English at Eaton Park
Subject Leaders: Kathy Smith, Amy Barlow, Amanda Whitmore
Subject Coach: Mrs Sawyer
Link Governor: Mrs Jones
It is our aim at Eaton Park to strive with great determination to ensure that children become fluent, confident pupils who enjoy opening a book. This is achieved through the use of quality stories and texts across the academy that interest, inspire and excite our children. We are passionate about ensuring that children read widely and often across the whole curriculum which in turn will aid them to acquire new knowledge and gain the necessary skills to read and understand texts for the rest of their education and beyond. This immersion in a variety of genres enable us to use these as models for the children’s own writing. This approach moves the children from dependence towards independence with the teacher using guided teaching to develop the ability in children to write creatively, powerfully and accurately. For us at Eaton Park, reading and writing go hand in hand, and it is our aim that the reading culture we create in school will inspire our children to write both imaginatively and creatively. Prioritising the barriers that our children have in their learning, we aim to prepare our children for their future education and beyond by promoting the acquisition of new vocabulary constantly and consistently, working incredibly hard to provide our children with the skills to both understand and use a wide range of vocabulary in both reading and writing lessons.
You can view and download our long term English plan here.
Year 1 medium term plan
Year 2 medium term plan
Year 3 medium term plan
Year 4 medium term plan
Year 5 medium term plan
Year 6 medium term plan
I would like to introduce myself as Mrs Sawyer – subject coach for English. Having a passion and love for language and literature, I believe that I am equipped with the skills to support, coach and mentor staff in delivering a consistent, enjoyable and challenging experience for all of our children.
My roles across the academy include being a role model for staff, ensuring that every member of our academy speaks, listens, reads and writes well in order to support pupils in developing their language and vocabulary. In addition, ensuring that we have a rigorous and sequential approach to the English curriculum is high on my agenda so that pupil’s fluency, confidence and enjoyment in both reading and writing is evident across all year groups. Another one of my priorities is making sure that reading itself is prioritised to allow pupils to access the full curriculum on offer at our academy. Furthermore, I am dedicated to ensuring that our children receive a coherently planned and sequenced curriculum which enables our children to gain sufficient knowledge and skills for life in the future. Subject knowledge across the academy is strong; however, should members of staff need any specific support with particular areas of English, this is addressed through quality CPD either with training delivered by myself and the English team, or through accessing what is on offer outside of our academy, including collaboration with other schools within our trust.
I would also like to introduce myself as Mrs Smith – an English leader. I work alongside Mrs Sawyer and the English team to develop and promote the many strands of the English curriculum. Being based in the Early Years gives me an ideal opportunity to ensure our youngest pupils have the very best start to their education and develop the key skills and attributes to become effective and independent learners.
English is at the heart of everything we do here at Eaton Park. Our curriculum is designed to be ambitious and meet the needs of all pupils through tailored differentiation. Taking the objectives from the National Curriculum, we deliver a sequence of sessions for English which marry reading and writing together. Starting with ‘book talk’, the children are taught how to predict, retrieve, infer, understand language, summarise and give justifications for their answers. This approach enables the children to gain lots of reading skills while becoming familiar with authorial style which leads into the teaching of writing. The writing process begins with the children being exposed to what they are expected to achieve, giving them knowledge of structure and organisation, writing style for the genre and also an understanding of the specific vocabulary needed. As stated in the National Curriculum, we prioritise drafting and editing and consistently include this within our sequence of sessions. In addition, we are also a ‘Talk for Writing’ school and put an immense value on linking spoken language and listening to writing.
Demonstrating that reading is a priority across the academy, high quality texts have been carefully selected to ensure engagement of all pupils. These texts are linked directly to the foundation subjects. Using these texts ensures our children are fully immersed in their topic and this in turn moves children towards a deep level of understanding where they use and apply skills and knowledge in different areas.
As an academy, we follow a whole school reading programme called Bug Club which is a powerful guided and independent scheme that supports reading and spelling. It combines a library of stunning books with an incredible online reading world that help to develop confident young readers. Every child has their own log in details to access Bug Club at any time. This programme is used throughout the academy, from Foundation Stage through to Year 6 and forms part of the delivery of reading across the academy and guided reading sessions, as well as supporting home reading – teachers allocate books for children to read into virtual reading bags.
Early Years Foundation Stage:
The Early Years Foundation Stage provides a language rich and stimulating environment that promotes our love of language and literacy. From the start of Nursery, we develop the children’s attention and listening skills through shared group time and activities such as listening to stories or listening for sounds in the environment. Opportunities for speaking and the development of the children’s vocabulary is also at the heart of our curriculum. Bright and vibrant role play areas, which the children enjoy accessing, are in all the Early Years classrooms. Initiatives such as ‘Winston Wizard’ develop our children’s vocabulary. Twice a week, Winston Wizard will deliver a new word in the class register for the children to discuss and define and then use both in their speech and eventually writing.
Quality stories and nursery rhymes are celebrated in school, and the children quickly develop a love of reading and books. The children enjoy spending time in their own class reading areas, and also visiting to the school library. Shared story time is an important part of each day and we also provide opportunities for the parents to join their children for story time sessions. All children will start their reading journey in the Nursery, taking home books to share and eventually read with their families. Children in the Early Years also have access to the Bug Club online reading resource. Letter sounds and common exception words are provided so that parents can support their child at home.
Early reading is explicitly taught in both English and Phonics sessions in Reception class. The school follows a systematic synthetic phonics program that enables and supports the children to begin to blend sounds to read. Our English sessions are taught through quality texts that motivate, inspire and challenge the children.
Developing the children’s gross and fine motor skills support early writing. Activities such as disco dough, threading and using tweezers strengthen the children’s fingers and grasp. These skills eventually enable the children to hold and use pencils effectively and their writing journey begins. At Eaton Park, we provide numerous daily opportunities for the children to write and practise their newly acquired writing skills.
The academy has its own assessment tool. This consists of skills and objectives for each year band that a child is working on which enables them to achieve age-related expectation. A child starting a new academic year will aim to follow the following path: emerging, securing and then to deepening within their year band. It is a 9 point assessment tool – following a 3 point path for each section. We record our assessment information here; this then informs our planning.
Children are constantly being assessed throughout English sessions to measure achievements and create next steps. This informs planning so that children’s progress is maximised. Teachers’ assess children’s work daily through intervention marking and instant verbal feedback and then marking books after the lesson. Aspects of writing are analysed and feedback provided in terms of praise and next steps on a daily basis. In terms of reading, children are assessed via questioning that is related to the assessment focus and verbal feedback is given. Reading progress is evidenced in the children’s guided reading folders and in their English books.
In addition to this, children are assessed half-termly in a number of ways via progress tests for reading, and also teachers look in depth at the independent writing produced in their books.
In addition to these in-school assessments there are statutory assessment that take place. In Year 1, children take part in the Phonics screening in the summer term. Children who did not pass the test in Y1 retake the test at the same time of year in Y2. In Year 2 and Year 6 the children take a formal reading and SPaG assessment as part of SATs.
Children have opportunities to visit the school Library on a weekly basis. Children are encouraged to read for pleasure at home and at school. We have reading ambassadors in school who are Year 6 librarians who open the library up to children every lunchtime. Furthermore, Eaton Park collaborates with the local library and invites them in to speak to both children and parents. The sessions begin as early as Nursery where reading for enjoyment is promoted through the use of the library and the many events that it runs. An initiative that is welcomed by children from the EYFS is the ‘Little Library Van’ that pays the children an annual visit to encourage positive reading habits; and again parents are invited to share this experience also. As an academy, we are always involved in the ‘Summer Reading Challenge’ – library staff come into school to encourage children to read over the summer, and we celebrate this at the start of the new academic year. At different points throughout the year, we are invited to attend a variety of workshops which are both reading and writing based; an example being a fantasy writing workshop led by an author.
Home Reading and the Bookworm:
It is the belief of every member of staff at the academy that reading progress and attainment is supported heavily by reading at home. Because of this belief, we set ambitious reading expectations at home as well as in school. High on our agenda is also developing readers that read for pleasure and possess a passion for reading. It is the expectation, as part of our homework policy, that the children read at least three times per week (this includes the use of Bug Club online). Reading diaries are in important part of the school day – teaching staff regularly check consistency of reading at home and liaise with parents/carers as necessary through these.
Home reading books in Reception are phonic based and the books are closely matched to the children’s ongoing phonics ability. The children will practice and apply at home the sounds that are taught in school.
Book worm is an aspirational challenge that we set the children involving home reading. To promote consistent, positive attitudes towards reading for pleasure and to help children develop the habit of reading widely and often, we encourage our children to read 5 times per week (3 is set as the minimum). The children who read 5 times per week consistently over a half term all receive a prize and a congratulatory letter sent home. All children are then entered into a prize draw which is drawn in a celebration assembly at the end of each half term. We have a winner from EYFS/KS1 and a winner from KS2 – a prize that children vote for themselves.
As well as our library links, the children have many other things on offer to them at our academy. After school, we have our Bug Club, Grammar and Storytelling clubs which provide our children with further stimulating and purposeful experiences across the English curriculum. Over the course of the academic year, we invite parents/carers into school for workshops based on phonics, Bug Club and how to help your child with reading at home. These are always well received by our families at home. Moreover, family learning workshops often have an English focus which enables our children to embed their skills at in the home environment. Every year, each year band visits the theatre, and we also plan for companies to come into school and perform particular productions which link to the children’s learning in foundation subjects.
Liverpool Reads Quality Mark:
During the summer term of 2019, the academy was awarded the gold award for the Liverpool Reads Quality Mark. This award demonstrates the strong collaboration of leaders across the academy, that reading is a main priority for us and that the children of Eaton Park Academy enjoy reading and are actively involved in the promotion of reading across the school. The following are quotes taken from our report:
“The whole school commitment to the LRQM is evident, with all parties actively engaged. The hard work and leadership of the Reading Team has been a real driving force. This has led to a creative learning environment within which reading has a pivotal role.”
“The Reading Ambassadors are a credit to the school. In the time since they have undertaken the role and responsibilities, the children have flourished, grown in confidence and have had a really positive impact on reading.”
“I like to bring my books in from home to share with my friends. I bought the book ‘The Night Box’. Did you know the light goes in to the box at night time? Reading to the class is fun.”
“I make sure that my handwriting is neat and I use my joins. We got to write all about our trip to Blue Planet and we learnt what an expanded noun phrase was. It has two adjectives!”
“I am excited to write about ‘The Polar Express’. We are doing it for our Christmas play and I love it.”
“In English I can let my imagination roam because we write sequels to stories that we have written. I also like sharing ideas with friends and I enjoy peer assessing my partner’s work.”
“I love too practise new skills in English, like parenthesis. English is my favourite subject, and I love drafting and being able to improve my writing.”
“I like English because we read different stories and get to summarise them.”
The children’s journey to mastering handwriting begins in the Nursery. In the nursery class, we develop the children fine motor skills and muscle control through a variety of activities such as disco dough, using scissors, and manipulating small objects. We also teach the children to hold a pencil correctly.
The school follows a handwriting program called, Penpals. Penpals is a complete handwriting scheme that ensures progression from early development of gross and fine motor skills to confident letter formation and accomplished joins.
The children are initially taught to form the letters correctly, and then in Year 1 we introduce joins. These joins are then practised and built upon as the child moves though the school.