At Seven Sisters Primary School, we have crafted an English curriculum that not only fosters a deep passion for reading, writing, and discussion but also equips our students with the skills they need to thrive as accomplished individuals and contribute positively to society. We teach our children to understand concepts, develop curiosity and become independent learners through English. Through high quality English teaching, children will speak, read and write fluently.
Our learning is based on a cross curricular approach so that children can deepen their understanding and link their learning across all subjects. We believe that children need to develop a secure knowledge based on understanding in English, which follows a clear pathway of progression as they move through our primary curriculum.
Our carefully planned curriculum offers a wide range of text types, ensuring a comprehensive and well-rounded experience for our children. The curriculum is built on the foundation of inclusivity, embracing diversity and ensuring that every student has equal opportunities to succeed and thrive. We believe that by providing a curriculum that is accessible to all, we empower our students to build upon their unique experiences and ultimately achieve their personal goals.
We use high quality, age-appropriate texts to engage pupils with a cross-curricular approach using Talk for Writing. Texts are chosen to link with the themes pupils are learning about and these are used as a ‘hook’ to inspire pupils to read and write further. Our English curriculum aims to provide purposeful opportunities for reading and writing. We want all of our pupils to be proficient readers, writers and speakers, who can transfer their English skills to the wider curriculum subjects.
Our English lessons develop pupils’ spoken language, reading, writing, grammar, vocabulary and handwriting, teaching them how to write within specific text types and which structural and language features to include to be successful. Example texts are used to start this process to enable pupils to use other similar writing as models for their own. Lessons focus on teaching specific spelling, grammar and punctuation skills to enable our pupils to apply the skills they have been taught to their extended writing and writing across the wider curriculum. There is a strong drive to speak in full sentences at our school and thus, we teach our pupils to speak clearly, to convey their ideas fluently and confidently, and to ask questions.
Our pupils develop their early reading skills through the use of ‘All aboard Phonics’ – a Letters and Sounds daily phonics programme from the very beginning of Reception to Year 2. Phonics is taught daily with 20 minute sessions. Phonological awareness helps the development of reading by blending and segmenting sounds. Pupils are heard reading regularly, either on a one-one basis, group or whole class setting. From Year 2, children are expected to read fluently (with fluency increasing with age) and be able to understand and respond to questions from the text they have read.
Year 2 and Key Stage 2 are allocated a daily dedicated half-hour time slot that focuses on the development of essential reading skills. This time is specifically designed to address a wide range of reading abilities beyond word reading and decoding. It encompasses crucial skills including comprehension, summarising and inferencing. By incorporating these comprehensive reading skills, we aim to foster a well-rounded education that encompasses the various aspects of effective reading.
Pupils have designated time to read for pleasure which is further complemented with teacher read aloud stories at the end of the school day. Classes are provided with a list of age-appropriate books which the teacher reads to the class to end the day. Our school is also equipped with reading nooks for children to access throughout the day- to further develop their love of reading.
Reading continues at home with the ‘All Aboard Phonics’ app in early Years and KS1. In KS2 pupils take home reading books closely matched to their ability and age (unless they are confident readers in which case they are free to choose their home reading books). Parents read and listen to their children and comment in the pupils reading record to ensure reading skills are continuously developed and the love of reading is fostered in the home too.
All our pupils from Reception to Year 6 are provided with many opportunities to develop and apply their writing skills across the curriculum. Through shared and guided writing opportunities, we equip children to develop the skills of writing clearly and legibly.
In Key Stage 1 and 2 pupils follow the National Curriculum through a cross–curricular knowledge based curriculum using Talk for Writing. Pupils are given opportunities to write various texts, growing in fluency year on year. Some writing units are linked to the wider curriculum that is being currently taught, though at times, it may be linked to learning that has been previously taught to enhance the progress of previous learning and deeper understanding. (Please see English overview).
Grammar is taught alongside the writing unit, clearly linking it to specific text types being taught and where required as a stand alone lesson. As children revisit these text types, their understanding and ability to use these GPS rules becomes embedded. Every pupil develops a progressive understanding of grammatical conventions, the way in which punctuation aids understanding and how to apply spelling rules.
Handwriting is taught with a sequential and progressive approach with teachers and additional adults modelling the handwriting style. We believe that children’s self-esteem and pride in their work can be raised by good quality presentation. Handwriting sessions are taught discretely in Reception and regularly incorporated into the English lessons in KS1 and KS2.
We strive for our children to correctly form their letters, joining in a cursive style, with pupils having good handwriting habits so that they can write fluently and legibly by the end of KS2. Children start by learning how to form their letters in the Early Years. Then pupils are introduced to cursive style writing from Year 1 onwards.
During lessons, we ensure that our pupils sit, position their paper/book and hold their pen/pencil correctly, using their other hand to hold their work firmly. It is important that in the Early Years and at Key Stage 1, children are observed closely during the lesson to ensure that letter formation is correct and corrected if needed. In addition to specific handwriting lessons, children are expected to apply their learning in their exercise books and to show care in the presentation of their work in all subject areas.
When pupils leave Seven Sisters Primary School we expect them to have made progress, sustained their learning and gained transferable skills. With the implementation of a clear learning journey throughout the school children will be confident writers and be able to write for specific purposes. Pupils will have experienced writing numerous text types and write with creativity, using a range of literary techniques and be able to manipulate grammar and punctuation to suit writing text type.
Before leaving primary school, pupils will have exposure to high quality, age related text/ novels. This will make them inquisitive and independent, and able to further develop their reading skills and continue developing their love of reading.
As pupils leave our school to further their learning, we hope that their creativity in and knowledge of English, and their high aspirations, stay with them.
Below are spelling lists for children to learn. You can also download copies.