Our English Curriculum
“The overarching aim for English in the national curriculum is to promote high standards of language and literacy by equipping pupils with a strong command of the spoken and written language, and to develop their love of literature through widespread reading for enjoyment.” (DfE 2013)
“Reading for pleasure is the single best indicator of a child’s academic success.” (OECD)
At Lea Forest our English curriculum is designed to ensure that our pupils secure the necessary reading, writing and linguistic skills to become enthusiastic and independent writers, articulate communicators and widespread readers. We strive to provide an engaging and enriching sequential learning experience, which immerses the children in their learning and fosters a love for reading, a passion for discovery and confidence to explore the world around them.
English underpins the work undertaken in all other areas of the curriculum and is a prerequisite for educational and social progress. Through reading a wide range of quality texts and having meaningful discussions, we aim to create valuable, contributing members of society. The acquisition of language skills is of the utmost importance and therefore the teaching of all aspects is given a high priority within school. Confidence in basic language skills enables children to communicate creatively and imaginatively through compositional outcomes.
Our English Curriculum Intent
Here at Lea Forest, we want every child to develop into lifelong readers, writers, and communicators. We have developed an ambitious, creative and innovative English Curriculum to support and inspire all of our learners.
We follow the National Curriculum and have tailored our school curriculum to meet the needs of all of our learners. A range of high-quality texts has been carefully chosen to enrich the teaching and learning in every year groups and provide memorable and enriching experiences for our pupils.
Reading At Lea Forest
There is no better indicator of a child's future success than whether or not they love reading (OECD 2002). Those who love to read are much more likely to succeed in all subjects and achieve academic success at secondary school and beyond than those who don't.
In 2019, the proportion of pupils who met the expected standard (32+) in phonics in Year 1 (93%) was significantly above national and in the highest 20% of all schools.
Key Stage 2 progress in reading (8.4) was significantly above national and in the highest 20% of all schools in 2019. Reading progress has improved between 2018 and 2019. Key Stage 2 attainment of the expected standard (100+) in reading (97%) was significantly above national and in the highest 20% of all schools in 2019. Key Stage 2 attainment of the high standard (110+) in reading (53%) was significantly above national and in the highest 20% of all schools in 2019.
We use a wide range of stories, poems, rhymes, and non-fiction texts that develop pupils’ vocabulary, language comprehension and love of reading.
To promote a love of reading at Lea Forest, we:
- Create class libraries (book corners) which are inviting, well-organised and contain a range of quality texts
- Have daily story time sessions (class readers)
- Encourage author visits
- Display a #LoveToRead gallery with messages from published authors
- Celebrate reading weekly with awards in our celebration assemblies
- Provide weekly timetabled library sessions with our school librarian
- Award readers with additional library time on a weekly basis
- Work closely with the local library (Glebe Farm)
- Hold regular parent workshops
- Set reading challenges
- Provide a ‘book swap shop’
- Share ‘bedtime stories’ on the website which can be viewed and enjoyed at home
- Hold weekly lunchtime clubs, where children can read for pleasure and book talk about text they enjoy with friends.
- Weekly library session to support parents with story telling at home with our school librarian.
The scheme used for early reading is ‘Oxford Reading Tree’ and ‘Bug Club’ to ensure children have books that are matched to their reading ability and phonic phase. Children have access to online books matched to their phonic phase that they can access in school and at home.
‘Accelerated Reader’ (AR) is an online programme successfully used across all Key Stage 2 classes. AR is an online programme that aims to foster the habit of independent reading. With a vast collection of books available in our library, the children have ample opportunity to select books that are of interest to them and within their reading ability. AR initially screens pupils according to their reading level, and suggests books that match their reading age and reading interest. Pupils take computerised quizzes on the books they have read and earn AR points for their hard work, which is celebrated each week in assembly.
All children are expected to bring their reading diaries back to school daily. They take a book home to read for pleasure that the child has individually selected either from the school library or the classroom library. Children who are still learning to decode also take home a book to match their reading level and phonic phase.
Our teachers read to children and model reading aloud during shared reading, changing the tone and intonation in their voice and pausing for punctuation. Our teachers are enthusiastic and engaging readers who encourage a love of reading for pleasure. Through focussed book talk, the skills taught in English lessons are applied to all reading across the curriculum.
Storytimes are encouraged to be engaging and interesting for all children. Each child's voice is valued during storytime, as they have the opportunity to make recommendations or choose books they want to hear read. Books are brought to life through the use of different voices, props and expression. The atmosphere for storytime is always considered, so the children can comfortably enjoy their selection.
Storytime books are selected by both the teacher and the pupils. Familiar stories are revisited and a range of genres are covered.
We encourage parents to read at home with their children by providing each child with a book to take home. Communication is key and each parent receives written messages in their child's individual reading diary to update parents with their child's progress and help parents know what they can do to support at home. We hold regular parent workshops, to advance the parents’ understanding on the development of reading and different reading strategies they can utilise at home.
Phonics and Early Reading at Lea Forest
Children starting at Lea Forest Primary Academy in Early Years are introduced to the ‘Phonic Bug’ which aligns with letters and sounds.
In Nursery this begins with whole class teaching as children are taught to listen for sounds in words; this later builds to recognising written sounds for reading. Throughout the year, children are also taught phonics in small groups, appropriate for their ability. To foster a love of reading, each week all Nursery children visit our library with Mrs Clarke (our school librarian) where they choose a library book to take home. In addition to this, Mrs Clarke visits Nursery weekly with all her story props to support story retelling in their environment. All children in Nursery have a library book which they can change weekly in addition to a ‘picture book’ that they take home daily to share with their parents.
The teaching of high quality systematics synthetic phonics continues into Reception and Years 1 and 2. All children have a daily, dedicated phonics lesson, following the phonics programme. These lessons are engaging, interactive and fully differentiated to meet the needs of all pupils, allowing them to make sustained and accelerated progress. Children are taught to blend sounds to decode words, sentences and whole texts. Children are taught to use phonics knowledge and use visual cues to aid word recognition. As children become confident at decoding and word recognition, their fluency develops and allows them to develop their understanding of the texts they are reading (reading comprehension). Whilst both word recognition and comprehension are crucial skills to help children become confident readers who can critically engage with texts.
Children on the phonics programme will have a book sent home daily from school that matches the their phonetic ability. For some children, this may be a picture book while they are still learning phonemes and listening for sounds in words. For other children, depending on where they are on their reading journey, these books may include more words that they are able to decode with increasing fluency.
Children in Year 1 complete the Phonic Screening Check during the summer term. We strive for all of our children to pass the Phonic Screening Check and additional support is put into place for those children who require it. The children who do not achieve the pass mark in Year 1 take the test in the following academic year, when they are in Year 2. Additional support for these children is planned carefully to ensure they are confident in the resits. We have the highest of expectations for all of our children and we expect them to progress at the rate outlined in the table below:
Talk For Writing at Lea Forest
At Lea Forest Primary Academy we follow the ‘Talk for Writing’ process in Early Years and Year 1. The aim is for the children to orally retell stories first - to help them develop their vocabulary base and understanding of story structures before they then apply this to their writing. Children in these year groups receive separate reading and writing lessons.
The English Mastery Flow Model at Lea Forest
Here at Lea Forest, children in Years 2 - 6 will follow the Mastery Flow structure, to make rich connections across the English curriculum. Reading and writing lessons are combined to enable the children to learn firsthand a broad range of authors. Teacher support this by providing the children with a variety of high-quality texts and engaging yet ambitious activities. These tasks then grow in the challenge from the initial teaching, to the independent application, through to the probing questions, further extension and problem-solving tasks.
At Lea Forest, we aim to develop our children into confident spellers so they have the freedom to express themselves through a wide range of vocabulary. We teach a different spelling rule a week – through the use of engaging lessons, dictation - for context and personalized accounts on ‘Spelling Frame’. Please see our spelling overview below.
English Subject Leaders Video
Lea Forest - English Progression Map
Lea Forest - English Overview of Topics
Lea Forest - English Mastery Flow Model
Lea Forest - Spelling Overview
Updated November 2019