At Mrs Bland’s Infant and Nursery School, we believe that a high-quality English curriculum develops the fluency of the children’s spoken language, reading and writing.
At Mrs Bland’s, reading is at the core of the curriculum as we believe that it is the key to unlocking every child’s potential. One of our main priorities is to develop children’s love for reading through carefully chosen texts in which our learners have the opportunity to develop culturally, intellectually, emotionally and socially. We aim to achieve this by providing the children with access to high quality texts which are across all year groups and which are at the heart of our school’s approach to engage and inspire our learners.
We believe that through beginning with high quality literature as a starting point, the children are able to acquire knowledge and build on what they already know whilst building a wide and rich vocabulary. We also value the importance of nurturing a culture where the children can discuss these texts and communicate their ideas and emotions to others. We aim to inspire children to be confident in the art of speaking and listening and to use discussion to communicate and further their learning. We also encourage the children to ask their own questions as well as responding to the higher order questions that are asked to them with the intention of extending both their knowledge and understanding.
We believe that children need to develop a secure knowledge-base in English, which follows a clear pathway of progression as they advance through the curriculum. We also believe that secure foundations in the children’s language and literacy skills will give our children the tools that they need to participate fully in education and in society.
The teaching of these skills is embedded within each unit and children are given explicit opportunities to apply them in their writing across a wide range of genres. We have a rigorous, progressive and well-organised English curriculum and framework that provides many purposeful opportunities for reading, writing and discussion. Teachers also ensure that relevant and meaningful links are made to first-hand experiences the children have had through both educational visits which have been built into the curriculum and within learning across other areas of the curriculum. The cross-curricular writing which has been planned in for all year groups offers a creative way to develop the children’s knowledge, skills and understanding while motivating them to learn through stimulating, interconnected topics.
At Mrs Bland’s, we have invested a lot of time and money into our reading scheme. We believe that children learn through a phonetic approach and our high-quality teaching of synthetic phonics is supported by extensive scheme of fully decodable reading books. Our scheme is organised so that children of all abilities can directly apply and consolidate their learning from phonic lessons within their reading. Alongside these fully decodable texts, we also provide children with a wide range of fiction and non-fiction texts to help develop their reading comprehension skills.
Across school, we use colourful semantics within our writing teaching which is a psycholinguistic approach used to develop the children's speech and writing abilities as it teaches the children how to understand and build sentences which helps to develop their grammar. We also use Pie Corbett’s Talk for Writing approach which encompasses a three-stage pedagogy, enabling all of our learners to internalise the language structures needed to write through ‘talking the text’. This improves the children’s writing ability as they approach written tasks with far greater confidence and accuracy.
At Mrs Bland’s, we identify children who need support and provide intervention in the most effective and efficient way that we can. Within our school we deliver turbo time which is an intervention programme which works alongside our phonics programme and provides approaches for the children who are at risk of falling behind or are in the lowest 20% of achievers. We have also implemented the Reading Recovery programme which is tailored for every child starting from what the child knows and what the child needs to learn next. The Reading Recovery programme supports our lowest achieving readers and is designed to enable our learners to reach age-expected levels within a particular timeframe (12-20 weeks).
Children on the SEND register have reading targets as part of the individualised plans which have been written by the class teachers. Teachers plan and teach English lessons which are differentiated to the particular needs of each child. We help each child maximise their potential by providing scaffolded support where necessary whilst striving to make children independent workers once we have helped to equip them with the confidence and strategies that they need.
Marking is rigorous in English, with regular feedback given to the children, both verbally and written and spelling corrections to help children correct and consolidate their work. Throughout the year, regular English book scrutinies are carried out to check all teachers are following our marking policy rigorously.
Children at Mrs Bland’s enjoy the opportunity to share their learning with others and are confident in communicating their ideas and thinking through whole class discussions and in paired and small group work. The children talk with enthusiasm about the texts they are reading, both in class and at home, whether that be their reading book, their library book, a book they have earned from the reading vending machine or a book they are reading for pleasure from home.
As all aspects of English are an integral part of the curriculum, skills taught in the English lessons are transferred into other subjects; this shows consolidation of skills and a deeper understanding of how and when to use specific grammar, punctuation and grammar objectives.
The impact of this robust curriculum is identified using a range of assessment measures. These include:
- Half termly 'Hot Writes' (independent writing) are planned in which are teacher assessed and moderated across the school, within year groups and with other local school in the authority.
- Standardised reading tests are carried out twice a year to determine their reading age.
- Regular spot check assessments are completed by the class teacher and termly phonic assessments are carried out by the Phonics Lead to determine children's GPC knowledge and their ability to apply this when blending the sounds.
Following on from these assessments, we adapt and review our planning and teaching in order to meet the needs of all of our children and move their learning on.
You can view our long term overviews by: