At The Learning Academies Trust, we are highly motivated to ensure that the disadvantages children face in their life circumstances do not affect their education, dreams, and futures. We are acutely aware of the vital role that language development, reading and oracy skills have when it comes to accessing and enjoying education, as well as improving life chances, which is why we are dedicated to placing these life-skills at the heart of our curriculum.
Intent | What and why do we teach what we teach?
Our aim, in all our schools at The Learning Academies Trust, is to develop avid readers who can communicate their ideas effectively as articulate speakers in an ever-changing world. By engaging with a wealth of genres, highly engaging texts with rich and varied vocabulary in addition to inspirational authors, all children develop a breadth of experience that helps them to become confident, fluent readers who read not only to gain information, but for pleasure too. We are passionate about bringing this to life through a wide range of learning experiences, activities and events across the Trust developing children’s skills, imagination, and creativity collaboratively to ensure that every child is a reader and develops a love of reading.
At The Learning Academies Trust, we ensure that, as a minimum, pupils are taught the relevant content from the National Curriculum. We plan lessons that allow pupils to engage with a text and develop their fluency and comprehension of what they read. The aims of teaching reading, as outlined in the National Curriculum, are to ensure that all pupils:
Implementation | How and when do we teach what we teach?
Within our schools, pupils start their reading journey from day one through daily phonics sessions following a synthetic phonics programme-Read Write Inc. The Systematic Synthetic Phonics programmes are designed to ensure coverage of the phonic sounds detailed in the National Curriculum in a rigorous, lively and pacy fashion to secure their phonic knowledge and achieve success in early reading. In EYFS, pupils take part in a baseline assessment and regular assessments continue after this point to ensure that children’s needs are matched carefully. It ensures that pupils can access material at their correct level of phonological understanding and teachers can identify if there is any intervention needed. The sharing of stories, songs, poems, and rhymes daily through Key Stage One, alongside their phonics provision, ensures pupils are able and inspired to read for pleasure across the curriculum, and at home, as they move through KS1 into Year 2.
During year 2, the aim is that the majority of pupils will move from a systematic, synthetic phonics programme to whole class reading sessions where strategies like echo and choral reading are employed to increase fluency. From there, and throughout Key Stage Two, we teach the key reading comprehension skills of Vocabulary, Inference, Prediction, Explaining, Retrieval, Summarising and Sequencing throughout a progressive, spiral reading curriculum which covers the National Curriculum objectives as a minimum. Oral and written comprehension tasks develop children’s opportunities to practise and apply their knowledge and understanding and as with all subjects, work is scaffolded or further challenge is provided where necessary, to enable everyone to access quality first teaching within the classroom. Across a half term, staff follow a rolling programme of Fiction/Non-Fiction/Poetry to ensure coverage of a variety of texts which link to the writing genres; these are supported by schools’ Literacy Spines. These engaging, diverse, and high-quality texts are shared daily with the whole class to celebrate and signify the importance of reading as well as to continue to expose the children to a diet of rich vocabulary.
Impact | How do we assess the impact of what we teach via pupil outcomes?
The impact of our reading curriculum is that children have a positive attitude to reading and enjoy reading. They become confident and successful learners’ who can achieve regardless of their starting points. Pupils will be able to read with more skill and so will know more, understand more and therefore do more reading. Teachers will use a range of formative and summative assessment in reading to assess the children’s understanding and ascertain what they need to do next.
Alongside the daily review of learning, pupils will be assessed more formally using a range of assessment procedures. With the SSPs, pupils are assessed every half term, as a minimum, to ensure that any gaps are identified, and learning matches their needs. In Year 1, children undertake the statutory Phonics Screening Check. Across the year, children will complete a range of testing, including NFER or practise SATs style assessments. These test results, along with the work and assessment from the term, will inform teacher assessment against the National Curriculum objectives.
Subject Rationale for Writing
The aim of the Learning Academy Trust Curriculum is to develop articulate speakers, inspired writers and avid readers who can apply their knowledge of English to communicate effectively in an ever-changing world.
The basis of our Curriculum is to create a sense of purpose and audience through Writing and Reading with Oracy at its heart. There is a clear vision that English should be a key subject within the curriculum alongside the LAT ‘We Wills…’ to ensure that all of our children have the opportunity to explore and research, challenge and present their learning in a variety of ways.
A sense of rigour and clear structure means that the National Curriculum is the minimum expectation for all our schools. Giving new experiences, as well as the development and exposure to a wide range of texts, were considered when creating a curriculum which will build on prior learning and embed key skills.
The principles of writing: transcription including handwriting, composition, vocabulary, spelling, and grammar will facilitate our children’s writing journey as they progress through our schools.
The aim of the early years writing curriculum is to guide practitioners in support children’s learning and development by closely matching what they provide to each child’s current needs. This is underpinned by the building positive relationships, the development of enabling environments and celebrating the uniqueness of every pupil.
Initially, our children will begin to discriminate between the different marks that they make. Following this, our children will have opportunities to talk and ascribe meanings to marks that they see in different places. This will be supported by a systematic phonics programme. By the end of their journey through early years, our children will use their phonic knowledge to write words in ways which match their spoken sounds. They will begin to write simple sentences which can be read by themselves and others as well as spell some words correctly and others which are phonetically plausible.
Key Stage One
As our pupils move into year 1, they use developing skills to encode the sounds they hear in words (spelling skills), develop the physical skills needed for handwriting, and learn how to organise their ideas for writing. Alongside this, pupils will develop their vocabulary and understanding of grammar, as well as their ability to spell by encoding. This will be achieved using a rigorous and systematic phonics programme across the school.
In year two, our children begin to compose individual sentences orally and then write them down. They will learn to spell many words outlined in the English Curriculum (appendix 1) and make phonetically plausible attempts to spell words they have not yet learnt. Our children will continue to learn spelling patterns through a systematic programme – in line with expectations - to support their written work. In addition, as they progress through the year, they will learn to form individual letters correctly, establishing good handwriting habits and letter formation from the beginning.
During this phase in their journey, our children will experience a wide range of writing opportunities. Through publishing their work, our children will develop their understanding of writing for a purpose and an audience. Throughout this period, not only will they encounter a rich and wide vocabulary to enhance their learning experience; they will have the opportunity to use talk, drama, and role-play to understand texts more deeply.
Lower Key Stage Two
As they begin to move through lower key stage two, our pupils will learn to write down their ideas with a growing degree of accuracy and good sentence punctuation. As they explore different genres, they will consolidate prior writing skills, expand their vocabulary, develop more sophisticated sentence structures, and improve their knowledge of linguistic terminology. To develop as writers, they will have opportunities to enhance the effectiveness of what they write through editing and redrafting in collaboration with teachers and peers. As pupils’ spelling of common words advance, they will become more accurate and include the words that they have learnt (see English Appendix 1) in their writing. Using their phonic knowledge and other knowledge of spelling, such as morphology and etymology, our children will learn to spell as accurately as possible and apply this within their writing. In addition, they will learn new spelling patterns to continue to build on the early foundations of spelling and use proofreading as a tool to check and correct their choices.
Their journey through the writing curriculum is designed to build on prior learning, and this is supplemented with the more varied grammar, vocabulary, and narrative structures from which they can draw upon to express their ideas. These structures and conventions of writing (drawn from statutory expectations in the National Curriculum) are underpinned with robust, carefully structured grammar learning, which they will begin to apply across a range of fiction, non-fiction, poetry and playscript writing. Furthermore, as they progress through year 3 and 4, our children will become more familiar with, and confident in using, language in a greater variety of situations, for a variety of audiences and purposes, including through drama, formal presentations, and debate. Our pupils will continue to develop and apply their learning of joined handwriting to increase their pace, fluency, and stamina for writing. At points across this phase in writing, our children will have the opportunity to publish and share their writing with a wider audience.
Upper Key Stage Two
As they start their journey into upper key stage two, our pupils will learn to write down their ideas with increasing pace. The structures and conventions of writing from lower key stage two will be built upon so our pupils learn the key grammatical structures to support the development of more sophisticated sentence structures, language choices and punctuation use to produce high quality written outcomes. Their grammar and punctuation – in line with age related expectations - will become broadly accurate. By using the spelling knowledge and strategies that they have learned so far, our children will be able to spell with increasing accuracy as they progress through this final phase of primary school. They will confidently use and apply many spelling strategies to independently proof-read their writing including morphology, entomology, patterns, and tools such as dictionaries, peers, and additional resources.
The curriculum emphasis will be on pupils’ enjoyment and understanding of language, especially vocabulary, to support their writing. Over the two years, knowledge of language, plot, and organisational structures - gained from stories, plays, poetry, non-fiction, and textbooks - will support their development as writers. Building on lower key stage 2, pupils will learn to enhance the effectiveness of their writing through the sharing, editing and evaluation of their compositions. Further publishing opportunities, using a range of media, will give meaningful purpose and audience to their writing.
In their time at our schools in Learning Academies Trust, our children will be supported to develop as confident, independent writers. They will learn use the skills, knowledge and understanding, across the key principles, to produce well thought out pieces of writing in a range of styles, contexts, and genres in English and across the wider curriculum.
Victoria Road Primary School will be following LAT Writing from Jan 2024