The English Curriculum at St Mary's
At St Mary’s we view pupils’ spoken language, reading, writing and vocabulary as integral skills for our children to become adults who can communicate, articulate ideas and express themselves. These skills are vital in the teaching of all subjects in the primary curriculum. English is: a subject in its own right; the medium for teaching and the tool for people to communicate. For children, understanding language and being able to read will provide access to the whole curriculum. Fluency in the English language is an essential foundation for success in all aspects of life.
Children will be taught to speak clearly and convey ideas confidently using standard English. They will learn to: justify ideas with reasons; ask questions to check understanding; develop vocabulary and build knowledge; negotiate; evaluate and build on the ideas of others and select the appropriate register for effective communication. They will be taught to give well-structured descriptions and explanations to develop their understanding through exploring ideas. This will enable them to clarify their thinking as well as organise their ideas for writing.
Children are taught to read fluently, understand extended prose (both fiction and non-fiction) and will be encouraged to read for pleasure. We start this by learning to decode text through our daily phonics teaching.
All year groups participate in daily ‘Drop Everything and Read’ sessions. These sessions are an opportunity for children to engage with texts they have chosen. The children share these with others, or immerse themselves in independent reading.
Children at St Mary’s follow the 'No Nonsense' spelling scheme. From Year 2 upwards, children focus on the spelling rules linked to the National curriculum. Each week focuses on a spelling rule which is taught and followed up with consolidation activities.
Children are given the opportunity to develop the stamina and skills to write at length, with accurate spelling and punctuation. They are taught the correct use of grammar. They build on what they have been taught to expand the range of their writing and the variety of the grammar they use. The writing they do will include narratives, explanations, descriptions, comparisons, summaries and evaluations. Such writing supports them in rehearsing, understanding and consolidating what they have heard or read.
At St Mary’s we promote wider reading through carefully tailored reading challenges. Through these, children will learn to think about the vocabulary used, the structure of texts and the choices the author has made through the writing process. We want and believe that children should enjoy their reading and challenge themselves through their writing.