The English Curriculum
We believe that all children should leave primary school as confident readers and writers.
English is taught in blocks of work that last for roughly 2 to 4 weeks. We use The Literacy Tree approach, a Literary Curriculum which immerses children in a literary world, therefore creating strong levels of engagement to provide meaningful and authentic contexts for primary English. Children become critical readers and acquire an authorial style as they encounter a wide-range of significant authors and a variety of fiction, non-fiction and poetry. Spellings and grammar are both embedded in our approach and discretely taught and include extending vocabulary, sentence starters, punctuation and connectives.
The English national curriculum (2014) states that:
‘The overarching aim for English in the national curriculum is to promote high standards of language and literacy by equipping pupils with a strong command of the spoken and written language, and to develop their love of literature through widespread reading for enjoyment.’
• We believe the exposure of children’s literature within the primary school setting is vital as a rich context for learning; not only within English as a subject but to support building a reading culture throughout the school.
• We aim to use high quality books that offer opportunities for empathy and can aid philosophical enquiry, as a means of developing the spoken language requirements through debate, drama and discussion using the issues raised through, and within, the text.
By placing books at the core, we are allowing teachers to use the text as the context for the requirements of the national curriculum. The national curriculum states that:
‘‘This guidance is not intended to constrain or restrict teachers’ creativity, simply to provide the structure on which they can construct exciting lessons.’
This would suggest that a context for learning is vital – and this is where our chosen approach can support teachers with ensuring that objectives for reading and writing, including those for grammar can have purpose. We will always aim for our writing opportunities to be meaningful; whether short or long and that the audience is clear. Books offer this opportunity: our final aim would be that that children have real reasons to write, whether to explain, persuade, inform or instruct and that where possible, this can be embedded within text or linked to a curriculum area. Writing in role using a range of genres is key to our approach as is writing a critique of the text and making comparisons – all writing skills that will support children in preparation for their time in secondary school. This sits comfortably alongside the following statement from the English national curriculum:
‘The national curriculum for English aims to ensure that all pupils write clearly, accurately and coherently, adapting their language and style in and for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences.’
Resourcing and coverage
Through use of The Literary Curriculum we have mapped the coverage of the entire English Programme of Study for KS1 and KS2, as well as meeting the needs of the statutory (March 2017) Early Years Framework. In many cases objectives are covered more than once and children have opportunities to apply these several times over the course of a year, as well as to consolidate prior knowledge from previous years. We believe strongly that children should be secure in applying the skills of curriculum 2014 within their writing and their reading and that this approach is fully comprehensive. Where needed, planning sequences are adapted, personalised and differentiated by the school to ensure all access arrangements can be made to support children with the requirements.