The English curriculum at St Nicholas is firmly based on the statutory government requirements below. Please see 'The National Curriculum in England' document and the school Curriculum Map on the 'Curriculum' page for a more detailed breakdown of curriculum content.
Purpose of Study
A high-quality education in English will teach children to speak and write fluently so that they can communicate their ideas and emotions to others and through their reading and listening, others can communicate with them. Through reading in particular, pupils have a chance to develop culturally, emotionally, intellectually, socially and spiritually. Literature, especially, plays a key role in such development. Reading also enables children both to acquire knowledge and to build on what they already know. All the skills of language are essential to participating fully as a member of society; children, therefore, who do not learn to speak, read and write fluently and confidently are effectively disadvantaged.
The overarching aim for English in the national curriculum is to promote high standards of language and literacy by equipping children with a strong command of the spoken and written word, and to develop their love of literature through widespread reading for enjoyment. The national curriculum for English aims to ensure that all children:
The national curriculum for English reflects the importance of spoken language in children’s development across the whole curriculum – cognitively, socially and linguistically. Spoken language underpins the development of reading and writing. The quality and variety of language that children hear and speak are vital for developing their vocabulary and grammar and their understanding for reading and writing. Teachers should therefore ensure the continual development of children's confidence and competence in spoken language and listening skills.
Children should develop a capacity to explain their understanding of books and other reading, and to prepare their ideas before they write. They must be assisted in making their thinking clear to themselves as well as to others and teachers should ensure that pupils build secure foundations by using discussion to probe and remedy their misconceptions. Children should also be taught to understand and use the conventions for discussion and debate.
All children should be enabled to participate in and gain knowledge, skills and understanding associated with the artistic practice of drama. They should be able to adopt, create and sustain a range of roles, responding appropriately to others in role. They should have opportunities to improvise, devise and script drama for one another and a range of audiences, as well as to rehearse, refine, share and respond thoughtfully to drama and theatre performances.
The programmes of study for reading at key stages 1 and 2 consist of two dimensions:
It is essential that teaching focuses on developing children's competence in both dimensions; different kinds of teaching are needed for each.
Skilled word reading involves both the speedy working out of the pronunciation of unfamiliar printed words (decoding) and the speedy recognition of familiar printed words. Underpinning both is the understanding that the letters on the page represent the sounds in spoken words. This is why phonics should be emphasised in the early teaching of reading to beginners (i.e. unskilled readers) when they start school.
Good comprehension draws from linguistic knowledge (in particular of vocabulary and grammar) and on knowledge of the world. Comprehension skills develop through children's experience of high-quality discussion with the teacher, as well as from reading and discussing a range of stories, poems and non-fiction. All children must be encouraged to read widely across both fiction and non-fiction to develop their knowledge of themselves and the world in which they live, to establish an appreciation and love of reading, and to gain knowledge across the curriculum. Reading widely and often increases children's vocabulary because they encounter words they would rarely hear or use in everyday speech. Reading also feeds the imagination and opens up a treasure-house of wonder and joy for curious young minds.
It is essential that, by the end of their primary education, all children are able to read fluently, and with confidence, in any subject in their forthcoming secondary education.
PLEASE SEE THE LINKS BELOW FOR LETTERS AND SOUNDS PHONICS PROGRAMME.
Reading Schemes at St Nicholas include:- Oxford Reading Tree, Cambridge, Rigby Star, Ginn, Treetops, PM Star, Treetops, Collins, Puffin, Heinneman, Discovery World, Walker, Wellington square and many more.
The programmes of study for writing at key stages 1 and 2 are constructed similarly to those for reading:
It is essential that teaching develops children's competence in these two dimensions. In addition, children should be taught how to plan, revise and evaluate their writing. These aspects of writing have been incorporated into the programmes of study for composition.
Writing down ideas fluently depends on effective transcription: that is, on spelling quickly and accurately through knowing the relationship between sounds and letters (phonics) and understanding the morphology (word structure) and orthography (spelling structure) of words. Effective composition involves forming, articulating and communicating ideas, and then organising them coherently for a reader. This requires clarity, awareness of the audience, purpose and context, and an increasingly wide knowledge of vocabulary and grammar. Writing also depends on fluent, legible and, eventually, speedy handwriting.
Opportunities for teachers to enhance children's vocabulary arise naturally from their reading and writing. As vocabulary increases, teachers should show children how to understand the relationships between words, how to understand nuances in meaning, and how to develop their understanding of, and ability to use, figurative language. They should also teach children how to work out and clarify the meanings of unknown words and words with more than one meaning.
Children should be taught to control their speaking and writing consciously and to use Standard English. They should be taught to use the elements of spelling, grammar, punctuation and ‘language about language’ listed. This is not intended to constrain or restrict teachers’ creativity, but simply to provide the structure on which they can construct exciting lessons.
Throughout the programmes of study, teachers should teach children the vocabulary they need to discuss their reading, writing and spoken language. It is important that children learn the correct grammatical terms in English and that these terms are integrated within teaching.