At Wansdyke, English and the teaching of English is the foundation of our curriculum. Our aim is to ensure every child becomes primary literate and progresses in speaking and listening, reading and writing. We have high expectations and ambition for all our children, and want them all to achieve their full potential in English during their time at Wansdyke School. We recognise that each child has a different starting point in each year group on their journey in English, and therefore celebrate effort and individual progress as well as attainment to ensure every child can celebrate success.
English is not only a daily discrete lesson; it is the cornerstone to all learning at Wansdyke by being embedded in each area of learning. We place high importance on children speaking in clear, full sentences and emphasise the importance of listening to others.
Our use of high-quality texts, vocabulary-rich learning environments and a varied and engaging curriculum ensure the English progression of skills are met whilst developing a love of reading, creative writing and purposeful speaking and listening.
The school uses the 2014 National Curriculum and EYFS Curriculum for directing the teaching of English. At Wansdyke we have invested in high-quality training for staff in the Sounds~Write synthetic phonics programme. Within these daily sessions, the children begin by hearing and saying the sounds in words and then learn the codes (letters) that create each sound. This is their foundation in both reading and writing. In the Early Years, Year 1 and year 2 classes, the children will take home books to consolidate the code/sound they are learning in each unit. They will also take home a book for challenge and one for pleasure. The children continue in this way until their teacher feels they are ready to read more complex texts. From year 2-4 the children continue to receive Sounds~Write teaching moving onto more complex and polysyllabic word choices. By September 2020, we hope that all classes up to year 6 will be receiving Sounds~Write teachers from a fully trained Sound~Write teacher.
We have a daily book club session in years 1 to 6. This ensures that reading is explicitly taught every day using ambitious, but age related texts. We focus on vocabulary to ensure the children are exposed to a wide variety of words to increase their own understanding and breadth of vocabulary.
As a school, we have planned a robust, creative and engaging curriculum to deliver the National Curriculum writing objectives and ensure that each piece is purposeful and shows clear progression for all the children. Our writing tasks are topic based, cross-curricular and can often be found in our foundation subject knowledge organisers.
To ensure accurate assessment we regularly assess independent writing as a whole staff. We also use the No More Marking initiative to assess our writers against other children nationally to moderate our own judgements against other teaching professionals. This rigorous and robust approach allows teachers to plan the next steps for individuals effectively to promote progress and attainment.
Teachers have high expectations through teaching to the appropriate yearly objectives and set work appropriate to the needs of the children in their class. The structure of the lessons are carefully considered, including opportunities for returning to, and expanding on prior knowledge, teaching, modelling and discussion to aid understanding and support children in their independent tasks.
Each session starts with a spelling, punctuation and grammar starter task using the yearly objectives specified in the national curriculum. We use a spelling scheme to ensure coverage of all of the spelling objectives.
The impact on our children is clear: progress, sustained learning and transferrable skills. With the excellent foundation Sounds~Write offers in early schooling at Wansdyke and a well thought-out , engaging curriculum, children at Wansdyke are becoming more confident and creative writers.
By the end of Key Stage Two the children of Wansdyke are very familiar with a variety of different genres and creativity with accurate grammar and punctuation skills can become the primary focus.
As all aspects of English are an integral part of the curriculum, cross curricular writing has improved with skills taught in discrete lessons being transferred into different subjects showing consolidation and a more in-depth understanding of English as a whole.
We aim for children to leave Wansdyke with a love of reading and writing and high aspirations to develop in the further education.