Our aim is simple yet exciting: to provide a world-class English education for every pupil at Parbold Douglas, informed by research and professional experience.
We believe that a high-quality education in English will teach pupils to speak and write fluently so that they can communicate their ideas and emotions to others, and through their reading and listening, others can communicate with them. Through reading in particular, pupils have a chance to develop culturally, emotionally, intellectually, socially and spiritually. Literature, especially, plays a key role in such development. Reading also enables pupils both to acquire knowledge and to build on what they already know. All the skills of language are essential to participating fully as a member of society.
Our priority is to ensure that every child develops a love for reading. Embedded throughout all our teaching is a focus on developing pleasure in reading and a motivation to read.
The programmes of study for reading at key stages 1 and 2 consist of 2 dimensions:
- word reading
- comprehension (both listening and reading)
It is essential that teaching focuses on developing pupils’ competence in both dimensions; different kinds of teaching are needed for each.
Skilled word reading involves both the speedy working out of the pronunciation of unfamiliar printed words (decoding) and the speedy recognition of familiar printed words. Underpinning both is the understanding that the letters on the page represent the sounds in spoken words. To ensure our children are able to do this, we use phonics in the early teaching of reading. To discover more, please see the Phonics section of our wesbite - a link is provided below.
In Key Stage 1, reading comprehension skills are embedded through regular guided reading sessions. This involves children working with a member of staff as part of a small group to read and discuss texts.
In Key Stage 2, comprehension is taught through a mixture of whole-class skills session and group guided reading sessions. Children continue to develop their word reading in KS2 by applying their growing knowledge of root words, prefixes and suffixes to read aloud and to understand the meaning of new words they meet.
To deepen enjoyment of reading, all classes have regular 'story time', listening to a book or novel together as a group.
For a further details about the 'word reading' and 'comprehension' skills that are taught in each year group, please see the National Curriculum for English (link above).
We believe that, in order to develop skilled writers, we need build a desire to write within children. If they do not want to write, their progress will be hindered. As such, we pour energy into preparing exciting, challenging and engaging writing lessons.
The programmes of study for writing at key stages 1 and 2 are constructed similarly to those for reading:
- transcription (spelling and handwriting)
- composition (articulating ideas and structuring them in speech and writing)
It is essential that teaching develops pupils’ competence in these 2 dimensions. In addition, pupils should be taught how to plan, revise and evaluate their writing.
Writing is taught on a daily basis and is typically delivered in units lasting between 1 and 4 weeks in length. Each unit has a focus on either narrative, non-fiction or poetry. Engaging themes are carefully selected by teachers so that the children are excited and want to write. The curriculum map below sets out the coverage of writing units within each year group. Please note that the order in which units are taught is flexible, allowing teachers to adapt the order to best suit the needs of the class.
Teachers typically follow the powerful Talk for Writing approach to teaching writing. This approach enables children to imitate the language they need for a particular topic orally before reading and analysing it and then writing their own version. There are 3 key stages: imitation, innovation and independent application. More information can be found using the web link below.
Cold and hot tasks:
To bookend each unit, children usually complete a cold task and hot task. The cold task is used as a formative assessment tool and, as the name suggests, is a piece of writing attempted without a great deal of teaching input. This allows teachers to identify areas for development and focus teaching upon these skills. A hot task, by contrast, is used for summative assessment and is completed at the end of sequence of teaching, enabling a child to demonstrate the skills they have developed.
Grammar, punctuation and spelling (GPS)
Grammar and punctuation:
Grammar and punctuation is taught on a regular basis through discrete lessons or through concise input at the beginning of writing lessons. Sessions are fast-paced and focussed on specific content.
To see a full breakdown of grammar and punctuation taught in each year group, follow the web link below.
All pupils in Year 2 upwards follow a highly regarded spelling scheme called No Nonsense Spelling. This builds upon the phonics programme that pupils follow in Reception and Year 1.
In Year 2, there are daily lessons lasting 20 minutes. In Years 3 to 6, there are typically 5 lessons every 2 weeks (each lasting 20 minutes). No Nonsense Spelling focuses on the teaching of spelling conventions (patterns and rules) but also gives children ample opportunity to learn and practise spelling. This includes learning common exception words (words that we use a lot but do not follow typical rules), personal spellings and words from statutory word lists produced by the Department for Education.
Children who use a range of techniques to regularly and actively learn and practise spellings are more likely to spell well for life. We recommend that all pupils learn and practise spellings regularly at home using a range of games and activities (see 'Spelling - Learning Strategies' below). KS2 pupils can practise spellings online using the superb Spellingframe resource (see web link below).
When launching No Nonsense Spelling, we held a successful parent workshop about the teaching of spelling and how learning can be supported at home. The presentation and resources from this session can be downloaded below.
Spoken language is important in pupils’ development across the whole curriculum – cognitively, socially and linguistically. Spoken language underpins the development of reading and writing. The quality and variety of language that pupils hear and speak are vital for developing their vocabulary and grammar and their understanding for reading and writing. Teachers at Parbold ensure the continual development of pupils’ confidence and competence in spoken language and listening skills. We give pupils as many opportunities as possible to speak in front of others and to listen attentively.
Examples include our pupils taking roles in productions, performing poetry in our annual poetry recital and singing every day in worship. Our Christmas and Easter services at church, as well as some of our services in school, are child-led. Our older pupils also take on a range of responsibilities around school, leading others as play leaders, as lunchtime monitors, as prefects and as house captains.
To ensure our teaching is pitched at the right level and that every child is challenged, our teachers utilise a range of assessment strategies.
Every day, in every lesson, teachers assess 'on-the-go'. We believe that every interaction with the children we teach is an opportunity to learn more about them and their unique abilities. We use this information to continually adapt our teaching so that it is as effective as possible in bringing about deep learning. Examples of formative assessment techniques used in English lessons on a daily basis include questionning, looking at pupils' work in books, quizzes and paired discussions. Teachers useTarget Tracker (see below for further details) to track pupils' progress towards specific goals.
At the end of each term, pupils sit standardised tests in Reading and Grammar, Punctuation and Spelling (GPS). Standardised tests give teachers detailed information about a each pupils performance against age-related expectations and indicate where pupils are working in comparison to other pupils in the same year group nationally. They also allow us to track progress over time. Standardised tests begin in the Spring term of Reception for Reading and in the Autumn term of Year 1 for GPS. More information about the tests we use can be found by clicking the links below. A termly judgement for Writing is reached for each pupil based on their 'hot tasks' completed throughout the term.