Rationale for English at Shakespeare
Creating a sense of ‘purpose’, ‘audience’ and ‘Oracy’ provided the basis for the LAT English curriculum overview. A clear vision that English should be a key subject within the curriculum alongside the LAT ‘We Wills’ ensures that all of our children have the opportunity to explore, 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 schools within the LAT, which then gives us at Shakespeare free reign and creativity to expand this and tailor it to our context. Giving new experiences, as well as the development and exposure to a wide range of texts, were considered to create a spiral curriculum (across genres) to build on prior learning and embed key skills.
In the Early Years, we create opportunities for our children to talk, listen and communicate in a range of situations with each other and with familiar adults and visitors. We use oracy and the development of language to ensure children leave the foundation stage able communicators. We nurture early reading skills and encourage a love of books, stories, singing, poems and rhymes. We provide a range of stimulating and fun mark making opportunities in order to support the development of early writing skills.
At Shakespeare, Children at Key Stage 1 develop an understanding of communication through speaking, listening, reading and writing by exploring their own lives as well as those close to them. The curriculum develops the basic skills around phonetic awareness to allow children to express their thoughts and ideas. Oracy skills are used to help our children communicate their ideas effectively and as a result become confident speakers. A wide experience of genres allows our children become imaginative, creative storytellers and writers whilst ensuring they are exposed to varied, rich vocabulary.
As they move into Key Stage 2, the concepts remain key to speaking, listening, reading and writing. Oracy, through all areas, enables children to communicate effectively with greater sophistication. Language development remains vital and a broad range of genres (through reading and writing), ensures children experience a wide range of rich vocabulary. As they build on the skills learnt previously, children will use these to effectively present their ideas and learning, applying their speaking, reading and writing skills across the curriculum.
Our aim at Shakespeare is to develop articulate speakers, inspired writers and avid readers, who can apply their knowledge of English, to communicate successfully in an ever-changing world.
Our Writing Rationale
So that we can support all pupils across the school achieve well in writing, we have developed a writing progression that supports teachers to plan progressive, sequences of lessons. Every teacher plans writing units that include elements of grammar, punctuation and spelling as well as a range of genre-specific features that we want our pupils to use and apply with confidence. Young writers need support to develop their 'authorial voice' and at Shakespeare, it is our aim for every child to achieve this!
Below is our writing progression of key skills that helps to inform pupils' writing journey at Shakespeare.
At Shakespeare, we have writing tutor who works daily with small groups of children in order to support them with their writing skills. The tutor works closely with the class teachers so that the skills that they learn outside of the classroom can be transferred straight into their written work in class.
From year two onwards, we use The spelling books by Jane Considine. There are both daily and weekly spelling activities which are built on the fundamentals of teaching spelling with strong phonic foundations. It also provides opportunities to investigate the origins and associations of words. Pupils are encouraged to be word detectives and dig deeper as they develop spelling strategies.
Handwriting at Shakespeare
At Shakespeare, we use the PenPals handwriting scheme to ensure that all pupils are taught to form letters in a consistent way. Our PenPals approach supports children in the very earliest stages of mark making through to the development of a mature, individual writing style. The document below sets out the handwriting steps and milestones that we aim to enable all pupils to achieve.