At Thomas Fairchild, English is taught through the use of Read, Write Inc. (RWI). Children are grouped according to their reading ability from Monday until Thursday. Handwriting and punctuation practise is embedded across the school. Children are read to daily and are able to select home reading books at an appropriate level from their class libraries. This enhances our RWI programme and challenges the children to be independent readers.
We want our children to leave us as fluent speakers, readers and writers. Children are empowered by a high-quality, structured and creative English curriculum so that they can communicate not just ideas, but also emotions to others. They understand that there are different purposes and audiences and can adapt the way they communicate according to these.
Children develop as passionate readers, where reading is used not just to develop their subject-specific knowledge, but widen their understanding of their own and other cultures and societies, build their emotional intelligence and grow their imagination. Children will experience the shared reading of a broad range of texts and be motivated to read widely both inside and outside of school. They will build a strong understanding that reading is for gaining information across the curriculum and for pleasure.
Teachers will directly teach ambitious vocabulary drawn from the books and texts read, as well as the wider curriculum and the world around them so that children have a wide vocabulary when they enter secondary school and are able to make connections between texts, their lives and the wider world. Children’s strong understanding of grammar and transcriptions skills enable them as confident writers.
In our school, teachers share their love of reading within and outside of their classrooms. Children are read a wide range of texts to build knowledge and for pleasure, and are taught to write for a range of purposes and audiences with strong links across the curriculum and to local and global issues and current affairs. Reading is brought to life through experiences and the use of technology which provide children with rich experiences to discuss, make links and share and build upon previous knowledge. A rigorous programme of systematic synthetic phonics provides children with a tool to decode, before building fluency and the ability to comprehend and question independently. As children move through the school, they are taught to retrieve, summarise, infer, predict, discuss meaning and make comparisons and links.
We use a variety of strategies to evaluate the knowledge, skills and understanding that our children gain as they progress from Nursery to Year 6:
CPD to ensure that teacher pedagogy and assessment is secure.
Regular feedback marking and pupil voice feedback.
Subject monitoring, including book looks and learning walks.
Regular low stakes knowledge assessments, using a range of creative approaches.
Moderation with our partner schools to ensure secure teacher judgements.
PIRA tests and No More Marking to support our teachers’ assessment.
Half-termly phonics and reading assessments to ensure our children are provided with appropriate challenge and support.
During their time at Thomas Fairchild, our children are given every opportunity to participate in a wide range of learning experiences beyond their classroom. These experiences including trips to museums, the theatre, adventure centres and community projects provide children with stimulating real-life experiences to pin their reading, writing and speaking development to. They will meet and work with authors and build their knowledge of literature. English learning is practised and embedded across the curriculum. Speaking and writing outcomes draw from knowledge gained in other subjects and English skills are used to enhance learning elsewhere. Children learn to collaborate and learn from each other to achieve outcomes.