The Teaching of English

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.

Reading

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”. 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. We  are proud to 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 Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1 we use Hero Academy, Collins Big Cat, Floppy Phonics and  Rapid Readers (all 100 percent decodable texts) and the Oxford Reading Tree reading books. In Key Stage 2 we use 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.In every classroom you will see our inviting library areas which proudly display the text that is being read in English, alongside supporting reading material, both fiction and non-fiction. All children have the opportunity to take home a 'Pawsome Pal' to read to. The cuddly pet further encourages reading and shares with parents the key reading skills on their dog collars with parents.

 

Writing 

With our new and cohesive approach to teaching, our English writing topics are based on exciting texts including stories by well-known authors; classic texts; non-fiction; and poetry. We believe that reading is at the centre of learning therefore our curriculum is driven by carefully selected high quality texts. We strive to ensure that children develop a love of books and reading and so many opportunities are given to allow pupils to immerse themselves within a text. This can involve reading for pleasure to identifying the text layout and features so they can apply the strategies to their own writing.

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.

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.”
(OFSTED 2016)

Our values are at the heart of everything we do