We believe that every child at Barrs Court Primary School should be entitled to high quality learning opportunities that will enable them to develop their reading and writing skills in order to become independent, imaginative individuals.
Teaching of English in EYFS follows the ‘Statutory framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage’. Phonics is taught daily and children complete writing tasks as part of continuous provision. As the year progresses, teaching moves towards more structured English lessons where children begin to write more independently as they build stamina and enthusiasm.
Communication and language – Development involves giving children opportunities to experience a rich language environment; to develop their confidence and skills in expressing themselves and to speak and listen in a range of situations.
Literacy – development involves encouraging children to link sounds and letters and to begin to read and write. Children must be given access to a wide range of reading materials (books, poems and other written materials) to ignite their interest.
At Barrs Court we passionately believe that the ability to read is central to pupils’ development and their success in education and beyond. Consequently, reading is given a high priority by creating opportunities for children to become independent, enthusiastic and life-long readers. We are very proud to be one of the few schools in South Gloucestershire to hold the platinum ‘Time4Reading’ award.
Reading is taught through a weekly ‘Big Read’ lesson and daily guided reading sessions where objectives are explored through a whole class teaching approach. The reading skills of vocabulary, inference, prediction, explanations, retrieval and summarising are explicitly taught through opportunities to explore rich and challenging topic-based texts. Children’s progress in reading is assessed through both verbal and written responses.
To encourage regular reading at home, children are asked to read five times per week at home as part of their home learning. If this is achieved, they earn a ‘fiver’. To reward their efforts, we use a ‘Reading Karate’ reward system, which means that for every five ‘fivers’ they achieve, a karate is belt is awarded to them in assembly.
Reading for pleasure is very much promoted across the school. Every class reads their own ‘class book’ where children engage with a range of different types of books and authors. We celebrate World Book Day annually and hold a biennial Book Week with a whole school theme. Children also have the opportunity to participate in regular book swaps, library visits and sponsored reading events during the year.
Download: READING PROGRESSION OF SKILLS
Children use their writing in almost all of their learning across the curriculum, therefore writing is hugely valued at Barrs Court Primary School. It allows children to communicate their imaginative thoughts and personalities whilst developing skills that they will take forwards with them for the rest of their lives.
At Barrs Court, writing opportunities are planned around a termly topic and allow children to become immersed in key texts. Children write for a range of purposes such as to inform, to explain, to persuade or to entertain. Within each unit, we follow a ‘try it’, ‘use it’ and ‘prove it’ approach, where grammar skills are explicitly taught, practised and then included in an end of unit piece of writing where the children can showcase all that they have learnt. Spelling is taught in discrete lessons four times per week. In years 2-6, the ‘No Nonsense Spelling’ scheme is used and children are taught a variety of spelling strategies that will enable them to apply their spelling skills within their writing.
We provide regular opportunities for children to enter local and national writing and handwriting competitions; our children’s work has recently been published in a poetry anthology and we have celebrated successful shortlisted writers for the BBC Radio Two 500 words competition.
Pupils’ writing is assessed against ‘Age Related Expectations’ (AREs) four times a year. By tracking pupil progress closely, teachers understand how to carefully meet the needs of the children as they work towards the end of year 2 and 6 statutory assessments (SATs).
From Early Years to Year 1, children are taught daily phonics lessons. Progression is planned using ‘Letters and Sounds’ phases along side use of ‘Read Write Inc’ and ‘Phonics Play’ resources. This enables us to plan engaging, fun and challenging phonics lessons that ensures children make excellent progress with their reading and writing.
At the end of year 1, children undertake a statutory ‘Phonics screening check’ in which they are assessed on their understanding of letter sounds and decoding skills. Teachers monitor children’s progress effectively throughout the year and we are proud of our recent success rate.
We recognise the importance of children having a wide vocabulary to communicate effectively for a range of purposes. Across all curriculum areas, children develop their understanding of new vocabulary and have the opportunity to use this to reflect on their learning and present their views which helps them to improve their writing.
Throughout the school, working walls are used to collect vocabulary as it is discussed in the classroom and they act as a prompt during lessons. Teachers are actively promoting use of high level vocabulary and use questioning to deepen children’s understanding.
We provide opportunities for children to develop confidence through class based speaking and listening activities such as presentations, debates and discussions. These skills are then refined and developed with regular performance opportunities including assemblies, productions, concerts and learning exhibitions.