English and the teaching of English is the foundation of the Shakespeare Primary curriculum. Our main aim is to ensure every single child becomes primary literate and progresses in the areas of reading, writing, speaking and listening. English at Shakespeare will not only be a daily discrete lesson but is at the cornerstone of the entire curriculum. It is embedded within all our lessons, and we strive for a high level of English for all. Through using high-quality texts, immersing children in vocabulary rich learning environments and ensuring new curriculum expectations and the progression of skills are met, the children at Shakespeare will be exposed to a language heavy, creative and continuous English curriculum, which will not only enable them to become primary literate but will also develop a love of reading, creative writing and purposeful speaking and listening. Our curriculum closely follows the aims of the National Curriculum for English to enable all children to:
Regular, high-quality lessons will ensure that our children are fully engaged in both reading and writing. Using high quality text to engage pupils, allows them to understand the ‘reading to writing’ process. Reasons for writing are vital, every child, no matter their ability should want to write, they should want to share their words and having a reason to do so is paramount. Books are everywhere in our environment, from class libraries to the school library and artwork displaying front covers of children’s book are visible around the school. Book fairs and World Book Day encourage children to discover new authors and workshops lead by established authors inspire children to write. Class reader is vital for those children who are struggling to read but should still be allowed access to a higher level of language. These sessions should be not only to engage pupils, but to question them to broaden their comprehension skills. The use of the Kindle App allows every child the opportunity to read along and to ask questions relating to new vocabulary. Assessment of children working towards age-related expectations can take place during these sessions and be used as evidence. By displaying children’s work around school, we are allowing all the children to be inspired to write. Speaking and listening are vital skills for children to acquire and are fundamental to their language development. Children are taught to speak confidently and to adapt their speech to different situations. They are given the opportunity for their language to develop alongside their progress in reading and writing. They will also be given the opportunity to develop into careful and responsive listeners. Grammar and spellings are integrated into our regular English learning and writing is used as an opportunity to develop these further.
The impact on our children is clear: progress, sustained learning and transferrable skills. With the implementation of the writing journey being well established and taught thoroughly in both key stages, children are becoming more confident writers. By the time they are in upper Key Stage 2, most genres of writing should be familiar to them and the teaching, in most cases can focus on creativity, writer’s craft, sustained writing and manipulation of grammar and punctuation skills. Comprehension is not just limited to understanding what is written but also what is spoken. Children struggling to access higher level reading papers can be assessed by answers given to questioning during class reader sessions. Being allowed to gain confidence in this area helps the child to believe in their ability. The impact of this is essential for our children to function at high school and in the wider community. The staff and governors at Shakespeare want to create a world where everyone is reading their way to a better life. Research shows that reading for pleasure can promote better health and wellbeing, aids in building social connections and relationships with others and is associated with a range of factors that help increase the chances of social mobility.