Our aim at Spring Gardens is for our children to become confident communicators who are passionate and skilful readers and writers. Our English curriculum provides children with exciting and purposeful opportunities to develop their literacy skills; becoming well-rounded, literate young people.
We deliver a broad and balanced English curriculum built around progression. Our year group overviews outline the genres and texts covered across school. We ensure children are exposed to a range of text types throughout their time at Spring Gardens, with opportunities to revisit genres and build on prior learning.
We strive to secure key literacy skills in spelling, punctuation and grammar so that our children are well prepared for the next steps in their learning journey. We are acutely aware of the ‘forgetting curve’, evermore since the Covid-19 pandemic, and so securing basic skills is a priority for us.
At Spring Gardens, we aspire to instil a love of writing in our pupils. Our vision for ‘Writing for Pleasure’ was developed in consultation with our pupils and their views on writing. We believe that providing children with opportunities to write for pleasure will help them to become successful and passionate writers.
Our curriculum is continually reviewed to meet the needs of each cohort, providing engaging and inclusive opportunities for all children. Teachers attend regular CPD opportunities to ensure their knowledge is up-to-date and to further develop their teaching practice. Additionally, they regularly share good practice with their colleagues to support one another’s professional development.
At Spring Gardens, Literacy lessons are taught daily. Every lesson begins with a Literacy starter to continually revise and secure key skills in areas such as: spelling, vocabulary, punctuation and grammar. Daily phonics lessons in Reception and Key Stage 1 allow our children to develop their spelling skills. In Key Stage 2, spelling is taught discretely three times per week. Specific spelling patterns and statutory words have been allocated between year groups according to the National Curriculum, ensuring that age related expectations are met. Teachers have linked these spelling patterns and statutory words to their units of work, where possible, ensuring children have the opportunity to use their spelling knowledge in their written work.
Our English curriculum is exciting and engaging. When introducing texts, teachers provide creative 'hooks', such as: Sunny the Meerkat visiting from Africa, classrooms being trashed by the Colour Catcher and items or images to promote awe and wonder. These 'hooks' engage children with a sense of enjoyment and purpose whilst also captivating their imaginations. Our teachers are passionate about exciting teaching and learning which is reflected in lessons.
From Nursery to Year 6, children experience a variety of text types. They participate in a range of activities to develop their understanding of texts, including: immersion activities, short burst writing tasks, opportunities to analyse text features and evaluate the impact on the reader.
At Spring Gardens, we value the teaching of poetry. All year groups focus their learning around a poetry unit each term whilst songs and rhymes are taught throughout the year in the Early Years. We recognise the importance of poetry and the opportunities it provides to develop vocabulary and inspire children’s writing.
Formative assessment is ongoing during Literacy lessons and whilst children are writing in other curriculum subjects. These informal assessments are used to inform teachers’ planning and/or implement interventions to ensure all children’s needs are met. Independent writing tasks clearly demonstrate children’s ability to apply skills and knowledge they have acquired throughout a unit of work. In Year 2-Year 6, children also complete a termly assessment in spelling, grammar and punctuation. Teachers use these assessments to further support their judgements and identify gaps in learning.
Following the identification of gaps in knowledge, teachers adapt their quality first teaching and/or implement interventions to meet the needs of their children. At Spring Gardens, we use Target Tracker as our assessment tool. Teachers use this tool to highlight statements linked to our Key Performance Indicators for writing, thus supporting them to make accurate judgements of children’s writing skills.
We promote writing for pleasure with all pupils at Spring Gardens. In Nursery and Reception, children have regular access to writing areas and activities through their continuous provision. In Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2, children write for pleasure each week in their 'Free Writing' books. Children can write about whatever they wish or be inspired by a picture stimulus. We also provide a popular lunch time writing club (Scribe Tribe) for our Year 4 and Year 5 pupils. At the end of their Scribe Tribe experience, pupils are given a notebook to continue writing for pleasure at home.
Upon leaving Spring Gardens, the majority of our pupils reach age related expectations, regardless of their needs or starting points. All children, regardless of individual needs, make good progress and leave our school with the literacy skills needed to succeed in the next stage of their education. Our well-constructed and well-taught curriculum ensures pupils make good progress and reach their full potential.
Evidence in writing books, as well as across the curriculum, highlight a broad and balanced curriculum. Teachers have high expectations of children’s writing content and presentation of work. Evidence of learning and application of skills is clearly evident in books. Children are able to independently apply the skills and knowledge they have acquired throughout a unit of work.
Pupil voice tells us that our children enjoy writing and they speak confidently about their writing experiences. Our children are able to recall information about genres of writing and they can explain the meaning of grammatical terms, as well as a range of skills and knowledge they have gained in their Literacy lessons.
Regular monitoring of planning indicates appropriate coverage of genres and literacy skills. Children are challenged to reach their full potential as well as supported where needed; work is differentiated to suit a range of abilities.
Quality first teaching, as well as high expectations of writing across the curriculum and regular spoken language opportunities, enables us to fulfil our aim of children becoming confident communicators who are passionate and skilful readers and writers.