeper understanding of how and when to use specific grammar, punctuation and grammar objectives. We know that we have equipped children to move on from us to further their education and know that their creativity, passion for English and high aspirations travel with them and continue to grow and develop as they do.
The impact on Reading is evident through the children’s attitude and love for books in our weekly Pupil Chat meetings. Our pupils confidently take part in school initiatives, including class assemblies, collective worship, choral speaking, church services etc.
Reading at St Thomas' Leesfield
Giving children access to all varieties of literature is extremely important for their success. Reading is a key life skill which is crucial to developing language skills and access to the wider curriculum. It provides children with the chance to respond and develop personal opinions encouraging deeper thoughts and their imagination. Our aim is to develop a love and passion for reading both at home and school. We have specially selected high quality reading books for each year group. Some of these books can be found in the classroom and some are available for loan at Lees library. Encourage your child to read as many of these books as possible throughout the year.
Please select the relevant document below to see the books we recommend.