English at Bradley School underpins all aspects of our education and school community. We plan our English curriculum to provide children with the skills they need to be successful in life. Mastering a wide range of English skills is the key to opening the doors to different opportunities as the children grow older.
We expect all our pupils to develop into thoughtful readers and creative writers and it is through the use of high quality class texts and the ‘Talk for Writing’ approach that we believe we can achieve this. The multi-sensory and interactive teaching style of this enables pupils of all ages and abilities to learn to write a wide range of stories and text types.
Through using high-quality texts, immersing children in vocabulary rich learning environments and ensuring new curriculum expectations and the progression of skills are met, the children at Bradley Primary School will be exposed to a language heavy, creative and continuous English curriculum which will not only enable them to become primary literate, but will also develop a love of reading, creative writing and purposeful speaking and listening.
Speaking and Listening
Beginning in Reception and continuing through all Primary years, the children develop their capacity to express themselves effectively for a variety of purposes. Working with adults and other children, their activities include listening, giving opinions, replying to instructions and questions, describing experiences and feelings. Starting in EYFS and KS1, children re-tell familiar stories using actions and story maps following our ‘Talk for Writing’ approach.
As the children progress through the school, they extend these skills to recount events, tell more complex stories, take on dramatic roles, report, summarise and predict. Children are also provided with opportunities to compose, recite and perform poetry. Class assemblies give the children a chance to showcase their learning to parents and the rest of the school.
It is usual for EYFS children to perform in a Christmas Nativity and Year 6 to end the year with a summer show.
At Bradley Primary School, children learn not only the mechanics of reading, but to become accomplished, comprehending readers, developing the habit of silent reading and a love of reading for life.
We are continuing to use whole class texts as the starting point for our English lessons, embedding high quality literature across the school.
Each class has a designated reading area to help promote the love and high importance that reading holds in our school. We have a fabulous library where there is a range of fiction and non-fiction books which the children are able to take home. Our highly knowledgeable librarian uses her love of reading to promote reading for enjoyment and to make recommendations to children from EYFS to Y6. She also has a team of very willing junior librarians who are all superb advocates of promoting reading for pleasure. A variety of events such as World Book Day and Bedtime Story Day are held annually purely for enjoyment. Our Year 6 volunteers listen to children read in KS1.
Lower down the school parents are encouraged to share a home reading book with their child, listen to them read and write a comment in their Reading Record. Further up the school children write their own comments in their Reading Records.
Spelling, Handwriting and Composition – These strands go hand in hand throughout the Curriculum.
Children at Bradley Primary School develop a growing ability to write in a range of styles and writing outcomes are always purposeful and seek ‘real’ audiences through publication and display.
Teachers follow the Talk for Writing approach and use oral work as a prelude to most writing tasks and vocabulary is explicitly taught. Writing tasks are broken down into smaller steps with feedback given from the class teacher at different stages (e.g. brainstorming, planning, boxing up, drafting and editing). Emphasis is laid upon drafting, as a process to encourage children to improve the construction, spelling and layout of their written work.
All children in KS2 have ‘spelling’ books where they note down new vocabulary and their own definition, written in context which they then use in their own work. Much of their writing is developed from the use of high quality literature, as the children respond to plot, character, illustration and ideas.
They are taught the rudiments of grammar, progressively from Reception through to Year 6, both discretely, as well as in the context of the literature they are studying.
Children from Y1 upwards are given individualised spellings weekly and are encouraged to not only spell the words, but understand their meanings.
Our aim, over time is to ensure our children become accomplished proficient spellers – much needed in these days of text speak.
We follow the cursive handwriting scheme and children are encouraged to prove that they are writing, using the correct joins, in order to have their own ‘pen licence’.
The impact on our children is clear: progress, sustained learning and transferable skills. With the implementation of the writing journey being well established and taught thoroughly in both key stages, children are becoming more confident writers and by the time they are in upper Key Stage 2, most genres of writing are familiar to them and the teaching can focus on creativity, writer’s craft, sustained writing and manipulation of grammar and punctuation skills.
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.
Phonics at Bradley
As soon as children start in EYFS at Bradley Primary School, they begin their reading journey. Throughout, EYFS and Year 1 the children are taught phonics every day for 30 minutes. All staff teach phonics using the ‘Red Rose Phonics’ Scheme. Some children also have phonics ‘keep up’ sessions in the afternoons to stop them falling behind. Pupils are taught in phonics groups, which match their ability, within their year group.
All children working on Phase 2 – Phase 5 of the phonics programme will bring home reading books, which are fully decodable in line with the National Curriculum expectations. The focus sounds within books are closely matched to recently taught sounds.
In the summer term of Year 1, our children take part in the National Phonics Screening Test. Where our children pass this test, they move onto learning spelling rules in Year 2. Where our children do not pass the Phonics Screening Test or where we have any concerns about their progress or development in reading or any other area of learning, then specific reading and phonics interventions are implemented to help to raise their attainment.
Whilst in school, we aim to hear the children read individually as often as possible but in order for the children to make rapid progress, they need to read at home every day for 10 minutes.
Children in EYFS and Key Stage 1 take part in high quality daily English lessons. These lessons are usually based around the class text that the cohort is studying. The class share a book with the teacher and reading skills and comprehension are taught and reinforced during these lessons.
Small group guided reading sessions take place 2 times per week in year 2, where targeted teaching takes place. Sessions are planned according to the children’s stage of reading in the group. Children are taught to apply their phonic knowledge and sight vocabulary. A variety of reading strategies are used and questions asked and discussed to support comprehension. Our guided reading resources comprise of phonetically decodable books for the children still learning phonics and decodable books for the more able readers in Year 2.
We also deliver a structured story curriculum for the children across EYFS and Year 1 and Year 2 with the texts becoming progressively more difficult. Story time takes place at least 3 times per week.
EYFS children visit the library weekly to listen to stories and change their books. Year 1 and Year 2 children have library sessions once a fortnight.
DUCK IN THE TRUCK
NOTHING WORSE THAN A DUCK IN A TRUCK THAT IS STUCK IN THE MUCK!
Giraffes Can't Dance - Giles Andreae
My daughter is reading this book at her school. I thought it would be fun to put this great book from Giles Andreae and Guy Parker-Rees to some silly music. By the way all the music you hear was created using ukuleles.
Story Time Book 10 - The Selfish Crocodile
The Selfish Crocodile by Faustin Charles and Michael Terry V. 'There was a loud cheer from the astonished creatures'. What do you think 'astonished' means? I. Why do you think the crocodile let everybody into the river in the end? P. Do you think the crocodile will stay friends with the animals now?
Mr Wolf's Pancakes, by Jan Fearnley
Mr Wolf's Pancakes, by Jan Fearnley. Read aloud by Nigel Planer. Your children will love this funny picture book!
Reading is at the heart of everything we do in school and is the key to accessing the rest of the curriculum. Our aim is that all children leave Bradley confident, fluent readers as being an able reader significantly improves their future academic achievement, well-being and success in life.
Reading takes many forms in KS2. Building on the early reading in KS1, we have Bounce Back Phonics, guided reading, shared reading, independent reading, reading for pleasure and home reading. We also have ‘reading buddies’ who listen to and support each other.
Storytime is not just for Key Stage 1! The quality texts chosen are many and varied – classic and contemporary and from many different genres and cultures. Being read to is one of the greatest pleasures, hence it is timetabled across the whole school. The title and author being read at any time is displayed in every classroom.
For home reading, each child has a reading record where you can share your child’s reading – commenting both on their ability to decode the words and discuss the meaning by talking about the characters and plot. The progress a child makes reading at home is a pleasure to see.
Activities to promote reading are ongoing and varied; reading cafés, book swaps and ‘reading races’ are but a few examples.
All writing opportunities at Bradley Primary School should provide children with a reason for writing. It is expected that children will be given opportunities to write every day. Teachers will embed the use of the ‘Bradley KLIPS’ and LAPS’ document and genre progression document written by all staff.
Structured Writing: Teachers will plan using the ‘teaching sequence’ from the ‘Primary Framework’ – creating interest, reading and responding – incorporating grammar all the while - gathering content, planning and writing and presenting work in a variety of forms and media.
Shared Writing will be given high priority throughout the school. Every teacher will model the application of skills in their writing at the appropriate level.
It is expected that children will have short writing/incidental opportunities at every opportunity.
Guided Writing – Teachers will work with groups of children on their next steps to move their writing forward.
Teachers will plan at least 2 opportunities per half term for children to write independently. These pieces of writing will then be used for assessment purposes.
Pupil Voice in Key Stage 2
Children’s opinions are an important part of our monitoring and assessment at Bradley and provide teachers with a valuable insight into our children’s love of learning.
Here are a few of their comments in recent interviews on oracy and reading:
Y3: We have Speaking and Listening guidelines so that we can encourage other people to speak. T,A,A,U.
Responding to the question, ‘Do you like reading aloud?’ the response was, Obviously, yes! A.H.
Y4: The children’s reply to being asked if they enjoyed reading aloud in class was a unanimous, ‘We all feel confident!’
Y5: The favourite person the children loved listening to (in school or outside school) was our librarian: ‘Through her expressions and emotions, she turns into the character.
‘I like to read in the library because it’s calm and peaceful and warm and cosy.’ I.C.
‘I like to read to myself, but I do prefer reading to my Mum if she’s not busy.’ H.M.
Y6: Mrs F always recommends books; ‘She always takes an interest in what we are reading.’ K.I.
How is vocabulary taught in your class? ‘Through thinking pages; thesauruses; synonyms; reading the word in the correct context; think what it means first; vocabulary jars; we put the word on a sticky note and then in the vocab jar; semantic maps in guided reading.’ E,J,K,L
What Bradley Library Offers KS2
Children in Years 5 and 6 enjoy weekly lunch sessions in the library when they can change their books and take part in a variety of activities. Year 3 has a lunchtime Golden Ticket session and Year 4 has an after-school library club.
Each class spends an hour a fortnight in our fabulous library where the primary focus is on reading for pleasure. Our experienced librarian chooses stories to take the children on voyages all over the world. Researching non-fiction books is also an important skill taught, enabling our children to access information across the curriculum.
Further examples of what our library offers include:
- Participation in Award Schemes including Lancashire Library’s Fabulous Book Awards where 12 judges have the opportunity to rank their favourite new authors and titles
- Celebrations across the whole school on World Book Day
- Opportunities for children needing extra help with their reading
Our librarian is ably supported by 10 children from Year 6 who successfully applied for the position of junior librarians. These volunteers do a wonderful job help to run the lunchtime sessions. All children, at some point in the year, have the opportunity to access after-school reading clubs.
The English curriculum is about more than just mastering Literacy skills; it is also about providing activities that extend children’s learning through new experiences and opportunities. This year, children in KS2 have been able to extend their writing skills through rewarding and memorable Literacy workshops with well-known authors and poets through Authors Abroad, A.I.M. High. They had the pleasure of working with and writing for Rob Bradley, Colin Parsons and Damian Harvey.
We have, within our community, many ex-pupils who have graduated from college and university and embarked on a vast range of successful careers. Year 5 recently had the pleasure of meeting Nabiha, a young published author who was shortlisted for the BBC Young Writers’ Award (2022) with Cambridge University. Her ambition was always to be a writer; indeed, her love of books and writing, together with her natural talent, ambition and resilience was evident from the moment she entered Year 5. The children (and staff) were in awe of her talent for writing short stories and her polished presentational skills.
Hobgoblin Theatre Company came into school in the New Year to perform pantomimes to both year groups: Hansel and Gretel to KS1 and The Wizard of Oz to KS2, both of which were thoroughly enjoyed by all the children.
Reading ‘The Owl Who was Afraid of the Dark’, Year 2 brought the book to life by sitting in front of a virtual camp fire in the classroom, eating hot potatoes and drinking hot chocolate. How better to learn empathy with poor owl?
Speaking, Listening and acquiring new vocabulary is at the heart of all teaching at Bradley Primary School. Indeed, the whole curriculum is taught through Oracy. The majority of our children are EAL speakers and begin school in the Foundation Stage with a limited vocabulary. Opportunities for Speaking and Listening and Drama permeate the whole curriculum.
Talk Boost interventions run across Foundation and Key Stage 1. In Key Stage 2, Oracy is taught through the strategies developed through ‘Voice 21’s transition from Primary School to High School. These strategies are adapted and developed throughout Key Stage 2.
Listening guidelines are displayed and followed in every class across Key Stage 2. Interactive teaching strategies are used to engage all pupils through learning and performing songs, playing games and presenting information to an audience.