At Athelstan we passionately believe that a quality English Curriculum should instil a love of reading, writing and discussion in our pupils. This strong foundation of English skills promotes a solid literacy basis for all areas of the curriculum. Through quality-first teaching we ensure our pupils can communicate clearly and effectively using their speaking and listening skills to converse with others, read with confidence and enjoyment and express themselves through writing. English is taught daily with a combination of writing sessions, phonics and spelling, guided reading and handwriting sessions.
Our book-led curriculum draws on exciting and diverse texts to develop children’s curiosity to give them the tools that they will need to participate in a modern society. Click on the year group below for our English plans.
At Athelstan we have a clear set of objectives to follow in English. Click on the links for the relevant area.
Spelling- Every week, each year group follows a specific spelling objective for pupils to share in their log books with their parents. Spellings are taught during timetabled daily sessions using the Read Write Inc Spelling scheme in Year 2-6. RWInc Spelling is an interactive daily programme which teaches spellings in a fun and engaging way using proven strategies
Vocabulary is a key component of our whole school curriculum aims. It is regularly referred to throughout all lessons and classrooms display the rich vocabulary taught.
Vocabulary at Athelstan comes in three tiers:
Tier 1 – Basic words that are used in everyday conversations and to which children are exposed on a regular basis.
Tier 2- Words that appear in different contexts and support pupil’s comprehension of texts. Each class uses a ‘Word of the week/day’ and these are displayed on class walls. During reading and English sessions, high Lexile-rated texts are used to immerse our pupils in reading, to expose them to new vocabulary whilst developing reading strategies to tackle unfamiliar words. Children are effectively encouraged to use dictionaries to find definitions and word classes. They are encouraged to use a thesaurus to find synonyms/antonyms. Children identify how we can use the vocabulary to create different sentence types for a variety of genres. Words are displayed on English boards and in class dictionaries to promote a vocabulary-rich environment.
Tier 3- These are highly specialised subject-specific words which are displayed in the classroom. These words are taught as part of the wider school curriculum e.g. scientific vocabulary, topic-based words. Children are actively encouraged to apply these words to cross-curricular writing and in oral presentations.
With our ‘book-led’ curriculum and clear writing expectations, children will become more confident writers exposed to a range of genres. As there is a strong focus on cross-curricular writing, the skills taught in English are transferred to other subject areas, consolidating skills and deepening understanding of specific grammar, punctuation and spelling. Writing is assessed against the expectation of the year group.
Assessed work is loaded onto Pobble360 and the writing is measured against the writing outcomes to justify judgements for age-related expectations. Writing assessments are conducted at least twice a half term and moderated within milestones, our partner schools and by the English coordinator. Results are recorded on the school internal data.
Reading is actively promoted across the whole school. All classes have reading areas with a wide range of books. All children have access to our library and are allowed to borrow books using the school ‘Junior Librarian’ programme. At Athelstan we foster a love of reading and encourage our children to read a variety of materials
Our reading books are phonetically decodable ensuring children are applying the knowledge gained in our Phonic lessons and encouraging them to independently read texts from an early age. Progression is ensured using banded books to both support and challenge through additional fiction, non-fiction and poetry texts for the children to read. In Key Stage 2 we have a wide range of reading schemes for the children to access.
Children are encouraged to read regularly at home and parents are provided with support to help with home reading.
Phonics & Early Reading
Phonics is taught daily to all children in the Early Years Foundation Stage and KS1, with the expectation that they will have secured word recognition skills and be fluent readers by the end of KS1. As a school we follow Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised, which is a complete systematic synthetic phonics programme (SSP) developed for schools by schools. Based on the original Letters and Sounds this detailed programme provides a convenient, consistent and highly effective approach to teaching phonics, based on the latest research.
Our Guided Reading scheme at Key stage 2 takes place 4 to 5 times a week. We follow a whole-class reading scheme and our texts reflect a range of genres and themes drawn from classic, modern and diverse literature with a language rich focus.
We use the Accelerated Reading Scheme, which allows our children to track progress and encourage them to read a wide variety of genres. Online Star tests identify children’s current reading levels and guide children to choosing books at an appropriate level. On completing books, children take a short comprehension quiz and aim to score over 90%.
Reading is promoted across school in all curriculum areas, assessed continuously through formative assessments within guided reading sessions and recorded on our internal data system. From Yr2-Yr6 termly NFER tests are completed and results analysed by staff and Senior Leadership Team to inform future planning and tailored interventions. The book-led curriculum in our school has empowered our pupils to become independent, free-thinking readers who can actively discuss reading.
Our Accelerated Reading scheme also encourages our pupils to select books that match their needs and interests. Pupils take computerised quizzes on the books and earn AR points as they progress. The termly assessment tests allow us to track progress and share with parents.
Speaking & Listening
At Athelstan we believe through English lessons, drama and the wider curriculum we will encourage our pupils to express their opinions, articulate feelings, listen to others and respond appropriately in a range of situations:
At Athelstan, we encourage children to talk for a range of purposes and audiences.
We do this in a variety of ways across the curriculum, involving a range of audiences within the community.
In a communication rich environment, children develop into confident communicators who support each other by listening, speaking with kindness and empathy and explaining with clarity and confidence. Children recognise that speaking and listening can lie at the heart of conveying character, and that through speaking and listening effectively, misunderstandings can be addressed and relationships enhanced.