At Ivy Chimneys Primary school we recognise language is the cornerstone of a child’s education. Our children need to have the vocabulary to ask questions about the world around them, express their thoughts and feelings and to interact with one another. We want children to have the confidence to speak in front of their peers and engage in lively debate, learning how to listen and communicate their own opinions and ideas At Ivy Chimneys, rich opportunities for public speaking, performance and debate are an important part of our offer as a school.
English as a subject has a special status at the heart of our curriculum. We teach reading and writing through high-quality texts. These may be picture books, stories, poetry , plays, journalistic or other nonfiction texts . The teachers at Ivy Chimneys use a range of strategies to help develop their love of language, such as discussion, debate, role-play, drama and real-life experiences. For instance, when children in Year 5&6 visit the forest to build shelters as part of their Explorers unit of work, before writing instructions for fellow survival enthusiasts.
Our sequences of work in English help children secure their understanding of features of genres, structure, composition and transcription from their individual starting points.
We support the development of early reading at Ivy Chimneys through high-quality interactions in the classroom and a language-rich environment. The strategies teachers use in our classroom should stimulate a love of reading, as children develop crucial language comprehension and decoding skills.
carefully selected texts as part of learning sequences, guided reading and storytimes, designed to engage and extend understanding
accessible, rich texts (fiction, non-fiction poetry and song) both in the classroom and in the new library
sharing child-made and adult-scribed stories as part of helicopter stories in EYFS
use of story and rhyme to support syntax and vocabulary, including Talk for Writing strategies
high-quality dialogue (‘back and forth talk’) with adults that models the articulation of grammar, vocabulary, questioning, responding and extending what children say
planning opportunities to develop vocabulary by considering semantic fields around a topic or subject
planning opportunities for children to read, rehearse and recite poetry or prose aloud
Providing a print-rich environment eg signs, labels, names, posters
In Years 1-6, the whole class has a copy of the ‘class book’ for each term. These books form the basis of some guided reading sessions and encourage children to explore different genres as they study explicit reading skills. During these sessions, children will read aloud, make predictions, discuss the book as a group: some of their work across the curriculum will be linked to this high-quality text. The use of key rich texts across the curriculum is reviewed each year.
Throughout the school year, there are events and competitions aimed at promoting the love of reading:
World Book Day
author and poet visits
parent reading workshops
trips and visitors to enrich children’s learning
In 2020-21, a new library was built at the centre of the school to help cultivate a greater love of reading among our students.
Daily phonics sessions begin in Reception and continue until the end of KS1. At Ivy Chimneys, all the children across EYFS and KS1 are taught daily phonics in small, fluid groupings to support their progression very well. Our children have access to decodable books and texts to aid fluency of reading and a feeling of success in reading from early on.
From September 2021, Ivy Chimneys uses the revised Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Programme for the teaching of systematic synthetic phonics (SSP).
Children should leave Ivy Chimneys as confident, skilled writers who can use written language in both practical and creative ways. Teachers carefully select rich and engaging texts to use in their english sequences of learning, ensuring children are exposed to excellent models for their own writing. In every lesson, teachers foster positive attitudes to writing through their own modelling, shared writing with children and using live examples of children's own work to support and extend the writing skills of their whole class. Our children use a single Learning Journey book for their written work across the curriculum ensures that they have pride in their work and understand the expectations for all of their written work, across every subject.
In the Early Years Foundation stage and Key Stage One, children develop the technical and composition skills to communicate well: clear handwriting, correct spacing and applying their phonics learning when spelling, are important foundational writing skills. Children focus on sentence construction, learning how to record and demarcate their thoughts in writing, using the correct punctuation marks. As they become more confident writers, children in the lower school choose and use an increasing vocabulary of nouns, adjectives and adverbs and a variety of conjunctions to add detail to their ideas.
Throughout Key Stage Two, children build on these important skills, learning to plan, draft, proofread, edit and evaluate as part of their writing process. We teach children that writing is craft: it requires the interpretation of existing texts and careful consideration of the affect our choices can have upon the reader. Children develop greater fluency in their handwriting, learn about spelling rules and apply their growing understanding of how grammar and punctuation can control the meaning of their words. In Years 3 to 6, learners explore the purpose and audience for their writing, studying how to select the most appropriate structure, tone, vocabulary and grammar, as they become more independent as writers. The progression of proofreading and editing skills is a key part of writing skills lessons eg editing conferences in Year 3 and 4.
From EYFS onwards, we celebrate and value children’s writing at each stage - by creating opportunities for children to share writing with their peers, publishing for our library or to connect with people outside of our school community.