Franciscan - English curriculum
At Franciscan Primary School we believe that a quality Literacy (English) curriculum should develop children’s love of reading, writing and discussion. One of our priorities is helping children read and develop their all-important comprehension skills. We recognise the importance of nurturing a culture where children take pride in their writing; can write clearly and accurately and adapt their language and style for a range of contexts. We want to inspire children to be confident in the art of speaking and listening so that they are able to use discussion and communication to enhance their learning. We believe that children need to develop a secure knowledge-base in Literacy, which follows a clear pathway of progression as they advance through the primary curriculum. We believe that a secure basis in literacy skills is crucial to a high-quality education and will give our children the tools they need to participate fully as a member of society. For all our children to become fluent readers and writers, phonics is taught through a systematic and structured phonics programme. We use the Letters and Sounds framework to plan and provide daily engaging phonics lessons. Our phonics teaching starts in Nursery and follows a very specific sequence that allows our children to build on their previous phonic knowledge and master specific phonic strategies as they move through school. At Franciscan we also model these strategies in shared reading and writing both inside and outside of the phonics lesson and across the curriculum.
As a Rights Respecting School we uphold the articles from the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Article 29 (goals of education) Education must develop every child’s personality, talents and abilities to the full. It must encourage the child’s respect for human rights, as well as respect for their parents, their own and other cultures, and the environment.
These aims are embedded across our literacy lessons and the wider curriculum. We have a rigorous and well organised English curriculum and framework, that provides many purposeful opportunities for reading, writing and discussion. We are a power-of-reading school and use a wide variety of quality texts and resources to motivate and inspire our children. Teachers also ensure that cross curricular links with concurrent topic work are woven into the programme of study. The national curriculum for English aims to ensure that all pupils:
- read easily, fluently and with good understanding
- develop the habit of reading widely and often, for both pleasure and information
- acquire a wide vocabulary, an understanding of grammar and knowledge of linguistic conventions for reading, writing and spoken language
- appreciate our rich and varied literary heritage
- write clearly, accurately and coherently, adapting their language and style in and for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences
- use discussion in order to learn; they should be able to elaborate and explain clearly their understanding and ideas
- are competent in the arts of speaking and listening, making formal presentations, demonstrating to others and participating in debate.
At Franciscan we have been investing in a new set of Collins Decodable books. We have Nelson Comprehension resources to further boost children’s comprehension skills. Our Reading Champions scheme introduced in 2021 goes from strength to strength with children looking forward to reading to an adult. Children also get to hear fiction and non-fiction texts read to them by an adult daily, we identify children who need support and provide intervention in the most effective and efficient way that we can. We run intervention reading groups and are fortunate to have parents and governors who come in regularly to hear children read. Most children on the SEND register have reading and comprehension as one of their targets. Teachers plan and teach English lessons which are differentiated to the particular needs of each child. We help each child maximise their potential by providing help and support where necessary whilst striving to make children independent workers once we have helped to equip them with the confidence, tools and strategies that they need. We run parent information sessions on phonics for Year 1 parents, reading and SATs for Year 2 parents and a SATs meeting for Year 6 parents so that they understand age-related expectations.
Marking is rigorous in English and across the curriculum, with regular ‘Response Times’ and spelling corrections to help children correct and consolidate their work. Regular English book scrutinies are carried out to check all teachers are following our marking policy rigorously. We love to celebrate success of all learners and strive to help all children achieve their goals. Reading is celebrated in classrooms and around school at Franciscan by putting up book reviews. In addition, throughout the school year our literacy curriculum is enhanced through World Book Day, 1:1 reading, drama workshops and a range of activities and visits which enrich and complement children’s learning.
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 and by the time they are in upper Key Stage 2, most genres of writing are familiar to them and the teaching can focus on creativity, writer’s craft, sustained writing and manipulation of grammar and punctuation skills. Termly assessments show that most children at Franciscan are achieving at age-related expectations in Literacy. Each year we have children achieving at a greater depth in reading and writing at the end of KS1 and are working hard to emulate that at the end of KS2. We intent that all the new literacy initiatives outlined above will help to boost children’s learning and progress. As all aspects of English are an integral part of the curriculum, cross curricular writing standards have also improved and skills taught in the English lesson are transferred into other subjects; this shows consolidation of skills and a deeper understanding of how and when to use specific grammar, punctuation and grammar objectives. We intend that as children move on from Franciscan Primary to further their education and learning, that their creativity, passion for English and high aspirations travel with them and continue to grow and develop as they do.