At Calcot Schools, we believe that a quality English curriculum should develop children’s love for reading, writing and discussion. One of our priorities is to develop children’s love for reading and we aim to achieve this by providing the children with access to high quality texts across all year groups. We believe that by beginning with high quality literature as a starting point, children will be inspired and take an active role in their learning. We recognise the importance of nurturing a culture where children can discuss these texts and share their opinions with others. We want to inspire children to be confident in the art of speaking and listening and to use discussion to communicate and further their learning.
We believe that children need to develop a secure knowledge-base in English, which follows a clear pathway of progression as they advance through the primary curriculum. We believe that a secure basis in Literacy skills is crucial to a high quality education and will give our children the tools they need to participate fully as a member of society.
The teaching of these skills is embedded within in each unit and children are given explicit opportunities to apply them in their writing across a wide range of genres. We have a rigorous and well-organised English curriculum and framework that provides many purposeful opportunities for reading, writing and discussion. The wide variety of quality texts that we use, motivate and inspire our children. Teachers also ensure that relevant and insightful links are made to other areas of the curriculum. The children at Calcot Schools are given a wide range of “real life” writing experiences in which to practise and apply the skills that have been taught. These have included: Writing letters to Boris Johnson regarding Covid-19, instructions for capturing a dragon from 'How to Train Your Dragon', writing newspaper articles about alien invasions and writing diary entries from our experiences as evacuees.
At Calcot, we have invested a lot of time and money into our reading scheme. We believe that children learn through a phonetic approach and our high quality teaching of synthetic phonics is supported by our ever-increasing scheme of fully decodable reading books. Out scheme is organised so that children of all abilities can directly apply their learning from phonic lessons within their reading. Alongside these fully decodable texts, we also provide children with a wide range of fiction and non-fiction texts to help develop their comprehension skills.
At Calcot Schools, we identify children who need support and provide intervention in the most effective and efficient way that we can. We run intervention reading groups and are fortunate to have parents and governors who come in regularly to hear children read. Most children on the SEND register have reading and comprehension as one of their targets. Teachers plan and teach English lessons which are differentiated to the particular needs of each child. We help each child maximise their potential by providing help and support where necessary whilst striving to make children independent workers once we have helped to equip them with the confidence, tools and strategies that they need.
We believe that a strong partnership between home and school is vital in nurturing children’s knowledge and understanding of English. We offer the following parent information sessions to ensure that our families understand age-related expectations and can effectively support their children at home.
- English workshops for all year groups from Nursery to Year 6
- Phonic information sessions for Year 1 and Year 2
- Early reading workshops for Nursery and Reception
- SATs information sessions for Year 2 and Year 6
These sessions are always very well attended by parents and carers, who often comment about how helpful the sessions have been for them.
Marking is rigorous in English and across the curriculum, with regular ‘Response Times’ and spelling corrections to help children correct and consolidate their work. Regular English book scrutinies are carried out to check all teachers are following our marking policy rigorously.
Children at Calcot enjoy sharing their learning with others and talk with enthusiasm about the texts they are reading both in class and for pleasure at home.
As all aspects of English are an integral part of the curriculum, cross curricular writing standards have also improved and skills taught in the English lesson are transferred into other subjects; this shows consolidation of skills and a deeper understanding of how and when to use specific grammar, punctuation and grammar objectives.
The impact of this robust curriculum is identified using a range of assessment measures. These include
Termly standardised tests in spelling, grammar and reading.
Regular 'Hot Writes' (independent writing) which are teacher assessed and moderated across the school, within year groups and with other local school in the borough.
Standardised reading tests are carried out twice a year to determine their reading age.
Termly reading assessments which are based on particular texts to determine their level of understanding.
Benchmark reading tests are carried out before children move on a new reading book band. This assesses their word reading in addition to their understanding.
Termly phonic assessments are carried out to determine children's GPC knowledge and their ability to apply this when blending the segmenting.
Following on from these assessment we adapt and review our planning and teaching in order to meet the needs of our diverse range of children.
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