English

At St Vincent’s we provide a creative and engaging English curriculum that builds on core skills throughout each year group, ensuring clear progression across our school.

Aims

  • We encourage each child to express their inner creativity and communicate their thoughts, ideas and emotions through spoken and written English.
  • We provide children with the opportunity to achieve to their full potential as readers, authors and communicators, developing literacy skills to prepare them for a fulfilling future life.
  • We develop children’s knowledge and understanding of the English language, acquiring a wide vocabulary and a good understanding of the rules and conventions of spoken and written English.
  • We encourage children to become confident and independent speakers and listeners who are able to speak appropriately in a range of contexts, engaging their audience with a range of techniques.
  • We promote a ‘joy of reading’ in every child and an ability to evaluate and justify their preferences from a diverse range of texts.
  • We provide children with rich opportunities to become confident authors who can communicate their ideas and opinions clearly and engage their readers.
  • Through reading, writing, drama and speaking, and listening, we aim to develop children’s powers of imagination, inventiveness and critical awareness.

We use the Literacy Tree Scheme of Work, which we supplement as appropriate. Our scheme of work includes high quality texts that are rich in language and vocabulary to engage all learners and provide opportunities for creative writing.

Click here to see the Whole School English Curriculum Map.

Phonics System

At St Vincent’s, we place a high priority on children acquiring a sound grasp of the phonics system and being able to apply this when reading and writing. From Nursery to Year 2, we use the scheme Letters and Sounds to teach Daily Synthetics Phonics. Parent workshops, homework books and class Meet the Teacher sessions provide extra information on how we teach phonics.

Click here to see the Phonics Progression Map

As well as discrete phonics teaching in the Early Years Foundation Stage, opportunities to explore phonic knowledge are provided in the classroom to provoke learning through play and exploration. The resources are freely accessible to the children in the classroom and are engaging and relevant to the children’s class topic.

The Literacy Tree scheme of work for the EYFS and KS1 includes quality texts to support each phase of phonics. These units of work link in closely with each class topic and build on key phonic phases over the year, showing clear progression.

Parent workshops, school website and class Meet the Teacher sessions provide extra information on how we teach phonics.

Click here to see the Reading Presentation for parents February 2019

Reading Scheme

We use two reading schemes; The Phonetically Decodable Reading Scheme consisting of Project X, Hero Academy and Traditional Tales reading books and the Oxford Reading Tree scheme.

Children begin their reading journey in the Early Years Foundation Stage where they acquire their phonic knowledge and begin to apply this when reading. Children progress through the Phonetically Decodable Reading Scheme in line with their phonic phase level. This reading scheme enables children to apply their phonic knowledge consistently to enable clear progression in reading.

Pupils continue to follow the Phonetically Decodable Reading scheme in Key Stage 1 and the scheme is supplemented by the Oxford Reading Tree Scheme, which enables further practice of reading.

At the start of Key Stage 2, when pupils are secure in their phase six phonic level, pupils will continue their reading progression solely using the Oxford Reading Tree Scheme. After pupils have completed all stages of the Oxford Reading Tree scheme confidently, they will be assessed by the class teacher and progress on to become a ‘free reader’. This will usually be in Upper Key Stage 2.

Additional Reading Opportunities

In addition to this, children are encouraged to develop a keen interest in all types of books by borrowing books from the class and school libraries. Regular class visits to our local Marylebone Library to borrow books also promotes a passion for reading. We encourage all classes to reflect on their reading and post their book reviews on their class reading blogs on the website.

We love to celebrate World Book Day each year with a ‘Book Character’ day to promote a joy of reading and celebrate a diverse range of authors. We plan a range of class activities, including a carousel of activities based around a school-wide book theme. The classes enjoy the opportunity to move classrooms and work with new teachers!

In the afternoon of World Book Day, we always enjoy inviting families in for family reading time and to share our fantastic work. The Book Fair is always an exciting end to the day and a great success!

Handwriting Scheme

St Vincent’s follow the Nelson Handwriting Scheme which starts in Reception and continues to Year 6. Teachers have high expectations of pupil’s handwriting and presentation across all subject areas. Handwriting is a clear focus from the start of a child’s development in Nursery right through to Year 6.

In the early stages of writing, it is crucial that the orientation of letters are correctly modelled and taught in the Early Years Foundation Stage to ensure children are beginning their handwriting journey correctly.

The formation of most lower case letters and numbers to nine should be embedded by the end of the Foundation Stage. Teachers in the Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1 regularly check that children are learning the right habits from the start, such as holding a pencil correctly.

The handwriting journey continues across the key stages through the teaching of capital letters, positioning and forming letters correctly on the line, moving on to diagonal and horizontal strokes and finally reaching well-presented fluent joining of letters. It is crucial that all lower case and upper case letters are formed correctly before moving on to joins to ensure legible fluent handwriting.

In Year 4 pupils will transition from pencil to pen and gain their pen license when there is enough evidence to show handwriting is well-presented with fluent joining of letters.

Click here to find out more about the St Vincent’s Handwriting Guideline and Expectations.