‘Encourage one another and build each other up’
1 Thessalonians 5:11
At Ashley Hill Multi Academy Trust, our teaching of English is designed to instil in children a love of speaking and listening, reading and writing that will last them a lifetime. The ability to communicate is one of the most fundamental skills that a child can learn. Although communication may appear to be a natural development, if a child is to be able to engage fully with the curriculum, and to achieve the higher levels of written and spoken communication expected in the world today, they have to have these skills carefully nurtured. We aim to ensure that all of our children are given the learning opportunities to achieve their full potential in all areas of English. We believe that the development of language skills in our pupils is critical to their future and to their ability to be happy and successful. We are committed to ensuring that pupils learn to enjoy reading, writing and speaking, to appreciate the world of books, and to feel pleasure in writing creatively. Giving pupils the key skills in English enables them to access material in all curriculum areas, and provides a foundation for their learning throughout their school career.
To achieve this, teachers are focussed on making English interesting and exciting, engaging the pupils with the joy and wonder of books and piquing their imagination and creativity. We view the teaching of English as a fundamental part of the holistic development of the pupil, fostering positive behaviours and attitudes toward learning, and providing key knowledge and skills, to benefit pupils throughout their education and beyond. The development of reading in pupils is carefully planned through the teaching of phonics, details of which are provided below. This programme is structured in line with the latest research to ensure that each pupil is guided through the process to maximise their progress. The curriculum has been designed to provide pupils with opportunities to write in a wide variety of contexts and with a range of outcomes. Central to all of our work with English is the belief the pupils should enjoy the experience - not only does this maximise the engagement of pupils, but also underlines the fact that reading, writing, speaking and listening should be pleasurable activities, matching our intention that our school should foster a love for English.
We develop children’s abilities to listen, speak, read and write for a wide range of purposes. Children learn to use language to communicate ideas, views and feelings. This enables children to express themselves creatively and imaginatively both verbally and through the written word. We aim to share with children the joy of reading and to help them to become enthusiastic and critical readers of stories, poetry and drama, as well as non-fiction and media texts. Our pupils leave with highly developed communication skills, skills which they take with them into secondary education and beyond. We measure our success not only though pupils' attainment but also through their engagement with, and enthusiasm for, the many English opportunities we provide them with.
Reading and Phonics
It is our aim to provide children with the skills necessary to be able to read confidently, to access information throughout the curriculum and above all, to get pleasure from reading. We believe that children should be able to read a wide variety of texts and enjoy doing so.
Children are given daily opportunities to develop their reading skills. In Reception and KS1, children learn phonics and to read using the Read Write Inc structured programme which is carried out daily.
Once children master accurate decoding, a greater emphasis is placed on comprehension. Through regular guided reading children develop a range of comprehension skills and develop a deeper understanding of books. Opportunities are created for younger children to be paired with a reading buddy, an older pupil who listens to them read. Home/school reading partnerships support every child to become an independent reader. We encourage a love of Reading through, special events, themed days and author visits.
At Ashley Hill Multi Academy Trust, children learn to read fluently and effectively. They learn to appreciate the joy and wonder of reading, fiction and non-fiction. This is a lifelong skill which will make them secondary ready, and which they will take further into their adult lives.
The ability to communicate effectively through writing is a skill we believe is critical to children's futures. We aim to ensure that the children learn to write clearly, with neat and legible handwriting, to spell and punctuate accurately and to write in grammatically correct sentences. Further, we focus on the need to be able to use appropriate writing styles in context, and to structure extended pieces of writing to achieve maximum impact.
As children enter the Foundation Stage there are writing opportunities in all areas of learning. In KS1 and 2 transcription (spelling and handwriting) and composition (articulating ideas and structuring them in speech and writing) form the basis for what is taught. Children apply the skills they have been taught in all areas of the curriculum. Children are taught how to plan, revise and evaluate their writing. Writing takes place in many forms - independent, modelled, shared and paired - and requires an awareness of audience, purpose and context.
Through the teaching of writing, our pupils develop the skills to effectively communicate and express themselves with the written word. They are well-prepared to move into secondary school and to further develop their skills to tackle more challenging tasks. They have a well-developed attention to detail for handwriting, spelling and grammar, and are confident writers.
Speaking and Listening
The ability to clearly express oneself through the spoken word with clarity, and to listen carefully to others, is an essential skill throughout a child's education and beyond in the wider world. We believe that these are key skills for pupils to learn, and that they must be explicitly developed in children if they are to achieve the highest levels of communication.
Speaking and listening are not taught as discrete subjects, but are embedded in all aspects of school life, across all areas of the curriculum and are part of everything we do. Pupils are provided with many and varied contexts for talk enabling them to communicate confidently and effectively. The School's Christmas and Summer productions in all Key Stages develop children's language, speaking and listening and drama skills and gives them the opportunity to perform to an audience. Each year we run an Eisteddfod competition where all children perform poetry, the finals being performed on a stage at a local secondary school.
The pupils develop a confidence in speaking and listening which allows them to communicate with others effectively. They learn to express their ideas verbally, to discuss and debate issues with others, listening and responding to alternative views. They learn that their choice of language and sentence structure must be varied to reflect the purpose and audience of their conversation. These skills are invaluable to the children in the modern world.