English

Intent

Language and literacy provide us with the building blocks not just for academic success, but for fulfilling careers and rewarding lives.” (Education Endowment Foundation)

Why does our English curriculum look like this?

At West Lea School we know that every one of our pupils has specific requirements and we place great importance on personalised learning. Our English Curriculum provides our children with rich and varied learning opportunities that helps them become motivated, enthusiastic and engaged with our curriculum. ​

We know and understand our children and have listened to our children’s voices to create a curriculum that encourages them to have a positive attitude towards communication and be able to express their emotions and their ideas. Through our English Curriculum, we strive to teach our children how important their reading, writing, speaking and listening skills will be in the real world. ​

We aim to ensure that our pupils: ​

  • develop a love for reading widely, for both pleasure and information​
  • appreciate a rich, diverse and varied literary heritage​
  • be able to use varied communication strategies to express their ideas, emotions and have a voice​
  • develop foundation skills in reading, writing and communication so they can access learning in other curriculum subjects​
  • broaden their experiences through cultural capital so they can use a wide and rich range of vocabulary​

Implementation

Spoken Language:

“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.” (Benjamin Franklin)

Spoken language underpins the development of reading and writing and giving our children a voice to express their thoughts and feelings. Through developing their skills, ability in spoken language and listening, pupils are enabled to communicate their understanding and clarify their thinking, as well as organise their ideas for writing. Our approach uses a range of resources, Makaton strategies and advice from medical professionals to support non-verbal children in breaking down barriers to communication. We are a communication friendly setting and use Elklan as a structured approach to support children’s speech, language and communication development.

Through our curriculum and communication friendly setting, the learner as a speaker & listener is taught to:

  • build a range of communication strategies​
  • develop vocabulary and build knowledge ​
  • ask questions to check understanding​
  • develop their social and conversation skills to share and build on the ideas of others​
  • use and explore the spoken word in a range of contexts, including presentations, debates and drama.

Reading:

“When we read we are able to travel to many places, meet many people and understand the world.” (Nelson Mandela)

At West Lea we have a coherent and systematic approach to reading, that starts with the teaching of phonics and early reading using the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised Programme. The SSP draws on the latest research into how children learn best; how to ensure learning stays in children’s long-term memory and how best to enable children to apply their learning to become competent readers. ​

Our readers are taught to: ​

  • practice key reading skills such as decoding, prosody and comprehension skills as part of the Little Wandle Scheme. ​
  • use reciprocal reading strategies to access a range of texts and develop comprehension skills to support their acquisition of knowledge and vocabulary across all subjects.
  • develop reciprocal reading strategies such as predicting, clarifying, questioning and summarising collaboratively to read and understand texts as part of our class and group reading sessions.
  • Read for pleasure as well as for research, information or fact-finding purposes​.

Writing:

The teaching of writing across our school consists of two dimensions; transcription (spelling and handwriting) and composition (articulating ideas and structuring them in speech and writing). ​ We use Talk for Writing approaches to support our children in developing skills to write for a variety of audiences and purposes within different subjects. Through this approach children internalise language structures needed to write through ‘talking the text’ and building up a bank of knowledge of how texts are structured. The movement from imitation to innovation to independent application is adapted to suit the needs of our children at any stage of their learning. We provide a variety of media for our children to use such as laptops, blogs, drama and video to break down barriers for children who are not able to write in a conventional manner.

“We know that linguistically children can’t write sentences unless they can say them and they can’t say a sentence unless they hear them a lot.”  (Pie Corbett)

Our writers are taught to; ​

  • develop their ideas through shared thinking and to communicate their ideas through a range of media, actions and talk​.
  • learn to spell through knowledge and understanding of phonics, word structure, spelling patterns and word recognition​.
  • use their print, phonics and letter knowledge for early writing and writing for a purpose​.
  • build on what they have been taught to expand the range of their writing and the variety of the grammar they use. ​
  • write across a range of genres, mapped within our curriculum overview, including narratives, explanations, descriptions, comparisons, summaries and evaluations​.
  • plan, revise and evaluate their writing independently and with support​.