English has a pre-eminent place in education and in society. Our ambitious English Curriculum aims to teach our pupils to read, speak and write fluently so that they can communicate their ideas and emotions to others, and through their reading and listening, others can communicate with them.
At St Mary & St Andrew’s our English teaching and learning is underpinned by our core curriculum values: diversity, challenge and inclusivity and to develop positive mindsets in learners that will aid them throughout their education and beyond. Rich texts are at the heart of our curriculum and the literature that we share with our children has been carefully selected to develop each child culturally, emotionally, intellectually, socially and spiritually.
We want our children to develop a life-long love of reading and through their English learning develop their creativity and communication skills. Vocabulary drives our English teaching and learning and through challenging and a rich and varied literary diet, children acquire the knowledge of words that will become the foundations for lifelong learning and effective contributions to the diverse society we live in.
In writing, children will be taught to write clearly, accurately and coherently, adapting their language and style in and for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences. Grammatical skills, punctuation and spelling are taught discretely and sequentially throughout writing units.
Early Reading and Phonics is currently supported by Red Rose and more information on our phonics scheme can be found here: https://www.st-mary-st-andrews.lancs.sch.uk/phonics-at-smsa/
Developing a love of reading is at the heart of each classroom. Classroom libraries are inviting, exciting and inspiring places to be, where carefully chosen texts are placed in the hands of our children. Through ‘booktalk’ teachers ensure they know their reading communities well and match activities and texts carefully to their interests. Every teacher reads aloud to their class every day; a class text that is chosen to enhance the English curriculum, to challenge all pupils in the class and to capture our children’s imaginations through the power of storytelling. Whole-school reading events such as World Book Day are celebrated every year, to further raise the profile of reading in our school and develop a love of reading.
Daily Guided Reading sessions focus closely and specifically on reading skills for comprehension. The focus is selected as per the group’s shared need of skills such as: vocabulary, retrieval, inference or prediction. In LKS2, texts are closely matched to the children’s reading ability and are structured through a colour banded selection. UKS2 use a variety of texts and extracts from a range of genres chosen to match the reader’s needs. Reading fluency is supported through our home-reading books with children selecting books at an appropriate level all the way from Reception to Year 6. Children are encouraged to read each night at home and parents are supported with reading with their child. Shared reading is used to challenge and expose all pupils to rich vocabulary from a range of texts that are chosen to stretch their literary skills.
At St Mary & St Andrew’s we provide opportunity for our children to write frequently and for a range of purposes and audiences. Teachers plan and deliver blocks of learning focussing on different text types, which build progressively towards an extended piece of writing.
Our reading phases lay the foundations for writing skills to be built upon with daily grammar warm-ups providing children with the correct writing tools for the writing outcomes. Teachers regularly model the text type and maximise the learning environment to support children’s writing quality throughout the teaching sequence. Discussion is central to learning at St Mary and St Andrew’s, therefore we adopt ‘Talk for Writing’ strategies to provide children with a bank of story and text structures that they can innovate upon.
A large amount of the writing that the children complete is cross-curricular, linking to the learning being covered in other subjects such as science, history or R.E. We strongly subscribe the the Lancashire model of teaching English in a sequence - here is our guide for you to see how we do it. It is research based and proven to raise standards for our children.
Assessment for Learning is embedded in English lessons and children are active in reviewing the successes in their work and identifying, with support from their teacher, target areas for development to ensure a continuous and individualised approach to improving their work.
Our children’s progress and achievement will be rigorously monitored, highly valued and reflect the success of every individual. Children will be supported to ‘be the best that they can be’ academically, personally, emotionally, socially and faithfully. When children leave our school, we aim to have helped to develop well-rounded, deeply-faithful young people who are confident and resilient when facing personal, academic and professional challenges.
Teachers use assessment well, to help learners embed and use knowledge fluently or to check understanding and inform teaching.
We are delighted with our English results across all three key stages. Please enjoy our national data comparisons here (don't forget - there was a bit of a pause in assessments following the global Coronavirus pandemic - national results were not shared last year):
How we do it
Let's do this together - you can help us!
The first and best thing you can do for your child is develop and promote a love of reading. Read to them, read with them, listen to them but most of all make it a special time. If you don't have time to read to your child, then don't squeeze it into a gap in the day when it is stressful and everyone is rushing around. Make time for it where and when you can; enjoy it, love the time together and love stories/newspapers/articles/biographies/diaries ad so much more!
Look at us learning
One of our Y6 pupils, inspired by their role in the end of summer play last year, has written their own script. It is incredible - what a talent! WOW.