September 2014 saw the start of the new National Curriculum. The government said the curriculum changes were designed to catch up with the world’s best education systems. At Crowland , we have fully embraced the changes and continue to ensure all our children meet the new standards and requirements laid out in the new frameworks.
The overarching aim for English is to promote high standards of literacy by equipping pupils with a strong command of the spoken and written word, and to develop their love of literature through widespread reading for enjoyment.
The National Curriculum aims to ensure that all pupils:
- read easily, fluently and with good understanding
- develop the habit of reading widely, often and for pleasure
- acquire a wide vocabulary, an understanding of grammar and knowledge of linguistic conventions for reading, writing and spoken language
- appreciate our rich and varied literary heritage
- write clearly, accurately and coherently, adapting their language and style for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences
- use discussion in order to learn, elaborate and explain clearly their understanding and ideas
- are competent in the arts of speaking and listening, making formal presentations and participating in debate.
At Crowland, we believe that English has a pre-eminent place in education and society. A high quality education in English will teach pupils to write and speak fluently so they can communicate their ideas and emotions to others, and through their reading and listening, others can communicate with them.
The programmes of study for English are set out year by year for Key Stage 1. In Key Stage 2, the years are grouped together: Years 3 and 4, Years 5 and 6. Schools are only required to teach the relevant programme of study by the end of the Key Stage.
Within each Key Stage, schools therefore have the flexibility to introduce content earlier or later than set out in the programme of study. In addition, schools can introduce Key Stage content during an earlier Key Stage if appropriate.
The National Curriculum for English reflects the importance of spoken language in pupils’ development across the whole curriculum. Spoken language underpins the development of reading and writing. It is therefore not a separate strand, as it was in the previous curriculum, but is reflected and contextualised within the reading and writing.
The Programmes of Study for reading at Key Stages 1 and 2 consist of two dimensions:
- Word reading
- Comprehension (both listening and reading)
The teaching of reading will focus on developing children’s competence in both dimensions. Phonics is the primary strategy used to teach children to decode and read words. Children use the Read Write Inc programme in EYFS and Year 1, to equip then with the necessary skills for this. In addition, RWI is used across the school as an intervention programme. Once children can read words fluently they can then move on to developing their comprehension skills. This is done through high quality discussions with their teachers and class, and through reading and discussing a wide range of stories, poems and non-fiction.
Children will be encouraged to read widely for their own enjoyment throughout their time at Crowland. Reading is key to developing a child’s vocabulary, which in turn, develops their writing. It is essential that all children leave primary school being able to read fluently and with confidence and it is our duty as teachers to ensure this happens. Children will be exposed to a wide range of quality texts throughout their time with us, including many visual texts and animations.
The Programmes of Study for writing for Key Stages 1 and 2 are constructed similarly to those for reading:
- Transcription (spelling and handwriting)
- Composition (articulating ideas and structuring them in speech and writing)
Pupils will develop competency in both of these dimensions during their time at Crowland. In addition, pupils will be taught to plan, revise and evaluate their writing.
The biggest change to the new curriculum was the emphasis placed on grammar and spelling. There are statutory guidelines for both which follow a clear progression from Year 1 through to Year 6. Each year group has a key word list and a list of grammar terms which they are required to know by the end of each year. Children are taught to speak Standard English and to use the elements of spelling, grammar and punctuation correctly in their writing.
What can you do to support your child in English?
As always, we aim to work in partnership with our parents at Crowland. We ask that, in order to support your child in the new English Curriculum, you encourage your child to read widely at home to develop their love of books. This will impact greatly on your child’s spoken and written English. All children from Year 1 to 6 bring home spellings to learn. Please help your child to do this. In addition, any opportunities to write at home will also help to develop your child’s competence in this area. Writing opportunities at home could include post cards, keeping a diary, shopping lists or even recipes.