At Our Lady Queen of Heaven, our definition of progress in English is the widening and deepening of essential knowledge, skills, understanding and learning behaviours. We design, organise and plan our curriculum to ensure that children are not merely covering content, but achieving a depth to their learning that enables them to use their skills and understanding in all areas of the curriculum.
In Literacy, we widen and deepen the essential knowledge, skills and understanding of learners in a variety of ways. Learners’ understand how Literacy is vital across all areas of the curriculum and is an essential life skill. The skills developed in Literacy mean they can communicate with others’ in a variety of ways, such as sharing texts and experiences with their peers and the wider community.
We encourage children to discuss and improve their work in literacy, through initiatives such as ’Talk for Writing’, and also to edit and improve what they have produced.
Opportunities to celebrate Literacy are encouraged through special events like World Book Day. Visiting authors inspire children to have ambitions and understand the challenging writing journey.
As a school, we emphasis the importance of learners’ understanding their role as a citizen in modern Britain; appreciating creative authors who shape our imaginations and give us inspiration. At Our Lady’s an awareness of learners’ responsibility as a global citizen is paramount in all literacy. Learners’ are continuously encouraged to take risks, solve problems and have ambition.
Speaking and Listening
At Our Lady Queen of Heaven we believe that Speaking and listening is at the heart of all learning. Children need opportunities to continually to develop their vocabulary. Through first-hand experience and listening to an ever increasing variety of vocabulary the children are given the opportunity to develop their understanding of language and how to use it. Talk 4 Writing has been introduced across the school to further develop this. We believe that language is primarily learnt through ‘hearing’ and saying.’ Once children can express themselves verbally they can begin to develop the skills they need to read and write this complex language. The ability to speak clearly and communicate effectively is a lifelong skill, which is why we believe that it is imperative that speaking and listening remains a key learning focus in all areas of the curriculum.
English is a core subject because it is a thread that runs through the whole of the curriculum. This journey begins in Reception with the learning of phonic sounds. Phonics is at the centre of all reading and writing and therefore remains an important skill throughout their primary school career.
Phonics is taught in EYFS & KS1 using Jolly Phonics and Letters & Sounds supported by a range of practical methods, providing additional support for children where appropriate. We use a wide variety of reading materials, covering fiction and non-fiction, including the Oxford Reading Tree. More confident readers are able to choose from class readers, chapter books and a well-stocked library. We encourage children to read daily at home and this is monitored via a home-school reading diary.
Reading gives learners full access to all curriculum subjects. The most important thing to remember when helping a child learn to read is it must be enjoyable and fun. At Our Lady Queen of Heaven pupils are continually exposed to different texts, giving them the opportunity to find pleasure in reading. Our overriding aim is to help all pupils develop into strong, independent readers. Reading is taught individually, in guided and shared reading groups and as a whole class. Pupils have the opportunity to not only read to themselves and to an adult in the class, but also to an audience and for a purpose, such as following instructions. Exposing pupils to a range of diverse reading experiences will help them to become confident, independent readers.
As a school, we use reading schemes to support readers (in KS2 we use Big Cat reading scheme) but it is equally important that pupils can read a range of texts. As pupils move into Year 3 they are encouraged to further develop their reading repertoire moving away from scaffolded texts, introducing reading material such as comics, recipe books, sports results in the newspaper, emails and websites about their school topics or personal interests they may have.
We believe that good readers become good writers and that the richness, depth and breadth of a pupil’s reading experience determines the writers they will become.
As a school we are introducing ‘Talk for Writing’ as a driver to improve writing outcomes across the school. We believe this will provide children with scaffolding to become more independent, skillful writers. This is progressive through the school, leading to UKS2 where they can build on their existing skills.
At Our Lady Queen of Heaven we encourage our children to write in a variety of genres. Throughout the year pupils will learn, practice and develop writing skills such as writing a diary, writing a recount, story writing, letter writing, and writing instructions. The skills we teach within writing are; handwriting, spelling, phonics, grammar, punctuation, style, content and appropriate and adventurous use of vocabulary. Once mastered, these skills are extended further by writing in other subjects across the curriculum.
Pupils need to develop stamina in writing and are often encouraged to write for extended periods. We encourage independence by giving learners the choice of how to present their writing and in which genre. Learners need to be given the opportunity to reflect on their writing, they are taught editing skills so that they can understand how to improve their own work.