In our school, we offer children many opportunities to write both in English and other areas of the curriculum. Our expectations are that children will produce at least one paragraph of writing in 75% of weekly English lessons.
Teachers carefully choose inspiring and challenging texts for children to read and ‘magpie’ ideas from. We encourage the use of Visual Literacy (using film) in our lessons as a stimulus for writing as we have found that this engages all abilities of children. We encourage the use of learning partners when writing to help children to ensure that any children who may find writing a challenge, is being exposed to language and ideas to write.
Grammar is a priority in our school. We teach standalone grammar lessons weekly to ensure that skills are being taught and then fill our lessons with reminders.
All children receive weekly spellings which are practised both at school and at home throughout the week. Children work extremely hard to achieve consistently high scores. Children are encouraged to correct spelling mistakes within their writing, using a dictionary.
We follow the ‘Penpals’ handwriting scheme throughout the school and have regular handwriting sessions. We have very high expectations for handwriting and presentation and are often complimented on this by visitors and advisors to the school. We showcase our fantastic presentation in our leader assembly where the teachers and teaching assistants choose a winner of the ‘Presentation of the week’ award.
Reading is a huge part of our school life. We encourage reading at every opportunity and offer incentives such as ‘Golden tickets’ hidden in book corners. We promote reading at home also by asking children to complete reading diaries and getting parents to sign these when they have heard their children read. Classes offer rewards to children who have read each night.
All children have access to ‘Bug Club’ which is our chosen online reading programme.
Each class takes part in daily guided reading sessions. During the week, they are given the opportunity to have a session with the teacher and teaching assistant as well as working independently to secure their understanding. There is also a time when children can ‘Read for pleasure.’
We believe that speaking and listening is an essential part of the children’s development. We offer children many opportunities to speak in and around the school and hold discussions. Part of our 7 habits leadership programme works to develop children’s ability to speak and be heard.
We have taken part in the last two ‘Stevenage Speaks’ debating competition.