English at Northbrook is led by Mrs Spence
At Northbrook Primary Academy, we believe that all aspects of English are a fundamental life skill which develops pupils’ ability to listen, speak, communicate, read and write for a wide range of purposes. We aim to give all pupils the opportunity to access quality and challenging texts which develop the children’s understanding of vocabulary, audience and purpose, but most importantly promote a love of both reading and writing. At Northbrook we also have a keen focus on Oracy and our curriculum provides pupils with a range of oracy opportunities aimed at supporting them to develop key communication skills and allowing them to 'learn through talk'.
By following the Lancashire English Planning scheme, we aim to ensure that all pupils:
- develop a love of language for language sake and grow an ability to use spoken and written language to communicate effectively.
- listen, speak, read and write both in, and for, a wide range of contexts, purposes and audiences.
- read fluently and with confidence, in any subject, by the time they are ready to move to secondary school.
- love reading and to want to read for themselves.
- acquire a wide and rich vocabulary that helps them articulate everything they know about the world around them.
- have a good understanding of grammar in context and to be able to spell new words by applying the spelling patterns and rules they learn throughout their time in our school.
- write clearly, accurately and coherently, adapting their language and style as necessary. take pride in the presentation of their writing and aim to develop a legible, joined handwriting style by the time they move to secondary school.
- understand that all good writers refine and edit their writing before producing a final published copy therefore we want our children to develop independence in being able to identify their own areas for improvement.
We recognise that each child has their own starting point upon entry to every year group and progress is measured in line with these starting points in order to ensure that every child can celebrate success.
Our Curriculum Drivers
- HEART Values – English at Northbrook is designed to open a world of imagination and creativity which brings us happiness through its adventures. We aim high and aspire to be writers who can change the world! Our divers reading program provides us with a world to other cultures and teaches us to respect everyone, no matter their differences.
- Literacy and Language – At Northbrook, Oracy is of the utmost importance and every writing and reading session is built around a program of Language and communication development that strengthens children’s vocabulary and language skills.
- Community and Cultural Diversity- We aim to provide children with a range of texts that show diversity. By reading stories and books from a wide range of diverse authors, and making links with the wider curriculum, our children build on their understanding of the world.
- Global Citizenship- by providing opportunities for our learning to be based in real-life contexts we engage the children’ curiosity and make them want to use their writing to make a difference.
Implementation: Our writing curriculum:
Teaching writing in EYFS:
At Northbrook, children’s writing journey begins in Early Years begins with exploratory mark making. Our EYFS curriculum provides children with opportunities to explore mark making in both indoor and outdoor provision, using a range of materials available to them.
Children are exposed to a range of exciting stories and non-fiction texts in order to develop their vocabulary, improve communication & language and as a stimulus for early writing. The school's writing cycle based on the Lancashire planning scheme is followed through a thematic approach across a sequence of lessons. Children have the opportunity to write lists, letters, instructions and as the year progresses children build up to writing their own short narratives based on the structure of traditional tales.
To help begin their journey in letter formation, the school follows the Letter Joins handwriting programme in which children are taught handwriting patterns as part of their daily lessons.
As the year progresses, children are encouraged to become more independent in their mark making and developing ability to write. Continuous provision provides opportunities across the classroom for children to access mark making tools and materials to support their learning through play.
Teaching writing in KS1 and KS2
To support all pupils to be able to write clearly, accurately, and coherently, writing teaching at Northbrook Primary Academy in KS1 and KS2 follows a consistent sequence of lessons as outlined by the Lancashire County Council planning for English. These lessons are carefully planned to support pupils in being able to communicate confidently and express their ideas in the written form.
Each half term block is based around a theme and consists of smaller units that focus on both Fiction and Non-fiction writing opportunities and each unit is planned to run alongside the wider curriculum and create and links with the wider foundation curriculum and Science units.
At Northbrook, we truly believe that a strong Oracy curriculum is vital for our children to succeed and learn to articulate themselves and what they know. Therefore, throughout each sequence of writing lessons, opportunities for oracy are planned for and new vocabulary is introduced. These include (but are not limited to):
- Role play
- Discussion of text (responding as a reader)
- Oral rehearsal
- Performance reads
- Peer review of work
- Celebration of work in class & during assemblies
The Key Learning in Reading and Key Learning in Writing have been identified across the school and this progression allows children to meet the criteria set out in the National Curriculum for English.
The Teaching Sequence
At Northbrook, every unit outline follows the teaching sequence:
- Creating Interest: Hook to engage pupils into writing unit (text and/or associated video/music, drama, assembly etc.) May involve role play, drama and opportunities for oracy are built into the engage phase. Genre of unit discussed and established. Audience and purpose also established where appropriate.
- Phase 1 - Reading response & Reading Analysis: Quality text provided and pupils supported to read & understand (this may be the 'quality text' linked to writing opportunity). Pupils have the opportunity to read text aloud to support fluency and key reading skills discussed, taught & practised to ensure pupils can respond to the text as a reader. Any new vocabulary is explored and taught explicitly. Opportunities to write are given and focus on responding as a reader. Exploration of writing genre so pupils understand the structure of the text type and a range of excellent examples provided to support this. In KS1, this may involve learning parts of/full text to support understanding. Pupils will analyse text structure, features and specific vocabulary to help gain a deeper understanding of the writing outcome. Opportunity to write are given alongside the creation of toolkit and other resources (displayed on working wall).
- Phase 2 - Gathering Content: Specific VGP foci explicitly taught during this phase linked to the writing toolkit for the specific genre, purpose and audience. Lessons also include 'content' gathering to be utilised in the 'write' phase e.g. description foci etc. Regular writing opportunities to support with the 'write' phase.
- Phase 3 - Planning & Writing: Each unit of work should results in at least two extended, written outcomes. This allows children several opportunities to practise and apply newly acquired skills in context across the year.
- 1. Scaffolded outcome: This is completed on a daily basis during the writing phase. It is supported through daily, whole-class, shared and modelled writing.
- 2. Independent outcome: This is produced with no adult modelling of writing to support the completion. As well as giving children another opportunity to apply their skills, this outcome is very useful to inform assessment and next steps in teaching and learning.
- Phase 4 - Presentation: Children present their work for purpose and are encouraged to share their writing with their intended audience.
Children invariably write more effectively when they have a real audience and purpose for their writing. Therefore, we make every effort to ensure that children understand the audience and purpose of their writing and have the opportunity to meet this. For example children may be encouraged to:
- write stories to entertain Year 2, then arrange an opportunity for the children to share their stories with them in small groups;
- write, then redraft non-chronological reports to make a class book which is put on display in the school library
- children read, rehearse and perform their own poetry to be recorded and shared on the school website or Facebook.
At Northbrook, we believe that words are powerful, and to support pupils to communicate successfully, we are working hard to build a curriculum that is rich in language and new vocabulary. This starts from the very beginning of a pupil's journey with us in EYFS by providing vocabulary-rich environments and extensive opportunities to explore, learn, say, and practise new vocabulary in a range of engaging contexts.
Across our curriculum, vocabulary & word meaning is explored, and new vocabulary is taught explicitly to support acquisition and application. This includes through our foundation curriculum where key vocabulary is outlined, planned for and taught.
Spelling is taught in KS1 using the phonics bug program where a focus on phonics for spelling is prominent. Then, across KS2, children learn the spelling patterns and curriculum words appropriate to their year group based on weekly learning blocks.
Assessment of English is a continuous and ongoing process and children are assessed against the TAF endpoints for KS1 and KS2 through a variety of different methods including small write opportunities, grammar and spelling retrieval practice, low-stake quizzes, classroom responses and teacher judgements.
Leaders monitor teaching and learning through pupil voice, staff questionnaires as well as book looks and learning walks and using the online app See Saw to record evidence of learning. The development of the children in school is also monitored through daily informal conversations.
Summative assessments of writing are also completed based on each units independent writing outcome, and children’s attainment alongside the writing objectives are recorded using a writing one page assessment document.
As a result of our whole curriculum, we expect to see all children achieve well by developing knowledge and skills across the curriculum. But we understand that a love of writing brings more than this, and aim to ensure that all children will:
- develop lifelong learning behaviours that help them continue to read with passion and write with purpose
- appreciate the possibility of writing as a career and give them the opportunity to have success in modern Britain.
- be responsible global citizens and courageous advocates of our community through the HEART Values we have instilled in them during their time in school.
- leave our school, fully equipped for the next stage in their learning.