At Thameside Primary School, we understand that communication is a key aspect in every child’s learning so that they develop the knowledge, skills, self-belief and motivation to be successful in both their current learning and throughout their lives. We provide opportunities for all of our pupils to develop their use and understanding of Standard English to their full potential in all aspects of speaking, listening, reading and writing, including spelling and handwriting.
English is taught on a daily basis through specific lessons in writing and reading but is also prominent in the school’s foundation curriculum, where pupils can apply and enhance their English skills in a range of different ways across a broad range of subjects. Our aim is to develop the pupils’ abilities and confidence in communicating for different purposes and this often allows them to express themselves using their key strengths.
As a school we have adopted “The Write Stuff” by Jane Considine to bring clarity to the mechanics of writing. ‘The Write Stuff’ follows a method called ‘Sentence Stacking’ which refers to the fact that sentences are stacked together and organised to engage children with short, intensive moments of learning that they can then immediately apply to their own writing. This approach makes sure that all of our children are exposed to high quality texts that stimulate quality responses to reading, high quality writing and purposeful speaking and listening opportunities. Our curriculum ensures that all children have plenty of opportunities to write for different purposes. We encourage writing through all curriculum areas and use quality reading texts to model examples of good writing. We believe that children need lots of rich speaking and drama activities to give them the imagination and the experiences that will equip them to become good writers.
In Reading, we teach a guided reading curriculum that covers key skills needed to become a great reader - understanding inference, retrieval of information, authorial intent, understanding of text layout to name a few. Children access author based book collections, the school library, have high quality reading experiences such Senior Leadership Recommended Read assemblies and teachers ensure that children regularly read at home and in school.
The systematic teaching of phonics has a high priority throughout Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1. Phonics is taught daily to all children in Foundation Stage, Year 1 and those in Year 2 who have not passed phonics screening in Year 1. The Little Wandle phonics and reading programme is used as the spine for delivery of the phonics sessions. Staff systematically teach learners the relationship between sounds and the written spelling patterns, or graphemes, which represent them. Phonics is delivered in a whole class format because it enables staff to ensure application across subjects embedding the process in a rich literacy environment for early readers. Intervention is planned for those children who are working below expected levels.
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