At Cathcart Street Primary School, we know and understand our children. We have listened to our children’s voices, and we have created a curriculum that encourages them to become enthusiastic and engaged with English. We have worked hard to provide our children with rich and varied learning opportunities that help them to become confident and enthusiastic learners. We want our children to have a positive attitude towards communication and to be able to independently express their emotions and their ideas. Through our English Curriculum, we strive to teach the children how important their reading, writing, speaking and listening skills will be in the real world. By giving this context to their learning, the children understand the value of English to them now, and in their futures. They can indeed ‘Aspire for Life’.
At Cathcart Street Primary School, we endeavour to create a love for literacy. We want every child to leave Cathcart Street with the skills of an excellent writer who:
- Has the ability to write with fluency and has an author’s voice;
- Can think about the impact they want their writing to have on the reader and knows how they will achieve this;
- Has a sophisticated bank of vocabulary and an excellent knowledge of writing techniques to extend details or description;
- Can structure and organise their writing to suit the genre they are writing and include a variety of sentence structures;
- Displays excellent transcription skills that ensure their writing is well presented, punctuated, spelled correctly and neat;
- Re-reads, edits and improves their writing so every piece of writing they produce is to the best of their ability and better than the last.
Throughout their time at Cathcart Street Primary School, children develop their skills by exploring a whole range of different genres through Literacy Counts, with a focus on exploring a range of models of excellence and using these to guide the drafting and editing process. It is important to note that we not only develop a real enjoyment of writing in English lessons but in all subjects across the curriculum. We expect the highest standards of writing every time a child writes in any subject.
Teacher’s use the Literacy Counts program to plan the following:
- A short-term weekly plan that includes the vocabulary to be taught, along with the spelling focus;
- Trips and visitors who will stimulate and focus creative writing experiences;
- Opportunities for children to widen their writing experience by utilising learned skills in other curriculum areas.
- Celebration of children’s writing through attractive and dynamic display.
Our Writing curriculum is high quality, well thought out and is planned to demonstrate progression. If children are keeping up with the curriculum, they are deemed to be making good or better progress. In addition, we measure the impact of our curriculum through the following methods:
- A reflection on standards achieved against the planned outcomes;
- Children can understand and apply the fundamental principles of spelling grammar and punctuation in their writing;
- Children can evaluate, improve and redraft their writing;
- Children are responsible, competent, confident and creative writer’s;
- A celebration of learning for each term which demonstrates a progression of learning across the school;
- Children experience the achievement of becoming celebrated published authors’;
- Children develop an author’s voice;
- Children communicate clearly using accurate grammar, punctuation, handwriting and spelling.
- Children will develop competence in transcription (spelling and handwriting) and composition (articulating ideas and structuring them in speech and writing) at national expectation and at greater depth.
Reading and Phonics
At Cathcart Street Primary School, we value reading as a key life skill, and are dedicated to enabling our pupils to become lifelong readers. We believe reading is key for academic success and so to ensure we have a holistic approach to the teaching of reading, we implement the following.
- Children take part in daily Guided Reading lessons, where children are exposed to a range of different texts and can demonstrate their understanding and thinking behind these.
- We are very lucky to have a wide range of reading books in our school. All children from Nursery to Year 6 choose a reading book to take home and this reading book is changed weekly or more frequently.
- Each classroom will have a selection of books in their classroom which are directly linked with the class topic. This offers opportunities for the children to apply their reading skills across the curriculum.
- Children are read to each day by their class teacher. This could be a book that the teacher recommends to the class or a recommendation from a child.
- Each classroom has a reading area that is filled with books suitable for their reading age. This is a comfortable place for children to read throughout the day.
- Children have the opportunity to take part in ‘Reading Buddies’, in which children mix with other children from different year groups and share a book together.
- Children who are not yet ‘free readers’, will work through our school reading scheme – these are levelled books which match the children’s current reading age. We expect family at home to read these books with their child daily and make comments in their child’s reading record.
By the time children leave Cathcart Street Primary School, they are competent readers who can recommend books to their peers, have a thirst for reading a range of genres including poetry, and participate in discussions about books, including evaluating an author’s use of language and the impact this can have on the reader.
At Cathcart Street, we use a synthetic phonics programme called ‘Read Write Inc’ produced by Ruth Miskin. Read Write Inc is a method of learning letter sounds and blending them together to read and write words. As part of this, children have daily phonics sessions in small groups where they participate in speaking, listening and spelling activities that are matched to their developing needs. The teachers draw upon observations and continuous assessment to ensure children are stretched and challenged and to identify children who may need additional support. Children work through the different phases, learning and developing their phonics sounds and knowledge.
Teachers have their PPA, to plan their reading and phonics curriculum. As part of this planning process, teachers need to plan the following:
- A cycle of Guided Reading lessons, using a wide range of different texts;
- Inference and deduction questions based on the class text;
- Shared Reading activities, with a mixed set of questions, one from each content domain, as appropriate to the shared reading text;
- A list of unknown vocab which appears in the class text.
In addition to this, teachers must plan time for children to be use the Bug Club reading program. Once children have completed reading a Bug Club book, they must take an online quiz. When children have completed the quiz and scored well, they then move onto the next book.
Teachers must assess children regularly against the Benchmarking Levels (in Years F2-6) and against the Reading Early Learning Goal (in EYFS). These regular assessments inform planning and allow teachers to identify any gaps in learning.
Teachers also complete regular Read Write Inc. assessments and plot children onto a tracking grid, which ensures children are grouped appropriately in phonics.
Through the teaching of systematic phonics, our aim is for children to become fluent readers by the end of Key Stage One. This way, children can focus on developing their fluency and comprehension as they move through the school. Attainment in reading is measured using the statutory assessments at the end of Key Stage One and Two. These results are measured against the reading attainment of children nationally. Attainment in phonics is measured by the Phonics Screening Test at the end of Year 1. However, we firmly believe that reading is the key to all learning and so the impact of our reading curriculum goes beyond the results of the statutory assessments. We give all children the opportunity to enter the magical worlds that books open up to them. We promote reading for pleasure as part of our reading curriculum. Children are encouraged to develop their own love of genres and authors and to review their books objectively. This enhances a deep love of literature across a range of genres, cultures and styles.