English - Key Stage 2
English – the subject at the heart of the National Curriculum – is taught by our specialist teachers with dynamic enthusiasm. Our aim is to develop knowledgeable readers and writers that are inquisitive, full of confidence and overflowing with creativity. We have high standards and expectations for all pupils.
Our flexible curriculum is based around the needs of the children. After investigating a text, pupils have opportunities to develop their reading comprehension skills and glean effective techniques for their own writing. Teacher demonstration follows – a process that the class are very much involved with – and then supported and independent writing. Interwoven to the curriculum are grammar, punctuation and spelling lessons, which support pupils’ reading comprehension and writing.
Pupils read a wide selection of fiction, non-fiction and poetry throughout Key Stage 2. They enjoy warming to the character of Bradley Chalkers in There’s a Boy in the Girls’ Bathroom, the intrigue of Barnaby’s secret friend in Stig of the Dump, the suspense of Lily’s adventures in Cogheart, the ducking and diving of the Cunningham brothers in Millions and the various trials and tribulations of a young Roald Dahl and his friends in his eponymous novel Boy. They also explore a range of text extracts – such as excerpts from JR Tolkien’s The Hobbit, Jenny Nimmo’s The Snow Spider and Dave Almond’s Skellig - that inspire them to borrow the full novels from our school library. A number of lessons each week are dedicated to reading and discussing the unit’s key texts, during which time pupils are given the opportunity to develop their comprehension skills before producing a creative response to the text.
Alongside English lessons, we also offer pupils in both Key Stage Two and Key Stage Three thirty minutes of additional reading time each day: this alternates daily between guided ‘Reciprocal Reading’ sessions, which give them the opportunity to discuss a range of texts with their peers, and independent reading, which allows them to select a book from home or the library. Our school library is well-stocked to accommodate all reading abilities and is staffed during lunchtimes and PM registration periods daily. A further session is giving to sharing Newsround and First News reports to stimulate meaningful discussion around current affairs issues.
In addition, pupils are encouraged to read at home and complete a reading record, whilst at school they are guided towards selecting texts from our school library that both challenge and inspire them.
As Key Stage 2 progresses, pupils are taught to write with more awareness of the reader as they develop the skills of ‘conscious control’. Pupils write to engage using the characteristics of different fiction genres, they produce biased and balanced arguments, the children develop an authentic journalistic style and write for many other different purposes. All staff follow the National Curriculum informed medium term plans whilst still delivering personalised, individual lessons.
Speaking & Listening
Speaking and listening tasks are built into each unit of work. During Year 5 and Year 6, the children take part in role plays, hot seating, debates and discussions. They look at the performance of poetry and are involved in mock news reports and advertising campaigns. The pupils learn how to speak clearly, expressively and with purpose. They also adapt their performance for a specific audience – engaging people with their body language as well as their voice.
Elements of Debate Mate are woven into the curriculum. If pupils are able to confidently articulate themselves, they are able to develop strong reading and writing skills so engaging in discussion during lessons is always encouraged.
During the autumn term, pupils are encouraged to join our extremely popular drama club, which allows them to audition for a role in our annual school production. Previous performances have included Paws and Claws, Wicked, The Ugly Duckling and Joseph and His Technicolour Dreamcoat.
Spelling, Grammar and Punctuation
This is taught in a fun, creative way that gets pupils to clarify the meaning of texts. The lessons aim to get children thinking about the effectiveness of the language they use and how punctuation is essential when communicating with a reader. Pupils are also provided with a set of spellings to learn each week.
We are also fortunate to be able to offer Sound Training, a successful programme aimed at accelerating pupils’ progress in reading.
Pupils are discreetly monitored to ensure that progress is being made. Writing is assessed most weeks and a formal reading and GPS test takes place every term. We aim to respond quickly if a pupil is not making expected progress and offer them suitable opportunities to consolidate their learning.
We offer many opportunities for enrichment throughout the year. For those that have an interest in performing, there is a weekly drama club that takes place after school. Many of these pupils will be involved in the school’s annual play which is always incredibly popular. Pupils relish the chance to dress up as their favourite book characters as they participate in literary-themed activities in celebration of World Book Day, raising money for Book Aid in the process. In a drive to promote reading for pleasure, we offer pupils reading points for successfully completing challenges linked to the books they read at home and those with the highest totals are rewarded a place on a reward trip at the end of the year – this year, they enjoyed a visit to Harry Potter World. We also ensure we link literacy to other areas of the curriculum, such as through enrichment days and collaboration with the talented artists at Ingestre Hall. Pupils also contribute towards our school website, gaining valuable journalistic skills in the process.
English Curriculum - Year 5
Visual Literacy: David Weisner
Pupils are taught how to skim and scan a text for information. They learn the difference between literal, inference and evaluative questions and how to answer them effectively. Alongside this, they explore two David Wiesner picture books (Tuesday and Flotsam) using their newly-acquired literal, inference and evaluative skills to extract meaning from them. The written work they produce is underpinned by their understanding of basic word classes and punctuation. Opportunities for S&L are enmeshed throughout.
Pupils study a range of traditional tales, taking in fables, myths, legends from a range of authors in addition to Rudyard Kipling’s Just-So Stories. They explore their key features, apply their understanding of literal observations, inference and evaluation to answer comprehension questions and compose and perform their own short stories. Throughout this unit, their written work will be underpinned by a GPS focus on sentence construction, including their length, structure and engaging openers.
Stig of the Dump by Clive King
Last term, pupils developed their reading comprehension skills and learnt to apply them to text extracts and short stories. This term, they further develop these skills by applying them to this classic novel. There are opportunities to consolidate their speaking and listening skills through activities such as hot-seating and role play. Throughout the unit, they also compose a variety of written pieces in response to the story.
Pupils investigate a number of persuasive texts and media offering insight into the techniques used to persuade. They explore the audience, purpose and language of existing persuasive texts. Acknowledging this, they produce a persuasive poster, radio advert, information leaflet, public information film and formal letter.
The Power of Imagery
Pupils explore a range of poetry and poetry styles by a variety of authors. As a class, they share their thoughts, ideas and feelings on them. They are introduced to new figurative language techniques whilst also having opportunities to practice using the techniques they have already been taught by producing poetry of their own. Pupils end the unit by examining the narrative poem The Highway Man and applying the poetic devices they have explored to a short story based on it.
There’s a Boy in the Girls’ Bathroom by Louis Sachar
Set in the USA, this book has as its main character a 'bad' boy who is always in trouble. In this story, children are offered ways to discuss issues of friendship, bullying and the links between self-esteem, behaviour and learning. Many children relate to these questions and welcome the chance to discuss them throughout the novel. Writing an ongoing diary for Bradley, emailing and letter writing form the main writing outcomes for this unit. The pace of the novel, its humour, twists and turns support children who are gaining confidence as readers, helping them to empathise with characters and to infer feelings, thoughts and motivations over the course of the narrative.
During 2-3 sessions of Reciprocal Reading per week, pupils read and discuss a range of texts including: Journey to Jo’Burg by Beverley Naidoo; Wreck of the Zanzibar by Michael Morpurgo; George’s Marvellous Medicine by Roald Dahl; The Iron Man by Ted Hughes; Out of India by Jamila Gavin; The Firework Maker’s Daughter by Michael Morpurgo; Danny the Champion of the World by Roald Dahl. These texts are rotated around the classes.
English Curriculum - Year 6
Pupils develop their reading comprehension skills, building upon the knowledge gained during Year Five to develop their responses to reading comprehension questions. By initially focusing on illustrations and other media, they learn to retrieve and then summarise the main ideas in a range of text extracts. They learn to efficiently and accurately retrieve facts, use clues from the text to make inferences and evaluate what they have read by justifying their views. They also learn how to ‘read’ a question whilst also asking their own.
Through these regular reading comprehension opportunities, pupils develop an understanding of how a writer uses ‘conscious control’ to convey meaning and they develop the ability to take inspiration from this in order to build upon their own understanding of how to apply their own ‘conscious control’ when composing engaging texts, focusing on the power of descriptive language. They begin by composing engaging character and setting descriptions before applying these descriptive writing skills to dynamic action scenes and tense and atmospheric story openers and cliffhangers. Finally, they consolidate these skills into an original short story based on Chris Van Allsburg’s The Mysteries of Harris Burdick, a book that seldom fails to inspire the pupils.
The written work they produce is underpinned by their understanding of basic word classes and punctuation. Opportunities for S&L are enmeshed throughout.
Cogheart by Peter Bunzl
This exciting adventure novel, set in the Victorian era and taking inspiration from the Steampunk movement, is explored in detail. Pupils continue to develop the reading skills developed earlier in the term to extract information and make inferences, commenting on the style and language used by the author in the process. They also develop their ability to summarise texts, make predictions and decode unfamiliar language through further reading. Pupils learn to structure evaluative responses to open questions using the PEEL (Point, Evidence, Explanation, Link) approach. They produce a range of written pieces in response to the novel’s key ideas, such as a persuasive letter arguing mechanimals’ ‘human’ rights and a newspaper report that covers the key events of the story. As with all other units, their written work is underpinned by GPS principles that build upon the skills developed during the previous half term.
During the course of this unit, pupils further develop the persuasive writing skills they were introduced to during Year Five. They analyse a range of persuasive writing texts, applying the key reading comprehension skills they developed last term. Building upon the skills they were introduced to during the Narrative Writing and Cogheart units, pupils will apply conscious control – such as emotive language - when composing their own persuasive texts in order to provoke strong reactions from their audience. As with all other units, their written work is underpinned by GPS principles that build upon the skills developed during the previous half term.
Boy by Roald Dahl
The pupils seldom fail to adore this engaging autobiography containing hilarious anecdotes of the trials and tribulations of the author’s childhood. Roald Dahl had a gift for making even the most mundane of events appear thrilling and the pupils enjoy drawing inspiration from this when recounting their own memories. As well as exploring the features of biographical and autobiographical writing and composing their own pieces, pupils also have the opportunity to compose other extended writing pieces – such as letters and diary entries - in the style of Roald Dahl, exploring his use of humour and vibrant descriptive language in the process.
Millions by Frank Cottrell Boyce
Pupils explore the novel (which was later adapted into an ward-winning screenplay) in detail, commenting on the style and language used by the authors. By building upon what they learnt earlier in the year, they begin to provide more in-depth answers to comprehension questions, gaining confidence in their use of the PEEL and PETAL techniques – a key skill that supports them in their transition to KS3 English. Alongside this, they consolidate their GPS skills and knowledge by applying them to extended writing pieces. For those pupils for whom English is more challenging, these skills are developed by reading David Walliam’s popular novel Gangsta Granny, instead.
During 2-3 sessions of Reciprocal Reading per week, pupils read and discuss a range of texts including: Kensuke’s Kingdom by Michael Morpurgo; Tom’s Midnight Garden by Philippa Pearce; Why the Whales Came by Michael Morpurgo; The Goalkeeper’s Revenge by Bill Naughton. These texts are rotated around the classes.