At St Thomas’ C of E Academy we believe the key skills we learn in English are vital to all areas of the curriculum and contribute to the social, emotional and educational development of each child. All children need to be able to communicate effectively in both spoken and written language. Children need to read fluently and accurately, with understanding and enjoyment. These skills are essential foundations for English development and effective teaching of English will offer opportunities to use these skills throughout all areas of the curriculum.
Our aim is to deliver high quality English lessons, which encourages outstanding teaching and learning, to ensure each child develops to least a national age related expectations. Planning and delivery of English at St Thomas’ follows the Statutory requirements for the teaching and learning of English as laid out in, The National Curriculum in England Framework Document for Teaching, September 2014 and the Statutory framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage, September 2014. Lessons are uniquely planned and tailored to meet the needs of all our learners. Teachers provide stimulating experiences to hook, engage and motivate the children, using a range of resources.
Additionally, English skills are incorporated throughout the whole curriculum. There is a clear emphasis on the teaching of basic English across the curriculum to ensure that children have opportunities to confidently read and write and talk in a range of contexts.
English teaching involves using high quality texts, both fiction and non-fiction which are diverse and reflect the community we live in, celebrating talented people from all backgrounds. Teachers will cover all of the key areas of learning by following a comprehensive teaching cycle that our children will enjoy. We aim to develop their understanding of the world by learning about interesting themes and challenging topics.
We aim to ensure that when children leave St Thomas’ they are fluent readers who have a love of reading and continue to do well at Secondary School. Our children start to read as soon as they enter our Reception class, where we continue to build on their Nursery School experiences. We use the Oxford Reading Tree as the basis of our Reading programme and we have all 20 stages of the programme in school which continues in to Y6. We also supplement the scheme with a range of free readers enabling children to further develop their fluency and comprehension skills. There are many resources available to parents to support the Oxford Reading Tree at home and it has its own web-site – Oxford Owl with a number of free resources available for Parents to download. We encourage parents to listen to their children read at home and complete the reading record each child is given.
At St Thomas’ we believe that every child has the ability to enjoy English and the language/skills that go with it. Our approach to writing ensures progression of skills across the school. We provide meaningful experiences using the contexts inspired by quality texts and inspire children to write through exciting shared experiences. We model high standards of writing and spoken English.
Writing activities are used within a structured approach. They challenge and enthuse children. Teachers choose texts, which will engage the children as well as have a rich vocabulary on which to draw from and provide high spelling and grammar. All children are taught using fiction, non-fiction, poetry and plays. Teachers model writing, carry out shared writes and then the children apply their skills independently. Drama and practical strategies are used within lessons to improve speaking and listening and build confidence and self-esteem. Children are encouraged to share and read their work to the class. Teachers use Age Related Expectations, which help them to plan and assess lessons and to ensure there is no overlap between year groups. Texts are mapped out by year group to ensure the children have access to a variety of books and a progression of skills.
To develop as effective writers, pupils are taught to: