The English Curriculum develops competent and enthusiastic readers, writers, speakers and listeners. We place particular emphasis upon extending children’s reading abilities, analytical skills, writing structure, and oral and written vocabulary.
Speaking and Listening
All children are encouraged to participate actively in discussions and to regularly contribute to ‘news’ sessions in the early years, where children recount events and experiences. Throughout their time at school, children use good speech, appropriate vocabulary and correct grammatical forms. Public speaking skills are developed through participation in drama and role play, retelling stories, school assembly presentations, poetry recitation, speech delivery, plays and school productions.
Our English curriculum uses Phonics from Nursery and throughout the Early Years.
In addition to Phonics, the children participate in a literature based reading programme utilising our three School libraries. The children are also taken on regular trips to the local library.
Children are motivated to read in an environment which displays print and indentify various aspects of the printed word, including its purpose, effect and meaning. Reading should be an enjoyable activity. It is important that teachers and parents work together to give all children support, encouragement and patience to develop at their own reading interest and ability. As well as daily reading sessions, children should read each night at home and in the early years, this should take the form of reading and discussing the stories in a fun and relaxed atmosphere. Allow your child to point to each word if it helps them. Discuss the pictures and the story and predict what will happen. In the older years, students should read aloud as well as silently and listen to reading, i.e. books on tape.
In Transition to Year Three child has a reading record book. After listening to your child read, please sign and make a comment about their reading. From Year Four onwards children, parents and teachers continue to make comments on their progress in the relevant section of their homework diary.
Parents should listen to their children read as frequently as possible, and it is helpful if a note/comment is made in their reading logs. As children mature further in their reading they will be reading independently each night and recording their own comments.
In Key Stage One the children are involved in Guided reading sessions. Guided reading is a strategy that helps students become proficient readers. The teacher provides support for small groups of readers as they learn to use various reading strategies (context clues, letter and sound relationships, word structure, and so forth).
In Key Stage Two and Three your child’s reading should embrace both fiction and non-fiction. They practise gathering information from a range of sources and implement skills of skimming, scanning and summarising. Frequent comprehension practice will occur involving reasoning, opinions and predictions. The children will be given a chance to discuss how or why a writer is using language in a particular way. They will also begin to analyse for deeper meaning in the text so as to be able to think both analytically and eventually critically about their reading materials.
During Key Stage Three, pupils are encouraged to develop a critical awareness of reading materials through oral and written activities, selecting sentences, phrases and relevant information to support their views. Children will be encouraged to identify different layers of meaning in a text and comment on their significance.
In Year Seven pupils begin the Common Entrance syllabus. They continue to study the key elements of English: both composition and comprehension, in addition to Speaking and Listening tasks. The class books which are chosen will relate to the I.S.E.B. theme, “Conflict”. Year Eight pupils continue with the syllabus. They have full mock examinations in English before the Common Entrance examinations in June.
Through reading, children become aware that writing is a purposeful and meaningful method of communication. Each week in Transition and Reception, children have frequent opportunities to develop their writing skills, from the earliest scribbles to more complex sentences, their efforts are praised constructively.
All children are encouraged to say sounds when trying to write a word. They then develop sentence structure and begin to use simple punctuation. Children write in a variety of fictional and non-fictional genres throughout their time at Eaton Square School.
In the senior school, the students begin to write analytically. The children develop structurally as well as stylistically in both their creative and analytical writing. During the Common Entrance training, practice writing prompts are given to help the students understand how to both answer the questions effectively as well as creatively.
During Transition and Reception children should be positively encouraged when trying to spell words. It is important, at this early stage, to just ‘have a go’. It is an approach where the individual learns the sounds represented by letters and then letter combinations. The child then attempts to blend these sounds to pronounce small words. As the child develops so the blending becomes more complex.
From the end of Reception the children have different spelling words every week. Encourage your child to look at the patterns in the words to make learning easier. Confidence is very important. Be positive towards their efforts.
Informal testing takes place throughout Reception and more formal weekly spelling tests start from Year One. Pupils continue to extend on the phonics and spelling work from previous years with an emphasis on sound blends and high frequency words. Pupils in Key Stage Two and Three also use dictionaries and thesauruses regularly.
The children concentrate on learning the correct starting point of each of the lower case letters from Transition and Reception. Writing with flicks is encouraged, as this makes it easier when the children learn to join their letters. Joins are taught in groups with similar patterns.
The formation of letters will be constantly revised and regular handwriting lessons given. Children are expected to present their work neatly and tidily.
Homework is used to support English through:
- Regular reading at home with a parent. Children are encouraged to take home a new reading book each day to read in the early years, and each week in the older years.
- Reception word tins following simple word blend order as ‘abc’ sound codes are taught. Learning sounds and blends in the Foundation Stage and Key Stage One.
- Key Stage One, Two and Three children are often given writing and comprehension tasks.
- In Key Stage Three, longer assignments are given.
- Cross-Curricular research projects.
Assessment is used to guide the progress of individual pupils in English. It involves determining what each child has learnt and the next stage in their learning.
- Observing children’s speaking and listening abilities in different groupings and contexts. Children are tested on their sound knowledge and ability to read and spell high frequency words.
- From Reception to Year Eight, samples of the children’s independent writing in various genres will be collected each term and marked according to set criteria.
- Handwriting is continually monitored.
- Each child has a record in which dated and signed entries are made of reading practice and books read.
- From Reception onwards progress is measured using a standardised reading test.