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English

At Highgate Primary School, we recognise the entitlement of all pupils to an education that enables them to become literate members of society. The acquisition of literacy skills enables pupils to express themselves creatively and imaginatively, to communicate effectively with others and thereby, to participate with confidence, awareness and success in the communities and societies in which they live.

In partnership with parents, we aim to promote high standards of language and literacy and to ensure the personal development of every child by providing them with an equal opportunity to develop their command of the spoken and written word, and to cultivate their love of literature through widespread reading for enjoyment.

Phonics

Children in the Nursery take part in regular planned activities involving Letters and Sounds Phase One sound discrimination activities, rhythms and rhymes, alliteration and oral sound blending.

Children in Reception classes are taught a daily whole class phonics session for 15 minutes, informed by the Highgate Primary phonics scheme of work, which is based on the statutory requirements for English of the 2014 New National Curriculum and the Letters and Sounds materials. Daily phonics lessons follow the teaching sequence: review; teach; practise; apply.

A discrete, daily, twenty minute session of high-quality, systematic phonics teaching is planned for all Key Stage One classes using the Highgate Primary phonics scheme of work. Phonics intervention sessions may also be planned for classes or groups within Key Stage Two, as appropriate to the needs of the children.

Teachers in the EYFS Reception classes and Key Stage One plan to teach children:

  • grapheme-phoneme (letter-sound) correspondences in a clearly defined, incremental sequence
  • to apply the skill of blending (synthesising) phonemes in order, through a word to read it
  • to apply the skills of segmenting words into their constituent phonemes to spell
  • that blending and segmenting are reversible processes
  • how to articulate phonemes clearly and precisely

Reading

At Highgate primary we provide a curriculum that is founded upon high quality texts that have been selected to develop children’s love of reading. As well as teaching children the skills of reading in English lessons, we provide regular opportunities for children to read independently. Teachers also aim to read to the whole class regularly from a wide range of narrative, non-fiction and poetry texts, as appropriate to the age-range and interests of the class. Each class has a book corner, with a selection of fiction, non-fiction and poetry books. There are also displays to encourage the use of the book corner.

Home-School Reading

Each pupil in Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1 is expected to change their reading book at least once a week. Teachers may allocate an appropriate book within the book band in which the child is working and/or help the child to select an appropriately challenging book form the class book corner to share at home. Teachers make a comment on each week in the child’s Home-School Reading Record. Parents are encouraged to read regularly with their child at home and to make regular comments in the Home-School Reading Record.

As children become more experienced at reading they are encouraged to select their own book to take home from both the class library and the school library, with the expectation that they read, with adult support where possible, for a minimum of 20 minutes each evening.

Writing

We aim to provide authentic contexts for writing, wherever possible, and maximise opportunities to develop writing skills across the curriculum by linking our teaching of English objectives to the half-termly topics within the Highgate Primary Curriculum.

Key skills of composition, planning and drafting, punctuation, spelling, handwriting and presentation, and standard English and language structure are taught explicitly in the context of daily English lessons, but also indirectly through cross-curricular writing activities in other areas of the curriculum.

Teachers use a range of high quality, engaging texts to provide good examples of writing in the particular genres that pupils are studying. Teachers introduce writing objectives through a combination of modelling and explicit demonstration. Children are then provided with planned opportunities to engage in supported, shared and guided writing and in shared and independent writing activities. Teachers encourage children to use a range of resources, such as word banks, materials displayed on working walls, dictionaries and thesauruses to explore and extend vocabulary choices when writing.