At Ark Conway, we aim for all our pupils to leave us as fluent speakers, readers and writers, so that they have the literacy, speaking and listening skills needed to play an active role in society and be successful at secondary school and throughout their lives.
By the end of their time in Year 6, pupils leave us able to read at a level above that expected for their chronological age, as the focus on reading to access all the curriculum grows. We want our pupils to feel excited about the texts they read, and be able to talk passionately about the authors, characters and events they have come across. In addition to reading to access the curriculum, we understand that reading can enhance pupils’ emotional intelligence and develop their creativity.
We also want our pupils to leave as excellent writers, in terms of their accuracy and grammatical knowledge, but also in thinking about the purpose and audience of the pieces they write, making discerning choices about the techniques and language they use.
Through a highly-structured, innovative writing curriculum, pupils learn to use their knowledge from across the curriculum to communicate their thoughts and ideas effectively.
Teachers explicitly teach new vocabulary that arises from the texts they read, both in English and from across the curriculum, and their experiences in the wider world. This will ensure pupils leave their primary schooling with a wide and varied vocabulary to draw upon throughout their secondary school careers and lives beyond.
Throughout the school, staff members celebrate reading and act as ‘role model readers’, instilling enthusiasm and excitement for the multitude of reading that takes place every day. Through shared reading time every day, pupils learn to enjoy a story together, whilst benefitting from hearing a model of excellence daily.
In Key-Stage 1, phonics and decoding is prioritised alongside building pupils’ language comprehension skills, so that pupils enter Year 3 able to read fluently and with expression. They learn texts by heart, so that they can gain an understanding of new vocabulary and language structures. Pupils write for a range of purposes, thinking carefully about the choices they make to suit their given audience
In Key-Stage 2, pupils build on their work in Key Stage 1 by learning and experimenting with vocabulary, building expression and prosody (fluency), building retrieval and inference skills and using evidence to support their thoughts about a text.
In writing at KS2, ‘target texts’ are used as models of excellence for the text type pupils are writing. These range form ‘real-life’ texts, such as newspaper articles and web articles, to texts written by teachers to excellent previous pupil work. Pupils use these to provide context to the learning of the key features of each text type and to learn how each is structured. Once they are fully comfortable with the text type and its features, pupils move on to learn how to plan their writing effectively, before taking part in self and peer publishing.
We use a range of strategies to assess the knowledge, skills and understanding our pupils have gained through their work in English.
- Regular CPD and moderation of assessment sessions at a school, borough and network-wide level, to ensure all teachers are comfortable in making teacher assessed judgements that are consistent with national standards.
- Multiple forms of feedback, from both the teacher and peers.
- Regular ‘book looks’ and pupils voice assessments to ensure pupils can articulate what they have learned and how where they have made progress.
- National Group Reading Test (NGRT), ‘HeadStart’ and PM Benchmark assessments to support our teachers’ assessment of pupil progress.
- Half-termly phonics and informal reading assessments to ensure our children are provided with appropriate challenge and support.
- A range of reading intervention and opportunities to read for those at a level below their chronological age.
- Parent workshops to ensure children are supported with their development of reading at home.