Our English Curriculum: “Everyone has a say. Every child’s voice counts, and everyone has the chance to paint the world from their own perspective.”
It is with an unshakeable passion and determination, that myself and the rest of the teaching staff here at Ash Green Primary Academy strive to craft a lifelong love of language and literature. The aim for each of our children is based upon the need for them to enter the world of work as articulate and literate individuals with a strong love of reading and writing. We recognise the responsibility to send children to secondary school having mastered all basic elements of both of these subjects. We aim to ensure that all children have chance to follow an enriching curriculum and have the skills to read effectively for information in their everyday lives.
Reading for pleasure is at the heart of all that we do here at Ash Green and we have pupils that have developed the habit and passion for reading regularly and widely. The vast array of opportunities supports the children in becoming skilled in reading, but most importantly our children love nothing more than getting lost in the pages of a book. Early reading is high on our agenda and we recognise that the early years of a child’s life are crucial. The experiences that we offer the children in the EYFS and year 1 are fundamental in laying the foundations for future reading success. Reading interest is sparked in our children from day one and children have picture books to read from nursery, leading to phonic based books and on to more complex novels as they reach KS2. Class libraries, mystery readers, Grandparents’ visits, daily reading, Reading Heroes’ and new key stage libraries are all initiatives to encourage regular reading. We are also strong advocates of author visits to provide enriching and memorable experiences for all of our children.
We are passionate about eradicating misconceptions around Reading and Writing. Take a look at our ‘Rights of the Reader’ and ‘Rights of the Writer’:
At Ash Green Primary School, we recognise that English skills underpin all elements of the school curriculum, and are an essential life-skill. Considering the fundamental importance of Speaking, Listening, Reading and Writing in everyday life, we are driven by the need to develop each learner’s writing ability, thus enabling them to play a full part in society.
Subject Leader Introduction
It is with great pleasure that I introduce myself as Alice Worthington, English subject leader at Ash Green Primary Academy. I believe I have the ability to enthuse and motivate the children and teachers here at Ash Green, due to my English background and deep love of language and literature.
English Language and Literature is my background and is an irrepressible passion of mine. I am fascinated by the abundance of opportunity a literate individual has access to. I am an avid reader and I strive each and every day to positively impact on our children’s perceptions of reading. I am a strong believer that, “Reading is essential for those who seek to rise above the ordinary” (Jim Rohn). For me, reading is the backbone of society, those who read are the people capable of making our world a better place. I am exceptionally proud of our reading achievements at Ash Green Primary, even more so this year with the introduction of our very own Reading Heroes:
Our Reading Heroes are our vision and our voice for reading at the academy – a group of children who have an unshakeable belief that reading is magic. Our young reading leaders are a group of children who meet regularly with myself in order to continually strive ‘for more reading’ for our children. We believe that the beauty of reading at Ash Green is that it is completely democratic. Everyone has a say. Every child’s voice counts, and everyone has the chance to paint the world from their own perspective – which for me, is the most important thing of all.
In every aspect of the curriculum, English can be found. Our children need to be confident speakers, listeners, readers and writers and need opportunities to use and practice these skills in every subject. The English curriculum and the teaching of it has never been more flourished and I am dedicated to ensuring that our children leave this school having the knowledge and skills to be literate citizens in our fast paced, ever changing world.
The main priority for me, as the English lead, is that our intent of delivering an English curriculum that is about a love of language that is well embedded. I want my subject to be a medium to transport our pupils to places and contexts outside their realm of knowledge and empower them to question and challenge the world around them. I want every child to leave Ash Green, feeling the same way about language and literature as I did as a child. I want the children to know which characters in a book taught them a lesson, which authors inspired them to chase their dreams alongside an appreciation for how literature shaped them as individuals.
Curriculum Content and Progression
What is the ‘English High Challenge’ Curriculum?
In order to become fluent writers, we strongly believe that all children should be given the skills to ‘craft’ their writing through a learning journey which fosters our love of writing. At the centre of the High Challenge English curriculum, is the class text/novel. At the beginning of each term, class teachers will complete a medium term planning overview, which outlines the writing opportunities for that term. Within this overview, teachers acknowledge and create opportunities for children to:
- Use multi-media and visuals to aid learning
- Work towards a range of writing outcomes, based on their knowledge and understanding of the class text
- Capture ideas and learning through the use of role play and drama. This may involve: hot seating, conscience alley and freeze frames
- Respond to the text by allowing children to make predictions about: characters, plot, setting, authorial intent and vocabulary
- Practise Grammar and Spellings
- Engage in ‘story talk’ through story mapping, retelling missing chapters, predicting upcoming chapters and summarising key events which advance the plot
Story-time takes place in every classroom at 3pm: “Let there be half an hour of story-time, at the end of school in Primary Schools up and down the country. Make this the half hour that all children long for, that they don’t want to be over. Let the children go home dreaming of the story, reliving it, wondering.”
Our Writing 'Learning Journey' Approach
Each planning sequence is structured following through the learning journey sequence, the length of the planning cycle depends on the needs of the children and the genre being taught. A typical planning cycle will display the following elements:
- Lesson 1: Annotation of key features of genre. In lower Key Stage 2, there should be a strong focus on children commenting on purpose for writing, in upper Key Stage 2, the children should be secure in identifying features of genre; therefore less time should be spent on purpose for writing.
- Lesson 2: Is usually a focus on key skills and should incorporate a focus of Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar and must relate directly to the genre being taught.
- Lesson 3: Practice write – This lesson will start with the teacher modelling the intended writing outcome. The teacher will model the process of writing, which should include:
- thinking out loud
- editing – vocabulary, grammar, punctuation
- reading aloud to proof read for clarity and the need for editing
- Lesson 4: Planning session – Children to be given the opportunity to plan their progress write. The plan should outline any key words/phrases, structure/layout or any other feature that they may wish to include within their extended write.
- Independent/Progress write – Within this lesson, children will write an example of the genre, closely linked to the class text being studied and for which they have planned for. Children will have access to all of the learning journey that has been experienced that week. This should include: all related work in their English Skills Book and modelled examples on the Learning Wall. Children may also have access to word mats, sentence prompts, dictionaries and thesaurus, however children must choose to use these, rather than be prompted by the teacher.
We ensure that the following skills are also explicitly taught:
- phonics and spelling through the ‘Letters and Sounds’ Approach
- reading skills through a balance of individual and guided reading
Policies and Supporting Documents
Helpful Links and Ideas
Reading for Pleasure Booklets
Spelling and Grammar Guides
- Sponsored Readathon – 28th October, 2019
- Launch of a new Key Stage 2 Library – December, 2019
- Launch of the ‘Ash Green Reading Heroes’ – 5th January, 2020
- A special visit from globally successful author, Eamon Reilly – Monday 20th January, 2020
- Grandparents’ Reading visits for all year groups – Week commencing Monday 2nd March, 2020
- Author visit from Graham McLachlan, all children will study his locally published book ‘The Pottery Painters Mouse’ – Thursday 5th March, 2020
- World Book Day – Theme: Hard Working People of the Potteries – Thursday 5th March, 2020
- Christmas Story Advents – December, 2020
- World Book Day – Theme: The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse – Kindness – March 2021
- Relaunch of the new Ash Green Reading Heroes – September, 2021
- Christmas Story Advents – December 2021
- World Book day – ‘A Scientific Story’ – A revamped approach to World Book Day with cross curricular links – March 2022
Parent Communication and Engagement timeline:
- New book band launch in KS1 and KS2 – January 2021 and July 2021
- Parent letter regarding automaticity in reading – October, 2021
- Parent letter regarding progression in book bands to support home reading – October, 2021
- Parent letter regarding best reads for each year group – November, 2021