Dear Families & Visitors,
At Rothwell St Mary’s my simple aim for the last ten years has been to build a love of reading and writing in each and every child. I have been the English lead for the entirety of my time here at St. Mary’s and my vision is that children will leave St. Mary’s and move on to High School with the necessary reading and writing skills to achieve in every single area of the curriculum so that they can fulfil their potential and reach for their dream careers when they leave the Education System. We believe that the lessons learnt at St. Mary’s are those lessons for life and all elements of English underpin this.
Our key intentions for the Rothwell St. Mary’s Primary curriculum are that it is Spiritual, Sequential and Purposeful. This purposeful element means that it will appeal to all of the children in our school, combining areas of interest about our unique town of Rothwell and the amazing history, technology, geography and culture of West Yorkshire. With this in mind, please read our whole school English curriculum which combines these three key school philosophies and see how our children will build that love of English. RSM English whole school Writing (website)
Our whole school text is 2020/21 is The Boy, The Mole,The Fox & The Horse by Charlie Mackesy. One of the key reasons why we have chosen this text for this year is because of the key themes that Northern-writer Mackesy explores which include being kind, self-belief and the knowledge that challenging times – such as the current pandemic – will pass.
This begins with phonics in Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 where we follow the ‘Floppy Phonics’ scheme, supported by actions used in the ‘Jolly Phonics’ programme. Our phonics teaching is systematic and structured with built-in revision to ensure every child succeeds. We apply step-by-step phonics teaching using Biff, Chip and Kipper to engage your children. Our rigorous teaching sequence makes phonics teaching effective and simple and teaches children the sounds and tricky words needed to support them with their reading and writing. In this academic year we have had a big push with the way that we teach our phonics so that we have fidelity to our programme (Floppy Phonics) as well as ensuring all staff in Reception & KS1 are using the same effective model to plan and teach Phonics.
Useful phonics websites:
Jolly phonics sounds and actions:
Alpha blocks is a good series to watch to help with blending:
Articulation of phonemes:
Our big aim within writing at Rothwell St. Mary’s is to foster a deep love of writing that links to all areas of the curriculum and children’s wider lives so that they have the skill and ability to dream big! Children are encouraged to use and develop their knowledge of texts to write for a variety of purposes such as: explanations, instructions, reports, balanced arguments, stories and poems. In the Summer of 2020 Mrs Martin redrafted our Writing Curriculum so that every single area of writing was exciting, inspiring and purposeful. We made sure the writing lessons really matched our curriculum aim of being sequential which means that children’s writing abilities will be built on year-on-year so that by the time our writers get to Y6 they will be highly-accomplished and confident. You can see this plan here : RSM English whole school Writing (website)
From Reception, our children are taught letter formation using the Nelson handwriting scheme. As they progress through school, the children are encouraged to write in a neat, legible style using a cursive script. At Rothwell St Mary’s, we see the importance of integrating SpaG concepts into our daily English lessons, however SpaG is also taught in focused lessons; this ensures children are applying accurate spelling, grammar and punctuation in all written work. In this academic year we have had a big push on the drafting and editing process in KS2 which has resulted in some fantastic finished pieces of writing. Our main implementation focus for this year is to develop children’s ability to plan, draft, revise, edit and publish their writing, before evaluating the success of their written piece.
National Curriculum and Development Matters for English:
Reading improves concentration – Children have to sit still and quietly so they can focus on the story when they’re reading. Reading also relaxes the body and calms the mind whilst also exercising the connections in the brain. Reading teaches children about the world around them – through reading, they learn about people, places and events outside their own experience. Reading improves a child’s vocabulary, leads to more highly-developed language skills and improves the child’s ability to write well. Children learn new words as they read as well as seeing how to structure sentences and how to use language effectively. Reading develops a child’s imagination – when we read we translate the descriptions of people, places and things into pictures. Reading helps children develop empathy – when we’re engaged in a story, we imagine how the characters are feeling and use our own experiences to imagine how we would feel in the same situation. This year we have used research to find out what the best schools are doing for children in the Early years and this has been our big focus for reading which we have also used in Year One and Year Two. It is called ‘Diet of Five’ and the aim is that children are reading five times a day, be that with a partner, to an adult, independently, in the reading area, aloud or many of the other ways that we use this fantastic skill. Have a look at the three classes Diet Of Five Boards below and read on to see communication with Parents.
Excellent Websites For Reading:
Policy: English Policy 2019-20
Early Language & Language Intervention 2021
This year we have been very fortunate that the very talented Mrs Williams in Reception has undertaken the Nuffield Early Language Intervention training. The NELI (Nuffield Early Language Intervention) is a 20-week programme proven to help young children overcome language difficulties. It is designed for children aged 4-5 years and combines small group work with one-to-one sessions delivered by trained teaching assistants, targeting vocabulary, narrative skills, active listening and phonological awareness. Developed by a team led by Maggie Snowling and Charles Hulme, the intervention has been evaluated in robust trials funded by the Education Endowment Foundation and the Nuffield Foundation. These have found it to be effective for improving children’s oral language skills as well as promoting longer-term progress in reading comprehension. We have a small group of children from Reception who are making fantastic progress with this and we, as a staff, have learned a great deal from the research as well!
Find out more here: https://www.elklan.co.uk/neli/about-neli