English


Intent

At Gorseland, we aim to promote a love of reading and writing and equip children with the knowledge, skills and vocabulary they need to become effective communicators in the world.

We encourage a love of reading by:

  • Having a wide range of high-quality texts at the heart of what we do

  • Teachers enthusiastically modelling reading for pleasure during daily story time

  • Timetabled library sessions for children to immerse themselves in literature

We encourage a love of writing by:

  • Promoting and celebrating imagination and creativity in daily writing lessons

  • Engaging with topics that inspire our pupils

  • Teaching the craft of writing, considering the impact on the reader (writing as a reader)

  • Inspiring children to write by modelling the writing process

  • Providing real audiences for children to share their writing with

We equip pupils with the knowledge, skills and vocabulary to become effective communicators by:

  • Explicitly teaching the fundamental skills of writing - spelling, punctuation, grammar and handwriting

  • Creating a language-rich environment

  • Teaching pupils to ‘raid their reading’ for great ideas to use in their own writing

  • Modelling high-quality spoken and written English

Implementation

Writing

At Gorseland, writing is taught using the Talk for Writing (T4W) teaching approach.

Talk for Writing Planning Structure

Each unit of work follows a clear structure of imitation and innovation as well as including ‘Cold Writes’ and ‘Hot Writes’.

Cold Write

A ‘Cold Write’ is completed at the beginning of each unit to see what the children already know about the genre being studied. A prompt is given to the children and is stuck into the their Literacy book. A blue corner will identify this piece of writing quickly. Their writing informs teacher planning, depending on what the children can/can’t do.

Imitation

The main focus of the imitation stage is storytelling, focused on a model text, which enables the children to explore text features, sentence structure, language patterns and how a specific text-type is composed. Model texts are provided by the English leads for year groups to choose from before a unit of work is completed. If year groups wish to write their own model text, this will be agreed with the English leads beforehand and they will receive a copy before it is taught.

The imitation stage will consist of the following activities:

  • Storymapping is done as a class, using symbols/pictures to aid memory of the model text. Actions for the text are also used as a memory aid’ these are created by the children. For certain keywords, there are agreed actions used across the school. ‘Kung Fu Punctuation’ is used to support punctuation.

  • Reading as a Reader activities are completed. This may include vocabulary work and comprehension activities that support children’s understanding of the text type.

  • Reading as a Writer activities are completed. The text is looked at closely to identify the Writer’s Toolkit. E.g. Power of 3, personification or expanded noun phrases. The effect of using these tools is also discussed.

  • Grammar and punctuation is taught implicitly through the model text where possible. E.g. Punctuation is highlighted or shown in a different colour.

Innovation

Children use their in-depth understanding of the model text to write their own version.

  • Planning is completed using the boxing up grid completed during the innovation stage. The teacher models this planning to the class, ensuring that the tools from the toolkit feature strongly.

  • Writing is completed over a series of lessons.

  • Shared writing is completed during each of the lessons; the teacher takes contributions from the children to help write a shared text. This models the tools to the children so that they know how to incorporate them into their own Innovation piece.

  • Children have frequent opportunities to revisit their writing and edit at the point of writing

Hot Write

The ‘Hot Write’ is completed at the end of each unit of writing. A prompt or idea is given that allows the children to display the tools they have learnt through the previous stages. This provides a valuable assessment opportunity and shows the progress the children have made over the course of a unit. A red corner will identify this piece of writing quickly, rather than the use of independent writing folders.

English Working Wall/Washing Lines

Every classroom has an English Working Wall and a Washing Line (where space permits).

  • The T4W journey is clearly displayed, to enable children to consistently refer to previous learning, including Story maps, Writer’s Toolkits and Shared writing.

  • Agreed actions for key words and punctuation are displayed.

We maintain a high level of subject knowledge of writing in our school by regular training and professional development for teachers and subject leaders. Teachers create a positive attitude to writing within their classrooms, and reinforce an expectation that all children are capable of achieving high standards in writing.

Guidance from our school framework named ‘Gorseland Expects Standards’ is used to plan a bespoke curriculum tailored to pupils’ individual needs to facilitate access to quality learning experiences and develop their writing knowledge, understanding and skills progressively. A ‘GE’ week is incorporated into every half-term. This allows for the teaching of specific Gorseland Expects targets, for example, prepositions, use of pronouns etc.

With effective subject leadership, we are a well-equipped and resourced school. Regular monitoring shows that our children understand and apply key principles within their work. At Gorseland, we have a rigorous monitoring process of the writing curriculum that is kept up to date and contributes towards our school improvement plan.

Reading

1:1 Reading Conferences

Every two weeks, the children have the opportunity to read their school reading book to their class teacher. Teachers can gauge a child’s interest and understanding of their book, identify whether it is at the right level for the child and, most importantly, discuss the book, make connections to other books/authors and recommend other texts that the children may enjoy. This helps to support each child’s reading skill and will. In addition, conferences provide a positive way of addressing individual misconceptions as well as a vital opportunity for teachers to verbally model and facilitate effective reading fluency including prosodic features (intonation, expression, pitch, volume, tempo, rhythm and the use of pause).

Daily Reading Lessons (45 minutes)

We are moving from guided reading carousels to whole class teaching of reading in Years 1-6. This will entail daily 45 minute reading lessons delivered by the teacher that are focused on the six VIPERS skills: Vocabulary, Inference, Prediction, Explanation, Retrieval and Summary. Children will look at extracts from a range of genres in classic and modern fiction, non-fiction and poetry. Each week, a passage will be explored through the lens of each VIPERS skill, with vocabulary taught in context every day. During these lessons, teachers will hear children read aloud (whether to the class or directly to the teacher).Assessment for learning will happen ‘live’ to ensure misconceptions are addressed in a timely way and competency in skills is identified for every child over time. Greater depth pupils will be stretched during these lessons and personalised feedback can be given to individual

Impact

Writing

Teachers assess children’s work in English against end of year national curriculum requirements. Feedback and marking is provided throughout the writing process (within and between lessons) to guide children on editing for improvement. Progress is judged by comparing Cold and Hot tasks and gaps in knowledge are identified so sequences of work can be adapted to meet the needs of the children. At the end of each term, teachers make a judgement against the National Curriculum ‘expected’ levels of attainment for each child. Teachers record this information and use it to plan the future work of each child. These records also enable the teacher to make an annual assessment of progress for each child, as part of the school’s annual report to parents. To ensure children’s progress continues, writing assessments move with the children to their next class teacher.

Reading

At the end of each term, children undertake a formal reading assessment paper. Scores aid teachers in their judgements but teacher assessment prevails. These scores are recorded in tracking spreadsheets so that progress over time can be monitored and gaps addressed. Teachers use this data to address whole class, group or individual areas of weakness in the whole class reading lessons and 1:1 conferences (where appropriate).

Teachers

Teachers are responsible for ensuring a high standard of teaching and learning in writing in their classroom by:

  • Planning lessons which follow the agreed T4W structure.

  • Creating and learning model texts, using agreed actions for punctuation and key words, as well as creating a story map before the unit is taught.

  • Regularly updating the English Working Wall and/or Washing Line.

  • Modelling the writing process.

  • Providing opportunities for children to revisit their work as a result of teacher, peer and self evaluation.

  • Regular reading and discussion of class books by teachers

  • Regular opportunities to read age and level-appropriate books independently, to an adult and with peers

  • Providing weekly access to our extensive library collection

  • Conducting fortnightly 1:1 reading conference with the class teacher

  • Sharing stories in assemblies

  • Providing termly book fair visits

  • Celebrating World Book Day annually

Teaching Assistants

Teaching Assistants play an important role in the teaching of writing by:

  • Learning model texts using agreed actions for punctuation and key words.

  • Modelling writing during shared and guided writing sessions.

  • Aiding children in revisiting and improving their drawn story map.

Subject Leaders

The English subject leaders are responsible for:

  • Having a shared vision for English teaching throughout the school

  • Monitoring the quality of teaching and learning through, for example, work sampling, planning scrutiny, pupil perceptions and learning walks

  • Providing support and guidance for teachers across the school with the implementation of the English curriculum

  • Proving relevant CPD for teachers to ensure quality-first teaching for all.