English Curriculum

Expanding Worlds Curriculum

Rationale

At Woodcroft we believe literacy should be at the heart of the curriculum, as such, reading,  writing and oracy are systematically taught not only in English lessons but across the curriculum.

We follow the English Programme of Study as set out in the National  Curriculum English programmes of study: key stages 1 and 2 – GOV.UK .

We deliver the programmes of study through the Essentials Curriculum. The aim of our curriculum is:

  • To develop the ability to write fluently and with interesting detail on a number of topics throughout the curriculum.
  • To produce wellorganised, structured and grammatically correct writing, which includes a variety of sentence structures.
  • To read with fluency and accuracy across a wide range of contexts throughout the curriculum.
  • To have an excellent comprehension of texts.
  • To speak audibly and fluently with an increasing command of Standard English.

The Essentials Curriculum identifies key threshold concepts that tie together the breadth of  knowledge pupils are required to study. These concepts can then be explored in a wide variety of different topics. Pupils will return to the same concepts repeatedly; gradually deepening understanding of English.

Threshold concepts for the English curriculum are divided into three Phases. We call these Milestones. 

  • Milestone 1 – Years 1 and 2
  • Milestone 2 – Years 3 and 4
  • Milestone 3 – Years 5 and 6

Our curriculum is specified according to each milestone:

Curriculum Organisation 

Reading

Our approach to teaching reading follows the best evidence from the latest research. This consists of four whole class reading routines.

  • Fluency Reading across the curriculum
  • Close Reading for comprehension
  • Extended Reading from our literature programme
  • Word Study inc. vocabulary development and systematic synthetic phonics

These strategies are supported by:

  • Independent reading both in school and at home
  • Targeted guided reading intervention groups

Phonics

Phonics is the foundation of our early reading programme. At Woodcroft follow the Sounds-Write scheme. Systematic synthetic phonics is taught through structured lessons throughout Reception and Key Stage 1. These lessons are taught daily and consist of direct teaching with children then practising their knowledge and skills under close supervision. 

The phonics programme is carefully sequenced.

Term 1 Term 2 Term 3
Nursery Identifying sounds; recognising own names and other symbols
Reception Initial Code, 

Units 1 – 7

Initial Code, 

Units 8 – 11

Revision of Initial Code

Introduction to Extended Code (Units 1 – 3)

Year 1 Extended Code, Units 1 – 10 Extended Code, Units 11 – 20 Extended Code, Units 21 – 30
Year 2 Extended Code, Units 31 – 40 Extended Code, Units 41 – 50 Polysyllabic words: compound, 2 syllable words, simple 3 syllable words

Reading

Reading aloud every day to the whole class is a teacher’s priority. We carefully select the books we read in order to study a range of high quality, modern and classic fiction. Our ‘Reading Spine’ is an agreed set of books that are read to the children as a whole class and can also be used to stimulate writing:

Every lesson will contain an element of reading. This can be from a fiction book, a non-fiction book or a piece the teacher has written themselves. This is repeated over the course of the unit in order to increase fluency.

In addition, each curriculum unit has linked texts and explicit vocabulary lists. These are described as our core books.

Writing

We follow The Write Stuff system for teaching writing. The two overarching principles of this scheme are enriched experiences and a rigorous focus on sentence construction. Grammar techniques and creativity are embedded in every lesson under the framework of the Writing Rainbow:

Each unit of work is stimulated by the reading of quality texts. At the end of each unit,, an extended piece of writing is produced which includes the writing features that have been taught.

Spelling and Grammar

In the Early Years and Milestone 1, spelling is taught through the Sounds-Write scheme (see above). This continues to be reinforced through our phonics based polysyllabic spelling programme in KS2. 

Year 3 Spelling Programme

Year 4 Spelling Programme

Year 5 Spelling Programme

Year 6 Spelling Programme

Grammar is taught explicitly in English lessons, and immediately put into practice through sentence construction. It is reinforced through continued repetition and the expectation that writing should be grammatically correct.

Vocabulary

Each lesson, right across the curriculum, starts with an introduction to the vocabulary needed. Technical and specialist vocabulary is specified for each curriculum unit. Definitions are provided, examples of the words used in context, and the etymology and morphology of words are also often discussed.

Speaking and Listening

The aims and threshold concepts for speaking and listening apply to all years from Year 1 through to Year 6. These are broken down more specifically within milestones:

Pupils are given many opportunities to speak and to listen to others: pairs, small group and whole class discussions. Questions range from asking for specific answers, particularly recall of knowledge, to more open-ended questions where opinions or explanations are sought. The expectation is that children answer in complete, grammatically correct sentences, following the model set by staff. Opportunities for developing fluency in speech are given in every lesson.

Writing Curriculum Progression and Assessment

Teachers plan learning sequences, using The Write Stuff as a guide, to identify the final outcome of the unit and which particular grammatical and literary features will be included. Skills and knowledge are built on over each milestone so that the pupils’ writing becomes increasingly more detailed and sophisticated. 

Proof of Progress (POP) tasks are based on the learning expectations of each milestone. Assessments are made using these independent tasks that children complete at the end of each unit of work. 

Year 2 and Year 6 also undertake statutory assessments in writing, reading, grammar and spelling.

What does an English lesson at Woodcroft look like?

The structure of an English lesson will vary somewhat based on the age of the class and context of work. However, an effective English lesson will include:

  • A ‘retrieval quiz,’ checking knowledge and understanding of terminology or concepts taught in previous lessons.
  • Specific teaching of vocabulary: definitions, its use in a context, and may include its etymology and morphology.
  • Reading from the text on which the unit of work is based, or from a prepared  example of what the teacher is aiming for in the independent task.
  • Modelling of sentence construction which will include specific grammatical or literary features.
  • Generating ideas and vocabulary. Pupils record these on their ‘Thinking Page’.
  • Practising and refining sentences using specific features on a ‘Writing Page’.
  • Whole class feedback addressing common misconceptions and errors
  • Recap of the skills and grammar taught.

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Sounds-Write Phonics – Parent Course

If you would like to find out more about how we teach young children to read and write at Woodcroft and would like to help your child to grow in confidence then we recommend all parents of children in Reception and Year 1 complete the Sounds-Write Parents’ course at the link here – SOUNDS-WRITE PARENTS’ COURSE

The course is made up of a number of short videos to watch which give parents the knowledge they need to help their child to develop into confident readers and writers.

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