Our exciting and engaging enquiry-based curriculum at Ashley will enable our children to write confidently and innovatively for a variety of purposes across varying genres and the wider curriculum. Building a rich vocabulary is key and is supported by inspiring texts in both writing and reading lessons. Our aim is to teach grammar skills that link with the writing and enable our children to understand these and write with confidence. Spelling and phonics is taught explicitly for our children to become self-assured writers, equipped with the tools that they need to be successful. We expect our children to adopt a cursive handwriting script from the early years and develop this continuously through KS1 and KS2. We want Ashley pupils to be confident, articulate and avid readers and writers with an ability to convey their ideas and opinions in a succinct and enthusiastic way.
Writing and grammar
As a school we focus on Quality First Teaching and in order for the children to become confident writers, we teach writing through the Immersion, Imitation and Innovation approach. This means Immersing the children in a genre or style of writing, giving them the opportunity to explore it through high quality examples text examples or books, especially in EYFS and KS1. This allows the children to create word banks of borrowed phrases, identify key features and explore the structure of different texts, especially in KS2. Through Imitation, the children are taught to use a structure and make changes, whilst keeping various elements same. This develops the opportunity for building their own ideas whilst understanding the structure. By Innovating, the children are able to use everything they have gathered and draft a piece of writing. We scaffold the learning appropriately, especially with developing language and introducing new and rich vocabulary in order for every child to succeed.
Through the Immersion, Imitation and Innovation approach, we teach the children the National Curriculum objectives for composition and grammar, focusing on which grammar skills are best suited for the genre or piece of writing.
In order for the children to become more confident writers, they are given weekly feedback on a piece or paragraph of writing. This enables the children to see something that they have achieved, linked to the grammar or composition skills for that writing. The children are also given a short task to improve a sentence, choose better vocabulary or add in the missing punctuation. This feedback is specific to each child and teaches them the skills for editing and improving. At KS1, the children are given a visual stamp to show a personal target for improvement.
In order to continually assess writing, each child has a writing assessment grid at the front of their English book with the National Curriculum expectations for their year group. These grids are dated and highlighted by the teachers and the children are able to see what they have achieved and where they still might need some support. Giving the children ownership over their learning is something we want for foster, so that they are able to be confident in their own ability.
Phonics (Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised), spelling and handwriting
Good phonic knowledge is the foundation for both writing and reading and this starts as soon as the children enter Reception. Throughout EYFS and KS1, phonics is taught daily through Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised and is approached with vigour, enthusiasm and confident teacher knowledge. The phonic patterns and sounds are revised, taught, applied, practised and assessed in order for extra support to be given where necessary. This daily phonic diet is supported in different parts of the curriculum and allows the children to learn and use phonetically plausible ways of spelling.
Throughout KS2, the good phonic knowledge taught in KS1 is built upon as the children are guided to learn and understand about spelling rules, patterns and conventions through No Nonsense spelling. Spelling is taught explicitly and links to weekly spellings which are all based on the National Curriculum objectives. We encourage the children to look at a word and think ‘does it look right?’ The introduction of spelling dictionaries is enabling the children to write down any spelling mistakes from their writing as well as key words they want to know how to spell. Learning to spell is about practise so the children are encouraged to have a go but we also have non-negotiables for spelling, especially when key words are shown on the board, there is no excuse for them being misspelt.
From Year 1, children are taught the cursive Ashley script and are taught to join when appropriate. Neat presentation and handwriting are expected and modelled by the teachers both in writing lessons and in the children’s books when feedback is given.
In order to create confident readers who, have a good understanding of varying texts, we teach the skills of reading through whole class focused reading from Year 2 upwards and guided reading in EYFS and Year 1.
In EYFS and Year 1, we follow the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised programme for grouped reading three times per week and focuses on developing children's fluency, prosody and comprehension as separate skills. The books they are reading closely match their phonic knowledge. The children are then able to take the same book home to continue to develop these skills. The children will also take home a sharing book to enjoy with their family at home.
Whole class focused reading in KS2 allows the children the opportunity to be introduced to more challenging, inspiring and high-quality texts in order to broaden their understanding. How a text should be read is modelled by the teacher, including using appropriate intonation. The text is then discussed, analysed and picked apart, guided by the teacher with the children giving their thoughts and ideas to gain a thorough understanding. New words are discussed and any that the children don’t understand the meaning of are explained by the teacher in the context of the sentence.
Some children are given the opportunity to read the text before the whole class session in order to give them confidence in understanding the text. Following on from the initial analysis lesson, children are taught how to answer different types of questions such as language and how words affect meaning, retrieval and inference and deduction. Teachers model how to find the answers or how to use the skill of inference to deduce information. The children are then challenged to use what they have learnt and apply it to answer questions independently.
We understand that giving the children opportunities for increasing confidence in spoken language is an important life skill and one start from when the children enter the school in Reception. Throughout their time at Ashley, they are given opportunities to develop their spoken language in assemblies, in reflection time, reading aloud in reading lessons or to read out writing that they have created.
The impact of a quality enquiry-based English curriculum has the potential to be very exciting at Ashley School. We will create a generation of children who are confident writers and readers with a life-long passion for reading, writing and all the skills that English has to offer. Ashley children will be able to articulate their thoughts and ideas with a wide and rich vocabulary and understand where to make improvements to their writing, be resilient to amend and adapt and have a sound knowledge of grammar and spelling conventions. Their ability to write neatly and legibly will stand them in good stead as they leave Ashley, ready to tackle any new challenges that may come their way, both in Secondary school and beyond.
Curriculum map and supporting documents
|Curriculum map (coming soon)||Phonics programme overview EYFS and Year 1|
Brilliant Book Lists
|Reception||Year 1||Year 2|
|Year 3||Year 4||Year 5||Year 6|