What is our Philosophy?
At The Winchcombe School, we see English as a language. We strongly believe that spoken language, reading, phonological awareness and spelling drive and help shape the writing process. Our English curriculum develops each child’s love for reading, writing and the spoken language. We immerse pupils in the wonders of quality books to instil a love for reading and writing; a confidence to explore their imagination through chosen texts, suitable for each year group. We believe that children need to develop a secure knowledge-base in language and literacy which helps them to become confident communicators.
What is taught?
Reading and writing are taught and practised daily following the National Curriculum programme of study for each year group. Our English curriculum is taught through the following strands: spoken language, reading, spelling, writing and grammar. Sometimes these strands are taught discretely and other times they are interwoven into the fabric of the rest of the curriculum.
How it’s taught?
Starting in Early Years, there is a strong oral approach using a range of resources and techniques such as:
- Story sacks
- Helicopter stories
We use the ECAT (Every Child A Talker) approach when we identify children who will benefit from it. Additionally, we use Makaton alongside songs and stories.
Moving into Key Stage one, children are encouraged to participate in class discussions, to listen to others and to express their ideas. These foundations are further developed in Key Stage two.
In the next academic year, we will be developing elements from the ‘Voice 21’ using the four strands of the framework: Physical, Linguistic, Cognitive and Social and Emotional.
Phonics and Spelling
In the foundation stage and Year 1, we follow the Letters and Sounds scheme, supported by the Jolly Phonics songs to help children learn the GPC’s. Phonics lessons are adapted based on our ongoing teacher assessments. Class phonics lessons are taught daily throughout Foundation, Year 1 and 2.
In Year 2 – 6 we transition into using the non-nonsense programme. We have designed daily spelling lessons which teach spelling rules and common exception words.
Oxford Reading Tree is the scheme that we follow.
Whole class guided reading begins in Year 1 and is planned using texts related to the topic or quality books to engage the children’s love for reading.
Reading for pleasure is developed by:
- Developing reading fluency
- Access to the school library
- Author visits
- Enrichment opportunities
Understanding and using new vocabulary is central to all aspects of our curriculum. Every year group uses the 'Frayer Model' - a graphic organiser - to help develop each child’s vocabulary understanding. This technique targets key vocabulary from each subject; children learn the meaning of the word, using pictures, illustrations and sentences definitions. They then apply their knowledge by generating examples and non-examples of the word. This helps children to build a richer vocabulary to use in spoken and written language.
We use a wide variety of quality books or texts and experiences to motivate and inspire our children’s writing. In Foundation stage, children have opportunities for mark making through Child Initiated Learning. Teacher led sessions help children apply their phonics into their writing.
In the next academic year, Key Stage one will be using approaches from The Write Stuff to develop writing expertise in our children.
In Key Stage two writing is driven by quality first texts which are connected to other subjects in the curriculum. Grammar and punctuation knowledge and skills are taught through writing lessons as much as possible. Discrete teaching is sometimes used to develop their understanding and skills.
Handwriting is taught daily from Foundation Stage 2 to Year 2. Read, Write Inc images and rhymes drive our letter formation. In FS children are taught pre-cursive, then in Year 1 children are shown how to move from pre-cursive to continuous cursive. This then progresses using the ‘continuous cursive’ six joins. Our aim is that all Year 2 children have developed a continuous cursive handwriting style by the end of the year.
Throughout Lower Key Stage 2, handwriting is taught every week. Children build stamina for writing, whilst practising letter joins. Confident Year 4 children, then have the opportunity to start writing in pen.
We believe that all pupils should be encouraged to take pride in the presentation of their writing, in part by developing a joined handwriting style by the time they move to secondary school.