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The Teaching of English:

At Sexton’s Manor, we aim to create an inspiring and stimulating environment, which enables children to become confident, independent young people, with a life-long love of learning. We understand that:

‘English is both a subject in its own right and the medium for teaching; for pupils, understanding the language provides access to the whole curriculum. Fluency in the English language is an essential foundation for success in all subjects.’ (Primary National Curriculum document, September 2013)

We are committed to promoting high standards of language and literacy, by equipping our children with a strong command of the spoken and written word.

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Speaking and Listening:

We believe that developing pupils’ speech, language and communication skills is essential for their future success. We ensure that we provide a language-rich environment, which begins in our Nursery classroom and continues throughout each year at Sexton’s Manor Primary School.

We understand the importance of broadening pupils’ understanding and use of an ever-widening range of vocabulary. We use ‘thinking pictures’ to stimulate pupils’ curiosity and to expose them to increasingly ambitious vocabulary. We choose high-quality books, both fiction and non-fiction, which ensure that pupils develop a rich and deep understanding of the wider world: the texts explored provide both a mirror and window for our pupils.

We aim to increase pupils’ store of words over time, and encourage pupils to make links between known and new vocabulary and discuss the shades of meaning in similar words. This expands the vocabulary choices available to pupils, and is vital for their comprehension in every subject. In addition, we teach the higher-tier subject-specific vocabulary which defines individual subjects, for example mathematical and scientific terms.

Reading:

We are committed to ensuring that all children become fluent readers by the end of Key Stage One. We acknowledge the importance of systematic synthetic phonics as part of a rich and varied reading programme. We understand that this is the most effective way of teaching young children to read, developing the skills they need to tackle reading new words. In Reception and Key Stage One, children experience a daily Phonics session, which incorporates aspects of ‘Letters and Sounds’ and ‘Jolly Phonics’. However, we firmly believe that for phonics to be most effective, it must be embedded across all areas of the curriculum, and we strive to make explicit links, wherever possible.

Our reading books closely match the order in which phonemes are taught, and we ensure that pupils are issued with books which closely match their phonic knowledge. This approach supports children to apply their phonic knowledge and skills, as well as to develop their reading comprehension.

Our ambition is to support pupils to develop fluency in reading, so that they can be passionate about reading for pleasure, but also to acquire knowledge. We explicitly teach key reading skills and encourage pupils to make links between subjects, to deepen and explore their understanding of other curriculum areas.

Writing:

We believe that every pupil should develop the stamina and skills to write at length, with accurate spelling and punctuation. This writing journey begins in Nursery, in the form of early mark-making, and progresses throughout the school. The development of writing is underpinned by the quality of talk, which is promoted in every classroom. We use features of ‘Talk for Writing’, developed by Pie Corbett, to enable pupils to prepare what they want to say orally, prior to writing.

We explicitly teach the correct use of grammar, and build on what pupils have been taught, to expand the range of their writing and the variety of the grammar they use. We strongly believe in writing for a purpose, and ensure that pupils learn to express themselves effectively in a range of genres, including: narratives, explanations, descriptions, comparisons, summaries and evaluations.

We explicitly teach the correct letter formation, through discrete handwriting lessons, and aim for every pupil to develop a fluent cursive style of handwriting.

Our ambition is for every pupil to understand the purpose of writing and for them to develop conceptual fluency: an ability to write to a high standard, across all subjects in the curriculum.

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