The learning of English is an essential life skill, enabling children to listen, speak, read and write confidently throughout their school career and onto adult life. English is a core subject, so at Writtle Infant School the key skills are practised and extended throughout the day in a wide range of cross curricular contexts. Since children enter school with differing levels of linguistic skill and experience, we are committed to personalising each child's learning, giving them the necessary skills to use English confidently. We provide engaging and interactive learning experiences to promote high standards of language and literacy, immersing the children in a rich variety of texts and using extensive vocabulary to inspires their creative minds. Our aim is for pupils to read for enjoyment, information and interest and to develop the spoken and written word by engendering a love of literature.
At Writtle Infant School we use The English Kit 2020 v2 by Jonathan Bond, a local literacy consultant. This enables us to plan, deliver and assess a broad, balanced and challenging curriculum coherently and effectively. It is based on the 2014 Primary National Curriculum for English, providing purposeful opportunities for reading, comprehension, writing, speaking and listening, as well as grammar and drama.
We use Just Imagine's "Take One Book" literature-based framework to develop and broaden the children's imagination, writing and reading skills. Each focus text sits at the heart of our half-termly topic and is the core from which nearly all our cross-curricular activity flows. Pupils in Key Stage 1 are immersed in a range of beautiful fiction and non-fiction texts and through engaging lessons are given the skills to write for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences. In the Early Years Foundation Stage the children use Helicopter Stories and Poetry Basket to experience communication, language and literacy as part of the seven areas of development from the Foundation Stage guidance. We encourage children to be proud of their work and to write in a cursive script by the end of Year 2.
Implementation of phonics skills
At Writtle Infant School we follow the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised scheme, a comprehensive teaching programme centred around an accessible and inclusive teaching approach. It is one of the Department for Education's approved systematic synthetic phonics programmes. All children at Writtle Infant School experience daily phonics sessions to support them on their reading, spelling and writing journey. Through these sessions they are taught grapheme (written), phoneme (sound) correspondence and the skills of blending and segmenting. We use the Collins Big Cat decodable phonics books which are directly linked to the Little Wandle programme.
Implementation of reading skills
Children at Writtle Infant School are encouraged to become confident, enthusiastic, critical and independent readers. This is achieved by providing a range of opportunities: shared reading; practice reading sessions; independent, paired and choral reading; echo reading and reading at home. All children read to an adult during the week and their decodable books are changed weekly. All classrooms have inviting reading areas and we have a purpose-built library which was beautifully refurbished in 2022. The children use this space regularly in timetabled library sessions at which they select a book to take home for the week. In Year 2 we also offer one-to-one reading sessions with a therapy dog who comes to the school weekly.
Implementation of writing skills
We feel it is important that children become independent, enthusiastic and expressive writers, able to write for a variety of purposes and audiences in a meaningful way. We want all children to regard themselves as writers, to value both their own work and that of others. The learning of writing skills is embedded across the curriculum and the key skills of planning, composing, evaluating, spelling, handwriting and presentation, grammar, punctuation and vocabulary are therefore taught explicitly in the context of English lessons, but also indirectly through cross-curricular writing tasks in other subjects. The continuation of writing skills at Key Stage 1 progresses by building on the basic skills learned in the Early Years Foundation Stage. We use a variety of techniques to develop the children's writing skills: modelled writing; shared writing; guided writing; interactive writing; independent writing; free writing; oral retelling with actions and story mapping. We develop the children's physical skills for writing through fine motor activities such as focused "Dough Disco" sessions, as well as opportunities in the learning environment. We teach cursive letter formation as and when children are ready from Reception onwards, using the Letter-join handwriting scheme. For more information about patterning, cursive script and handwriting, please see our separate handwriting policy.
Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar
Children should become independent spellers who are confident to tackle new and adventurous words in their reading and writing. They should have a range of spelling strategies which they can use to attempt unknown words. They will also learn relevant ‘tricky words’, ‘high frequency words’ and ‘common exception words’. In Year 1 and 2 children will sometimes bring home specific words to learn, based on either the Phase they are working on or the common exception words. They will be exposed to regular SPAG activities and lessons. We teach spelling through the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds scheme.
At Writtle Infant School we use both formative and summative assessments to inform our planning, as well as regular pupil progress meetings. Target children are identified and interventions planned and implemented accordingly. Lesson observations, scrutiny of books, staff input as well as pupil and parent voice are all integral parts of the monitoring and maintaining of our high standards of English teaching and learning across the school. We measure outcomes against the objectives outlined in the Jonathan Bond scheme below.