At Waverley Abbey Junior School we recognise the central importance of English as a medium for thought, learning and expression across the curriculum and also as a subject in its own right. We believe that children need to develop their use of language in order to learn, and to play a full and active role as individuals within society. We see the need to acquire and develop language skills as a major part of the school curriculum. English is therefore given a high priority in the school and is taught daily in every class.
At Waverley Abbey Junior School we believe that English is:
- What children “do” with language whenever they speak, listen, read or write
- About grasping the code, learning to recognize and use the structures and patterns of spoken and written English, with increasing confidence and competence.
- About each child’s increasing awareness of what language is and how it works;
- Most importantly, about each child’s growing ability to construct and convey meaning in speech and writing & to read with fluency & understanding.
We make great efforts to recognise the essential link between Speaking and Listening, Reading and Writing in order to fully develop children’s literacy skills. We aim to ensure that all lessons are creatively led and that children have the opportunities to develop enthusiasm for texts. This enthusiasm is demonstrated in drama sessions, extended pieces of writing, performances and an obvious enjoyment in their work.
English is a multi-dimensional subject and at Waverley Abbey Junior School we provide a curriculum that successfully encompasses each individual’s needs. In all year groups we have an additional teacher who teaches English to a smaller group of children from each year following the same content and curriculum as the other classes.
We recognise that reading is a fundamental life skill. Children are positively encouraged to read on a daily basis in a variety of contexts. We wish every child to develop a love of reading and the ability to discuss and evaluate their understanding. We use exciting resources such as The Power of Reading to question and evoke high-order thinking using Blooms Taxonomy as a model.
Our Reading curriculum includes:
- Guided Reading either in small groups or as a whole class
- Hearing books read aloud on a regular basis – each class has a class book
- Home / school reading with children selecting their own choice of texts
- Colour book bands for children to build confidence and fluency
- Reading aloud to adults
- Visiting our school library and the chance to complete the Surrey County Council Summer reading challenge
- Taking part in reading challenges throughout the year
Our library is a very popular place within the school. There is great emphasis on the importance of reading for pleasure, as well as for study and the wide variety of books available to the children reflect that. We ensure that there is a good selection for every interest and ability by holding hugely popular book fairs during the year and other fundraising events, and keeping the stock up to date. Pupils are taught library skills, such as how to use the Dewey Decimal Number system to find non-fiction books and how to search for fiction, which is colour coded by genre.
In the lower school our ‘Reading Passport’ scheme introduces the children to different authors and subjects and encourages them to make varied choices. In the upper school the scheme is adapted so that while still receiving guidance, the children have a lot more freedom of choice, the emphasis being on reading for pleasure.
The computerised library management system allows the children to take greater responsibility for their books, carry out searches and write reviews. We can also monitor what the children are reading more closely.
At Waverley Abbey School, we hope to stimulate the children’s curiosity about the world about us and satisfy their enquiring minds by ensuring that our library is a bright and inviting place for them to come and discover the joy of reading.
Reading and high quality texts are a core part of our English lessons. Most of our writing tasks in school begin with whole class shared books. Children complete an extended piece of writing at the end of each taught unit. They are then required to edit their own work using a whole school editing model. The children are expected in all year groups to take responsibility for their own editing and this includes finding and correcting their own punctuation and spelling; using a thesaurus to improve vocabulary and word choices; and on many occasions – publishing a finished piece of work with presentation and handwriting skills as a focus.
We follow the objectives as set out in the National Curriculum for all aspects of English. Part of this is a large emphasis on grammatical knowledge and application. Grammar is taught weekly in classes and it is expected that this will be included in the children’s own writing.
Spelling is taught during the week in lessons and children are given tasks to encourage and enable them to commit these spellings to their long-term-memory. In addition to this, all children are expected to learn a list of spellings each week and are tested on them regularly.
All children are expected to write using a joined –up handwriting style. This must be legible and from year 5 onwards it is expected that the children will be writing in ink pen. Handwriting is taught to all year groups.