at Sawley Junior School
What do we want SJS children to learn?
We support all of our pupils to be capable readers, writers, spellers and speakers, who can transfer their English skills to other subjects and who are prepared for the next steps in their learning. We nurture them as eloquent and articulate speakers and writers, who use a wide and purposeful vocabulary. We encourage them as readers, who select texts for purpose and pleasure. Books and reading are at the heart of everything we do. Reading materials are built upon quality picture books, stimulating novels and non-fiction texts. These support children on the journey from reading to writing.
It is important to us that the children are clear about their individual targets so each year group has specific skills they work on which are found in the front page of their Learning Challenge books. We have ensured these are progressive and build upon the previous year. Skills progression is further supported by success criteria (steps to success) which provides appropriate challenge for all learners. The English genres covered throughout the year groups is planned to embed knowledge through repetition and progression of skills which is further supported by application across the wider curriculum. Non-negotiable targets have been identified in each year group and pupils are expected to apply these skills across the wide curriculum.
Children are given opportunities to aspire to greater things such as writing competitions and author visits and their achievements are celebrated within class, class assemblies and golden book assemblies. These achievements are shared with parents via ClassDojo.
Our Sawley learners thrive through the immersive deep dive into our Learning Challenges; gaining confidence in the application of writing skills and thus producing quality published writes. All groups of pupils are supported to achieve through the use of timely assessment analysis and targeted intervention teaching.
It is important to us that our English curriculum contributes to the development of cultural capital for pupils by promoting and challenging pupil aspirations to succeed, providing quality literature to inspire a wide and varied vocabulary and ensuring involvement in activities such as competitions, author visits, performance, educational visits, experiences, WOW days.
At Sawley Junior School, all pupils are given the opportunity to be fluent, confident readers, who are able to successfully comprehend a wide range of texts.
Pupils will develop a love for reading, a good knowledge of a range of authors, and be able to understand more about the world in which they live through the knowledge they gain from texts.
We encourage them as readers, who select texts for purpose and pleasure. Books and reading are at the heart of everything we do. Reading materials are built upon quality picture books, stimulating novels and non-fiction texts.
Children will be given opportunities to access high quality literature through weekly comprehension and guided reading sessions. Accelerated Reader is used to promote reading for pleasure and encourages children to read books within their level that won’t cause them frustration or loss of motivation.
How do we achieve our Intent?
We support every member of teaching staff to be able to choose the best teaching techniques for the individual child so each child in our care will thrive. We do this by providing regular training in the form of staff meetings, teacher observations, book looks and drop in sessions along with a plethora of resources provided on our staff server. Our aim is to allow all staff to feel confident and supported to teach the English curriculum to continue the high standards we have across the school. Our teachers and teaching assistants have attended a number of staff meetings to ensure consistency in subject knowledge.
We have launched Accelerated Reader across the school as a way to track progress in Reading. All staff have been trained to analyse data within this system to ensure all readers are receiving the interventions and challenges necessary to be the best that they can be.
We have provided additional cursive handwriting training (as this is an area for improvement across the school) so that all staff are modelling and working towards the same handwriting goals. All handwriting modelled across the school is now expected to be cursive to ensure children know what they are working towards.
SPaG workshops have been provided for all members of teaching staff. These have provided subject knowledge boosters and have introduced a SPaG ‘Fastest 5’ to be completed at the beginning of every English lesson. These aim to embed SPaG knowledge previously taught and ensure knowledge remains fresh in the children’s mind and in their independent work.
Pupil understanding is regularly monitored through the use of our English targets which can be found at the front of every child’s Learning Challenge book. These targets are shared with the children so that they too know their areas of strength and development. We further this through our year group non-negotiable targets which are shared with the children. These are used in every lesson across the curriculum to remind children of the basic skills they should be using in every piece of work they produce. Steps to success are shared by staff each lesson so children are always aware of how to better their independent skills.
Children are made aware of misconceptions and given feedback in a number of ways including verbal and written feedback, targeted intervention work and through the highlighting of their English targets. Our mark schemes are clearly displayed in every classroom so that children can independently decode the feedback they have been given and respond to it. Children are given reflective opportunities to read through and independently improve their work every lesson using their purple pens. We include extra challenge work for our greater depth students to ensure they are being stretched and challenged each lesson.
Our English curriculum has evolved recently to link their English learning with the wider curriculum where possible. This gives the children the opportunity to deep dive into their topics to strengthen their subject knowledge. This makes their writing a lot more engaging as they are embedding the basic subject knowledge throughout their topic lessons so their targeted English lessons can focus on key skills without losing out on gripping content. Our planning style means children begin by learning the key skills, before planning and applying them using teacher support. Finally, children write their own independent piece to display the skills taught.
We are constantly revisiting SPaG skills in our daily fastest 5 sessions and through our steps to success which are shared within the lesson and our long term plan is used to revisit writing genres multiple times throughout year to embed the key skills so that they are retained long term.
Our pupil interviews have shown that the children in our school are extremely positive about the level of support and challenge they receive from the teaching staff. Children were all confident in explaining their strengths and areas of development using their English targets. Children were all extremely positive about Accelerated Reader and enjoyed completing the quizzes and seeing how well they understood the content of the books. Book scrutiny opportunities have shown a clear learning journey and the development of skills being taught and then used independently. Books showed that support has been put in place for learners who need it and that English targets have been clearly highlighted to show whether children have achieved/mastered certain objectives.
Staff use a range of resources/support materials to support sequencing and building of skills. Our non-negotiable target slips are tailored to each year group to ensure skills are built upon and our steps to success help to sequence ideas clearly within independent work. We have a number of prompt sheets, coloured overlays and pencil grips for learners who need extra support and we use a number of schemed resources which are shared across the school which build upon skills throughout year groups.
Comprehension is taught weekly, and children are encouraged to self/peer mark so feedback can be given straight away. Teachers can check over work later and give feedback, if required. Reading SMB skills maps are followed for LKS2 and UKS2 so that a progression of skills are taught in each year group. Weekly comprehension lessons focus on teaching and improving reading skills (inference, predicting, explaining, vocabulary check).
Reciprocal Reading is used daily in guided reading groups. Children have opportunities to experience a variety of text types and take on roles to explore and find meanings in texts. This emphasises teamwork and supports independent comprehension skills.
Reading is encouraged through classroom/school displays, author weeks and reading challenges through Accelerated Reader. STAR reading tests (AR) are completed termly to provide children with a reading age and ZPD level, so that they can choose appropriate books to read. Termly Reading assessments (NFER) are also completed to provide age related scores. Accelerated Reader is used throughout the school to encourage reading and track progress. Children enjoy quizzing and achieving progress towards their targets. Rewards and competitions are used between classes each week to further encourage reading. All staff have been trained to analyse data within this system to ensure all readers are receiving the interventions and challenges necessary to be the best that they can be.
Weekly Year group challenges are used to encourage healthy competition between the classes. The focus is on average percentage score achieved on their quizzes over the week and therefore all ability children are able to help their class win. We have our Sawley Millionaire’s Club, which praises children who have read one million words since the beginning of the academic year.
Children have taken part in a choral speaking event. They have read, learnt and performed a poem to the school, which gave them an opportunity to explore language and effect. During our whole school Book Week, staff took part in our ‘Masked Reader’ challenge, exposing children to a variety of different texts which they could explore.
Termly Reading assemblies are provided by the Reading Leader, which focus on areas like book recommendations and encouraging reading for pleasure.
Year 3 children are identified and targeted with daily RML intervention sessions and whole class phonics sessions. IDL programme is used with identified children in the school to support and improve reading and spelling.
Reading interventions are put in place within each year group – children identified using termly assessments, detailed STAR reader tests and day to day assessments.