Umberleigh Academy Vision for English
"The limits of my language are the limits of my universe" Goethe
"Writing permits me to be more than I am. Writing permits me to experience life as any number of strange creations" Alice Walker
At Umberleigh Academy, we are continually striving to create ways which foster a lifelong love of reading, and all things related to language, for all of our pupils. Exposing our children to a range of good quality literature from across all curriculum areas supports pupils to develop their interests, understanding and aspirations. We aim for pupils to leave our school having experienced a range of writing in different genres, and able to be effective communicators through both the written and spoken word.
It is our intention that by the end of their primary education, all pupils are able to read and speak fluently and with confidence, in any subject, preparing them in the best way possible for their forthcoming secondary education. We encourage all pupils to read widely across both fiction and non-fiction to develop knowledge of themselves and the world in which they live; to establish an appreciation and love of reading; to gain knowledge across the curriculum; and develop their comprehension skills.
We aim to produce confident writers who are literate and articulate. We want our children to see themselves as writers and to be able to write for a range of different purposes. We aim to increase pupil’s ability to accurately and fluently record their ideas, developing their understanding of audience and purpose and their ability to choose vocabulary and grammar appropriate to these. We aim for our pupils to become increasing accurate in their ability to spell unfamiliar words and to be able to proof read their own work to check and change errors. We place a high importance on children’s ability to evaluate the effectiveness of their own writing, and to act on this to self-edit and improve their own work.
Speaking and Listening
Early Reading, Phonics and decoding: We follow the Read, Write, Inc programme throughout EYFS and Year 1 to ensure that we deliver high quality systematic synthetic phonics instruction. Throughout EYFS and Year 1, we also largely use the RWI writing programme to support the teaching of writing, providing a consistent and structured approach to early writing which is matched to children’s developing phonic ability.
Continuing Phonics principles: From Year 2 onwards, decoding is embedded in classroom practice through reading sessions and Decision Spelling, where staff systematically teach learners the relationship between sounds and the written spelling patterns, or graphemes, which represent them.
Reading at ‘just the right level’: Children’s reading books are closely matched to their developing phonic knowledge through the use of RWI books and other phonetically decodable texts throughout EYFS and Year 1. Once children are confidently reading, they move on to the Accelerated Reader programme. The school ensures all texts are accurately matched to pupil ability, as all books within AR are graded to ensure progression and challenge for all children.
Access to reading material: Class texts are carefully selected by teachers with the knowledge of how they link to other areas of the curriculum. All classrooms have their own class reading areas with topic themed books, as well as our well-loved school library. As well as reading books to develop their phonic knowledge or reading skill, children across the school are also encouraged to take home books to share for pleasure.
Comprehension strategies: Children are taught comprehension strategies through the RWI programme in EYFS and Year 1. From Year 2 onwards, all children take part in at least one hour of Whole Class Reading per week. These sessions focus on developing fluency and expression, vocabulary, inference, prediction, explaining author intent, retrieval, sequencing and summarising. Progression is established through the use of sequential learning steps. Teachers read with pupils very regularly in preparation for these reading lessons.
Meaningful writing opportunities: Experiences are always sought to ensure that children become writers with a reader in mind and also read as a writer. It is the intent of sharing powerful reading that drives standards in writing.
Grammar and Spelling: Our grammar teaching is linked directly to each writing outcome, ensuring our pupils understand the relevance of the skills being taught. We use the Decision Spelling programme to teach spelling from Year 2 onwards, through 20 minute sessions 4 or 5 times per week.
Cross-Curricular Approach: From Year 2, we have devised a cross-curricular approach which directly links our teaching of writing with the topic being taught in each class. Each term, high quality texts are used which are thematically linked to our topic and which will challenge and inspire our pupils, enriching our teaching and learning by providing writing opportunities which are meaningful and memorable and allow for creativity.
Four Purposes: We have a programme of learning which focuses on the four purposes of writing: to entertain, to inform, to persuade and to discuss. This is supported by the use of ‘the rectangles’ to create success criteria for each teaching sequence. Literacy is taught every day. Each teaching sequence follows the structure of Engage, Develop, Innovate, Express, following our wider approach to learning across the Curriculum. This approach is not prescriptive but is intended to be a guide; each teacher is able to adapt this to the needs of their children and the approach most suited to each unit of work. However, the basic approach of Cold Write, direct teaching and Hot Write/publication is followed. It is expected that children will produce two or three final outcomes each half term.
Independent Writing: We provide opportunities for extended and independent writing across the curriculum, allowing children to build stamina for writing at length. Children are taught how to proof-read and edit their own work, and given the opportunity to revisit and improve upon their writing.
Intervention: Any children not making the expected progress have 1:1 or small group intervention using bespoke packages which support their acquisition of sight vocabulary, spelling or reading fluency. The lowest 20% of children receive daily reading opportunities.
Pupils enjoy reading regularly, for information and for enjoyment. Pupils are able to discuss books with excitement. Pupils know the value in reading. The impact of reading teaching is monitored closely through a range of strategies including: AR STAR quizzes and termly summative tests. Impact is measured in terms of SATs results, as well as through internal moderation and pupil progress meetings.
Pupils are increasing able to write at length and are familiar with the features of different genres. They enjoy writing and are aware of the ways they can use words to create different responses in their readers. Pupils are able to proof-read and make suggestions for improving their work. Pupils enjoy learning about words and are increasing their knowledge of a wider range of words through their understanding of etymology and morphology. Impact is measured in terms of SATs results, as well as through internal moderation and pupil progress meetings.