Welcome to our diverse and enriched subject of English!
To begin with, some of our favourite significant authors, which showcases our diverse provision within English here at West Rainton Primary School, with a wonderful range of authors from a range of ethnicity. This is just a taste of the fantastic provision on offer, within English at West Rainton Primary School…
At West Rainton Primary School, we are IMMENSELY proud of the English curriculum that we provide for our pupils. Based around the love of reading, and high level texts, we are confident that our curriculum is progressive and importantly, reflective. It is one of our greatest goals to ensure that our children become avid readers, with a strong, confident understanding (and enjoyment) of what they read. Pupils should have the skills and knowledge to become creative writers and speakers, and develop the skills to have a real ‘voice’ in society.
Leadership and intent of English at West Rainton
As deputy headteacher of West Rainton Primary School, I’m extremely proud and confident of our provision within English. It has been a genuine pleasure putting together the English curriculum, and continually evolving what is on offer here at WRPS. There are always changes to be made, and we adapt and learn as we go along. Lifelong skills are learned in English lessons, and these skills are easily utilised in the years to come for our pupils.
Please see my full pen profile as subject leader here:
The content of our English curriculum has been mapped out carefully, with an ethos of ever-evolving change at the very heart of the curriculum. Whole-school staff training has been carried out on various parts of the English curriculum, most recently on the introduction of our reading spine from September 2022.
How English supports and promotes our overarching curriculum key drivers:
We want our pupils to be inspired by our provision, and to ignite strong aspirations and high expectations of themselves and their future. Promotion of strong attendance is fundamental in this. Through the use of visits, visitors and enriching experiences, we will build knowledge and understanding of career possibilities as well as a hunger to embrace new and exciting opportunities. We will ensure we plan regular opportunities for children to develop self-belief and to see the benefits of taking risks and overcoming challenge. Our pupils will be supported to light up future pathways to fulfilling lives of employment choices, prosperity and future happiness. In English, this is achieved through the engaging and enriching opportunities on offer, the wide range of experiences to work with authors, a range of genres in texts and writing, and the overall experience of West Rainton Primary School. Children across the whole school have the opportunity to experience a wealth of inspiring texts, and a broad and balanced English curriculum, through every subject. English is always promoted as the ‘bones’ of all that we do, now and in the future, which supports children’s knowledge of future study or career pathways.
Skills for learning and life
We want pupils to leave our school with a bank of knowledge and a skillset specific to each individual subject, whilst also making transferable connections across other areas of learning and life. Fundamental to this, is a curriculum rich in core skills of language, vocabulary, communication, literacy and numeracy. Our pupils will be taught to be inquisitive, follow a line of enquiry to reach answers, and to recall and present their learning in a vibrant range of ways. Opportunities to develop resilience, organisation, leadership, teamwork, adaptability, patience and initiative are all interwoven into our subjects and wider school life in order for our children to adjust to new learning situations. In English, this is promoted through the range of creative choices children are encouraged to make over time. They are nurtured to make ambitious choices in their writing, and to enjoy reading as a life skill, for now and in the future. Skills of perseverance, resilience, patience and adaptability are all fostered within English lessons.
Equally as important to us is the development of the whole child. Feeling safe, happy and valued is a fundamental right of all pupils. Our inclusive-rich ethos provides the backdrop to our personal development and wellbeing provision which is skilfully interwoven into all that we do. All pupils are supported to develop a strong understanding of the importance of good physical and mental health, whilst also learning a whole range of factors and influences that can have a negative impact on us. Making, nurturing and maintaining healthy relationships, both on and offline, equips children with the strength and security to recognise what they want and need in life. We believe a strong understanding of e-safety forms a crucial part of being a healthy, well-rounded 21st century global citizen. English is a fantastic way of expressing ourselves, and of finding out about the wider world. Pupils are encouraged to ‘place themselves in the shoes of a book character’, and reflect on their feelings and emotions. Lessons actively encourage children to develop a genuine love for the subject. Because of how English is celebrated and encouraged within our school, children feel proud of their work and showcase it widely and often with other schools and the community.
Knowledge of the world
When our pupils leave us at the end of Y6, we want them to feel so proud of themselves as people that they have the personal strength and self-confidence to find their place as positive global citizens. Through our carefully-planned provision, our pupils will experience a diverse and inclusive-rich experience that allows them to bank cultural capital as well as developing a secure understanding of the importance of equality. As well as a secure knowledge of British values, our pupils will have their minds and horizons broadened through diverse social, moral, spiritual and cultural experiences. Pupils will be regularly encouraged to revisit and extend their world-view, fostering tolerance, sensitivity and empathy to interact positively with others. The English map is carefully tailored to introduce a wide range of cultural and classic authors and genres. Often writing in English is created with a specific brief in mind with a social, moral, spiritual or cultural element.
Our inclusive values
As part of our provision on offer, pupils with special educational needs are planned for very carefully in school. This may form a part of their SEN support plan, or individual learning plan as part of an EHCP. It is always a priority for us to ensure that pupils are taught the skills and coverage that they need, rather than just following the national curriculum expectations. We are aware that this is not always what our pupils need – they need a curriculum that is suitable, challenging and relevant. This was highlighted when we were awarded the inclusive ‘Centre of Excellence’ award in late 2020. It is crucial for us that our pupils with SEND make progress, and move on from where they are in their learning journey. This provision may look very different to our other pupils, through differentiation and modification of the curriculum. Our decisions are made in consultation with the SENDCo, Mrs Firth, who advises and supports members of staff with their provision.
How English is taught at West Rainton
At West Rainton Primary School, our children receive an hour of English lessons per day, which includes one or more of the fundamental parts of literacy; reading, writing, GPS and spelling. From Year 2 upwards, a text based approach (usually one text per half term) is used in school. The younger classes work on more than one text, as they combine their learning week with RWI and other elements of literacy. The teaching of English is not exclusive to the ‘English lesson’ as we are enthusiastic advocates of the whole curriculum, and the skills that can be reinforced and applied through other subjects. Our curriculum includes specific texts, planned for use in classrooms, with a focus on a variety of vital elements. They are chosen to support the high level vocabulary that is essential for our pupils to learn, as part of our relentless drive to ensure that our children become literate, well-spoken individuals. Additionally, there is always a focus in the texts that we choose from a RHE point of view, as we aim for our pupils to become well-rounded and accepting of diversity in the world around them. In addition to our commitment to reading a wide range of high quality texts in school, we have now introduced a range of non-fiction texts to supplement these texts, as part of our commitment to broadening our provision through the reading spine.
All children have an English exercise book in which to complete their writing and reading tasks. From Year 2 upwards, pupils also have a dedicated GPS book, to support pupils in their learning of the grammatical aspects of the English language. Having a subject specific book ensures that the children are aware of the subject they are currently working on and they know which activities are relevant to this subject. Throughout the curriculum, there is a focus on reading for knowledge, to ensure that children develop the skills to find out about a topic for themselves, before being taught in class.
Our school is proud of the commitment that we show to the learning of English, through our extensive sets of class texts, our newly renovated library for our pupils to access and enjoy, as well as our reading hut outside, which encourages pupils to read a book at break time if they wish. It is also a beautiful outdoor classroom, which is used by classes when they are enjoying a text together. Every year, our class texts refreshed and selected very carefully to meet the needs of our pupils, and ensure that they enjoy the texts that they spend time reading and discussing, and that they are keen to engage.
The impact of English at West Rainton
At West Rainton, we believe that it is essential that our children know why we teach what we do, and how these subjects can help them progress in secondary school, further education and potential career paths.
The skills learnt within the English are a vital part of future life, and are transferable on a consistent, daily basis. We believe that we advocate a genuine enjoyment and thirst of the English language, and the many doors that will open for our pupils in the future, with higher level English skills. Equally, it is also crucial for our pupils to grasp the very basic skills of English, to ensure that they are literate in the future, for every career path that they choose to follow.
English will be beneficial in every job role or career. Careers such as teaching, medicine, management are just the tip of the iceberg! There are far too many to even begin to list. Even when the reading and writing skills are less essential, the ability to hold a conversation will always be paramount in every walk of life. The skills of articulacy in spoken and written English should never be underestimated, and it will always be paramount in the teaching of our pupils, and in the recruitment of staff members, as the focus on being a positive role model is key.
You can see the subject policies for English here:
Literacy progression in the EYFS
You can see the curriculum mapping for each class for English in 2023-24 here: