Knowledge-Rich, Diversity-Led Curriculum
"English is the language of the future, the language of the computer. English is the most important tool you’ll ever need, no matter what career you choose. You have the right to English. Make it your right!"- Benjamin Zephaniah, Poet, Writer, Actor, TV & Radio Presenter
At Stoneydown, we believe that a quality English curriculum should develop children’s love of reading and writing and our aim is for all our children to leave us as fluent speakers, readers and writers. We empower our children with a high-quality, broad, coherent and creative English curriculum so that they can communicate not just ideas, but also emotions to others. Our children understand that there are different purposes and audiences and can adapt the way they communicate both verbally and in writing according to these. We recognise the importance of cultivating a culture where children take pride in their writing, promoting opportunities for children to showcase their individuality and flair, drawing upon the wide range of quality texts that they enjoy as readers.
Our fundamental aim is to teach every child to read as quickly as possible through a consistent and rigorous approach to synthetic phonics teaching which enables children to read accurately and fluently and with good comprehension. Children develop as passionate readers and through our curriculum, we aim to inspire an appreciation of our rich and varied literary heritage as well as a habit of reading widely and often. We believe reading should be used not just to develop their subject-specific knowledge, but to widen their understanding of their own and other cultures and societies, build their emotional intelligence and grow their imagination. Children will experience the shared reading of a broad range of texts and they will build a strong understanding that reading is for pleasure as well as gaining information across the curriculum. Teachers will directly teach ambitious vocabulary drawn from the books and texts read, as well as the wider curriculum and the world around them so that children have a rich vocabulary when they progress onto secondary education and are able to make connections between texts, their lives and the wider world.
We believe that teaching children to articulate their ideas, to express themselves clearly through well- formed speech and to listen attentively so as to understand what is said to them is crucial to their educational success. Although speaking and listening comes under English in the National Curriculum, the entire curriculum is exploited for this purpose because it not only fosters children’s intellectual development and enjoyment of learning but also boosts their self-confidence, social and emotional development and motivation to learn.
A rigorous programme of systematic, synthetic phonics provides children with the tools to decode, before building fluency and the ability to comprehend and question independently. Our chosen systematic, synthetic phonics programme for early reading is Read, Write inc. As children move through the school, they are taught to retrieve, summarise, infer, predict, discuss meaning and make comparisons and links. Children read a wide range of rich and diverse texts to develop their reading skills, to build knowledge and for pleasure. Across our school, teachers share their love of reading within and outside of their classrooms.
Children are taught to write for a range of purposes and audiences with strong links across the curriculum and to local and global issues. Children’s strong understanding of grammar and transcriptions skills enable them to flourish as writers. Handwriting is an important skill that is carefully taught throughout the school. At first, children concentrate on the correct letter shape and the spacing of words. Cursive handwriting is introduced in Year 2. As children become more experienced writers, regular handwriting practice is still carried out with the aim of producing clear and fluent handwriting.
The teachers at Stoneydown use a variety of strategies to evaluate the knowledge, skills and understanding that our children gain as they move through the school. Our feedback policy ensures feedback marking, including pupil voice and peer and self assessment, is timely and effective. Teacher feedback and formative assessment is utilised to enhance lesson design and maximise progress for all children. CPD is used to ensure that teacher pedagogy and assessment is secure and so that teachers develop a high level of subject expertise. We utilise within and cross school moderation to ensure secure teacher judgements. Termly assessments ensure our children are provided with appropriate challenge and support. Subject monitoring is undertaken regularly, including book looks and learning walks, to ensure ambitious educational standards are achieved and maintained for all children.
During their time at Stoneydown, our children are given every opportunity to participate in a wide range of learning experiences beyond their classroom. These experiences include trips to museums, art galleries, nature reserves, the theatre and community projects which provide children with stimulating real-life experiences to pin their reading, writing and speaking development to. English learning is practised and embedded across the curriculum. Speaking and writing outcomes draw from knowledge gained in other subjects and English skills are used to enhance learning elsewhere.
Click here to see the National Curriculum English Programmes of Study: Key Stages 1 and 2.