English

Part of the Faculty of English and Humanities

English Subject Leader:

  • Miss K. Erskine

Faculty Leader:

  • Mr J. Brown

External Stakeholders:

  • Ros Ferrara (English Consultant)

Subject Vision:

At Milton Primary Academy, we believe that the knowledge taught in English is critical to a pupil’s academic success. As a result, we work hard to develop our pupils’ understanding of the subject content taught within this curriculum area and their confidence to apply it to all other aspects of their learning.

Fundamentally, we want our pupils to be confident readers, writers and communicators by the time they reach the end of their primary education, and this is why we place such emphasis on the teaching and learning of reading, writing, spellings, phonics, handwriting and speaking and listening. With this in mind, the recent expansion of our academy library supports our ethos that every child will leave our academy as a competent reader. We ensure that every child has ‘the right book at the right time’ as we believe that this is one of the most important tools to enable it to fulfil their potential and make excellent levels of progress.


Principles of Outstanding English

These are the ‘Principles of Outstanding English’ at Milton Primary Academy. They were devised and agreed by the children and staff in September 2021, informed by the way we feel that English should be taught across the Academy.

Principle 1: Early reading, phonics and vocabulary is always our priority.

Principle 2: Enjoyment for reading is modelled and encouraged by all stakeholders.

Principle 3: All children have access to ‘the right book at the right time’.

Principle 4: Children are excited and enthusiastic about English, as they are taught to know more and remember more.

Principle 5: Lessons are carefully planned and delivered, so that new material is delivered in a way that is clear, interesting and useful. 

Principle 6: Instruction is focused on the learning intention and pedagogical tools do not detract from the knowledge that needs to be remembered. 

Principle 7: Through spaced-retrievalpreviously taught content is revisited to ensure that new content can be understood and is retained in the long-term memory. 

Principle 8: Formative assessment is regularly used to check that children retain knowledge and that they can retrieve previously taught content from their long-term memory.

Principle 9: Teachers enable children to access a range of enrichment opportunities, both within and beyond the curriculum.  


English Subject Leader

My name is Miss Erskine and I am the English subject lead at Milton Primary Academy. My role is to ensure that English (reading, writing, spelling, phonics and oracy) is taught to a consistently high standard that enables all children to fulfil their potential and my main goal is to ensure that each child leaves our academy with the knowledge that they need to be successful in their everyday life. With this in mind and through our carefully planned English curriculum, all children at Milton Primary Academy are exposed to the wonders of the English language on a daily basis.

In line with my own ethos and current best practice, we encourage each child to foster a love of reading in all that they do at Milton Primary. I fully believe that it is of the highest importance that children are taught as early as possible to respond to and engage with familiar texts and this allows them to understand the joy that comes from storytelling. These early experiences shape the views that our children have of books and the world around them help them to decide which genres they most enjoy.

As English subject leader, I am confident, knowledgeable and enthusiastic and my passions for the subject can be traced right back to my own experiences of English whilst at school. My favourite aspect of English is reading, and I especially enjoy our ‘Enjoyment for Reading’ session at Milton Primary; my favourite book is Holes by Louis Sachar and I love sharing this with my class each year!


English Curriculum

At Milton Primary Academy, we aim to provide an English curriculum that is creative, inclusive, challenging and inspired by the real-world. It inspires future thinkers, innovators and problem solvers in an immersive environment that stimulates curiosity and supports high-quality learning, allowing each and every learner to fulfil their potential. In all English lessons, we develop our knowledge in reading, writing, spellings, phonics, handwriting and speaking and listening. The English areas of study are set out in the Early Years Foundation Stage Framework and National Curriculum 2014.

EYFS:

In the Early Years Foundation Stage, we teach English mainly through the communication and language, and Literacy strands of the Early Years Foundation Stage Framework.

Ongoing experiences and opportunities are planned from the objectives set out for ‘Listening, Attention and Understanding,’ ‘Speaking,’ ‘Fine Motor Skills,’ ‘Comprehension,’ ‘Word Reading’ and ‘Writing,’ which underpin the curriculum planning for children aged 3-5 at Milton Primary Academy.

The experiences that we provide ensure that children develop a secure understanding of the English language in both spoken and written form. By the end of the Reception year, they will be able to:

Communication and Language

ELG: Listening, Attention and Understanding

Children at the expected level of development will:

  • Listen attentively and respond to what they hear with relevant questions, comments and actions when being read to and during whole class discussions and small group interactions;
  • Make comments about what they have heard and ask questions to clarify their understanding;
  • Hold conversation when engaged in back-and-forth exchanges with their teacher and peers.

ELG: Speaking

Children at the expected level of development will:

  • Participate in small group, class and one-to-one discussions, offering their own ideas, using recently introduced vocabulary;
  • Offer explanations for why things might happen, making use of recently introduced vocabulary from stories, non-fiction, rhymes and poems when appropriate;
  • Express their ideas and feelings about their experiences using full sentences, including use of past, present and future tenses and making use of conjunctions, with modelling and support from their teacher.

Physical Development

ELG: Fine Motor Skills

Children at the expected level of development will:

  • Hold a pencil effectively in preparation for fluent writing – using the tripod grip in almost all cases

English

ELG: Comprehension

Children at the expected level of development will:

  • Demonstrate understanding of what has been read to them by retelling stories and narratives using their own words and recently introduced vocabulary;
  • Anticipate – where appropriate – key events in stories;
  • Use and understand recently introduced vocabulary during discussions about stories, non-fiction, rhymes and poems and during role-play.

ELG: Word Reading

Children at the expected level of development will:

  • Say a sound for each letter in the alphabet and at least 10 digraphs;
  • Read words consistent with their phonic knowledge by sound-blending;
  • Read aloud simple sentences and books that are consistent with their phonic knowledge, including some common exception words.

ELG: Writing

Children at the expected level of development will:

  • Write recognisable letters, most of which are correctly formed;
  • Spell words by identifying sounds in them and representing the sounds with a letter or letters;
  • Write simple phrases and sentences that can be read by others.

Phonics

At Milton, we understand that for pupils to access the curriculum, early literacy provides the fundamental knowledge. Reading comprises two elements: word reading and language comprehension; systematic synthetic phonics is the most effective approach for teaching pupils to decode. We teach phonics daily from Nursery to Year 2. We use the programme Read, Write, Inc. to teach phonics sounds, and the Read, Write, Inc. rhymes help children to begin to recognise and write these sounds (Appendix 14).

To ensure each child is learning at the correct stage, the children are grouped in phonics according to current attainment level. These groups are fluid and continual assessments take place to ensure children are learning the correct sounds for their development.  All practitioners are trained to deliver phonics to a small group.

To begin with, sounds in our environment are taught by going on listening walks, using musical instruments and hearing the first sound in our name. This teaches children that sounds are all around us. Next, children are taught the phonetic sounds of the alphabet. Thinking out words that include these sounds, children begin to blend CVC sounds (c-a-t, cat) with the help of Freddie Frog. They are then taught to segment sounds to write, “Go and put that in the b-i-n please.” Children are also taught to recognise some tricky words that can’t be blended. Phonics sections are structured to include recognition of the sound, reading, writing and application.

Parents/carers are encouraged to support their child’s learning at home. They are given a letter/sound keyring (Appendix 7), blending cards (Appendix 8) and a set of tricky words (Appendix 9) to use and practise with at home. Children have a reading record that both school and home complete to show when these sounds have been practised.

When children know all their single sounds and can blend many CVC words by themselves, they are then given a book to read at home. This is given to the children whenever they reach this milestone, from Nursery onwards. We support our younger pupils to become fluent readers.

National Curriculum aims KS1 and KS2 – Reading:

The Primary National Curriculum for English aims to ensure that all pupils:

  • Read easily, fluently and with good understanding.
  • Develop the habit of reading widely and often, for both pleasure and information.
  • Acquire a wide vocabulary, an understanding of grammar and knowledge of linguistic conventions for reading, writing and spoken language.
  • Appreciate our rich and varied literary heritage.
  • Use discussion in order to learn; they should be able to elaborate and explain clearly their understanding and ideas.

The programmes of study for reading at key stages 1 and 2 consist of two dimensions:

  • word reading
  • comprehension (both listening and reading)

It is essential that teaching focuses on developing pupils’ competence in both dimensions; different kinds of teaching are needed for each. Skilled word reading involves both the speedy working out of the pronunciation of unfamiliar printed words (decoding) and the speedy recognition of familiar printed words. Underpinning both is the understanding that the letters on the page represent the sounds in spoken words. This is why phonics should be emphasised in the early teaching of reading to beginners (i.e. unskilled readers) when they start school. Good comprehension draws from linguistic knowledge (in particular of vocabulary and grammar) and on knowledge of the world. Comprehension skills develop through pupils’ experience of high-quality discussion with the teacher, as well as from reading and discussing a range of stories, poems and non-fiction. All pupils must be encouraged to read widely across both fiction and non-fiction to develop their knowledge of themselves and the world in which they live, to establish an appreciation and love of reading, and to gain knowledge across the curriculum. Reading widely and often increases pupils’ vocabulary because they encounter words they would rarely hear or use in everyday speech. Reading also feeds pupils’ imagination and opens up a treasure-house of wonder and joy for curious young minds. It is essential that, by the end of their primary education, all pupils are able to read fluently, and with confidence, in any subject in their forthcoming secondary education. [English programmes of study: key stages 1 and 2. National curriculum in England)

Early Reading

At Milton, we believe in the importance of ‘the right book at the right time’ and building a positive culture around reading. This begins in Nursery where learning is centered around a high-quality text. Books are shared on a daily basis with children and are repeated to ensure that they are familiar with these stories. Continuous provision, independent learning and adult-led learning are also focused on these texts.

Unfamiliar vocabulary is explicitly taught and teachers plan for pupils to be repeatedly exposed to high-utility and high-frequency vocabulary in what is taught. As practitioners, we feel strongly that language should not be simplified during early reading development; instead, this vocabulary is pre-taught so that when the children are exposed to it, they have the understanding to comprehend the text. This in turn continues to increase the number of words children are exposed to, expanding their vocabulary.

To begin with, children have a picture book as we believe that it is not only important for children to be able to read words but to be able to talk about, understand and tell a story.  When children are at the development stage of blending CVC words independently, these picture books are replaced with a phonetically decodable book with words, matched to their phonics stage. The blending card, sound key-ring and high frequency word cards that are sent home support this.

In addition to this, children take part in ‘Friday Library’ where they choose a library book to take home and share with their parents/carers. This is based on reading for enjoyment and will not be a phonetically decodable book. These texts are high quality and age appropriate. This helps to support our philosophy around a love of reading from a young age.

From the start, parents/carers are informed about the purpose behind sending a picture book or phonetically decodable home along with a book for enjoyment (Appendix 10).

Reading

At Milton, reading is taught discreetly for 30 minutes every day. Throughout these sessions, children develop their knowledge across the range of domains as outlined in the KS1 and KS2 National Curriculum. Teachers model a range of reading strategies during reading sessions, whilst children have the opportunity to develop their own strategies and to discuss texts in detail through riveting debates and discussions. Reading aloud is modelled at the highest standard and children are encouraged to reflect on their own progression with this.

Where appropriate, geographical and historical context is taught so that children are equipped with the background knowledge needed to make full sense of a text. Unless exploring and decoding unknown words in contexts is the aim, teachers plan in advance the vocabulary that they need to teach explicitly before children are exposed to the words within the text; this ensures an high level of understanding of the text and that no child is left behind in their comprehension.

Discrete vocabulary lessons teach a wide range of strategies and assess the level of a child’s understanding of a word. Pre-teaching of vocabulary is essential to ensure that all children can understand the text with regular opportunities for the children to summarise what has happened. Texts are analysed in great depth, with a strong understanding of the authors’ choices and the impact that this has on the reader.  All children across the academy are taught to answer what effect the author has created, how they have created it and why they have created it; a skill we have found has turned our young readers into young authors.

Year 2 to Year 6 use Accelerated and Star Reader to promote a love of reading and inform teacher assessment. Children complete Star Reader tests at the beginning and end of each half term to determine their ZPD range and to measure progress. This test can also inform the teacher the areas in which the child has progressed in and finds more challenging, helping to target intervention more precisely and adapt planning. Once children have read a book, they are able to take a short quiz which evaluates their understanding of the text; the feedback for this is immediate. This book is added to their virtual bookshelf and they choose another book, guided to the correct level range. As a child completes the quizzes, teachers are able to build a fuller picture of an individual’s reading. Parents can view how well the children are doing in the quizzes via Home Connect or by email.

Children share an enjoyment of reading through individual class challenges related to Accelerated Reader and can take part in whole Key Stage challenges such as becoming a ‘Word Millionaire’. Children receive regular certificates for their independent reading achievements and take great pride in their ‘daily minutes’ report.

Building a Culture of Reading

Every member of staff at Milton appreciates the importance that reading has on academic success, as well as the wondrous opportunities and experiences that reading can bring. Many exciting and rewarding activities are arranged across the academy to promote the pleasure and knowledge that can be gained from books, e.g. ‘World Book Day’- where children are immersed in storytelling, author quizzes, book discussions and the opportunity to dress up as a book character and share their favourite books. All classrooms have an inviting and interactive Reading Corner where children can discuss and debate recent reads.

​​​​​​​Separate to Reading lessons, all classes right through to Year Six engage in a whole class read for pleasure; an essential part of the primary school classroom. It is just one very important way that we can model our enthusiasm for reading and for books and create magic and excitement around the special joy of reading a good book. Enthusiasm for reading as a class teacher is critical; it has a vital effect on reading achievement and the life-long love of reading. Teachers ensure that a wide range of texts, including poetry, which is regularly celebrated throughout school, is used in these sessions.

We have invested in an array of high-quality, age-appropriate non-fiction texts to accompany the science, history and geography curriculum. This allows the children opportunities to apply and develop their reading to a range of curriculum areas, clearly demonstrating their importance. We have also invested in creating an inviting library area, stocked with high-quality, engaging texts, across a range of genres. The children select their own reading books and are encouraged to use the front cover, blurb, book level and knowledge of the author to support them in their selection.

National Curriculum aims KS1 and KS2 – Writing:

The Primary National Curriculum for English aims to ensure that all pupils:

  • Acquire a wide vocabulary, an understanding of grammar and knowledge of linguistic conventions for reading, writing and spoken language.
  • Write clearly, accurately and coherently, adapting their language and style in and for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences.
  • Use discussion in order to learn; they should be able to elaborate and explain clearly their understanding and ideas.
  • Are competent in the arts of speaking and listening, making formal presentations, demonstrating to others and participating in debate.

The programmes of study for writing at key stages 1 and 2 are constructed similarly to those for reading:

  • transcription (spelling and handwriting)
  • composition (articulating ideas and structuring them in speech and writing).

It is essential that teaching develops pupils’ competence in these two dimensions. In addition, pupils should be taught how to plan, revise and evaluate their writing. These aspects of writing have been incorporated into the programmes of study for composition. Writing down ideas fluently depends on effective transcription: that is, on spelling quickly and accurately through knowing the relationship between sounds and letters (phonics) and understanding the morphology (word structure) and orthography (spelling structure) of words. Effective composition involves forming, articulating and communicating ideas, and then organising them coherently for a reader. This requires clarity, awareness of the audience, purpose and context, and an increasingly wide knowledge of vocabulary and grammar. Writing also depends on fluent, legible and, eventually, speedy handwriting. [English programmes of study: key stages 1 and 2. National curriculum in England]

Early Writing

At Milton, we nurture children’s writing so that they are not only children who can write a sentence when told to, but are children who use writing to communicate thoughts, feelings and needs to others. This reflects our philosophy of developing a love of writing.

In Nursery, we begin by focusing on developing children’s gross motor skills before refining their fine motor skills, including a comfortable pencil grip. This is taught consistently through, ‘Nip, Flip, Grip’ with picture stimuli to help (Appendix 11).

Daily Dough Disco helps us to teach children how to prepare their bodies for writing, including our posture. Wrists, hands and fingers are strengthened from these exercises.

Children are explicitly taught how to write during modelled sessions. Continuous provision in the Early Years enables children to apply their writing in lots of different contexts using different media.

Writing

At Milton, we aim to develop the children’s ability to produce high quality, well-structured writing in which the meaning is made clear and engages the interest of the reader. All children across the academy are taught to articulate their purposeful and powerful choices as a writer, explaining what effect they have created, how they have created it and why they have created it; an approach they first begin to explore through guided reading sessions.

Teachers carefully plan a sequence of lessons to support the children with their writing. Starting with a quality stimulus of a high-quality text, animation or picture, the children are then taught a range of GPS knowledge from the National Curriculum (Appendix 1) that are appropriate to a particular style of writing e.g. a newspaper report. All children have opportunities to write at length in extended independent writing sessions at the end of a unit; applying their taught skills to an unsupported piece of writing where they are then able to evaluate and discuss their work as young authors.

During writing sessions, the children are given time to ‘edit their writing for impact’. Through this, the children learn to identify where they can make their great writing even better. Peer Critique (Appendix 12) is used at Milton Primary Academy to support the editing process, with the children being taught the skills to praise and offer suggestions for another child’s piece of work. This in turn, develops their understanding of individual skills and the features of each text type. A year group specific CKO (Core Knowledge Overview – Appendix 4) is displayed at the front of all English books to show the key GPS skills appropriate to that year group. The examples and explanations displayed on these allow our children to independently seek support, allowing them to develop their understanding and edit their writing effectively. Working Walls (Appendix 6) are consistently approached in classrooms from year 1 – year 6 to support with writing. Children are taught how to use them and are encouraged to refer to them when writing and editing.

Drama punctuation (Appendix 13) is used to support with punctuating orally rehearsed sentences. All children will be taught the appropriate actions for the punctuation marks expected in their year group according to the National Curriculum.

Spelling (Appendix 2) and Grammar

The teaching of Grammar and Spelling is in line with the requirements of The National Curriculum (2014). Grammar and Spelling is timetabled to be taught discreetly, but they are also embedded within English lessons, where children learn how to use their grammatical skills purposefully and effectively.

To be able to spell correctly is an essential life skill. When spelling becomes automatic, pupils are able to concentrate on the content of their writing and the making of meaning. Whilst we note that spelling is not the most important aspect of writing, confidence in spelling can have a profound effect on the writer’s creativity. We aim to use explicit, interactive teaching, which draws children’s attention to the origins, structure and meaning of words through investigations and discussions. We aim to teach spelling in a way that ensures children take ownership of their own learning, believing that they are able to tackle and learn new spellings for life. In addition to the spellings covered through the spelling book system, the children have opportunities in the academy to learn how to apply spelling patterns through an investigative approach. This is threefold:

  • children investigate to discover a spelling rule or how to apply a rule
  • at the appropriate level, children later have an opportunity to practise and rehearse applying the pattern
  • once a spelling pattern has been learnt and reinforced, it is expected that this will become part of their everyday writing. Where mistakes are made, pupils have the opportunity in next step time, to check and self-correct

At Milton, we follow the Rising Stars scheme of learning. This begins in Year 2 and continues through to Year 6. Rising Stars ensures all National Curriculum spelling patterns and exceptions are taught to the relevant year groups. Spellings are taught daily for 20 minutes through a range of different strategies and the children have a weekly spelling test based on the pattern they have been learning for the week.

Spelling Shed is used as an online platform to support the children with their learning of spellings. Weekly spelling lists are uploaded by the class teacher and are then available for the children to practise throughout the week before their spelling test. Spelling Shed allows the children to take ownership of learning their spellings in an engaging way, allowing the children to choose the difficulty level they feel comfortable with based on their current spelling pattern. This is monitored weekly by the class teacher as a form of assessment.

Handwriting (Appendix 3)

In Nursery and Reception, the children learn to form letters correctly, each with a lead out line ready for joining later on. It is worth noting that a child will often progress through various stages, before being ready for the tripod grip. From Year One, children start each lowercase letter from the line and joins to the next. They follow a continuous cursive handwriting scheme, since it has been closely linked to improved spelling.

The website https://www.ictgames.com/mobilePage/writingRepeater/index.html will be utilised in classrooms when modelling the appropriate letter formations. This will enable children to see how each letter is formed correctly and how letters join within a word.

Speaking and Listening

At Milton, we recognise the importance of spoken language in pupils’ development across the whole curriculum; spoken language underpins the development of reading and writing. Children are encouraged to develop effective communication skills in readiness for later life. Opportunities to develop these skills include: talk partners, drama workshops, storytelling, roleplay and debating within lessons across the curriculum, collective worships, pupil parliament representatives, academy productions and a yearly talent show. The National Curriculum states: ‘All pupils should be enabled to participate in and gain knowledge, skills and understanding associated with the artistic practice of drama. Pupils should be able to adopt, create and sustain a range of roles, responding appropriately to others in role.’ All of these speaking and listening skills are taught in English, across the curriculum and during extra-curricular activities too. Children who require extra support in speaking and listening are referred to a Speech and Language therapist to further assess their needs.

We recognise the need for all pupils to speak, read and write standard English fluently and accurately, while acknowledging that a pupil’s own dialect or other language is of prime importance. All staff members are role models who promote Standard English and take care to sensitively correct children’s misconceptions with language. Children are expected to respond to questions verbally in full sentences.


Assessment in English

Assessment

Throughout the year, teachers will plan on-going assessment opportunities in order to gauge whether pupils have achieved the key learning objectives. Teachers constantly assess the children’s understanding, correcting misunderstandings. Teachers are responsive and alter planning accordingly to help children embed and use knowledge fluently and develop interconnected understanding rather than memorise isolated facts within a unit.

Formative Assessment (AFL): During the teaching of each National Curriculum unit of learning in English, children’s subject knowledge and their ability to apply this is assessed day-to-day through formative assessment completed by their class teacher. A range of low-stakes assessment activities are carried out in various forms, including the completion of spelling tests, Accelerated Reader quizzes, independent writing activities and class discussions. Many of the formative assessment tools that we use are done so at the teacher’s discretion, therefore ensuring that they are appropriate for the age of the children and the subject content being assessed.

Summative Assessment: Throughout the year, teachers also make summative judgments relating to children’s knowledge and understanding, as well as their ability to apply this subject content within the associated context. This is recorded on each child’s target card (Appendix 5) and this document is used throughout the year to track their progress. These are sent home for reading and writing each term to help parents/carers understand children’s next steps in learning.

Statutory Assessment and Reporting: In addition to the formative and summative assessment tools discussed above, teachers of children in years 2 and 6 also complete a National Curriculum Assessment (SAT) of their learning throughout the relevant key stage. At Key Stage 1, teachers also make a summative judgment relating to the attainment of each child in their class, based on the current teacher assessment framework and the child’s SAT score, and submit this to the local authority. At Key Stage 1 and 2, the children will sit a National Curriculum Assessment (SAT) to assess their learning in reading and GPS (including spellings).

In addition to the National Curriculum Assessment (SAT) tests, all children in year 1 will also sit a phonics assessment with their class teacher. This will assess their knowledge of phonics taught from EYFS through to year 1. If your child does not pass their phonics assessment in year 1, they will be given additional phonics support as they go into year 3.


Educational Visits and Enrichment

At Milton Primary Academy we place great emphasis on the importance of educational visits and visitors to enhance the teaching and learning of English. These visits and visitors, which provide valuable opportunities for learning through first-hand experience, are therefore an integral part of the curriculum and allow our children to make valuable connections between what they have learned in class and their first-hand experiences in the real-world.

Whole School Enrichment and Clubs: During their time at Milton, all children have access to a range of clubs and activities that enrich their experience of the English language. In recent years, this has included whole-academy celebrations on National Poetry Day and World Book Day, a ‘Bringing Words to Life’ festival, reading digest club and also a visit from a children’s author! What’s more, some children also enjoy taking part in a creative writing club with Miss Manders, and the writing that they produced was nothing short of amazing!

 

 

 

 


Pupil Voice

At Milton Primary Academy we believe that the view of every pupil is important to ensure that we provide the best education possible. Here is a selection of pupil voice collected during the 2019/20 academic year, and in some cases, what we are doing / have done to improve the English education that we provide.

Felix in Year 1 said.. “I liked it when the man from the library read a story to us.”

Scarlett in Year 2 said… “I enjoy Mr Brough reading stories because he does lots of funny voices.”

Grace in Year 4 said… “I would like a new library area.”

Will said it… we did it!! Don’t worry, Grace! Over the summer holiday we are having lots of work done to improve our whole academy library! Ask your mum to keep an eye out on Facebook of what we’ve got in store for you when we publish a first ‘sneak peek!’


Downloads

Please see below a selection of documents that relate to the intent, implementation, and impact of English teaching and learning at Milton Primary Academy. If you require any additional information relating to this subject, then please contact the subject leader, Miss K. Erskine, via the academy office (milton@learningvillage.org.uk).


Downloads