English has a pre-eminent place in education and in society. A high-quality education in English will teach pupils to speak and write fluently so that they can communicate their ideas and emotions to others and through their reading and listening, others can communicate with them. Through reading in particular, pupils have a chance to develop culturally, emotionally, intellectually, socially and spiritually.
National Curriculum 2014
Intent - What Do We Aspire for Our Children?
Our Curriculum Intent for English
At Cuddington, every child is given the opportunity to acquire the knowledge and skills necessary to become analytical readers and competent authors. We promote the enjoyment of reading by carefully selecting high-quality texts that are used as a vehicle for learning across the curriculum. By providing our children with the skills to read, they are able to broaden their knowledge in a range of subject disciplines.
Children are exposed to a word-rich curriculum. Through immersion in high-quality texts, teachers identify and explicitly teach rich and varied vocabulary, providing them with the tools to become confident communicators, readers, and writers. By doing this, we will close the vocabulary gap for our most disadvantaged children.
Carefully planned writing lessons allow our children to develop their skills, by adapting their language and style in and for a range of contexts, purposes, and audiences. They are given the opportunity to apply their skills across the curriculum and they are encouraged to use language effectively to create a desired effect on the reader. Our children will leave Cuddington having had the opportunity to master skills in speaking, reading, and writing that will prepare them for secondary education and life beyond the school gates.
Our Whole School Literature Spine
At Cuddington, we believe that beautiful picture books should be at the core of our English curriculum. Our literature spine ensures that children are immersed in six stunning texts each year. Each book is studied in-depth with children producing two pieces of extended, independent writing every half term. This ensures children have studied a breadth of texts and experienced writing in a range of genres, forms, and styles.
Implementation - How Will We Deliver the Curriculum?
Read to Write
We use a research-informed ‘read to write’ approach to our teaching of English, drawing on both reading and writing skills. We use carefully selected, vocabulary-rich texts as a vehicle for teaching reading and writing.
Children follow clear, sequential episodes of learning based around an ambitious model text, that allow for the development of vocabulary and contextualised spelling, punctuation, and grammar. Units start by engaging children in a variety of reading activities, so that they fully understand the text and are able to ‘read as a writer’. Reading as a writer is a key component out our approach and involves children analysing the model text to understand the techniques the author has used and the subsequent effect on the reader. Throughout the writing process, the teacher models writing and undertakes shared writing and guided writing to develop the children’s knowledge and skills, in readiness for independent writing. By providing children with a range of writing opportunities, they are given the chance to draw on their reading and to adapt their language and style for a range of contexts, purposes, and audiences.
Each unit of work follows the structure outlined below (timings vary):
By using this approach to writing our curriculum is coherently planned to ensure that all objectives are taught and revisited throughout a year group and age phase.
Discrete Teaching of Spelling
At Cuddington, we teach spelling in context within our units of work. In addition to this, we use the ‘Babcock – No Nonsense’ spelling scheme. This scheme helps our teachers deliver short, daily, 10-15 minute lessons within the main English lesson. This ensures that children are taught the full breadth of spelling patterns appropriate to each year group and age phase.
The Teaching of Reading
Our teaching of reading is delivered through ‘Steps to Read'. Steps to Read is a planning support for whole class shared reading through carefully crafted units of work. These units of work also help our teachers to provide curriculum knowledge for foundation subjects. Our coherently planned reading curriculum ensures that we teach all aspects of word reading and comprehension through high-quality fiction, non-fiction, and poetry texts. Our reading curriculum provides a clear teaching sequence to reading sessions that explicitly teach reading skills and strategies in a cumulative way through evidence-based approaches. These comprehensive units have been constructed so that the entire statutory curriculum for reading is covered from EYFS to Y6.
Reading lessons follow a rigorous, research-informed lesson design to ensure there is a balance between teacher-led instruction, children practicing, and independent application.
Impact - How Do We Know Our English Curriculum is Effective?
Our curriculum ethos is that children produce two pieces of high-quality, extended writing each half term based on the focus text. Writing is planned, drafted, redrafted, and then published into ‘Curriculum Books’ as a celebration of children's achievements. We believe that if children have become knowledgeable and skillful authors and readers then they will be able to articulate their understanding with confidence. This is why pupil voice is an important tool in assessing whether children have made progress
Each half term, children complete an NTS (National Test Style) standardised reading assessment. These assessments help us to appraise the impact of our curriculum, whilst also informing teachers' planning for the coming term.