We believe that a quality English curriculum should develop children’s love of reading, writing and discussion. We use the materials provided by Herts for Learning to support us with our planning which ensures our English curriculum provides many purposeful opportunities for reading, writing and discussion. Our curriculum, supported by the materials from Herts for Learning, align with the National Curriculum for English 2014.
We aim to provide children with a literacy-rich environment, high quality texts and inspiring learning opportunities such as WOW days, which will help them to:
● read easily, fluently and with good understanding
● develop the habit of reading widely and often, for both pleasure and information
● acquire a wide vocabulary, an understanding of grammar and knowledge of linguistic conventions for reading, writing and spoken language
● appreciate our rich and varied literary heritage
● write clearly, accurately and coherently, adapting their language and style in and for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences
● use discussion in order to learn; they should be able to elaborate and explain clearly their understanding and ideas
● be competent in the arts of speaking and listening, making formal presentations, demonstrating to others and participating in debate.
Each class from Year 2 upwards visit our main school library each week where they are able to choose a non fiction book. These books have recently been updated to ensure that they reflect the world we live in. Children are supported to choose books linked to all areas of the curriculum through the organisation of the books into genres. Each classroom has its own reading area and children in all classes are able to choose reading books from within their classroom.
Children read books from our book banded reading scheme until they become a free reader. When they become a free reader, they are able to choose freely from the fiction library. Further information about how reading is taught is detailed below.
We use the Herts for Learning units which are sequenced so that children are taught the reading and writing skills linked to fiction, non-fiction and poetry, in line with the 2014 National Curriculum. We teach handwriting using Letterjoin materials which we have whole school access to. In addition parents and carers have access to Letterjoin to support further learning at home. We teach Spellings using Twinkl spelling materials, with interventions for children who are not able to access the age related spellings. These are tested on a regular basis but we maintain a focus on application in written work as well as performance in spelling tests.
Teachers use real life experiences or rich texts to inspire pupils. We promote reading widely and often as we know that those children who read a wide variety of high quality texts are much better placed to write in an engaging and exciting way. As with other areas of the curriculum, we have regular WOW days linked to our English teaching. These have included days linked to Traction Man and Fairy Tales. Recently we have taken part in the Young Writers writing competitions "My First Story" and "Wander in the Woods". All children who took part received a certificate in assembly, with a child in Year 2 being an overall winner at national level.
Children are given lots of opportunities to talk, ask and answer questions and present to an audience. This includes presentations as part of project work and also productions where children are able to perform to a live audience. The school follow Hertfordshire guidelines for the teaching of speaking and listening. We use the WellComm speech and language toolkit for both screening and intervention in speech and language skills as we know that an unaddressed delay in language skills can lead to underperformance throughout primary school and beyond.
We use tight Learning Objectives and Success Criteria to support children when we are writing so that they are able to self access against the learning objectives and ensure that they develop a sound command of the components of each genre of writing.
Through the use of the materials from Herts for Learning, there is a clear pathway of progression. We use phonic, reading and spelling trackers to monitor progress. We also moderate writing using age related expectations each term both within our school and through local authority and teaching school moderation events.
When children start in Nursery, we begin our phonics teaching using Phase 1 of Letters and Sounds. This is the building blocks of learning to read where children learn to hear and identify sounds around them, before moving on to hearing sounds within words. Our EYFS team support families to develop early reading skills. As children move into Reception, we move into Phase 2 of Letters and Sounds. We teach phonics using Monster Phonics, which was new to our school in September 2021. We continue to move through the phases using Monster Phonics until the end of Year 2. For children who require further phonic support in Key Stage 2 and beyond we run phonic interventions. We track progress in phonics using a phonics tracker which enables us to ensure that children are acquiring the skills and ability to use phonics to read.
Every child from Reception to Year 2, and those children in Key Stage Two who require them, are given a phonetically decodable reading book alongside their book banded reading book. These reading books are aligned to the phonics that children know and can read using their phonics. Children are heard to read regularly in school and books are changed when they have been read and practised at home.
We involve parents and carers in the process of supporting children to learn to read. We ask parents to read with their child at least 5 times each week and we contact parents where home reading is an issue to provide support.
We place a high priority on reading and enjoyment of reading, this has been one of our whole school focuses. Over the last few years we have taken part in several whole school projects linked to a love of reading. This has included a project where every member of the school staff was given a book from the top 100 books to read and review. In addition children were invited to read these books and review them; they received a certificate which was awarded in assembly.
From the start of their time at Trotts Hill, children are exposed to high quality texts read to them by teachers and teaching assistants. We have recently invested in new books to enhance library areas. We have a main fiction and a non fiction library and our non fiction books are aligned to all areas of the curriculum.
We believe it is vital that texts are relevant to children and their lives. We recently launched a library wishlist to our school community where we invited people to buy a new book for our school library. These books were selected using the Book Trust website and feature themes relevant to our school community and the world that our children are living in. We know it is important that children are provided with engaging, inspiring texts to foster a love of reading.
As a school we always celebrate World Book Day and as part of our celebrations, we invite parents and carers into school to read with their children or with small groups of children. We also encourage the whole school community to dress as a book character, and we are always amazed by the range of characters we see. This is a highlight of our school calendar and not just for the children!
Our well planned and sequenced English curriculum has resulted in a school community who value and promote reading and writing. Our pupil group of Reading Champions, promote reading across the school which is enhanced by a range of WOW days and immersive experiences. Children are given a wealth of opportunities to write for a purpose in all aspects of the curriculum as well as in their English lessons.
Children in our school achieve highly in the Phonics Screening check and in the KS1 and KS2 assessments. Our last published results in 2019 before the COVID pandemic showed high attainment in all areas.
94% of pupils achieved the expected standard in the Year 1 phonics screening check which was well above the most recent national average. 100% of disadvantaged pupils met the standard in 2019.
At Key Stage One, 80% of pupils met the expected standard or above in Reading, with 27% working at greater depth. In Writing, 73% met the expected standard or above, with 17% working at greater depth. Progress was strong in all areas, with 90% of pupils making at least expected progress in Writing and 93% in Reading. 20% of pupils made accelerated progress in reading and 17% in Writing when measured from their end of EYFS baselines in 2017.
At Key Stage Two, progress in Reading (5.7) was significantly above the national average and in the highest 20% of all schools. Reading progress improved between 2018 and 2019. Attainment at the expected standard in Reading (87%) was significantly above the national average and in the highest 20% of all schools. Attainment at the high standard in Reading (47%) was significantly above the national average and in the highest 20% of all schools. The average reading score was 109, the three-year average reading attainment score (107.2) and in the highest 20%. Progress in Writing (4.3) was significantly above the national average and in the highest 20% of all schools in both 2019 and 2019. Attainment at the expected standard in writing (93%) was significantly above the national average and in the highest 20% of all schools. Attainment at greater depth in writing (37%) was significantly above the national average and in the highest 20% of all schools.
In September 2021, Mrs. Magdeburg and the Reading Champions launched an Amazon wishlist which we shared with our school community. This wishlist contained books from a range of authors based on the suggested reading lists from The Book Trust. These books have been chosen for a variety of reasons including that they feature a range of family types, families from a range of ethnic backgrounds, children who have experienced adversity and much more.
At the time of writing we have received 45 books from our list which is overwhelming. We hope that members of our school community will continue to purchase books for us and here is the link if you need it! https://amzn.eu/8xehmD0
In school we have Reading Champions who are representatives of the classes from Years 1-6. These children are currently leading on a project called "What do books mean to you?" Here they are with some of our new reading books, donated by members of our school community.
This term, we have invested in our non fiction library books. In consultation with the children we chose to buy a range of books covering all areas of the curriculum as well as Black History. All children from Year 2 upwards will get to choose a book from our newly enhanced non fiction library.
During Lockdown 3, Mrs. Magdeburg launched a whole school project called Stop Everything and Read (SEAR) for children in Years 1-6. Children were asked to read at home 25 times with an adult and complete a reading log. Once they had read 25 times, they received a book and a certificate. Many children completed these reading logs on TEAMS which meant that Mrs. Magdeburg was able to comment on the reading logs as they were completed even if the children were at home due to lockdown.
During Lockdown 3 we provided access for Reception to Year 2 children to Reading Eggs which is an online reading resource. This was to support children at the earlier stages of reading whilst the children needed to be at home due to lockdown. We also promoted Oxford Owl and the Oak National Academy reading resources to all families which provided access to reading materials.