Here at Fossdene Primary School, we immerse our pupils in rich learning experiences. This is embedded in powerful, quality texts (both contemporary and classic) as we believe that every child has the right to be exposed to high quality texts and language. Ensuring quality teaching for all is fundamental to our curriculum design as it ensures that everyone has an equal right to learn and be taught in their own unique way. In order to ensure that we achieve our goals we base our learning and skills around the purpose of texts and underpin the learning with text types. We ensure that every child is given the skills, techniques and knowledge needed to become successful writers. It is important to us that every child is challenged in every English lesson through a range of skills and teaching techniques that are outlined in the document. We believe that by cultivating a love of reading and writing helps enable our learners to have access to the wide range of skills and techniques needed to flourish as readers and writers as well as to truly develop into life-long learners. We want all our children to enjoy writing, be curious and have an appreciation of the beauty and power of the written word.
Our curriculum is designed with every learner in mind and is structured in a way to ensure that all learners are provided for and achieve the highest possible outcomes.
As such, we run our curriculum on three central pillars:
- Quality First Teaching
- Quality Texts
- Embedded Grammar, Spelling and Phonics
Through the three pillars, we focus our English provision on providing our children with the tools to grapple with their learning and overcome potential barriers to learning.
As part of our quality first teaching, we provide opportunities for assessment and reflection from our learners to help them become more independent and self-regulate their learning. We use a wide range of strategies and approaches to ensure that all learners are engaged and make progress. Challenge is presented to our pupils through probing and diagnostic questioning to understand their breadth and depth of their knowledge and understanding. We then present them with appropriate and personally tailored verbal targets that help them to know exactly what they need to make progress and what it looks like when success has been achieved.
Quality texts ensure that our children have the right to be exposed to a wide range of new vocabulary and writing styles that are within their year groups expectations. The texts selected are just out of range of what the children would be able to access independently and help to push their understanding and learning forward through the use of knowledgeable and facilitating teaching professionals.
Grammar, spelling, and phonics are an integral part of our everyday teaching provision and equip our learners with the tools needed to have in-depth discussions about their writing and their future targets. Grammar, spelling, and phonics are used as tools to help our children to excel as writers and readers and give them the confidence to work independently.
We emphasise the importance of quality literature and books in order to enable our children to become confident, skilled and enthusiastic learners. We strive to deliver lessons that are based in skills and knowledge and we focus predominantly on the writing and the reading processes and the purposes behind them. By giving our learners a clear understanding of what it means to be a reader or a writer and by providing them with a wide range of opportunities to explore this we create fluent and creative writers and readers.
We utilise research to deliver high quality teaching experiences that provide our children with the tools needed to be successful at school and beyond. We use deep rooted classroom-based research stretching for over a decade to ensure that our children receive only the highest quality provision.
All classes use key texts in their English lessons and extracts (where appropriate) to make sure that reading is a socially engaging activity and to bring the texts to life. This is both highly encouraged and valued by our teacher team as it is our core belief that every child is entitled to have access to and exposure to high quality texts. This is covered by being used as part of a whole class setting, group work or 1:1 to enable our learners to have access to academic and challenging conversations about texts and how they are constructed. This helps children to develop their ability of using background knowledge, make links, visualise and build meaning around a text.
We encourage meaning making by targeting our questioning around the VIPERS model and using the core strands of comprehension: vocabulary, inference, prediction, explanation, retrieval, summarise and sequencing. This gives our learners a key focus for their learning and a detailed understanding of the skills needed in order to be a successful reader. It is important that we cultivate these skills in order to flourish as readers and naturally become inquisitive and curious learners. We are constantly striving to develop our teaching and learning to extend our understanding of developing these lifelong skills in our and excellent progress in our learners. (Please see our Reading page for further information regarding Reading at Fossdene).
We are constantly striving to develop our teaching of reading and writing through research, case studies and staff CPD that help to ensure that we have high quality professionals ready to deliver high quality lessons.
- Reading and writing is highlighted in the classroom through designated book corners and working walls which are frequently updated with children’s work and teacher examples.
- Discussion prompts and newly introduced vocabulary are visible in the classroom for children to refer to and use both orally and in their writing.
- Children are encouraged to discuss the texts they are reading, and we encourage a robust reading culture within our classrooms.
- Children are encouraged to celebrate and share their writing, and we encourage conversations about grammatical choices and the impact that these have on the reader.
The impact on our children is clear: progress, sustained learning and transferable skills. With the implementation of the writing journey being established and taught thoroughly in all key stages, children are becoming more confident writers and by the time they are in upper Key Stage 2, most genres of writing are familiar to them and the teaching can focus on creativity, writer’s craft, sustained writing and manipulation of grammar and punctuation skills.
As all aspects of English are an integral part of the curriculum, cross curricular writing standards have also improved and skills taught in the English lesson are transferred into other subjects; this shows consolidation of skills and a deeper understanding of how and when to use specific grammar, punctuation and grammar objectives. We hope that as children move on from us to further their education and learning that their creativity, passion for English and high aspirations travel with them and continue to grow and develop as they do.
Our curriculum is quality assured by external experts such as Opening Doors (led by Bob Cox), our Improvement Partner, RBG Primary English advisor and Fossdene SLT.