Our English Vision - Intent
At St Thomas’ Leesfield, we aim to develop a lifelong passion for reading, writing, speaking and listening where English is at the heart of our curriculum. By offering a broad and balanced topic-based curriculum, all aspects of English are integrated in a creative and inspiring programme. This enables the children to be submerged in a language rich environment. Our aim is that children will leave St Thomas’ Leesfield reading, writing, speaking and listening with confidence, fluency and understanding, using a range of skills.
Our English curriculum is designed around the non-negotiable targets (National Curriculum). Our topic approach enables us to ensure our writing and reading is purposeful. Writing tasks will start with a stimulus or text link. Children will become capable writers by being given exciting and inspiring material that support their learning but also challenges them. 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 IPEELL programme. Pupils will take responsibility for their own learning including self-monitoring and correcting. Teachers provide good models for the pupils to deconstruct and learn from. Our planning ensures we cover a range of genres, stimulus and text types. (See plans) This encouragement will enable them to become confident, capable and enthusiastic writers for a range of purposes and audience. We aim to provide a love of reading through a wide range of reading material and reading rich environment. We have a well-equipped library in school and the local library is in close proximity. All classes access this invaluable resource. Our teaching and assessment of reading, using the jigsaw model, ensures all aspects of reading are taught and developed. This enables teachers to make secure judgements on reading levels in line with the non-negotiable targets. We intend our pupils to be both independent and reflective readers who can read fluently and for understanding.
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 our experienced teaching assistants and volunteers are used to support these individuals further. In EYFS and KS1 guided reading is planned into the day alongside phonics and 1:1 reading. We provide appropriate book banded texts and suitable resources to support and enhance lessons, 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 for all learners. The local library is used weekly and all classes have ‘Reading Suitcases’ with a range of quality fiction and non-fiction text to support the topics being taught. We offer reading workshops for Reception / Year 1 parents, providing them with the skills needed to support at home. Initiatives such as the Reading Club, reading pets and reading areas in every classroom, are used to promote the love of reading in our school.
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. This ensures 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. Children have the opportunity to write using a variety of genres. These include poetry, narrative, plays as well as non-fiction types; which 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. We meet the needs of all learners through additional ‘Fix It’ clubs, daily phonics intervention work for some KS2 groups, GDS writing groups and general intervention work across the school.
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. 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. Pupils are tracked and measured against the non-negotiable targets termly and progress is monitored through work scrutiny, pupil chat and lesson observations. Verbal and written feedback are given to the Head teachers and staff. Pupils also take responsibility for self-assessment and peer assessment through the IPEELL programme.
The impact on Reading is evident through the children’s attitude and love for books in our weekly Pupil Chat meetings. Through our assessment using the book bands and non-negotiable reading targets, teachers can make secure judgements.
As all aspects of English are an integral part of the curriculum, skills taught in the English lesson are transferred into other subjects. Our pupils confidently take part in school initiatives, including class assemblies, collective worship, choral speaking, church services, School Council meetings etc. 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.
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.