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English

Spelling, punctuation and grammar
Cursive Handwriting

All teachers at Okehampton Primary School are committed to ensuring that children make outstanding progress in English.  The New Curriculum 2014 has been tailored by our staff to provide engaging and creative opportunities for children to question, imagine and to reflect critically on their ideas and actions.

The curriculum encompasses several areas which develop children’s ability to read, write and organise their ideas orally. A more in depth programme of study is followed (using No Nonsense Spelling – pub. Babcock and Raintree) to teach children  spelling. Vocabulary, grammar and punctuation are taught through the real texts of our teaching sequences. In line with the new guidance, key skills are now taught earlier, starting in KS1. Objectives for grammar and spelling are more specific and the content is more advanced. Formative assessment is used to track progress and a range of interventions are available to support learners.

Reading

At Okehampton Primary School we believe that reading is the best gift that you could give your child. We have tailored a policy to support all children in their learning of reading and to inspire children to become life-long readers. One of the main aims of English in the new National Curriculum is to ‘develop [pupils’] love of literature through widespread reading for enjoyment’. This is to be achieved by ensuring that they ‘develop the habit of reading widely and often, for both pleasure and information’.

We provide the children with opportunities to:

  • Read daily using a wide range of text and genres (during independent reading time, whole class sessions and focused guided reading sessions.)
  • Participate in daily interactive phonics sessions which start in EYFS and continue through KS1 (and KS2 if necessary).
  • Use Accelerated Reader to encourage children to read widely, challenge themselves and enable them to make well paced progress in comprehension.
  • Share and talk about stories to improve their comprehension skills and to help them make informed choices with their independent reading.
  • Read aloud to encourage expression and instil confidence.
  • Value books through reading regularly to children, attractive and user friendly book library, celebrating World Book Day, Poetry celebration week and promoting the importance of reading through a Reading Champions assembly.
  • Ensure reading skills are taught as children progress through the school to enable them to develop a critique of a range of literature and styles of writing.
  • Provide Reading Recovery intervention to help selected children make accelerated progress.

Spoken Language and Drama

Okehampton Primary School firmly believes that meaningful talk helps children make fantastic progress in reading and writing, as well as other areas of the curriculum. Speaking and listening is essential in supporting children to develop and organise their ideas. We also value drama, providing children with opportunities to grow in confidence and independence. It is not only an interesting and exciting subject, but a dynamic and exciting part of the Primary Curriculum. At Okehampton Primary School, we use drama across all our subjects in an innovative and kinaesthetic way, allowing children of all ages to tap into their creativity, explore new concepts and contribute to their imagination.

Children are given opportunities to:

  • Listen and respond to stories, poems and rhymes.
  • Retell stories and poems which are known by heart.
  • Participate in discussions and debates.
  • Discuss and evaluate their own work with peers and adults.
  • Ask and answer questions.
  • Justify actions and opinions.
  • Participate in planned drama sessions across the curriculum.
  • Orally compose before they write.
  • Experience visiting theatre groups/storytellers performing at school.

Writing

Across the school, teachers strive to promote an engaging and creative writing environment. Okehampton Primary School firmly believes that great readers become great writers and so teachers choose extremely high quality and stimulating texts as a basis for writing. Quality-first planning ensures children are challenged to become more confident and adventurous writers. Pupils become familiar with a range of text types and their features so that they can begin the exploration of language and structure. Once fully immersed in the text, it becomes a tool to explore ideas about language and structure (layout, level of formality, organisational devices, setting, character etc.) Class discussions give a context to grammar and syntax, which subsequently helps to develop and enrich pupils’ own writing skills. By exposing our children to a wide bank of texts, we are helping to generate interesting ideas from them.

We provide children with a range of experiences and give opportunities to:

  • Relate writing to their own experiences.
  • Write across a range of narrative, non-fiction and poetry genres.
  • Develop a voice as a writer.
  • Discuss and reflect on their writing frequently.
  • See examples of good writing through shared and modelled writing.
  • Write in response to a range of stimuli, including music, film and real life        experiences.
  • Present their writing in a variety of ways, including using Digital Literacy.
  • Develop Grammar and Punctuation skills through explicit teaching.
  • Regularly practice and improve their Handwriting.
  • Participate in interactive and kinaesthetic spelling sessions.
  • Improve their spelling through weekly investigations and tests on different spelling patterns and rules.
  • Use dictionaries and thesaurusi to develop a broader vocabulary.

Children’s Independent Learning Opportunities

 

Our successes 2015/2016

· Both of our English leaders have become Primary SLE’s (Specialist Leaders of Education)

· Our children have achieved well above National Standards in English writing in both KS1 and KS2 and in Grammar, punctuation and spelling in KS2.

· 3 of our year 6 pupils had their entries ‘Highly commended’ in the Mal Peet writing competition (Part of Exeter’s ‘Extreme Festival’ of children’s writing.

· A group of Year 6 pupils represented the school in the first ‘Model United Nations Conference’ for Primary aged children that was held in Exeter. They researched well and spoke confidently, two of them returning with awards for their presentations.

· We have been able to work closely with Professor Debra Myhill from Exeter University on  her grammar project ‘Writing Conversations’ and were invited to assist in presenting case studies at the 2016 UKLA conference. It was fantastic to see the children develop even greater confidence in being able to use varied clause structures and articulate their choices.

· We have contributed a large sample of our Yr 2 and Yr 6 children’s work to an archive of writing standards being collated by Mark Brenchley at the University of Exeter.

· We have had visits from teachers from many schools wanting to see our English teaching and learning in action including visiting professors from abroad via the University of Exeter.

English Websites to Support Home Learning

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