Through the Holy Redeemer, we seek to grow in faith and love, to become great people who make a difference in our world.
English at Holy Redeemer
At Holy Redeemer, English is not just taught as a discrete curriculum area but is the cornerstone of the entire curriculum. Through using high-quality texts, immersing children in vocabulary rich learning environments and ensuring new curriculum expectations and the progression of skills are met, our pupils are exposed to a creative, language rich, English curriculum, which will not only enable them to become primary literate, but will also develop a love of reading, creative writing and purposeful speaking and listening. Creativity is at the heart of our English curriculum and pupils learn in a fun and engaging way. All of this is underpinned by our whole school focus on Building Learning Power and on developing higher order thinking, with a particular focus on spoken language and vocabulary and on resilience and risk-taking; identified as key needs within our school context.
At Holy Redeemer we recognise the importance of reading across the whole curriculum and the impact it has on the future success of our pupils. Through reading and discussing a wide range of texts, we work to develop their comprehension skills, increase their vocabulary and feed their imaginations. At the end of Year 6, our aim is for all pupils to leave us reading fluently, and with understanding, in order to access their secondary school curriculum. We hope they will also have developed a love of literature, through reading for enjoyment, which will sustain them emotionally, intellectually and spiritually for the rest of their lives.
Through the systematic teaching of phonics, we aim for our pupils to become fluent readers by the end of KS1; we ensure that those who are not, receive targeted intervention.
We are aware of the vital role parents play in developing early reading and in maintaining progress as the pupils get older. Therefore, our aim is to use a wide range of strategies to encourage parental engagement throughout the school:
We try to provide numerous opportunities for our pupils to read aloud in public: assemblies, church, productions, poetry competitions and wider community events. We believe this develops their confidence, expression and fluency.
In line with the new national curriculum, we ensure that each year group is teaching the explicit grammar, punctuation and spelling objectives required for that age group. We aim to do this in each class through using an engaging, high quality class text – ‘Book as a Hook’. As well as teaching the objectives in English lessons, teachers are able to embed the skills, throughout the year, in cross-curricula writing opportunities.
Children learn in different ways, therefore we aim to use a variety of different strategies to engage pupils in writing: Talk for writing; drama and hot seating’ visual literacy (including video clips and pieces of art), educational visits. We try to ensure that there is always a purpose for writing.
Speaking and Listening
The national curriculum states that ‘spoken language underpins the development of reading and writing’. Therefore, we aim to ensure that our pupils are exposed to a high quality and rich variety of language, from the very beginning, in order to develop their vocabulary and grammar and their understanding for reading and writing.
We want them to be confident communicators, who use discussion in order to learn and explain clearly their own ideas and understanding, across all curriculum subjects.
Pupils’ acquisition and command of vocabulary is key to their learning and progress across the whole curriculum; consequently, teachers aim to develop vocabulary actively and increase pupils’ store of words in general.
We want to provide them with many opportunities to participate in discussions, presentations, performances, role play and debates from a very early age.
The majority of our literacy lessons are planned around a high quality text as a hook. These texts are sometimes linked to class topics and can be a novel or a picture book. The texts are selected to engage our pupils in reading and to ensure that the process of reading into writing is effective and progressive. Therefore, the texts chosen in each year group are progressively difficult.
We have a systematic programme for the teaching of early reading. Our reading scheme is devised from several sources, principally Little Wandle, Dandelion Launchers and Readers, Oxford Reading Tree and Songbird Phonics; These are supplemented by a variety of other texts. The books are organised into book bands, to ensure that pupils are accessing texts appropriate to their reading level. Each pupil has an individual reading record so that teachers can monitor home reading and pupils are encouraged to read at home daily, through a range of reward schemes. For those pupils who find reading at home difficult, extra opportunities are provided to read individually to an adult in school. In addition to the class teacher and assistant, we have very competent volunteers, from the parish, who hear pupils read and also read to them each week.
To teach phonics, we use Little Wandle Letters and Sounds. Phonics lessons take place daily in EYFS and Y1. In Y2, Phase 5 is recapped in Autumn and Y2 then follow the spelling programme, with intervention from the Letters and Sounds programme, for those pupils who do not have a secure grasp of Phase 5. There is a strong emphasis on application across all the lessons and each lesson begins with revisiting previous learning.
Parents are invited in to the early years’ classes to share books with their children and to borrow books to read at home. Parental engagement is encouraged and valued: reading records; targeted parents are supported; meet the teacher meetings; parents’ evenings; homework; book fair; Tapestry (EYFS)
We provide pupils with many varied opportunities to read for pleasure and information: timetabled slots in class for guided reading and independent reading; an adult reading a class book to them; lunchtime book club and older pupils sharing books with younger ones. Through these opportunities, they develop their own love of favourite genres and authors and the ability to review their books objectively.
To encourage enjoyment in reading, our pupils participate in events such as World book day, library visits, workshops, book fairs and super learning days.
Writing is taught through the use of a quality text, which exposes the children to inference, high-level vocabulary and a range of punctuation and characterisation. Each text is purposefully selected in order to promote a love of reading, engagement and high quality writing from each child. Classroom working walls may display ambitious vocabulary and phrases from the current book, in order to encourage pupils to use high level sentence structures and ambitious vocabulary in their own writing
Following discussion with the previous teacher and the September baseline, teachers use the first class text to plan a sequence of learning to address the specific needs of the pupils in their class. This is sometimes supported by Babcock sequences of learning. This ‘Bump in the road’ form of planning allows teachers to teach objectives and assess them regularly, through independently written pieces of writing. Each sequence of learning concludes with an extended piece of writing, to assess the overall objectives for that sequence. Areas of weakness are addressed by the class teacher or assistant and intervention given when necessary.
We moderate writing termly in school, and with our partner schools, to ensure our assessments are accurate. All year groups use the same format for assessing writing which have been produced in line with the end of Key Stage assessment frameworks as published by the Department for Education or the Ros Wilson Criterion Scales.
Early writing begins with mark making. When pupils begin phonics they are taught the correct letter formations. This begins with writing CVC words, moving on to short sentences using the sounds they have been taught. EYFS pupils are encouraged to write independently through continuous provision.
To ensure that there is a purpose for writing, pupils write for other classes; they write letters to local councils and enter both local and national writing competitions. Around school there are displays of writing which encourage them to take pride in their work as does our ‘Writer of the Week’ award at merit assembly.
A fluent, joined and legible style of handwriting is encouraged across the curriculum. They learn an efficient joining style from Y3. (This can be earlier if appropriate.) Across the school, handwriting is taught either discretely (daily in some classes) or revised through other written work on a regular basis. This consistent practice helps to develop correct formation and to teach the rules for joining. Handwriting practice is often linked to the phonics and spelling programmes. Pupils are given further intervention if they are struggling.
There is an expectation that grammar is modelled and used correctly by all adults. To ensure progression in grammar skills we use the ‘No Nonsense Grammar’ programme as a resource, supplemented by a variety of other resources. Areas of weakness are identified through assessment of independent writing and addressed in the next lesson or during a focused SPAG lesson.
We use the spelling scheme ‘No Nonsense Spelling’ as a resource, which encourages pupils to use a range of strategies to support their learning: LCWC; colour coding, mnemonics, word pyramids. Before the scheme was implemented, these strategies were shared with parents to encourage support at home. Pupils are also taught the high frequency words (or common exception words) for their appropriate age group as outlined in the 2014 curriculum. These are tested frequently in class and reinforced through display. As part of our marking policy, teachers will identify regularly misspelt words and provide opportunities for pupils to practise them.
Speaking and Listening
Because our pupils enter school with varied degrees of proficiency in spoken language, there is a strong emphasis in EYFS on addressing deficiencies: pupils listen to stories daily and have the opportunity to retell stories; they are taught nursery rhymes and songs; they engage in oral language games and oral discussion is a key element of their learning.
Across the school, pupils have the opportunity to work in a variety of groupings: whole class; small groups; pairs and individual. There are also opportunities to work in mixed age groups. Talk partners is a strategy we use across the curriculum. Our lollipop sticks strategy ensures that all pupils are given a chance to ask and answer questions in class. Our creative approach to learning provides them with numerous opportunities to present their ideas and work, to their peers and staff. This occurs daily in lessons and through our ‘unhomework’ projects.
All pupils have many opportunities, throughout their time in school, to participate in drama and public performances: termly assemblies for parents; class showcases for parents and other classes; national poetry sharing scheme with the local care home; numerous school productions, including a major production in the local theatre while they are in KS2.
Impact is judged by the progress pupils make in reading across the school and in their attitudes to it. Monitoring takes place in the form of: individual reading records, ongoing formative assessment, pupil voice and discussions in whole class and guided reading sessions, summative assessments which provide tracking data (NFER/ SATs papers) and teacher assessments. SATs results are also analysed and whole school development target areas set from this. These factors ensure that we are able to maintain extremely high standards, with achievement at the end of KS2 consistently well above the national average.
Our high quality texts often drive other areas of the curriculum, which enhances their relevance and supports pupils to make links between different areas of their learning.
We know that we are successful in our intent that all our pupils value the importance of reading and enjoy it because this is what they say: Books make us laugh, cry and calm us down; reading helps us to grow in confidence and to concentrate on our learning. When we read we can escape into another world or learn lots of interesting new facts. Reading is important because the more we read, the better our writing becomes. We are better learners when we read. We like to read all the time. (Pupil Voice)
Pupils enjoy writing and use the features of different genres and styles. They can write confidently for different purposes and audiences. As skills are transferred, cross curricula writing standards have improved – some of our best pieces of writing can be found in R.E. books – and pupils tell us that they continue to use strategies and vocabulary, taught in KS2, as they progress into secondary school.
There is evidence of a clear teaching sequence in books, with a range of genres being taught across the school. Marking is directed to improve learning and pupils respond to feedback.
Monitoring takes place in the form of on-going formative assessment, pupil voice, lesson observations, work scrutiny, school and cluster moderation and teacher assessment using the end of Key Stage standards. Achievement is well above national average at the end of Key stage 2, with a good proportion of our pupils achieving greater depth in writing.
Speaking and Listening
Our older pupils are excellent ambassadors for the school. They show visitors around regularly and feedback from days, such as the NGS open gardens, describe them as confident, knowledgeable and proficient communicators. They read regularly in church and often continue on the parish rota for many years after they have finished school.
Our feeder secondary school describes our pupils as very confident communicators, a skill which we see them continue to develop after leaving us, through their participation in performing arts evenings, school productions and public speaking opportunities, especially in church.
We assess children’s work in geography by making informal judgements as we observe them during lessons or their participation in fieldwork.
Once the children complete a piece of work, teachers use formal assessment and use this information to plan for future learning. A benchmark grid is available to teachers grading children either: emerging, secure or working at greater depth for human, physical and locational geography against their year group objectives. Reporting to parents occurs annually with a written report and through parent evenings. Currently, there isn’t any form of formal, written assessment for geography in our school.
We have a short supply resources in our school to be able to teach geography. Where we do not own specialist equipment, we will outsource our learning to an external, verified provider. There is a class set of atlases for both key stages. In the library, we have a good supply of geography topic books, which are accessible at any time.
The current Headteacher: Christina Hall and the current subject co-ordinator: Russell Hawtree are responsible for monitoring the standard of the children’s work and the quality of teaching in geography. They are also responsible for supporting colleagues in the teaching of geography, for being informed about current developments in the subject, and for providing a strategic lead and direction for the subject in the school.