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.
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’.
KS1 - We use a range of schemes such as Rising Stars and Collins Big Cat to provide a rich a varied text base. These texts are organised into bands using book band and bench-marking guidance. This expands into early KS2 as necessary to ensure the needs of our children are being met.
KS2 - We continue to use a range of schemes as well as our extensive library to ensure children are reading for information and for pleasure. In addition, our 'Accelerated Reader' programme allows children to read a broad range of texts and provides opportunity for independent reading at 90-95% rate of accuracy. When appropriate, 'Accelerated Reader' can also be used for KS1 pupils. For further information about 'Accelerated Reader' please see the parent information document below.
We provide the children with opportunities to:
We have developed our own programme of phonics teaching and learning which has been designed to meet the specific needs of our pupils. Please see the document below for a full breakdown of programme.
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:
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:
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.