The EWPA English Curriculum
English sits at the heart of our curriculum – it is through language, story and text that our children learn to form concepts, connect ideas and express themselves. Through literacy, in all its forms, our children learn to make sense of the world and also shape their place within it.
Vocabulary development is at the heart of both reading and writing. By the time our children leave us in Year 6 their vocabulary development will have expanded enormously from their starting point in Reception. This gives our children the language they need to understand sophisticated texts and express themselves in a wide range of contexts.
In all year groups, we teach writing through the wider curriculum using high quality texts, immersive real life experiences or a combination of both. Our children apply their writing skills across the curriculum, for example: writing up experiments and investigations in Science, recounting events in History and describing processes in Geography.
Over their time in school, our children will write a variety of fiction and non-fiction texts, including recounts, news reports, explanation texts, persuasion texts, poems, plays and stories of all kinds. We use drama, role-play, storytelling, discussion and debate to engage and develop our children’s imagination, before moving on to vocabulary development and exploration, sentence structure and creative writing.
Throughout the Early Years and Key Stage 1 our children are taught the key principles of writing in order to lay a solid foundation for developing their skills later on. There is a strong emphasis on developing clear handwriting, with correctly formed letters and ‘finger spaces’ between each word. Our children are taught to apply their knowledge of phonics to help them spell accurately, and to structure their work according to what they are writing, from writing a set of instructions to creating a diary entry based on a historical event. Our curriculum teaches our children to add variation and description into their writing by developing vocabulary, using a variety of interesting adjectives and adverbs and developing sentence structure using conjunctions and sentence openers. By the end of Key Stage 1 children have been taught the fundamentals of punctuation and grammar. This structural and technical knowledge is embedded alongside developing an enjoyment of writing as a lifelong means of communication and expression.
This process continues into Key Stage 2, by which time children have mastered simple sentence structure enabling them to develop their writing style. As they progress through Key Stage 2, children are taught to write for a range of purposes – to entertain, to inform, to explain, to persuade and to discuss – using explicit sentence models and ambitious vocabulary. They learn to shape these sentences into coherent paragraphs before planning and creating their own original works of fiction and non-fiction.
Handwriting, Spelling and Grammar
At EWPA, we use and follow the ‘Teach Handwriting’ guide. Handwriting is taught a minimum of three times per week. Correct handwriting formation is modelled by the class teacher. In Year 2, the expectation for our children is that those who are ready will be taught to form cursive joins in their writing in preparation for Key Stage 2 where cursive handwriting is expected from the majority of the children. Children who have developed legible and fluent handwriting will be rewarded with a handwriting pen.
Spelling in EYFS and Key Stage 1, are incorporated in the daily phonic sessions. In addition, spellings are sent home and practised and applied in a variety of ways in class on a regular basis throughout the week. Spelling tests begin in Year 2.
In Key Stage 2, spellings are taught regularly during SFA weeks and this follows the school’s spelling policy. These are practised regularly through handwriting, interactive lessons and writing activities that provide children with opportunities to edit their work and practise their spellings in context. Spellings are also sent home across the whole Key Stage and are tested at the end of the week.
In Nursery and Reception, our children are introduced to the basic principles of grammar and punctuation that is appropriate for their age. They learn through a wide range of activities such as singing rhymes, conversations with adults, stories, phonics, reading and guided writing opportunities.
In Key Stage 1 and 2, formal grammar and punctuation lessons take place. During their reading lessons and practise, children are encouraged to be critical thinkers and observe how authors manipulate grammar and punctuation to impact the reader and add effect. This is especially the focus during fluency sessions. In writing, children use SPaG books to record their learning of grammar and punctuation concepts from Year 2 to Year 6. This allows them to practise and apply what they have learned into their writing pieces.