Welcome to the English page
At Birkdale Primary we believe that a quality English curriculum should develop children’s love of reading, writing and discussion. We have an engaging and well organised English curriculum that provides many purposeful opportunities for all children. In our school, English is central to the entire curriculum as it is key to all learning. It is through speaking, listening, reading and writing that children learn to understand the world in which they live. We aim to foster and develop in each child, an ability to communicate effectively in oral and written contexts, with confidence and flair. This will allow them to enjoy reading for knowledge as well as pleasure and to write with a sense of purpose and audience. Across all year groups, the objectives in the curriculum are covered through fiction, non-fiction and poetry texts. Whole class texts are used where appropriate to deliver the English curriculum and encourage children's love for reading. Writing opportunities are planned for across the curriculum and can often culminate in an extended writing session, where the children put their independent writing skills into action.
We are very keen on encouraging our children to read for pleasure. Listening to and reading a variety of different genres of stories means that the children are exposed to new vocabulary and it gives them a chance to really work on their comprehension skills too. To support this, we have a ‘Lending Library’ in each of our EYFS and KS1 classes and all classes in school have access to our school library, where they use interactive reading displays and can get inspiration from our teacher's 'top picks' of the week. We have a successful 'Reading Improvement Group' running at school which is made up of an army of very helpful parents who offer their time to provide extra 1:1 reading sessions for children. This group is fantastic for those children who struggle to read at home or who need extra support.
Our pupil's reading journey begins in EYFS where early reading is at the heart of everything we do. The children have daily story time which focuses on the five key features of a text. Once the children in Reception are secure with the first set of phonic sounds, they are then given one of our decodable reading books which they read in school with their teacher and at home too. In the Summer Term of Reception the children may take part in Guided Reading sessions with their teacher too.
In KS1 the children continue to take home decodable reading books which are closely matched to their phonic ability. They are encouraged to read as much as possible to help with fluency and to support this we have a 'reading rewards' system in place where children get the chance to win a brand new book each week. The teachers lead daily guided reading sessions covering both fiction and non-fiction texts; sometimes they will be taken from a reading scheme, such as Big Cat, or they may be individual texts, extracts or non-fiction works. Children are read to each day by their teacher which enriches their vocabulary and allows them to enjoy the art of story telling.
The children in KS2 remain on the Oxford Reading Tree staged books which means their progress continues to be closely monitored by their teachers. Children also have their own book from the library that they pick themselves. We have recently invested PTA money into our library to provide a whole range of engaging non-fiction texts and new stories to promote a love of reading and our children are thoroughly enjoying this experience. Teachers lead whole-class guided reading sessions three times a week in which the children get to explore a full range of texts and genres. The sessions are differentiated through targeted questioning before children are given the opportunity to explore the text in paired and group activities. English units are often planned around novels but when this isn't the case, classes have their own novel which is read daily.
At Birkdale Primary, we follow the Letters and Sounds programme
for the teaching and learning of Phonics.
In every class from Reception through to Year 2, the children have a 20 minute daily phonics session where they learn about how to read and write using their phonic knowledge. For some children, phonics sessions continue in KS2 as they need a little bit more practice for their phonic knowledge to become embedded. While we continue to teach the phonics phases to overlearn the sounds, we introduce other strategies e.g. Dandelion Readers and Totem and Talisman Readers. We also use the 'Nessy Programme', an interactive reading and spelling intervention, to further develop their skills.
In Nursery the children focus on rhyming skills and listening to sounds; the focus is on speaking and listening skills. As the children move into Reception, they move onto learning the first phonemes; starting with S A T P I N.
As the children move into Year 1, they learn how the same sound can be written in more than one way. Then as they move into Year 2, we secure their understanding of the range of phoneme-grapheme correspondence (the sounds – letters correspondence). Once the children are secure, they move onto spelling rules and applying their spelling strategies. At each stage, the children are exposed to the full range of phonemes for the phase they are working at. Additional intervention is provided for pupils requiring extra support, where they may need extra time or reinforcement of particular phonemes or skills, such as blending.
Children who still require extra support in phonics receive small group daily phonic sessions.
Our aim at Birkdale Primary is to inspire children to write and to love writing! Throughout the school, teachers plan writing opportunities that make writing meaningful and fun. From Reception to Year 6, there are clear steps in progression in writing which enable children to build on their prior knowledge and extend and apply their new writing skills. The reading to writing process is crucial to getting the best out of children's writing. We spend time immersing children in the text and analysing the different features so they understand the style of writing. Then they are ready to practise writing in the same style. They apply this at the end of a unit of work in an extended writing piece.
Otherwise known as Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar. To ensure children understand the purpose of grammar, we teach it within the context of the text we are looking at. We work together to ensure there is progression and challenge across spelling, grammar and punctuation throughout the whole school. Spelling in EYFS and KS1 forms a huge part of the Phonics daily sessions. From Y2 onwards, children follow a structured spelling scheme 'No Nonsense Spelling' which provides a number of sessions over the week to revisit and apply their spelling knowledge and understanding.
Introducing our English Ambassador.....
'I like being the English Ambassador because not only is it a main subject but because it is how we express ourselves everyday. You can write how you feel on paper or just release your ideas on a single piece of paper. As long as you can explain it, it's your own little world you wrote'.
We had some feedback from our recent Pupil Voice assembly about English in our school. Overall it was very positive. The children in our school like writing, love hearing stories and they are so happy with our new school library. Here are some of the things they said...
'I Like writing because you get to use your imagination.'
'I like being read to by my teacher.'
'The vocabulary is much better in our new books.'
'I don't like our new library....I love it!'
'I like the recommended books because I sometimes don't know what to pick.'