At West End, we know that literacy skills are the key to unlocking the wider curriculum for all children. We are committed to delivering high quality English lessons, tailored to meet the needs of our learners, following the guidance of the National Curriculum for English. Throughout the week, different aspects of English are focused on, including reading, grammar, punctuation, spelling, writing, composition and drama.
Throughout our school, much attention is given to the development and enrichment of children's language, both spoken and written.
In school, we promote the enjoyment of books, aiming to foster a love of reading in all children. Early reading skills are developed from Nursery to Year 2 using the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds scheme along with their reading and phonic resources (see more here). This strong phonic foundation supports both reading and writing across Early Years and Key Stage 1. This foundation is developed further in Year 2 and 3 with the use of phonic fluency reading books. Further into Key Stage 2 the teaching of higher order reading skills are taught with specific teaching.This approach encourages children to expand their vocabulary and delve into text to deepen their understanding. All children who are becoming phonically fluent undertake weekly reading lessons using Big Cat books. These books are also shared with parents to consolidate learning further at home. Once phonically fluent, we continue to develop reading fluency with the Big Cat reading for fluency guided reading books. Additionally, at this stage we have a colour-coded book band scheme, containing a wide range of graded scheme books such as Big Cat, Bug Club, Pearson's and Rising Stars, alongside an extensive selection of ‘real books.’ Children progress through the stages of the banded books according to ability, with guidance and support at all levels with books matched carefully to the children's phonic knowledge.
Our school library is regularly used by all children across school. A love for reading is championed by our staff and all children are encouraged to select books which interest them, scan them out and enjoy them both in school and at home. We encourage children to read at home as often as possible and widen their horizons through the reading of a range of materials.
Children are encouraged to write with confidence, independence and accuracy, taking into consideration their purpose and audience. Emergent writing and spelling is praised and encouraged from the outset to create a ‘have a go’ attitude at all levels. Skill in writing is modelled through shared sessions and focused group work provides children with the ‘tools’ they need to develop composition ideas and improve sentence structure and grammar. In our Early Years, writing is carefully linked with early reading through our delivery of phonics. Children will begin writing the grapheme at the same time as learning the phoneme. Practice of letter formation and development of a clear handwriting style is taught using a school-developed scheme and children are encouraged to take pride in the presentation of their work, especially in final draft form. When developing the 'writers' eye', we ensure that quality text are used to inspire the children before putting pen to paper.
Little Wandle Letters and Sounds is followed through foundation and KS1 and a variety of resources and matched reading materials are used to support this. Phonic keep up programmes and catch up intervention are delivered promptly to support all children. Those who do not meet the standard in Year 1 are closely monitored and supported to ensure additional support is provided. We build on the Little Wandle scheme with their Bridge to Spelling scheme being used in Year two once the children have a secure phonic knowledge. For children who are finding phonics challenging in Key Stage 2, we use Little Wandle interventions and some other resources as suits the specific learning profile of the child. In Key Stage 2, we use Nessy to support children who may be at risk of dyslexia or have a diagnosis of dyslexia.
The No Nonsense spelling scheme is used from Years 3 - 6 and builds on children's previous phonological knowledge and enables them to apply this knowledge in reading and writing. At the same time, they are encouraged to increase the accuracy of their spelling through regular practice and the learning of spelling rules and conventions. In Key Stage 2, children receive spelling homework each week, requiring them to learn spelling patterns and statutory spelling words.
Speaking and listening skills have a high priority in our school and feature throughout all areas of the curriculum. Children experience a range of activities designed to develop their confidence. They are encouraged to speak clearly and courteously and to listen attentively to the views of others. Every class, from Reception to Y6, produces and performs an assembly for parents and the wider school to promote speaking and listening from an early age. Drama lessons are used to provide pupils the opportunity to learn through speaking and listening.