English at Place Farm Primary Academy
At Place Farm Primary Academy, we firmly believe that the English curriculum is fundamental to the overall development of the child, their ability to access the wider curriculum, and to achieving future success.
We uphold that every child should:
- Have the opportunity and support to become fluent, confident and skilled communicators, irrespective of their starting point or personal context;
- Enjoy a curriculum that is rich, diverse, and deepens their understanding of the world and their role within it through exploring and discussing moral, ethical and social questions;
- Be challenged to deepen and apply their learning and knowledge throughout the curriculum, making important links between other curriculum areas;
- Experience an English curriculum that acts as both a mirror and window; challenging them to step beyond their own context and experience;
- Enjoy a curriculum that is unapologetically ambitious, cohesive and rich in knowledge and high-quality vocabulary;
- Develop conceptual fluency in Reading and Writing through a carefully designed curriculum, firmly rooted in the principles of cognitive neuroscience and best practice;
- Leave Primary being well-prepared for success at secondary level and beyond;
- Experience a curriculum that places emphasis on evidence-led research; cognitive load theory, principles of instruction, explicit vocabulary teaching, ensuring that generative learning tasks fit together securely in a curriculum structure to develop excellence
In EYFS we strive to improve the life chances of every child, whatever their background, skills or capabilities. We aim to ignite a love of learning and recognise that developing firm foundations in early literacy skills are key to a child’s future success.
Reading is at the heart of our curriculum in EYFS, and we strive to develop a love of reading from the very start. Throughout our curriculum, we aim to expose our pupils to a wide range of books that not only spark a love of reading, but are also carefully chosen to develop oracy, vocabulary and comprehension.
Our provision includes:
- Themed books - carefully chosen texts through which we explore other curriculum areas to enhance learning;
- A book of the week – carefully selected and a basis through which we explore vocabulary, role-play, reading and writing opportunities;
- A curiosity cube approach to develop enquiry skills in our pupils and encourage children to apply their oracy, reading and writing skills;
- A high-quality, fully enabling environment where pupils can practise and apply their skills throughout the day;
- Helicopter stories and Poetry Basket to develop our pupils’ ability to tell stories/poems orally, and develop their creativity;
- Brave Writing, where pupils are encouraged to apply new vocabulary;
- Daily dedicated Sounds-Write phonics sessions following the Sounds-Write teaching programme;
- Open-ended tasks and resources, accompanied by quality questioning that ensures learning is inclusive to all and challenges deeper thinking.
Please also see our Early Years page for further information.
At Place Farm Primary Academy, we strive to ensure that all children are supported to become fluent readers by the end of Key Stage One. We recognise that strong phonics teaching is fundamental to this journey.
As of September 2022, in line with the government’s validation guidance, the teaching of phonics at Place Farm Primary Academy will follow the teaching sequence set out in the Sounds-Write programme. This is a quality first phonics programme built upon strong evidence, reflecting our commitment to evidence-informed practice in our school. It offers high quality CPD to develop expert practitioners and an instructional method of teaching that is highly structured, multi-sensory, incremental and is a coordinated approach to teaching children to both read and spell.
In EYFS and Key Stage One, Sounds-Write sessions are taught daily for 30 minutes. Teachers teach children these key concepts and skills throughout their phonics sessions:
- Letters are symbols (spellings) that represent sounds.
- A sound may be spelled by 1, 2, 3, or 4 letters.
- The same sounds can be spelled in more than one way.
- Many spellings can represent more than one sound.
- Blending – the ability to push sounds together to build words.
- Segmenting – the ability to pull apart the individual sounds in words.
- Phoneme manipulation – the ability to insert sounds into and delete sounds out of words.
Children in EYFS begin with the Initial Code where they practice all three skills whilst learning the 1:1 sound-spelling correspondences and securing their understanding of key concept 1. This teaches children that the system is reversible, enabling them to decode and encode a wide range of words and sentences. Initially, children learn to read and write simple one syllable words with a CVC (Consonant-Vowel-Consonant) structure. Word structure complexity then systematically builds up so that children apply their code knowledge to monosyllabic words with up to 6 sounds.
Once they have mastered the Initial Code, children continue to practice all 3 key skills whilst moving onto the Extended Code, which explores key concepts 2, 3 and 4. During the Extended Code, children read and write monosyllabic and polysyllabic words at an age-appropriate level.
Key principles of the Sounds-Write programme:
- Sounds are presented in the context of a whole word, not in isolation. No previous knowledge of sounds is needed before starting the lessons.
- Teachers refer to sounds, not letter names.
- Precise pronunciation of consonants is always taught. Pupils should say the individual sounds separately and without an attached vowel e.g., /m/ is mmmmm, not ‘muh’.
- The teacher uses gestures to let pupils now exactly what they want the pupils to do (e.g., pointing to individual sounds or running finger along a word to encourage children to blend.).
- Writing and spelling is an integral part of each lesson.
- Teaching through errors is a very important part of the Sounds-Write approach. Staff are trained in the potential errors they could encounter and specific ways to address them.
If you would like any guidance on how to support your child at home with phonics, please contact Mrs Stewart (Phonics Lead).
English at Key Stage 1 and 2
At Place Farm Primary Academy our English curriculum follows the statutory requirements of the National Curriculum in England.
In Key Stage 1 and 2, we teach Reading and Writing using the Unity Schools Partnership Curriculum for Literacy (CUSP). Please see https://www.unitysp.co.uk/cusp/ for further information.
CUSP is a highly ambitious, carefully considered English curriculum that is firmly rooted in evidence-informed principles. It carefully maps out core content in Reading and Writing across the Primary years, ensuring that key learning is taught progressively, revisited, consolidated and embedded over time. Where appropriate, the Literacy curriculum links closely with the wider CUSP curriculum, ensuring that vital links are made between subjects; enhancing and deepening pupils’ learning experiences and improving conceptual fluency.
CUSP Reading is cohesive and well sequenced, rich in vocabulary and knowledge and encourages pupils to explore and respond to moral, ethical and social questions. It is designed to be highly aspirational and ambitious, supporting pupils to become confident and skilled readers, equipping them with the knowledge and skills required for future success.
Built upon the latest research around reading fluency, explicit vocabulary instruction, modelling and key comprehension strategies, it is a synthesis of excellent evidence-informed practice distilled into consistent and carefully planned practice.
Pupils enjoy an in-depth study of carefully selected texts from our literature spine, designed to expose pupils to a breadth of authors, texts, genres and themes. This is combined with the study of bespoke written extracts, aimed at creating breadth of experiences and building conceptual fluency.
The teaching sequence in both key stages follows a two-week structure. Across this structure lessons are built around content domains, which are revisited frequently and progressively across a two-week structure to further build conceptual fluency.
Please see our Reading Overview for further information.
Accelerated Reader (Years 2-6)
Alongside the teaching of Reading, we use Accelerated Reader (AR), a computer-based programme, to support and manage children’s independent reading practice. Children complete a short, low-stakes assessment online (STAR Reading test), which determines what level (ZPD range) they are currently working at. This then helps the teacher and your child to select books that they can read independently. These books will be at an appropriate reading level, providing challenge but without being frustrating, therefore allowing pupils to experience enjoyment and success in their quizzes.
Once your child has completed the reading of their book, and they feel that they have understood it well enough to answer questions about it (which may take more than one reading), they will take an online quiz on that book. Passing the quiz with 85% or more accuracy demonstrates that a child has understood what they have read, and they can then choose another book within their ZPD range.
Where appropriate, teachers may choose to direct pupils to explore books outside of their ZPD range, to either further challenge or consolidate a child’s reading comprehension.
Please see the Parents’ Guide to Renaissance for further information on how to support your child with AR.
Reading for Pleasure
At Place Farm Primary Academy, we recognise that the teaching of reading goes well-beyond what is taught in our whole class reading lessons. We aim for a love of reading and literature to be at the very heart of our ethos and culture and are working hard to achieve this.
Some examples of how we are developing a reading culture at our school include:
- Engaging with the National Literacy Trust’s Rewarding Futures programme, including becoming a Flagship Library;
- Enhancing our communal reading spaces to make high-quality literature and comfortable reading environments accessible to all;
- Dedicated Developing a Love of Reading (DALOR) time to enjoy diverse literature being read aloud;
- Whole School Reading Assemblies;
- Free access to our library for all pupils during recreational time in school;
- Shared stories recorded for use at home
- Weekly newsletter includes a story for parents to read to their child at home
- All pupils in school have been provided with a local library card, to enjoy books at home
- Every child in school has access to a library book of their choice
- Well-chosen, high-quality texts provided in classrooms for pupils to access
- Strong links within our community through the role of our Reading for Pleasure Lead and Get Suffolk Reading