Speaking and Listening
Our curriculum reflects the importance we place upon children developing their speaking and listening skills. Our environments are stimulating and language rich. Visitors to our academy are always impressed by the confident way in which our children are happy to converse. We develop children’s ability to listen attentively and use expressive language. Children are given many opportunities to practice and develop their speaking and listening skills through our exciting and creative curriculum. Children engage in drama, performance, role play and debates and love to use our green screen technology to bring their learning to life. Talk for Writing is used throughout the Early Years and Key Stage 1. As a result, our children become confident storytellers and young writers.
We are passionate about ensuring that every child is a reader, we learn to read and read to learn. This has ensured that our children achieve exceptionally high standards and has resulted in our children consistently outperforming children nationally. In the last 3 years, we have received two congratulatory letters from the School’s Minister praising our “high quality” learning and teaching in phonics.
We use the Letters and Sounds programme to plan and personalise our teaching of Phonics. This is supplemented by a wide range of resources to support learning and teaching. In Key Stage 1 we use Bug Club, Dandelion, Rapid Readers (100 percent decodable texts) and the Oxford Reading Tree reading books. In Key Stage 2 we have introduced accelerated reader. This allows children to select from an extensive range of literature and ensure that they are reading texts which will challenge them and further develop their fluency and comprehension skills. Our children have told us that they are highly motivated to read and enjoy taking part in online quizzes, which they complete when they have finished their books. Children are all eager to get a 100 per cent on the reading quizzes and gain reading rewards to celebrate their success.
We have the highest aspirations for our children and aim to develop a love of reading for all. We ensure that our children are introduced to the pleasures of reading, believing that “Reading is dreaming with open eyes”. Each class has their own classroom library and librarians, which are linked to our Author focus and creative learning journey topics. (Please see English Curriculum Maps to view our Author Focus, supporting texts and reading skills to see how your child’s reading journey will develop).
Children are taught to write creatively for purpose, pleasure and to further develop their skills. Each half term all children are excited to engage in our Star Writer Competitions. We always aim to ensure that our Star Writers are eagerly anticipated events which inspire our young writers. Each begins with a performance or special assembly. Often the children will dress up for the occasion to enable each child to become lost in their own imagination. Our Star Writer competitions have included visits to the theatre, magical musical performances, visits from the Circus, children becoming Roald Dahl characters, creating their very own dream jars, to name just a few.
Children develop an early love of writing through fun, exciting and multi-sensory opportunities to develop their pre writing skills, such as dough disco, write dance and funky fingers.
We use Kung Fu Punctuation to excite our learners and encourage our writers to use punctuation correctly within their writing. Children and parents are familiar with the actions that accompany each punctuation mark. Since we began using this innovative means of teaching, colleagues from other schools and academies have commented on how impressed they have been with the children’s use of higher level punctuation.
Each week our children from Years 1-6 all complete a GRASP challenge. (Grammar and Spelling and punctuation). This enables children to practice their skills which they then apply within their writing across the curriculum. To develop our children’s writing stamina, children all participate in a weekly “All Write” session.
We teach children to use the cursive handwriting script from the beginning of their learning journey with us. This enables children to write fluently and helps children to further develop their understanding of spelling patterns. Children are encouraged to ensure that they strive for “perfect presentation” to demonstrate the fact they are an “Expert Learner”. They are keen to earn their pen licence and proudly receive these during our celebration assemblies.
We place great importance on developing every child’s literacy skills as these provide firm foundations for learning and ultimately enable each child to be successful in their learning journey.
“I am writing to congratulate you, your staff and your pupils for your school’s very high standard of achievement in the 2016 phonics screening check. I was delighted to see your results. With at least 95 per cent of pupils at Park Hall… reaching or exceeding the pass mark in the check, your school is in the top 8 per cent of all primary schools in the country. I am pleased to hear that you have ensured your Year One children … have a firm foundation in reading, from which they can develop further and become increasingly fluent readers. This will help them develop a lifelong love of reading." (Nick Gibb MP – Minister of State for School Reform, October 2016)
Pupils wrote, “interesting and evocative stories that included flavourful extracts of high-quality form and structure, such as, “Outside the barrier of steel, under the scorching volcano.”, and, “There was silence. His Hands trembling like a leaf, teeth chattering and his heart racing…”, “Come my friends, and gather around, as I tell you a tale of how a dream land turns into a nightmare”. These and many more examples in pupils’ books and on displays demonstrate the outcomes of some highly effective teaching and learning.”