English at Blackheath Primary School
In English, there are three main focus areas:
Speaking and Listening
Writing (including Spelling & Handwriting)
During Key Stage 1 (Years R – 2), pupils learn to speak confidently and listen to what others have to say. They begin to read and write independently and with enthusiasm. They use language to explore their own experiences and imaginary worlds.
During Key Stage 2 (Years 3 – 6), pupils learn to adapt and develop the way they speak and write to suit different situations. They read a range of texts and respond to different layers of meaning in them. They explore the use of language in literary and non-literary texts and learn how language works.
We make full use of the National Curriculum Programmes of Study for English (2014) to aid our teaching in this area. We follow this framework in all classes in Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2.
Daily English lesson
- Whole class shared reading and writing activities using a variety of interesting texts;
- Whole class work concentrating on phonics (particularly in KS1), spelling, punctuation, grammar and handwriting;
- Time for independent work including extended writing, the length of which will be determined by the age and ability of the children.
Writing is closely related to reading. The two activities reinforce each other. It is important that pupils learn to write independently from an early stage. The teaching of phonics, spelling and handwriting complements this process and are used to support writing and build up accuracy and speed. Correct letter formation is taught from the beginning and joined handwriting is taught from Year 2. Pupils are shown how to plan, draft, revise and proof read their work.
The Blackheath Sentence Ladder is used in every classroom in KS1 and KS2 to provide a systematic and consistent way of teaching children sentence structure and punctuation. During Autumn 1, English lessons are purely focused around sentence structure and punctuation to ensure children have the basic writing skills before moving onto more complex genre writing.
Assessment of Writing
Writing is teacher assessed, and independent evidence is collected regularly for every pupil. Stage targets are ticked off after every piece of writing, to keep track of progress, find gaps to target and move pupils forward. Termly cross-school moderation of writing takes place in staff meetings. Additional support for moderating pupils’ writing takes place during phase meetings.
In Key stage 1 we send out spellings linked to phonics and Common Exception words. The spellings are sent out in a sentence or list once a week on a slip that will be tucked in to their home diaries. The children will be tested and any spellings that they have got wrong will be written down for them to relearn and retested on. It is IMPORTANT that home diaries should be in school daily.
We use the No-Nonsense spelling scheme. In Key Stage 2 we send the spellings out in a sentence once a week on a slip that will be tucked in to their home diaries. The children will be tested and any spellings that they have got wrong will be written down for them to relearn and retested on.
Since 2016 children have been expected to work to much higher standards when it comes to grammar and punctuation, and they are introduced to fairly complicated grammatical concepts earlier in their primary-school learning journey.
- Sub-ordinating and co-ordinating sentences are used in Year 2 (previously they were introduced in Year 4).
- Modal verbs, subject and object and the subjunctive are given much more emphasis in the second half of KS2.
- Terminology has been updated to be in line with traditional grammatical vocabulary (connectives are now differentiated as conjunctions, prepositions and adverbs; progressive verb tenses are now known as continuous, complex sentences are referred to as multi-clauses sentences and definite and indefinite articles are looked at as determiners).
Kinetic Letters for Handwriting’ is used in school from Foundation to Year 4 to teach pupils how to form letters correctly and then move onto learning joined script. Kinetic Letters is a scheme that allows children to learn letter formation through movement. Letters are formed with a distinctive flick on the end, preparing them for joining. The letters are taught through moving their bodies and saying the language as they move and then finally writing using the language. In Years 5 and 6 children are still using Penpals until year groups move through school until all children will use Kinetic letters.
Writing Recovery Curriculum
Due to the Covid-19 situation, we have amended and adapted our stage targets for 2020-2021. As a result of missed teaching, gaps have been identified and built into stage targets and planning for this academic year in order to enable children to catch up effectively.
If you would like a copy of the original staged targets, please click on the relevant stage below;
Useful links for children;