English Curriculum statement
When our children leave Highfields, we want them to be avid readers, who read confidently and fluently, with a range of skills to be able to decode and understand difficult texts and concepts, with a passion and thirst for reading and the ability to use reading as a driver to learn about a world beyond the one they experience.
We want them to be confident writers, who leave the school as authors, able to write cohesively, clearly and for a range of audiences and purposes. Each child will have a range of grammatical skills and knowledge that they can use and apply to their writing, to make choices and to create different effects on the reader, depending on the purpose for which they are writing.
Finally, children who leave Highfields will be able to communicate effectively and thoughtfully, able to articulate their thoughts and feelings in a mature manner, whilst being able to carefully and sensitively debate with others, engaging and thinking about how their words affect themselves and those around them.
At Highfields, we believe all children are authors and should be given the opportunity to write in a way which is purposeful and meaningful to them. To ensure this is the case, we plan book-based writing opportunities linked together around a ‘Hook’ and a ‘Big Finish’. We want children engaged in the learning by grabbing their attention (Creating a ‘Hook’) and then giving them a reason for writing and a focus to work on throughout the unit of learning (a ‘Big Finish’). This language is dissected with the children and refers to the audience and purpose of writing. We believe by giving children a clear audience and purpose for their writing, this encourages and enthuses children to write for meaning and therefore their writing will be clear, purposeful and of a high standard in regard to meeting the objectives of the national curriculum.
Weaved throughout this writing progression is our ‘Sentence Journey’, a way of teaching the grammatical aspects of writing whilst giving the grammar purpose and meaning. By the time children have reached the end of their key stage, they have applied the sentence journey to each piece of their writing and have a clear understanding of what makes a sentence, how it is important as an author and how this impacts of the purpose of their writing. By interweaving the sentence journey through all year groups, we are ensuring we are regularly building on knowledge from previous year groups whilst continually revisiting knowledge to ensure the move to long term memory, not grammar knowledge which is learned by rote and easily forgotten.
We recognise ourselves as a ‘Reading School’, where children are immersed in books and reading from the moment they step through our doors. We have a clear early reading programme, following the rationale of Ruth Miskin’s Read Write Inc, where we focus on children’s ability to recall accurately the correct phoneme/grapheme correspondence and use this knowledge to confidently blend and segment words leading to clear and coherent readers who can comprehend and infer from age appropriate texts and can use this confidence to continue to make progress through Key Stage 2 and beyond. Throughout school, children take part in whole class reading lessons, where high quality texts are used for all children to ensure that all children are exposed to reading which stretches and challenges their thinking. Our book-based writing curriculum underpins our teaching of English, and outside of the classroom, challenges, initiatives and competitions are used to encourage children to read widely and fluently.
Linking to our wider curriculum statement we know:
- Learning is a change to long term memory
- Our aims are to ensure that our students experience a wide breadth of study and have, by the end of each key stage, long term memory of an ambitious body of procedural and semantic knowledge.
Through the use of effective Assessment for Learning opportunities, an in-depth knowledge of the National Curriculum and a clearly planned and sequenced English curriculum, we ensure that no child is left behind in terms of reaching their potential and beyond. We aim for all children to leave Highfields with the skills and knowledge needed to go to High School, ready for the challenges that face them there. Through our English curriculum, we interweave the values we believe to be important in an all-round learner such as independence, reasoning, culture, the arts and citizenship to name a few and we continually build on their growth mindset to ensure that all children speak the language of learning through their English work. We want children to leave us with a positive attitude towards their reading, writing and spoken language so they can embrace any challenge presented to them confidently and with the secure foundations of the National Curriculum in place.