Westbury Leigh Primary School


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English

A child’s ability to communicate is vital to all aspects of their learning, so English learning spans across all areas of the curriculum. We also plan for literacy-specific learning every day in school, in line with the expectations of the National Curriculum.

The aim is for all Westbury Leigh children to be confident and enthusiastic speakers, readers and writers, so we provide a broad range of daily activities for children to develop and apply their speaking, listening, reading and writing skills. Included in this provision are opportunities for public-speaking and drama activities and reading and writing in different styles and for different purposes.

Please see our English Policy

Reading

A home reading scheme is operated in Foundation Stage through to Year 6, whereby children bring home books to share with their families each week. As well as fostering reading, this gives the school and parents a regular way of communicating about their child’s reading. Instilling a love of reading is a really important aim of our reading curriculum, so children do get opportunities throughout the week to read for pleasure.

We teach daily phonics in EYFS and KS1 using the Letters and Sounds programme. Some children in KS2 also benefit from phonics teaching throughout the week.Those children needing additional phonological support then progress onto Sound DIscovery or any other alternative intervention programmes. 

We are very fortunate to have a wonderful school library that has a wide variety of books and magazines for the children to enjoy.  It was opened two years ago by the amazing poet, Brian Moses!

Writing

The use of engaging, relevant and high quality texts is central to our writing curriculum. These act as stimuli for children to develop and explore their writing skills. Children write for purpose wherever possible, on a theme linked to the half termly topic.

 View our Writing and Reading expectations here:

The teaching of writing follows 3 phases: 

Phase 1) Immersion and ‘Have a go’ writing opportunities: 

This phase is about immersion in the text type. This is a crucial phase in the teaching of writing. The idea is to let the children see what a good one looks like. They need to pull this apart (not just language features but also thinking about text level objectives too). The learning wall will be used to display key learning from this stage. This phase may involve drama opportunities and short ‘Have a go’ writing opportunities (note taking, diary entries, character profiles etc).

Phase 2) Writing opportunities – building towards a writing outcome: 

Phase 2 will offer more ‘Have a go’ writing, but will also be preparing the children for their final written outcome. There may be a mixture of short writing outcomes and extended writing outcomes.

Phase 3) The final written outcome: 

Throughout this phase, the writing journey is scaffolded by modelling and shared writing.

Grammar is not taught as a discrete subject, but is integrated into our English curriculum.

Spelling

At Westbury Leigh, from years 2-6, we follow the No Nonsense Spelling programme.  Daily lessons ensure spelling rules are learnt and applied.  Assessments are regularly undertaken pre, during and post units.

Teaching techniques:

  • Some words will follow a spelling rule – get children to explore these rules
  • For tricky words think about shape, size etc
  • Breaking words into sounds (c-a-t)
  • Breaking words into syllables (re-mem-ber)
  • Break it into affixes (dis +satisfy)
  • Use a mnemonic (necessary – one collar, two sleeves)
  • Refer to a word in the same family (muscle – muscular) or parts of the word they already know.
  • Say it as sounds/in a funny way (Wed-nes-day)
  • Words within words (Parliament – I AM parliament)
  • Refer to etymology (bi+cycle= 2 +wheels)
  • Learn by sight (look-cover-write-check)
  • Sing it! 

Handwriting

At Westbury Leigh, children are encouraged to use a cursive script from Year 1. Please see our Handwriting policy for more details.  We follow the Collins cursive script programme.

Phonics

Phonics is a way of teaching children how to read and write.

The first key skill in phonics is to learn the letters and their sounds. This involves the key skills of sounding out and blending. The sound a letter makes is referred to as a phoneme. When children know their first letters and sounds well, they are able to read simple words. The other key skill is segmenting. This is listening to a word and deciding which letters are needed to make the word. When children are ready they will begin to learn diagaphs. This is when two letters are put together to make one sound (phoneme) e.g. sh, ch, th, ng. There are also trigraphs which are when three sounds are put together e.g. igh.

At Westbury Leigh we use Letters and Sounds as the basis of our phonics teaching. During their year in Foundation Stage children will learn Phase 2,3 and 4. When they enter Year 1 they will be taught Phase 5 which is all about alternative sounds. This is when a phoneme can sound the same but is represented differently when written down (a grapheme.) The expectation is that all children in Year 1 will be secure at level 5 by the end of the Year so that they enter Year 2 ready to start phase 6. At this stage the main aim is for children to become more fluent readers and more accurate spellers.

Throughout each phase children are also taught how to read and spell common exception words. These are words that cannot be sounded out using phonics sounds and therefore need to be learnt by sight.

Children are assessed regularly throughout the teaching and learning of each phase and support is given to children who are in danger of falling behind with their reading.