Curriculum Design at St Mary’s Catholic Primary School, Brewood
Curriculum Area: English
Curriculum Leader: Mrs N Woolley and Mrs C Wilkin
At St Mary’s Catholic Primary School, we want every child to be happy and enthusiastic learners of English, and to be eager to achieve their very best in order to fulfil their God-given talents. Our ‘literacy-rich’ curriculum aims to motivate and inspire children, through a series of lessons that engage and challenge all learners and provides them with a high standard of language and literacy skills. English is embedded within all our lessons and we strive for a high level of English for all. We believe this is vital for achieving success at school and later in life. We aim to ensure that every child achieves their full potential in the areas of reading, writing, speaking and listening. We believe that the ability to read and write is fundamental to our children succeeding; enabling them to access the next stage of their education and beyond.
Our curriculum is designed to equip pupils with a strong command of the spoken and written word, and to develop their love of literature, through widespread reading for enjoyment. It aims for all children to acquire a wide vocabulary, an understanding of grammar and knowledge of linguistic conventions for reading, writing and spoken language. We understand that a good grasp of English is the foundation of the entire curriculum and that children who are confident and adept readers and writers will be empowered to succeed in all other areas.
Our English curriculum promotes children’s Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural development, ensuring that they are reflective and responsible citizens. Fundamental British Values are actively promoted in English lessons in order to prepare the children for life in Modern Britain.
Learning to read is the most important thing your child will learn at our school. Everything else depends on it, so we put as much energy as we possibly can into making sure that every single child learns to read as quickly as possible. We want your child to love reading – and to want to read for themselves. This is why we put our efforts into making sure they develop a love of books as well as learning to read fluently.
At St Mary’s Catholic Primary School, we are committed to reading aloud to our children every day because reading aloud enables all children to access quality texts but it also enables the teacher to model expressive and fluent reading to the children.
Children at St. Mary’s will learn to read fluently and demonstrate a good understanding and comprehension. Our children will engage with a range of genres and develop their understanding of fiction, non-fiction and poetry. Our aim is for ‘all children to read well, quickly’ and early reading is invested in, and prioritised. Our curriculum has been designed to ensure that children have opportunities to develop a love of reading. We want our children to gain a thirst for reading a range of genres and participating in discussions about the books; exploring the language used by different authors and the impact the written words have on the reader. Our curriculum has also been designed to ensure that our children not only read for pleasure, having had access to a wide range of text types, genres and authors, but to use books to research and gather new knowledge to extend their understanding.
When children leave St. Mary’s, we expect them to be avid readers, children who read fluently and widely, and are able to express preferences and opinions about the texts that they read.
Our curriculum has been designed to ensure that our children enjoy writing and demonstrate passion and enthusiasm. Our aim is to ensure that pupils write clearly, accurately and coherently for a range of contexts; write in different styles and for different purposes and audiences; develop a wide vocabulary and a solid understanding of the grammar rules and terminology appropriate for their age group; apply spelling patterns correctly and use neat handwriting. We immerse the children in a rich, creative and carefully planned curriculum so that they are writing for real and engaging purposes.
Our curriculum has also been designed to ensure that children write with confidence, whilst developing their own individual flair and are able to express themselves creatively and to communicate effectively with others. We aim to expose our children to a wide range of high-quality vocabulary and use then use them within their own writing, both informally and formally, with understanding. We encourage children to take pride in the presentation of their writing, and develop a neat, joined, handwriting style by the time they leave our school and move to secondary school. We teach children spelling and grammar both discretely and as part of our analysis of texts and provide opportunities for them to apply these skills to their own writing.
Grammar teaching is embedded in the teaching of writing at St Mary’s. Our curriculum recognises that the key to effective use of grammar is to open children’s eyes to the infinite repertoire of choices which are available to them as writers. Used in this way, grammar helps children understand how language works and how to express themselves with greater craft and creativity. Grammar is taught within English lessons in a way that supports the children’s learning of a specific text-type. We do this because the evidence is clear – the isolated teaching of grammar has very little, if any, impact on children’s writing content and ability. To embed grammar teaching in context we use authentic examples from authentic texts; use grammatical terms but explain them through examples; encourage language play, experimentation and risk taking; encourage high-quality discussion about language and effects; and, support children to design their writing by making deliberate language choices.
We believe that all good writers refine and edit their writing over time, so in an age-appropriate way, we want children to be able to identify their own areas for improvement in pieces of writing, so that they can edit their work effectively during and after the writing process. We want children to understand and learn the craft of writing so that they plan produce and publish something of which they are proud.
Speaking and Listening
At St. Mary’s, speaking and listening is developed from EYFS and beyond. We want our children to be able to express themselves with confidence, as we believe that it is central to their learning. We nurture children’s speaking and listening skills through a variety of approaches. We develop these skills so that our children are capable of expressing their own ideas clearly and confidently, in a safe and supportive environment, in all aspects and areas of their school life. These skills are being encouraged in every area of our curriculum as good communication skills can enhance every type of learning. The children are encouraged to explore ideas through talk; challenge each other’s opinions and develop their own reasoned arguments, as well as talking in full sentences with a clear and confident voice.
In English, we implement an inclusive curriculum that meets the statutory requirements of the National Curriculum. Our curriculum is well-planned and provides literacy-rich, cross-curricular opportunities. We ensure that we regularly review previous learning and at the same time we provide scaffold and stretch for learning for all to allow them to achieve their god given potential.
At St. Mary’s, we have a daily discrete English lesson. However, English is the cornerstone of our entire curriculum. It is embedded within all our lessons and we strive for a high standard of English for all. Our ‘literacy-rich’ curriculum uses high-quality texts, immerses children in vocabulary-rich learning environments and ensures curriculum expectations and the progression of skills are met.
Our curriculum is delivered through highly effective ‘quality-first teaching’. Enrichment opportunities, including outdoor learning, inspirational visitors and exciting educational visits, provide our children with rich experiences and enhance teaching, learning and knowledge.
Our well-planned English curriculum ensures that children develop the skills, knowledge and vocabulary that will enable them to communicate effectively and creatively through spoken and written language. Through the breadth and depth that our curriculum offers, children are equipped with the skills to become lifelong learners and to enjoy and appreciate literature and its rich variety.
Our well-planned English curriculum ensures that children develop the skills, knowledge and vocabulary that will enable them to communicate effectively and creatively through spoken and written language.
Through the breadth and depth that our curriculum offers, children are equipped with the skills to become lifelong learners and to enjoy and appreciate literature and its rich variety. It leads them to become informed, enthusiastic and skilled readers and writers, who can engage with texts and the world around them, as reflective and independent thinkers.
The impact as our children journey through school from EYFS to Year 6 is clear: progress, sustained learning and transferrable skills. We are able to measure attainment using the Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 national assessments, along with the information provided by teacher assessments for writing, reading and grammar, punctuation and spelling. We hope that as children move on from us to further their education and learning that their creativity, passion for English and high aspirations travel with them and continue to grow and develop as they do.