The National Curriculum divides this subject into three components – speaking and listening, reading, and writing. Much of the work takes place during English lessons, but other subject areas also play a valuable part in the development of language skills. Ofsted expects that pupils should be able to apply their literacy skills in all areas of the curriculum and they will assess the pupils’ abilities to do this.
Considerable emphasis is placed on pupils’ reading and their responses to a range of texts. In Yr5 and Yr6 all pupils have a Guided Reading lesson which enables them to examine a wide range of texts. All pupils’ reading is tested at the beginning of each year. Pupils who are significantly below the expectation for their age are put onto a reading programme. This not only helps them to catch-up, it ensures that no child is held back by being a ‘non-reader’. The progress of these pupils is tracked and tests are administered to ensure they are progressing.
Pupils are given many opportunities to write for a wide range of purposes. They are taught to consider the medium of writing as a vital means to develop, organise and communicate ideas. They will be given a structured and thorough approach to the study of the techniques of language, as well as a continued appreciation of creative work.
Speaking and Listening skills are practised with great frequency, as discussion, explanation, and the expression of opinions and ideas form a major part of a child’s language development. Drama is a useful and enjoyable enhancement of these skills.
English is usually taught in ability groups. The groups are regularly monitored and pupils may change groups if staff feel this is appropriate. At the end of Yr6 (SATs) and Yr8 pupils sit formal tests, and undertake teacher assessed tasks, to assess their national curriculum level.