At Northfields Infants and Nursery School, English is an integral part of the curriculum. We plan an inclusive learning journey that allows all pupils to receive a rich education in reading, writing and speaking. We encourage pupils to articulate their thinking, be imaginative and to be successful. We want to immerse our pupils in stimuli to inspire them and present our pupils with creative opportunities to develop and apply their reading and writing skills across the curriculum. At Northfields, we want our pupils to be able to express themselves with confidence, and to communicate their ideas clearly. We strive to build a culture where reading for pleasure is valued. We intend for our pupils to build their knowledge and develop an increasingly wide range of vocabulary and grammar. Pupils should leave our school being able to use fluent and legible handwriting using a cursive script. The teaching of spelling is intended to show pupils how to understand the relationship between words, recognise spelling patterns and take with them a variety of useful strategies. We equip pupils with transferable skills which can be adapted to support them in all their learning.
At Northfields, our teaching of English is built upon the foundations of the National Curriculum. However, teachers ensure that our curriculum is enhanced and extended with additional skills and knowledge; as and when appropriate or necessary for our pupils. English lessons take place every day and are supplemented by additional daily guided reading, alongside daily phonics lessons.
Reading is taught through a daily blended approach of whole class or guided sessions. We teach our pupils key reading skills and apply these to high quality texts. Pupils are encouraged to read widely from the library, selecting from a range of authors and genres. Pupils are expected to read daily at home. Developing readers have access to a reading scheme which is phonetically decodable. Intervention programmes such as additional phonics lessons provide timely support for those pupils who are falling behind their peers and it supports us in closing any gaps.
Writing is inspired by and planned around stimuli, which is selected by teachers, to engage their pupils. These include a combination of high-quality texts, topic links or stimulating experiences. Through our English lessons our pupils are able to plan, edit, and evaluate their writing. They are encouraged to use innovation to change parts of the story or rewrite new endings. We actively look for opportunities for pupils to apply their writing skills across the curriculum.
Our school has a clear focus on the development of speech and language. We have implemented tiered vocabulary development throughout the curriculum and use working walls, visual prompts and pre teach vocabulary. This helps pupils to make links and develop their speaking and listening, as well as their writing across the curriculum. All staff are trained in the use of Makaton to support non-verbal pupils and pupils with SEND.
We run a range of parent workshops throughout the year which include phonics and reading.
At Northfields Infants and Nursery School we can judge the success of our English curriculum in the following ways:
- Pupil conferencing – are all pupils happy, engaged, challenged and motivated? Can the pupils express what they have learnt and what they now know?
- Progress for all pupils is evident, regardless of their starting points.
- End of key stage attainment data is at least in line with National expectations.
- Learning walks (including those with governors and external visitors) – show evidence of our intent in action.
- Planning allows all pupils to gain knowledge and master skills and it meets the needs of all learners.
- Books are presented to a high standard, with all pupils making at least expected progress from their various starting points.
- The learning environment is rich in language to support pupils’ learning and support independence.
- Moderation of reading and writing takes place regularly, both internally and as part of a cluster group. Learning is measured through careful analysis of the application of skills.
- Class teachers and the leadership group conduct half termly pupil progress meetings where performance analysis is linked to monitoring, measuring performance against individual and school targets.
- There are high expectations for pupils to reach greater depth.
Our rich curriculum must ensure that our pupils are academically prepared for life beyond our school and the wider world.