English Curriculum Statement
An appreciation for rich quality literature underpins the English curriculum at Humberstone Infants and we endeavour to promote a lifelong love of Reading and the English language. Children regularly access books for research purposes and wider reading through an inspiring school library.
The Early Years Foundation Stage Framework provides a high quality, language and text based approach to the curriculum and begins the journey of a love of text and reading. In years 1 and 2, the National Curriculum English objectives are delivered through a carefully planned and sequenced progression of quality texts which form Novel Studies. By the time they leave Key Stage 1, pupils have had valuable exposure to a wide range of quality works of literature, including picture books, poetry and the introduction to longer chapter books in year 2. Novel studies are meticulously planned to ensure children acquire the skills necessary to become confident readers and writers, able to communicate effectively both verbally and through written work. Furthermore, the curriculum actively promotes a love of reading for pleasure and development of skills and attributes beyond academic achievement. The careful selection of texts introduces children to cultural diversities, develops their ability to empathise with others and promotes curiosity. The English skills of reading, writing and oracy are also carefully woven into the wider curriculum. Project based learning outcomes in particular provide ample opportunities for children to apply these skills through forms such as scientific enquiries, debates, presentations, and written and creative outcomes.
Our English curriculum is organised into units of work which may be taught over several weeks or up to half a term depending on the text being studied, and the opportunities it gives for teaching certain reading and writing objectives. The texts chosen provide the progression in challenge, length and skills over each academic year and build well on prior learning.
Teaching Sequences are carefully mapped to build towards high quality written outcomes in the shorter term and at the end of units of study. The length of teaching sequences vary depending on the age and stage of the children, the skills being taught and the particular needs of the cohort. Each sequence typically includes oracy work, word level and language work, application to sentences, grammar skills specific to the writing genre and the opportunity for children to independently write and redraft their work to a standard of excellence. In year 1 and 2, Reading and Writing skills ladders, which break down the National Curriculum objectives, are used to plan teaching sequences and for formative and summative assessment purposes. These have been carefully crafted to ensure clear progression between year groups and consistency across the trust. In EYFS, Teaching sequences are based on the Development Matters framework and include the reading, writing and communication and language aspects of the curriculum. Our approach to Early Reading is set out in detail in the Early Reading Curriculum document.
Whilst the Novel Study curriculum incorporates many reading skills, explicit teaching of reading also comes through daily phonics sessions and Guided Reading sessions. Texts are chosen to reflect the ability of the pupils, allowing for challenge and embedding skills. Teachers model the reading skill before allowing for guided and independent practice of the skill within each session. The lowest attaining children also receive daily 1:1 reading support to develop fluency and comprehension in order to close gaps in their learning and accelerate progress.
Termly scrutinies of every child’s English book allow the subject leader and Senior Leadership Team to identify progress in writing skills against the writing skills ladders. Detailed feedback is given to individual staff and teams highlighting areas for improvement. The scrutiny pays particular attention to groups of learners including disadvantaged pupils and those with Special Educational Needs. This feedback enables teachers to address gaps in learning and secure greater progress for all. Each half term children complete a piece of writing in their assessment book which is then moderated in teams and levelled for both formative and summative assessment purposes. Assessments against the reading skills ladders and tracking of book bands show progression in reading for individual children.
Tracking and close analysis of statutory data points: EYFS Early Learning Goals, Year 1 phonics screen, KS1 all indicate the impact of the high quality teaching and learning in English. EYFS outcomes have seen an upwards trend in recent years 73% (2017), 82% (2018), with the most recent data (2019) showing 76% of children achieving GLD at the end of EYFS.
The year 1 phonics screen has shown outcomes in line with or above national averages in the three yearsfrom 84% (2017) to 89% (2018) and 82% in 2019. Teacher assessment of pupils in the autumn term of year 2 (2020) maintained this standard of outcome (89%) and in 2021 (87%) due to the high focus on early reading catch up. Statutory assessments at the end of Key Stage 1 also show improvement in achievement over time with the most recent standardised data (2019) showing 79% at expected level or greater in reading, and 77% for writing.
Disadvantaged pupils often perform at least as well as their peers and often as well as or above other pupils nationally. These national datasets show the impact of the English curriculum and the attainment and progress achieved by the pupils at Humberstone Infant Academy. .
By the time children leave Humberstone Infants they are confident and skilled communicators both in oral and written forms. Our children talk passionately and skillfully about books and have developed the foundations needed to be successful in the next phase of their education. They write with control and flair for a range of purposes, including for pleasure, and are very well prepared for the challenges of Key stage 2.