At Thomas Fairchild, 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 and concepts 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 to 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. Teachers ensure that children develop a strong understanding of grammar, transcription and composition skills that enable them to be 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 their knowledge of people, places and things and to ignite a lifelong love of reading. Reading is brought to life through experiences and the use of technology, which provides children with rich experiences to discuss, make links and build upon previous knowledge.
From Reception, a rigorous programme of systematic synthetic phonics is taught through Read Write Inc Phonics. This provides children with the tools to decode words, 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 through the Success for All reading programme.
In their writing, children are taught the fundamental transcription skills first. In EYFS and KS1 children are taught to form letters correctly, to punctuate accurately, and to spell words using the graphemes they know. Children are also taught to develop their ideas and organise them into sentences. As children move through the school, we then teach them to write for a range of purposes and audiences, making links across the curriculum and to local and global issues and current affairs.
We use a variety of strategies to evaluate the knowledge, skills and understanding that our children gain in English as they progress from Nursery to Year 6:
- CPD to ensure that teacher pedagogy and assessment is secure
- Regular feedback through marking and feedback in English lessons
- Regular pupil voice feedback to evaluate children’s mastery of the English curriculum
- Subject monitoring, including book looks, learning walks and lesson observations
- Regular low stakes knowledge assessments, using a range of creative approaches
- Moderation with our partner schools to ensure secure teacher judgements
- PIRA (Progress in Reading Assessments) and No More Marking are used termly to support our teachers’ assessment
- Half-termly phonics and reading assessments ensure our children are provided with appropriate challenge and support
During their time at school, our children are given every opportunity to participate in a wide range of learning experiences beyond their classroom. These experiences include trips to museums, the theatre, adventure centres and community projects. These experiences provide children with stimulating real-life experiences on which they can pin their reading, writing and speaking development. They will have opportunities to meet and work with authors and build their knowledge of literature. English learning is practised and embedded across the wider curriculum. Speaking and writing outcomes draw from knowledge gained in other subjects and English skills are used to enhance learning elsewhere.