English including information regarding the teaching of reading and the Key Stage 1 phonics and reading scheme
The English Curriculum at Sacred Heart has four distinct elements: reading, writing (including spelling, punctuation and grammar), speaking and listening. These essential skills have a very high priority throughout a child’s time at the school and are practiced by the children in all areas of the curriculum.
Drama is an integral tool through which many areas of the curriculum are taught, for example ‘hot seating’ in History when a member of the class takes on a role of Florence Nightingale and other pupils have the chance to question “Florence” about her life and experiences. Drama is regularly used as a stimulus for writing, for example using dance and role play to be re-enact Egyptian and other period dramas. In RE and PSHE drama is used to stimulate discussion and valuing others’ opinions. Drama is also developed through our whole-school annual productions, including Aladdin, Beauty and The Beast, Matilda, Joseph, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Wizard of Oz, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Alice In Wonderland and Mary Poppins. These productions have involved over children each time from six of the classes, and 10-20 adults supporting them.
The school has fully implemented the Literacy curriculum. An hour each day is timetabled specifically for the teaching of literacy. This session includes whole class, independent and group work focusing on a variety of texts, writing, spelling, punctuation, grammar, reading skills and handwriting. Children are given regular opportunities to write in extended contexts in both fiction and non-fiction modules. Writing opportunities are also provided in cross-curricular contexts.
At the Early Years / Reception stage when children first enter school, English work builds upon language skills that the children already possess. Children are presented with a rich and vibrant environment full of writing and speech. Writing will be in the form of displayed labels, captions, name tags, children’s work and individual letters. From the earliest days in school all children will be encouraged to recognise and respond to the writing that they see. Handwriting is taught each week. The ReadWrite Inc Phonics Programme has been fully implemented in Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1.
At Key Stage 2 the children are further encouraged to use the wide range of skills that they now possess. A great deal of writing is done following visits and first-hand experience. Prose and poetry are used throughout.
In all Key Stages, the children are at all times encouraged to speak clearly and listen attentively to both their friends and teachers. Class discussions and debates are a valuable vehicle for allowing children to speak to an audience and developing the skill of listening carefully.
Reading has a very high profile throughout the school. Each year a substantial amount of money is allocated for reading books and reading materials. There is a well-structured reading scheme which, in Reception and Key Stage 1, has a main base of the Oxford Reading Tree. This is supplemented by a wide variety of other reading material. Children are encouraged to take books home where parents can take an active role in developing reading skills. There is overwhelming evidence to show that where children and parents read regularly together, children progress much more rapidly.
At Key Stage 2 an emphasis is placed on reading for information in support of topic work, as well as reading for pleasure. A large range of fiction books are available in each class.
Our excellent library provides a collection of information books which are available to all children. We are constantly improving and increasing the stock of library books.