English in Early Years Foundation Stage
In Early Years, the curriculum is guided by the ‘Prime and Specific Areas of Learning’ covering Communication and Language and Literacy. The Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage is followed to ensure continuity and progression from the Foundation Stage through the next stage of education where a bespoke English curriculum (based on the National Curriculum) is followed from Year 1.
In the Early Years Foundation Stage; Communication and Language and Literacy is taught within the seven areas of learning inter-connecting to children’s physical, emotional and social development. We know that children learn best when activities engage many senses and when they are happy and confident. At Abingdon, a love of books, stories, rhymes, poems, songs, sounds and words starts straight away in our EYFS provision moving up through the whole school. Structured play activities provide valuable opportunities for children to:
- Engage in conversation with other children and adults
- Be exposed to a rich range of vocabulary and language structures
- Share music, songs, poetry, stories and non–fiction
- Experiment with writing for themselves through making marks, personal writing symbols and conventional script, transcription and composition
- Apply phonics knowledge and skills within all seven areas of learning
English in Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2
English is delivered using a personalised English Curriculum based on the National Curriculum.
English is based on books (Book as a Hook) to expose children to a wide range of texts, genres, authors and poets which link with our key school drivers and develop their cultural capital. The book itself, or themes from the book, are used to drive activities where objectives from the curriculum are met in composition, spelling, grammar and punctuation. ‘Books as Hooks’ captures the children’s imagination and encourages them to become fluent, thoughtful and creative writers. Each unit starts with a ‘hook’ and then the children journey through the book completing different genres of writing with specific audiences and purposes. We work on a 2 year cycle alongside the rest of our curriculum so that we can make links with the learning in other subjects and create an emmersive curriculum and to enable deeper learning and knowledge retention to happen.
Approaches to Writing
All children have the opportunity to take part in shared, guided and independent writing tasks during English sessions. Guided writing is teacher-led and is an essential component of a balanced writing curriculum providing an additional supported step towards independent writing. Guided writing is planned in regularly and is targeted towards groups of children according to their individual needs. It is used to support children during the different stages of the writing process.
In the Foundation Stage, children are encouraged to use emergent writing and phonics knowledge to write freely. The children see writing modelled by the teacher in shared writing sessions and phonics lessons. By the end of Reception, children should be confident with their phonetical knowledge and apply this to spell simple words and write simple sentences which can be read by others.
Within Key Stage 1 and 2, children are taught to write in a variety of genres, for a variety of audiences.
Punctuation, grammar and spelling are taught discretely within English lessons and link to the text being studied at the time. Additional grammar and punctuation sessions are planned in each week to reinforce learning and address any misconceptions.
The Martin Harvey Handwriting Scheme is used across school. Handwriting is taught regularly within focussed handwriting lessons and across the curriculum. Children in Reception and KS1 are taught to use a printed handwriting font, which correlates with and supports their phonics graphemes. In KS2, children are taught a cursive handwriting font.
Spelling strategies are taught across school focussing on a weekly spelling pattern. These sessions are followed by a spelling test at the end of the week. The National Curriculum and Purple Mash Spelling as used as a resource for this.