English at Highfield
'Language is a city to the building of which every human being brought a stone.' Ralph Waldo Emerson
The English curriculum at Highfield Community Primary School recognises that language is the main tool of a highly personal means of communication. It provides structure and shape to complex and abstract feelings and thoughts. It influences, informs and connects.
With this in mind, the curriculum intent aims for all pupils’ language acquisition and usage to be developed so that they have a strong command of the spoken and written form of Standard English and an understanding and appreciation of the ‘skill, the will and the thrill’ of reading. The curriculum teaches, that to be effective, language communication needs to be fluent, meaningful and purposeful.
Through our curriculum at Highfield Community Primary School, we ensure that every pupil is given the opportunity to speak, listen, read and write daily with the aim that they will achieve age appropriate levels of development and follow age related expectations as they progress through the school.
To ensure good/excellent development of vocabulary skills we use a multi–sensory vocabulary building programme which offers a whole school approach to teaching vocabulary. The programme is a particularly useful resource for pupils with Developmental Language Disorder, pupils with special educational needs and those who speak English as an additional language. It is a programme that is also used across the curriculum for explicit teaching of subject specific vocabulary.
'I know all the words but that sentence makes no sense to me.' Matt Groening
The curriculum is designed to encourage pupils to develop a love of reading for pleasure, as well as for information, by immersing them in high quality texts from a wealth of authors and across genres, encompassing traditional tales, heritage texts, picture books, and texts which reflect present day realities. In short, books that are full of rich vocabulary, offer provocation, and drive forward the big idea.
Book Talk forms an integral part of reading for pleasure as it encourages pupils to offer ideas, and share their own interpretation of the text. It goes beyond checking for comprehension and leads to more critical thinking and greater confidence and independence. Pupils begin to regard themselves as readers. It is important too for pupils to learn that Teachers as Readers also want to share their love of reading.
In addition to the reading provision, planning is made for pupils to explore their emotional literacy through various speaking and listening opportunities, recognising that conveying thoughts with clarity and purpose and listening to the ideas of others, leads to reflection and an improved understanding of themselves and others, with the prospect of this, translating and impacting positively on writing skills.
Writing skills are developed through high quality vehicle texts and resources with units of work that have been carefully mapped to cover the statutory curriculum requirements for each year group. In addition, they also have thematic links to other curriculum subjects. This provides a sense of connectedness and context. Pupils have the opportunity to embed existing knowledge and skills while practising new knowledge and skills. Pupils learn to write for a variety of purposes and audiences; clearly, accurately and coherently, adapting their language and style as befits the occasion.
To integrate the correct use of grammar and spelling in written work our aim for pupils is to build incrementally on their knowledge and understanding of grammar and spelling conventions, providing regular opportunities to practise and embed their learning in context, at each stage of their schooling.
'The limits of my language means the limits of my world.' Ludwig Wittgenstein
At Highfield Community Primary School, we recognise the effect a confident, clear and coherent understanding of English will have on a pupil’s progress, both within the school environment and in the world of further education and work. We are committed to ensuring children develop life-long skills for both purpose and pleasure in English, with coverage across the depth and breadth of the curriculum.
The curriculum nurtures a respect/regard for the power and convention that language exerts in its various forms of communication – speaking, listening, reading, writing. Through the exploration of appropriate, authentic and ambitious learning opportunities it is our aim that all pupils will discover their unique voice, big or small, and know that it will be heard: in school and at home, in the local community and the wider world – locally, nationally, globally.