At Hellingly, English learning underpins our learning across the curriculum.
At Hellingly, we place emphasis on reading for enjoyment as well as reading with fluency and understanding. In EYFS and Year 1, we follow the Read Write Inc. programme and the children take home a mix of Read Write reading scheme books, red and green words and speed sounds. The children begin to become ‘free readers’ in Year 2 and can then enjoy a selection of reading books from their class library. From Year 2 onwards, the children participate in daily reading lessons, where we use whole class texts, with every child having a copy of the book. The children read aloud frequently and they undertake focused reading activities related to the texts which they record in their reading journals. Each class has a class library, allowing the children to independently choose a reading book of their choice.
Phonics and Spelling
In EYFS and Year 1, the children learn phonics and spellings related to their RWInc focus sounds as well as developing their ‘red’ words – the trickier common exception words.
Children take home 6 spellings to learn each week which they also work on in their lessons – their home learning is to reinforce these spelling patterns.
In Year 2 and throughout KS2, children learn a combination of spelling patterns and their common exception words. They will bring home 8 spellings and then 10 in upper key stage 2 to learn which they also work on in their spelling lessons.
Each week, the children will be tested on their spellings and the test results used to set new spellings. Sometimes your child will have spelling patterns to learn and sometimes they will have personalised lists of the common exception words they have struggled with. When they achieve 100%, they will be rewarded with an additional commitment token.
Grammar and Punctuation
Children learn grammar and punctuation through discrete teaching of the skills and then through analysing quality texts and then applying their learning to make informed and deliberate choices in their writing. We believe in teaching SPAG (spelling, punctuation and grammar) skills in context wherever possible but the children also participate in ‘exercises’ to help them to practise the key skills and concepts. Children participate in regular short SPAG tests in order to keep the skills and terminology ticking over and in order for the teachers to identify gaps and to plan their teaching specifically to what the children need.
At the end of KS1 (Year 2) and at the end of KS2 (Year 6), children participate in National Curriculum (SATS) tests in Spelling and in Grammar and Punctuation. Below, you can download the SAMPLE test documents produced by the Department for Education to give the children an idea of what kind of questions there will be and what they will look like. These are NOT the questions which the children will be tested on in May 2016.
Children are taught writing for a variety of purposes, both fiction and non-fiction genres throughout each year. The children analyse quality examples of each genre and the lessons are planned with a SPAG focus related to the features of the text type. We use a variety of methods, such as Talk for Writing and Shared Writing to support the children towards independent writing, with more independent opportunities planned across the curriculum.
Children participate in regular handwriting sessions throughout the school. This begins with rhymes related to their RWInc learning in EYFS and Year 1 and then in Year 2 they work towards a cursive script. The emphasis is on consistency in shape and size as well as accurate letter formation. Children are taught the ‘Hellingly’ font. They work their way through 14 targets and then, when these are complete, they are awarded a pen licence in assembly and a handwriting pen with which to complete their written work across the whole curriculum.
As well as directly taught handwriting lessons, children also spend time writing specific, edited written pieces out in neat, which we call ‘publishing’ their work once they have completed their actions and their edits.