Education is the process of preparing us for the big world, and the big world has big words. The more big words I know, the better I will survive in it. Because there are hundreds of thousands of big words in English, I cannot learn them all. But this does not mean that I shouldn't try to learn some words.'
Words, words, words, by David Crystal.
At Kippax Ash Tree, we believe that a quality English curriculum should promote high standards of language and literacy by equipping pupils with a strong understanding of both the spoken and written word. We recognise the importance of delivering our curriculum using a range of strategies and dynamic components that work together to put pupils in the best place to succeed. The socio-economic context and needs of our children require our English curriculum to be centered around vocabulary and the understanding of words in context. It is our aim to ensure the explicit teaching of Tier 2 words and the consolidation of Tier 1 words in order to address the word gap that our children possess. This not only enables them to become primary literate but also promotes a love of reading and creative writing, instilling the confidence to understand and use spoken language effectively. Our vision is to inspire children to be feel confident to participate in discussions to communicate and further their learning echoing our ‘Voices and Choices’ ethos. Vocabulary at Kippax Ash Tree is not only a focus in discrete English lessons, but it is intrinsically woven through our wider curriculum. It is embedded within all our lessons and we strive for a high level of English for all our pupils. Through using high-quality texts, immersing children in rich learning environments and ensuring opportunities for sustained shard thinking, the children at Ash Tree are exposed to a language rich, creative and continuous English curriculum.
At Kippax Ash Tree we follow the principles and objectives as set out in the statutory requirements of the National Curriculum. Language and Literacy skills are taught on a daily basis from Nursery to Year 6. These skills are then applied in cross curricular learning opportunities within our connected curriculum.
Developing Early Language
The development of language begins in our Foundation Stage. We recognise the huge importance of spoken language and understand that talking is a vital part of a child's development. There are a number of pre-cursor skills that are crucial to the success of children and so there is a heavy focus on the Communication and Language at Ash Tree. The adults act as facilitators focussing on high quality interactions and there is a focused approach to story time. This allows for lots of opportunities for modelling language and vocabulary in meaningful contexts ensuring strong foundations for all our learners.
Language and literacy-specific teaching and learning takes place within a whole class setting through shared/modeled reading and writing based on the approach devised by Jane Considine. Staff plan together to construct logical units of work that build on writing over time, developing both pupil’s writing stamina and high quality outcomes. Practitioners guide our pupils through a shared understanding of the ‘The Three Zones of Writing’ which break the learning down into manageable chunks, each with a different intention. This approach is used throughout Key Stage 1 and 2 across all genres. In all lessons, good practice is shared and modeled in the whole class setting and then the children work independently on set tasks. This repeated model strengthens subject knowledge of vocabulary, sentence structure and grammatical techniques to ensure pupils achieve the intended outcomes and can ‘deepen the moment’ to develop their creative flair. Teachers use a variety of interactive teaching methods to deliver the curriculum and achieve set learning objectives. Whole Class planning takes place using the Jane Considine symbols (FANTASTICs, GRAMMARSTICs, BOOMTASTICs) story journeys and mapping. Children are encouraged to contribute orally to these plans and will physically walk them through. Wherever possible, children will be exposed to a range of stimulus including clips, animation, picture books and film. They will also immerse themselves in the story writing process through drama and outdoor learning opportunities. For more information about Jane Considine teaching and learning principles see: http://www.thetrainingspace.co.uk/
Read Write Inc.
In addition to English lessons, all children across Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1 take part in a phonics lesson to develop strategies for segmenting for spelling and deepen their understanding of words in context. Strategies used in the RWInc. programme such as ‘My Turn, Your Turn’ are used across school with the sound posters and friezes to scaffold learning.
All aspects of English are an integral part of our curriculum and the focus on vocabulary is woven throughout all aspects of our school. The Jane Considine lenses we use to inspire writing are threaded into cross curricular learning enabling skills taught in our English lesson to be transferred into other subjects; this shows consolidation of skills and a deepening understanding of how the spoken and written word are used in purposeful ways.
We measure the impact of our curriculum through the following methods: formative assessment of independent writes from each unit, in-depth assessment records kept for each individual in school that are used to track progress and inform planning; assessment data used to close gaps in understanding and skills for all learners and internal and external moderation is completed to ensure accuracy of assessment.