English

English is a fundamental life skill and central to living and learning. Good English skills are a gateway for developing the experience and skills for cultural, emotional, intellectual, social and spiritual development. Language skills are essential to participate fully as a member of society.

Through teaching and learning in English pupils develop their ability to listen, speak, read and write for a wide range of purposes. Each teacher actively promotes and supports the development of these core skills in a variety of meaningful contexts across all curricular areas. Pupils are enabled, to express themselves creatively and imaginatively as they become enthusiastic and critical readers of fiction and non-fiction from a variety of genres.

Our English curriculum is broad, balanced and meets the needs of all pupils, whatever their ability. We focus on the individual learning needs of every pupil so that each child can reach their full potential. We plan for each individual and ensure our teaching enables each pupil to achieve their very best.

All pupils develop their skills, knowledge and understanding, through carefully planned progression throughout their school career; by presenting increasing challenge as they progress.

Pupils use reading, writing and language skills with confidence across all subjects, in line with their personal development profiles.

The aims of the English curriculum are to provide all pupils with the opportunity to:
  • develop an enjoyment of learning through practical activity, exploration and discussion.
  • develop confidence and competence in speaking and listening, reading and writing.
  • develop the ability to communicate effectively in a variety of forms.
  • develop communication skills through speaking and listening in a range of contexts.
  • develop the range of skills required in reading so that pupils read for meaning, understanding and enjoyment.
  • develop their writing skills across the whole curriculum.
  • be effective, competent communicators and good listeners.
  • express opinions, articulate feelings and formulate responses to a range of texts, both fiction and non-fiction, using appropriate technical vocabulary.
  • foster an interest in words and their meanings, and develop a growing vocabulary in both spoken and written
  • enjoy, engage with and understand a range of text types and genres.
  • be able to write for different purposes and in different styles, showing awareness of
  • develop imagination, creativity, inventiveness and critical awareness in all aspects of literacy.
  • use grammar and punctuation accurately.
  • understand spelling conventions;
  • produce effective, well-presented written work.

Coverage

Pupils’ learning is enriched by experiencing and understanding a variety of different genres of fiction and non-fiction; where appropriate pupils write for specific purposes linked to topic themes. Experience and understanding of a genre is achieved through reading, speaking and listening activities as well as through writing. By focusing on a wide variety of texts, we ensure that our pupils gain a breadth of writing experience. Teachers plan personalised provision using different text types to support pupil’s writing development.

English teaching is mapped in half-termly blocks to ensure variety and breadth of experience each key stage. In line with our whole school curriculum policy, this ensures that different types of text are revisited regularly to consolidate learning.

The focus of each key stage can be seen in the table below:

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Reading

Our aim is for each pupil to find pleasure and achievement in reading. For each pupil to enjoy regular planned story times, giving them the opportunity to retell, predict and sequence elements of stories.

Considerable emphasis is placed on enabling each pupil to develop a variety of reading strategies to support them in becoming a competent and confident, independent reader. To ensure this approach is successful, each pupils’ reading strategies are carefully assessed when they start at Hedgewood. Their progress is monitored carefully, noting how well the child understands what is read, and any observed strategies employed and areas of specific difficulty.

We have a wide range of texts to support pupils’ development in both word reading and comprehension. Pupils progress through the ‘stages’ of reading, by reading both ‘scheme’ books (we predominantly use Oxford Reading Tree) as well as ‘real’ books, banded into reading stages to support pupils’ independent choice of book.

Phonics

We use synthetic phonics, an inclusive approach for pupils with additional needs that focuses on developing phonological awareness and language development. Teaching incorporates practical strategies and extension activities to support literacy development for learners of all ages.

We use the GAP house phonological awareness program and rigorous record keeping, to support teachers and practitioners when making judgements about individual pupil’s progress, through the phases of phonic acquisition.

We want all our pupils to enjoy and achieve as they develop their phonic knowledge. In order to read, pupils must develop phonological awareness (their ability to identify and manipulate individual sounds and sequences within words).

We adapt our teaching approaches to meet pupils’ needs and interests. We draw on ideas and resources from the following: ‘Letters and Sounds’, ‘Jolly Phonics’, ‘Letter land’ and ‘Rhyme world’. Some of our pupil’s are working towards Phase 1 phonics and are focused on developing their awareness of phrase and word boundaries and good speech discrimination.

Writing

For many of our pupils, the physical task of writing is challenging due to their fine motor difficulties. We work closely with our occupational therapists and other professional colleagues, such as physiotherapists, to develop focused programmes for individual pupils.

To support our pupils, much use is made of adults acting as scribes for individuals or a small group, in order to reduce strain, encourage good language structures and vocabulary, and to allow pupils to develop and express ideas without being fettered by their handwriting problems.

We use a range of technology to assist our pupils to write extended pieces of writing, including lap tops, thinkpads, ipads, tablets, switches, and intellikeys.

For some of our pre-verbal and non-verbal pupils the challenge may come in conveying verbally what they wish to write. To support them in this staff are trained in utilizing symbol systems which help pupils to construct their own sentences. We also use specialist computer programs and applications to assist in the production of extended writing, including Clicker 6 and Prologquo2go.