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. Because of this we follow a ‘High Challenge English Curriculum’.
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
To view the medium-term plans for each year group, visit their individual curriculum pages.
Structure of the Learning Journey:
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
- handwriting (click here to view our Handwriting Policy)
- reading skills through a balance of individual and guided reading