The English curriculum at Ambleside encompasses the following areas: reading, writing, SPaG (spelling, punctuation and grammar) and handwriting.
Reading at Ambleside
At Ambleside CE primary we intend to underpin a pleasure for reading across the school. We understand the importance of gaining this enthusiasm from a very young age. We aim to foster the love of reading through daily exposure in a variety of ways. We want children to become fluent readers as this is the key to success and opportunities will be opened up for them.
Our aim is that the children will be competent readers by the time they leave Ambleside CE Primary School. They will actively seek to read a wide range of genres and take pleasure in recommending books to their peers. We want them to develop their comprehension skills sufficiently so that they are able to access what they need in their secondary education journey and beyond.
- Anima Phonics (a systematic, synthetic phonics programme - SSP): We use a government approved SSP programme called Anima Phonics. We use this from Nursery to Year 2 and to implement interventions for targeted children where needed. All appropriate staff are suitably trained to assist with the delivery of Anima Phonics and fully understand the alphabetic code. Alongside Anima Phonics is an expertly organised range of decodable books that the children access at school and at home. Each book that children across Early Years and Key Stage 1 take home is matched to their phonics ability and what they have been learning in school. Anima Phonics books are intended to be kept for the week and children are taught the importance of rereading to improve fluency. The children read throughout the week with a range of adults: teachers, support assistants, parents and volunteers. Furthermore, the lowest 20% have extra reading opportunities as well as those who do not get opportunities to read at home.
- Accelerated Reader: In Key Stage 2, the children transition from Anima Phonics to Accelerated Reader and Spelling Shed. Accelerated Reader closely scrutinises their reading ability and tailors their choice of reading materials based upon a reading range. This engages the children as they have quizzes to pass at the end of each book as well as half termly word counts to aim towards achieving. Again, the children in years 3-6 have opportunities to read with a range of adults in school. Story time is timetabled daily across school and is highly regarded by the children. We love to express our enjoyment for reading with them. All classes have the opportunity to choose books from our school libraries but we also visit the local library on a rota basis. We celebrate World Book Day annually and have great links with our local, independent bookshop.
The impact of reading success in our school is measured through the following:
- Pupils will be able to decode and recognise enough sight words at the end of their Key Stage 1 programme of study to be able to confidently and fluently read a text at their level.
- Pupils of all abilities will be able to succeed in all reading lessons.
- Pupils will enjoy reading across a range of genres.
- Once children have progressed through our chosen systematic synthetic phonics programme, pupils will use a range of strategies for decoding words, not solely relying on phonics.
- Pupils will have a good knowledge of a range of authors.
- Pupils will be ready to read in any subject in their forthcoming secondary education.
- Parents and carers will have a good understanding of how they can support reading at home, and contribute regularly to home-school records.
- The % of pupils working at age related expectations within each year group will be at least in line with national averages.
- The % of pupils working at greater depth within each year group will be at least in line with national averages.
- There will be no significant gaps in the progress of different groups of pupils (e.g. disadvantaged vs non disadvantaged).
Writing at Ambleside
At Ambleside, we want all children to be able to confidently communicate their knowledge, ideas and emotions through their writing and reach their full potential.
Our aims are to:
- Guide and nurture each child on their own personal journeys to help them become successful writers.
- Provide exciting writing opportunities and experiences that engage and enhance all pupils.
- Enable all children to acquire a wide vocabulary and to be able to spell new words by effectively applying the spelling patterns and rules they learn through their time in primary school.
- Ensure that all children have a solid understanding of grammar and apply it effectively to their writing.
- Ensure the children write clearly, accurately and coherently, adapting their language and style in and for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences.
- Encourage children to take pride in the presentation of their writing by developing a legible, cursive, individual handwriting style by the time they leave primary school.
- Ensure every child has a good knowledge of phonics to help children to become fluent writers.
- Plan a progressive curriculum to build upon previous teaching with regular assessment to ensure each child’s needs are met to help them reach their full potential.
We have daily writing sessions across the whole school and the skills learnt are regularly reinforced within lessons across the curriculum. We are very lucky to have fantastic surroundings which we regularly use as stimuli for our writing. The National Curriculum states that spoken language underpins the development of reading and writing so as a school, we always encourage talking opportunities in every lesson to support this; we use a variety of drama strategies and groupings for talk during lessons. The children also have opportunities to participate in discussions, presentations, performances, role play, improvisations and debates which all contribute to the development of their writing. During lessons, the children use novels, texts, film, poetry, and relevant real-life events to ensure that the learning is fun, meaningful and memorable; writing lessons are also often linked to current topics that each class is studying. By looking at different texts, this enables the children to be exposed to a variety of language and structures which will aid them with their own writing to help them become confident and competent writers. A range of text types are covered and repeated throughout school to ensure that all children leave school capable of writing for different audiences and purposes with clear progression shown throughout the year groups. Also, our school visits often lend themselves to various writing opportunities to help engage the children. During lessons, children are given the opportunities to plan, draft and edit their writing over time and are encouraged to develop independence in being able to identify their own areas for improvement in all pieces of writing. In class, feedback is direct and clear to ensure it is immediate and specific so the children can respond straight away. Within each unit of work, sequencing lessons ensure that prior learning is checked and built upon and that the National Curriculum objectives are taught through a combination of approaches and opportunities such as:
- enabling the children to participate in drama and spoken language activities
- explore the features of different text types and modelled examples (eg. spotting features in a WAGOLL – What A Good One Looks Like)
- handwriting practise
- vocabulary practise
- shared writing (modelled expectations)
- spelling, punctuation and grammar lessons
- independent writing
- planning, drafting, editing, up-levelling and presenting their work
All teachers model the process of writing to ensure that children understand the thought process behind writing and to also demonstrate the high standards expected from all children. During this process, teachers think out loud, edit and demonstrate how and why they have structured their writing in that way. Children are then given the opportunity to participate in shared writing where the children contribute their ideas, comment on what’s great about their writing and what they could do to improve. This can then be scaffolded further into paired, supported and finally independent writing.
We teach children the correct letter formation from the start of their school journey. As recommended by the British Dyslexia Association, we adopt a continuous cursive style of writing. Children will be introduced to the correct letter formation and exposed to pre-cursive and cursive script at the earliest stages of writing. Implements such as chunky triangular pencils, large chalks and chunky pens etc. are used by pupils to rehearse skills on paper, chalk boards, the pavement etc. In Early Years, the children are taught how to sit properly in order to have the correct posture for writing and how to hold a pencil in the correct position. In KS1, each class will have short, daily handwriting session and are taught letter formation through the Anima Phonics scheme. Within Key Stage 2, each class will have a specific handwriting session for 15 minutes per week. In handwriting sessions, spellings, relevant key vocabulary or sentences/paragraphs related to core texts will be modelled by an adult then practised by children. Lined paper is used for handwriting specific exercises. Lines should be well spaced to start with – e.g. 12mm apart – gradually reducing to single lines that are 8mm apart. Teachers and teaching assistants model the agreed cursive style when modelling writing both in classes, on displays and in feedback in books.
From Years 3 – 6, the children follow a progressive spelling scheme (Spelling Shed). Through exploring patterns and rules, we aim to create confident and proficient spellers using a discrete teaching approach underpinned by phonics. Children are also taught to:
- spell accurately and identify reasons for mis-spellings
- proof-read their spellings
- recognise and use word origins, families and roots to build their skills
- use dictionaries and thesauruses
Teachers use assessment as an integral part of the teaching and learning process and link it clearly to the children’s next steps. From the monitoring of lessons, books, pupil interviews and writing exhibitions, it is clear that writing is taught in a clear, systematic and progressive way.
The teaching of writing will impact upon the children in the following ways:
- They will have the knowledge and skills to be able to write clearly, accurately and coherently, adapting their language and style in and for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences at the appropriate level.
- They will acquire a wide vocabulary, an understanding of grammar and knowledge of linguistic conventions for reading, writing and spoken language at the appropriate level.
- They will appreciate our rich and varied literary heritage.
- They have the ability to plan, draft and edit their own work.
- They have a love for writing and understand why we write.
- They enjoy sustained writing and can manipulate language, grammar and punctuation to create effect.
- They enjoy talking about writing and have developed their confidence to share their writing with children, staff and parents.
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