At St Raphael’s children are encouraged and helped to speak clearly, confidently and with expression in order to communicate ideas and feelings able to listen to others and respond appropriately. All children are provided with opportunities in all areas of the curriculum to develop skills in spoken language, including through drama and role play. Children in the EYFS are taught Communication, Language and Literacy, through activities planned according to the Early Years Foundation Stage Profile.
At St Raphael’s we are currently continuing to follow a Systematic Synthetic Phonics Programme, Read Write Inc. Children in EYFS, Year 1 and 2 are taught phonics daily. They are taught to read a range of materials fluently and with understanding, for enjoyment and information. Our reading programme ensures that children are taught to use a range of strategies, e.g. phonics, word recognition, use of context - to help them make sense of what they read. We believe it is essential for children to read as wide a range of literature as possible so we use a range of texts including those within reading schemes, fiction and non-fiction texts, poetry and plays. We place a strong emphasis on reading comprehension and the children are taught how to read for meaning. This is reinforced through reading skills sessions. Parents are encouraged to take an active part in helping their children to learn to read.
Children are helped to develop the ability to express their thoughts and ideas and communication skills through speaking and listening activities and through the written word. We aim to ensure that children develop a strong command of English through the correct use of punctuation, spelling, grammar and correct letter formation. Opportunities are provided for children to develop the necessary writing skills required for different purposes and audiences. The link between reading and writing is strongly emphasised. The school believes that there is a close relationship between handwriting and spelling. The children in EYFS are taught to use the pre-cursive handwriting style, in preparation to use joined up handwriting in Year 1 so that the flow of the hand takes them through the word.
The national curriculum for English aims to ensure that all pupils:
- Read easily, fluently and with good understanding.
- Develop the habit of reading widely and often, for both pleasure and information.
- Acquire a wide vocabulary, an understanding of grammar and knowledge of linguistic conventions for reading, writing and spoken language.
- Appreciate our rich and varied literary heritage.
- Write clearly, accurately and coherently, adapting their language and style in and for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences.
- Use discussion in order to learn; they should be able to elaborate and explain clearly their understanding and ideas.
- Are competent in the arts of speaking and listening, making formal presentations, demonstrating to others and participating in debate.
English Curriculum Overview
St Raphael’s Writing Policy
Writing is integral to all aspects of life and, with this in mind, we endeavour to ensure that children develop a healthy and enthusiastic attitude towards writing that will stay with them. Writing enables pupils to communicate with people around the world. Building on experiences, it encourages thinking and communication skills to grow.
“St. Raphael’s School hold the creativity of all individuals at the core of everything we do. We aim to promote the development of the whole child and provide unique learning experiences which deepen knowledge and life-long understanding.”
Knowledge and Understanding Hub Vision Statement.
Our aims at St. Raphael’s are:
1. Have a positive attitude towards writing, speaking and listening.
2. Write with confidence, clarity and imagination.
3. Understand and apply their knowledge of phonics and spelling.
4. Write in a range of genres (including fiction, non-fiction and poetry).
5. Plan, draft, revise and edit their own work, and learn how to self and peer assess against the success criteria.
6. Develop technical vocabulary through which to understand and discuss their writing.
7. Develop their imagination, creativity, expressive language and critical awareness through their writing.
8. Have equality of opportunity regardless of race, gender or ability.
9. Write clearly, accurately and effectively for a range of audiences and purposes.
10. To revisit and consolidate key learning and build upon it from all areas from phonics, to grammar, punctuation and spelling.
St. Raphael's Reads
We believe that reading is an essential life skill and we are committed to enabling our children to become lifelong readers.
At the heart of our strategy is our drive to foster a love of reading, enriching children’s learning through carefully designed teaching activities that utilise imaginative stories and thought provoking texts.
Reading is a skill that enables children to develop their learning across the wider curriculum and lays the foundations for success in future lines of study and employment. We recognise the importance of taking a consistent whole federation approach to the teaching of reading in order to close any gaps and to target the highest possible number of children attaining the expected standard or higher.
We have high expectations of all children and we encourage children to challenge themselves, persevere and pursue success always and
'As we Walk with Jesus, we love, live and learn'.
At St Raphael’s phonics is taught through Read Write Inc. From Nursery to Year 2, children take part in a daily phonics session. This is where they learn new sounds, learn how to blend sounds into words, and how to read and understand sentences. Each year group also practices their speed sounds daily.
In KS2, all classes follow a structured 5-day approach to reading activities. All sessions are interactive and teachers facilitate speaking and listening opportunities, with children working hard individually. Passive learning is minimised and engagement promoted through regular use of think-pair-share, responses on mini-whiteboards and collaborative tasks. We focus on teaching the content domains, focus on fluency and stamina and then allow the children to apply this independently.
High quality texts and passages are chosen, appropriate to the expectations of the year group or ability of children, and teachers use this to model the application of the agreed reading skills. Children are taught to notice breakdown in reading - identifying words/phrases they don’t understand and strategies to fix breakdown in meaning. Children are taught to relate the text to themselves, previous reading experiences and the world around them.
Further to modelled sessions, children have the opportunity to read texts with greater independence and apply their skills when responding to the wide range of domain questions. More complex questions are evaluated between wider groups and teachers model how to refine answers to a high standard.
Rich reading opportunities are provided across the curriculum, exposing children to a wide range of quality texts providing context to learning.
We believe that regular reading at home is an important tool in developing reading skills. Oxford Reading Buddy is used for home-reading to ensure that children experience a wide breadth of reading opportunities across different genres.
Our reading scheme ensures children are offered high-quality books that reflect the diversity of our modern world.
Children work through the wide variety of books at their own pace, reading a range of books in each band. Teachers monitor their progress and determine when best for children to move onto the next series, ensuring that a range of titles have been explored and understood.
As we believe that reading is key to all learning, the impact of our reading curriculum goes beyond the result of statutory assessments. Children have the opportunity to enter the wide and varied magical worlds that reading opens up to them. As they develop their own interest in books, a deep love of literature across a range of genres cultures and styles is enhanced.
Through the teaching of systematic phonics and reading enquiry, our aim is for children to become fluent and confident readers who can apply their knowledge and experience to a range of texts through the Key Stage 2 curriculum.
As a Year 6 reader, transitioning into secondary school, we aspire that children are fluent, confident and able readers, who can access a range of texts for pleasure and enjoyment, as well as use their reading skills to unlock learning and all areas of the curriculum. We firmly believe that reading is the key to all learning and so the impact of our reading curriculum goes beyond the results of the statutory assessments.
By the time children leave St Raphael’s, they are competent readers who can recommend books to their peers, have a thirst for reading a range of genres including poetry, and participate in discussions about books, including evaluating an author’s use of language and the impact this can have on the reader. They can also read books to enhance their knowledge and understanding of all subjects on the curriculum, and communicate their research to a wider audience.
In addition to this:
- Parents and carers will have a good understanding of how they can support reading at home, and contribute regularly to home-school records.
- The % of pupils working at age related expectations and above age related expectations within each year group will be at least in line with national averages and will match the ambitious targets of individual children.
- There will be no significant gaps in the progress of different groups of pupils (e.g. disadvantaged vs non-disadvantaged).
Meet our reading ambassadors! We have a group of children from Year 3 to Year 6 who have a very important job to do!
This group of children love to read and are working to promote reading around our school. We meet every week to discuss ways in which we can do this!
You might see them around the library or enjoying a good book!