The Teaching and Learning of English
at White Cliffs Primary College for the Arts
At White Cliffs Primary College for the Arts, we firmly believe that English is a fundamental life skill and therefore we aim for excellence in English achievement throughout the college. English develops children’s ability to listen, speak, read and write for a wide range of purposes and will be enhanced and supported through ‘Learning for Life’ opportunities as well as through the classroom-based learning. Children are enabled to express themselves creatively and imaginatively as they become enthusiastic and critical readers of stories, poetry, and drama, as well as of non-fiction and media texts. Children gain an understanding of how language works by looking at its patterns, structures, and origins. Children use their knowledge, skills, and understanding across all curriculum subjects and through a range of different situations.
From their earliest years, we want our children to see books as a source of enjoyment and information and as a means of experiencing the world around them, both factual and fictional. The ability to read fluently, and with understanding and enjoyment should be the goal of all of our children. As educators, we must be enthusiastic about books ourselves and use a variety of strategies to promote books and reading. Throughout Foundation and Key Stage 1, a wide variety of resources and schemes (such as Oxford Reading Tree and Floppy Phonics) are used to support the development of early reading and subsequently the nurturing of the child into a fluent and enthusiastic reader. In Key Stage 2 the Accelerated Reading Programme plays a vital part within the college and allows for personalised learning through the use of Star Tests to provide levelled reading ranges and individual target setting.
We promote a stimulating and language-rich environment with opportunities to write for a variety of purposes. Teachers model writing strategies and the use of phonics and spelling strategies in shared/guided writing sessions. Guided writing sessions are used to target specific needs of both groups and individuals, whilst the children have opportunities to write at length in extended independent writing sessions. The children are given frequent opportunities in college to write in different contexts using quality texts as a model and for a variety of purposes and audiences. Where appropriate, trips and visits play an important part in ‘bringing the topic alive’ and support and enhance the writing process.
Grammar and Punctuation
We understand that grammar and punctuation are learnt naturally and implicitly through interactions with other speakers and from reading. At White Cliffs Primary College for the Arts we ensure that the explicit building blocks of grammar and punctuation are taught through reading, writing and speaking. Once pupils are familiar with a grammatical concept they are encouraged to apply and explore this concept in the grammar of their own speech and writing and to note where it is used by others.
Phonics and Spelling
In Reception and KS1, daily phonics is the key to the children’s learning of spelling. This is taught using the Letters and Sounds programme alongside the Programmes of Study in the National Curriculum 2014. Alongside phonics teaching the children learn words which are not phonically regular (common exception words). Jolly Phonics is taught in both Nursery and Foundation to support the understanding of letter sounds and Read, Write, Inc is used to aid the development of letter formation. Interventions are supported through the delivery of Sounds-Write, which is a quality first phonics programme. In Key Stage 2 dedicated time is allocated for teaching and investigating spelling, as well as word level work linking to a related text in the main English session. Each week, children are taught National Curriculum spellings and patterns appropriate for their year group as well as differentiated for their ability.