At St Botolph’s, we pride ourselves on offering our children quality education within a safe and nurturing environment. We continually strive to improve, giving our children exciting opportunities to broaden their horizons.
The St Botolph’s Curriculum has carefully planned activities and learning which matches our children’s needs, broadening their horizons and widening their opportunities. Learning is carefully connected, interweaving knowledge and skills to make it meaningful, while ensuring that the National Curriculum is followed.
We aim to inspire and foster a love of literature: creating fluent and confident readers, speakers, and writers who can effectively communicate their understanding and ideas in a range of contexts.
Mrs L Pollard, Mrs M Uraih and Miss J Burns (English Leads)
At St Botolph’s we acknowledge the importance of English skills in enabling our pupils to access all areas of the curriculum and the wider world. Through the high-quality teaching of all aspects of English, pupils are encouraged to develop spiritually, culturally, emotionally, intellectually, and socially. Our English curriculum enables pupils to acquire knowledge and to build on what they already know, to deepen understanding and foster enquiring minds.
The overarching aim for English in our school is to promote high standards of language and literacy, by equipping pupils with a strong command of the spoken and written word as well as developing and nurturing their love of literature.
National Curriculum Coverage
We recognise the huge importance of language in pupils’ development across the whole curriculum – cognitively, socially, and linguistically. We expect all staff to be role models of accurate spoken language and the use of it is fully embedded across all subjects in our curriculum, to strengthen the development of reading and writing. We fully understand that 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.
We strive to develop clear thinkers who can express themselves confidently and articulately; supporting them to discuss, probe and remedy misconceptions.
Role-play is an important skill used regularly throughout our curriculum, enabling pupils to adopt, create and sustain a range of roles, whilst also responding appropriately to others in role. At St Botolph’s, children are encouraged to improvise, devise and script drama for a range of audiences, as well as to rehearse, refine, share, and respond thoughtfully to drama and theatre performances within our community and beyond. This includes trips to the local theatre; school productions; celebrations; presenting work as part of a weekly offertory in worship, and drama within the classroom.
The programmes of study for reading at key stages 1 and 2 consist of two dimensions: word reading and comprehension (both listening and reading).
At St Botolph’s we encourage all pupils to read widely across both fiction and non-fiction to develop knowledge of themselves and the world in which they live, to establish an appreciation and love of reading, and to gain knowledge across the curriculum.
Reading in EYFS and KS1
Reading is an important part from day one; the environment is language rich with labels, signs, key words, and an abundance of opportunities for shared reading. In the first two years, we use Read Write Inc. (RWI), developed by Ruth Miskin, providing a structured approach to teaching literacy in the Early years and is geared toward creating fluent readers, confident speakers and willing writers.
At St. Botolph’s, when using RWI for reading, the children will:
Learn 44 sounds and the corresponding letter/letter groups using simple prompts.
Learn to read words using sound blending (Fred talk)
Read lively stories featuring words they have learnt to sound out.
Show that they comprehend the stories by answering ‘Find It’ and ‘Prove it’.
We also use Letters and Sounds, a phonics resource published by the Department for Education and Skills in 2007. It aims to build children’s speaking and listening skills, as well as to prepare children for learning to read by developing their phonic knowledge and skills. It sets out a detailed and systematic programme for teaching phonic skills for children starting by the age of five, with the aim of them becoming fluent readers by age seven.
Reading in KS2
In Key Stage Two, pupils are exposed to a wider range of texts: fiction, poetry and non-fiction. There continues to be a high level of interaction between teacher and pupils during shared and guided reading, using our own English toolkit resources to support this. We select our key texts carefully, ensuring our school community and the wider world are represented, introducing our children to the classics, much-loved stories from across the cultures and new authors. We constantly strive to use texts that support our children with their own lives as well as those that take them beyond what they believe is possible, stretching their imaginations and expanding their horizons.
Once children start to recognise and read more vocabulary and show greater independence in their reading, they move on to the Accelerated Reader programme (AR). Children take a reading assessment (STAR) at the start of a new term, to determine their reading range, allowing them to select books from our well-stocked book zones. Once the children have completed a book, they are able to take a quiz to show their understanding of what they have read. School staff track the children’s progress from the quizzes and support pupils where necessary. We celebrate small and big steps in terms of progress and attainment, recognising that our children develop at different rates. Children regularly earn AR points for reading with increased confidence, competence, and comprehension, which lead to house points, prizes and certificates.
To promote the importance of reading, children also have a 20 minute daily independent reading slot within school. Reading for pleasure is encouraged and promoted across the whole school community with daily whole class shared reading and book talk sessions taking place as well as whole school celebrations such as author days and World Book Day events.
Where children are not ready to access the Accelerated Reading programme, the children choose from a range of early reader books to develop their phonological awareness and word reading skills.
The programmes of study for writing at key stages 1 and 2 are constructed similarly to those for reading: transcription (spelling and handwriting) and composition (articulating ideas and structuring them in speech and writing).
From the moment children enter St Botolph’s, we immerse them in real and exciting learning opportunities using rich and varied texts and stimuli, that enable them to travel far and wide. We choose texts to inspire and open hearts and minds, sharing excellent writing to encourage children to emulate styles; constantly seeking to broaden and enrich vocabulary. Our children are taught to have a positive attitude and stamina for writing, through the process of: Model, Share, Try, Apply, with frequent discussion, high-level and meaningful text-talk and role play underpinning this process.
We encourage children to proof-read their work from early on, using purple polishing pens: discovering the power of editing and improving work, lies at the heart of striving for excellent writing outcomes. Handwriting is taught through direct and discrete lessons, where teachers use phonic knowledge and spelling patterns to introduce and develop confident cursive script.
Our children are taught to have an understanding that their writing has a real purpose and that they can influence others and make change through the power of the written word.
Spelling, Vocabulary, Grammar and Punctuation
We teach our pupils to control their speaking and writing consciously and to use Standard English. They are taught to use the elements of spelling, grammar, punctuation, and language, to enhance creativity and support their own understanding of structure when writing.
At St. Botolphs, we place importance on understanding how spelling and word-building support our writing, striving to ensure children’s spelling knowledge is embedded in their long-term memory, making retrieval and application second nature. We want our children to confidently record their thoughts and ideas, making themselves fully understood. We use our model, ‘Introduce, Investigate, Apply and Assess’ (IIAA), to teach and learn our spellings alongside online tools/apps such as Spelling Shed and Sir Linkalot.
Teaching and learning in the Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1 is underpinned by a high-quality phonics programme and continues to support spelling after these stages. Following on from a secure phonic knowledge in EYFS and year 1, we employ strategies such as: identifying root words; counting syllables; the use of rhyme, song and learning mnemonics, to reinforce the teaching and learning of spelling at St. Botolph’s.
Assessment is an integral part of our teaching and learning process with regular formative assessment taking place alongside summative assessment on a termly basis.
Skills and knowledge within the curriculum are separated into year groups and end of phase descriptors in the categories of Reading, Writing, SPaG (Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar) and Spoken Language.
Download our documents to see the descriptors for the different areas of English.