English at St Amand's
Through the study of English, we enable our pupils to discover the multi-faceted beauty of communication, understanding and exploration of relationships with themselves, each other and the mysterious nature of God’s world; to recognise that language plays a fundamental role in the growth of our identity and self-image, leading to a human flourishing which transcends limitations and barriers. Exposure to a rich variety of literature and the development of high-level literacy and oracy skills gives them to tools to participate as a global citizen.
Ofsted inspection 2019:
'Reading is made a priority from the moment children join the school.'
'Teaching supports the curriculum well in subjects across the school. It appears to be having the strongest impact in mathematics and English because pupils are clearer here about how their skills and knowledge are being built up over time.'
Phonics and Early Reading
At St Amand's, we believe reading is the key to unlock learning across the curriculum. In EYFS and KS1, children are taught to read using the Little Wandle phonics scheme. They take part in daily phonics sessions to learn new phonemes (sounds) and graphemes (how to write them), as well as tricky words (those words which do not follow the regular phonic rules). At the end of year 1, children sit a phonics screening to assess their decoding skills.
The Little Wandle approach to reading moves beyond simply decoding words and ensures children are fluent readers. Children in EYFS, year 1 and some year 2s, are allocated a small reading group. Each group focuses on one well-matched text per week and will have three adult-led reading sessions. These sessions focus on fluency, prosody and comprehension.
Fluency - children should be able to read the book with 90-95% accuracy, this means not overtly blending aloud for more than 5-10% of words.
Prosody - children learn to read with expression and intonation, taking note of different punctuation.
Comprehension - children are taught how to find answers to questions using skills of retrieval, inference and prediction.
By the time children take home their reading book, they have read it three times at school and cannot wait to show off their reading skills to adults at home!
87.5% of our year 1 children passed the phonics screening check, Summer 2022.
From year 2 onwards, children take part in whole class reading sessions four times a week. Each session has a different focus: teacher-led reading, child-led reading, vocabulary and comprehension.
Teacher-led reading - this allows children to hear what fluent reading sounds like, with prosody and correct emphasis given to punctuation. Children are able to listen, follow along in their copy of the text and enjoy the story.
Child-led reading - this can be individual, paired, in small groups or at a whole class level. Children are given the chance to re-read the text read to them by their teacher previously. They develop their fluency skills and imitate good prosody skills they have learnt from hearing their teacher read aloud.
Vocabulary - one session each week is dedicated to understanding new vocabulary which arises in the class text. Teachers will explore these new words in a variety of ways and give lots of opportunities for children to use them orally and in written work.
Comprehension - understanding of the text is vital. Children are given comprehension questions that draw on their skills of retrieval, inference, summarising, sequencing and prediction. They are expected to give answers orally, helping one another and deepening their understanding as a class. Children work towards writing complete answers independently.
Data from Summer 2022:
|Year 2 Reading||92 % Expected||33% Greater Depth|
|Year 6 Reading||73% Expected||27% Greater Depth|
World Book Day 2023 - children and staff dressed up as well-known book characters, Stories were shared by adults across the school and children worked hard in their classes to create a poem, piece of music, or retelling linked to a story, which they then shared during a whole school assembly.
The Eco-Committee organised a 'book swap' as part of our World Book Day celebrations. Children all brought in an unwanted book from home and were able to swap it for a book of their choosing.
We were gifted a beautiful story-telling chair which sits in our Peace Garden. Adults (and children) love to use it for story sessions outdoors.
World Book Day 2022 - every year we love to dress up for World Book Day. This year, we dressed up as expanded noun phrases - one or more adjectives preceding a noun, e.g. a fluffy, soft sheep. Children enjoyed hearing stories read by adults across the school and taking part in many different activities in their classes. The day ended with a whole school assembly where children were able to show off their wonderful costumes and share stories they had written in class.
Throughout the school, teachers use a slow writing approach when teaching children how to write for different genres. This approach allows teachers time to model particular sentence types, for example, a sentence containing a co-ordinating conjunction, before children incorporate these into their own writing. The amount of different sentence types children are expected to use builds up over the years.
Writing is used across the curriculum to engage, inspire and express points of view. Often, children are keen advocates for what they believe in. We encourage collaboration and creativity, especially when this can bring about change for a common good.
Data from Summer 2022:
|Year 2 Writing||67% Expected||17% Greater Depth|
|Year 6 Writing||65% Expected||27% Greater Depth|
English in EYFS
Mark making is the first stage of writing and our children in EYFS love to do this in many ways! They soon learn to form letters and begin to write words and captions. By the end of the year, children begin to construct sentences of their own.
Story-telling is used to help children in EYFS learn new language and rehearse well-known stories, including fairy tales. Children are given the opportunity to explore these stories through sequencing tasks, artwork, role play, music and writing activities.
Oracy and Speaking & Listening
The National Curriculum outlines objectives for children's speaking and listening skills. We move beyond these and believe that every child can be a leader of tomorrow. At St Amand's, we nurture and develop good oracy skills as soon as children begin school. We offer and encourage children to participate in a range of public speaking opportunities, such as: reading at Mass, taking part in school plays, class assemblies, competitions, performing poetry in lessons and many more.
Rotary Style Public Speaking Competition
Three year 5 children took part in the competition in 2022 and were praised for their dedication and enthusiasm towards understanding their chosen topic (CST Human Dignity): What does the UK do to help refugees? The children had to work together to learn the rotary style of speaking and put together their presentation. They were amazing at researching and expressing their views with passion!
Drama is a great way to immerse children in a text! Children in Squirrels Class acted out their story, before writing...
Poetry is a wonderful way for children to showcase their performing skills. Here, Red Kites are performing the poem 'The Jabberwocky' by Lewis Carroll...