The development of skills and knowledge in all aspects of English is fostered through high-quality teaching that develops a love and appreciation for the subject.  We  recognise that for pupils to thrive socially, academically and emotionally, they must be equipped with the skills and knowledge needed to become confident orators, readers and writers.

The teaching of new vocabulary is an essential element of how this is achieved.  We want our children to be ‘word rich’ and able to confidently express themselves in all forms by drawing on a broad bank of vocabulary. 

Immersion within a genre of writing, be it fiction or non-fiction, is at the centre of our approach. We endeavour to provide diverse and quality experiences of texts to give children the appropriate tools to produce their own quality writing. Through our teaching, we ensure that children have ample opportunities to write creatively and for pleasure whilst building on the technical features of writing composition, grammar, spelling and handwriting through discrete instruction and opportunities for meaningful application. We build well-rounded writers, who can write in an appropriate and engaging manner for a range of purposes and audiences.

Decoding and comprehension skills are the core of reading; these are systematically taught through a rich curriculum.  We want all our children to be fluent readers who choose to read for pleasure.   Class texts are carefully chosen to interest and inspire all children to become discerning readers and writers.  An approach of ‘Write like a reader and read like a writer’ is used to develop:

  •  critical thinking skills
  •  imagination
  •  creativity
  •  individuality 

so pupils develop their own voice to:

  •  influence
  •  inform
  •  interest
  •  inspire


Writing – Composition

  • Quality texts are used as a model to inspire a writing block
  • The meaning of new vocabulary is specifically taught and added to working walls
  • English is taught daily
  • Each writing block is between 3 and 4 weeks long to promote depth
  • Techniques loosely based on ‘Talk for Writing’ are used: immersion, innovation and invention
  • A ‘text map’ approach is used in KS1, during the immersion phase
  • KS2 use an individual ‘Ideas’ book to collect key vocabulary, sentence models and ideas ready to inspire their outcome
  • KS1 teach the elements of an ideas book using large sheets of flipchart paper as a scaffold
  • In order to build success, the ‘Ideas’ book also includes a ‘tool belt’ of features to be included in the final writing outcomes.  Some of these will be genre-specific and others personalised, through discussion with the pupil.
  • Each block may include several short writing outcomes but will always include a known outcome to be published (in full or part), displayed and celebrated
  • Pupils are encouraged to think about their intended purpose and audience for every piece of writing
  • Across an academic year, opportunities for choice of writing outcomes is included
  • Working walls are used to support the writing process.  These build throughout the process but include at least:  ambitious vocabulary, a WAGOLL (What a Good One Looks Like) and pupil’s or teacher’s drafts including evidence of proof-reading and editing
  • Teaching on grammar and punctuation is planned for and interwoven into every writing block allowing opportunities for discrete teaching whilst applying learning in a meaningful context.  For example, discrete teaching on inverted commas will directly contribute to the effectiveness of a writing outcome such as a story

Writing – Handwriting

  • Handwriting is taught discretely as well as being combined into English lessons
  • Letter formation is taught systematically from EYFS
  • Children are taught to join cursively from Year 2 handwriting 
  • Children write in pencil until their script is neat, fully cursive and appropriately-sized when they are permitted to use pen
  • Pupils in Year 6 use pen from the beginning of the year

Writing – Spelling

  • Spelling is taught systematically from Year 2, underpinned by the scheme, ‘Spelling Shed’
  • Lessons are also used as an opportunity to extend a child’s vocabulary
  • Spelling is taught weekly, either as one lesson or across a week, split into the three modular components: Revision and Introduction; Main Teaching; Independent and Consolidation
  • The lists of words covered each week (apart from in challenge weeks) are linked by spelling patterns, sounds or affixes
  • Lessons are progressive, building upon previously acquired knowledge
  • Challenge weeks focus on the statutory word lists found in the National Curriculum and offer the opportunity for children to put their learning into practise on words which may have unfamiliar or unusual spelling patterns
  • Frequent opportunities arise through spelling lessons for children to practise and apply their knowledge of grapheme/phoneme correspondence
  • Numerous activities are used to practise spellings, for example: sorting words, syllable maps, segmenting, sound buttons and cloze procedures
  • Developing an understanding of morphology (the study of words and their parts) and etymology (the origins of words) is a central part of our approach to spelling

Reading – Decoding (word reading)

  • The teaching of synthetic phonics begins in Reception in Autumn term with Phase 2 sounds
  • The accredited scheme, Little Wandle Letters and Sounds, is used
  • Children continue their formal phonics journey into Year One where they finish at Phase 5 
  • During the second half of the summer term, all Year One children complete the Phonics Screening Check
  • Phonics is taught 5 days a week. The lessons follow the same structure of:
  • Review 
  • Teach a new phoneme
  • See how the grapheme is written
  • Blending
  • When ready, children begin to apply phonemes/graphemes learnt to spellings 
  • Children are taught why some words are tricky to read by decoding.  These words are taught as sight words across Reception and Year 1
  • Until children have developed reading fluency, decodable reading books sent home are linked to the phase the children are learning. There are 3 practice reading sessions a week where children are practising:
  • Decoding
  • Prosody (intonation and expression)
  • Comprehension
  • The same book is read in these three sessions to build to 95% fluency. 
  • Short sessions of daily  revision and consolidation of synthetic phonics continues in Year 2
  • The progress of the pupils at Jolesfield is closely monitored through assessment weeks. 
  • Pupils falling behind in daily phonic sessions take part in additional ‘Keep Up’ sessions
  • Assessments inform reading groups as well as pupils who may need additional support. 
  • Any children who do not pass the Phonics Screening during Year 1 will be supported in a Rapid Catch Up group when they move into Year 2 and beyond. 

Reading – Comprehension

  • Once a reader is judged to have gained accuracy and automaticity with word reading, the focus of reading sessions shifts to comprehension
  • Fluent readers participate in guided reading sessions, usually whole-class, once a week
  • Reading objectives taken for the National Curriculum are used to plan these
  • Rich, high-quality texts are chosen as exemplars of the chosen foci.  Sometimes, this will be the same text chosen for a writing unit.
  • To ensure a range of areas are addressed, sessions can be structured using VIPERS questions, a mnemonic for: Vocabulary, Infer, Predict, Explain, Retrieve and Summarise or Sequence (KS1)
  • Regular assessments identify specific areas of development which are used to shape subsequent lessons

Developing fluent readers is a priority at Jolesfield.  Therefore, any child, who is identified through assessments, as at risk of reading failure is provided with additional intensive support, personalised to the needs of the individual.

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