At Westcliff, we use English to communicate in both written and spoken form. We use language to build our view and opinion of the world and our community. We believe that developing a love of our language in our children is vital in achieving success at school and later in life. The exploration and enjoyment of the English language is our priority and we value all its aspects –speaking, listening, reading and writing. English is taught daily across the whole school with work appropriately differentiated to match all abilities.
Speaking and Listening
Talking is fundamental to learning. Pupils are encouraged to speak clearly, confidently and with expression in order to state their ideas and opinions. Just as important is the need to listen carefully to others and respond in appropriate ways. At Westcliff, pupils are given opportunities in all areas of the curriculum to develop their speaking and listening skills, in paired, group or whole class situations. Therefore, role play, small world and drama activities are intrinsic elements of speaking and listening across the school. Extra support is given to children with Speaking and Listening difficulties and with English as an Additional Language.
The core reading scheme at Westcliff is the Oxford Reading Tree. This is supplemented by an online reading scheme called Bug Club by Activelearn. This allows children to read a wide range of genres which are carefully matched to their age, ability and interest.
Children who read for pleasure gain a richer vocabulary, more knowledge, critical thinking skills and become independent learners. Guided Reading is an important part of our curriculum. Children work in focused groups or as a whole class to develop their reading skills and their understanding of texts. We provide children with rich reading experiences within the English lessons and encourage them to appreciate the author’s use of language and writing techniques in order to develop their own writing skills. Our children take their reading books home daily to share with their families/carers.
As they go through the school, they are given more responsibility for making their own reading choices from the excellent resources we have in school. Our children usually visit the school library each week to change their library book.
Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar
We place great value on the importance of accurate spelling and the correct use of punctuation and grammar. We follow the National Curriculum 2014 to ensure that teaching is both structured and rigorous throughout the school. We use the DfE’s “Letters and Sounds” programme to ensure a consistent approach to the teaching of phonics throughout the Foundation Stage and Key Stage One.
At Westcliff, we aim for children to be independent writers. We encourage them to write clearly and with confidence in any given genre. We teach them to use punctuation and grammar accurately, to be able to proofread their own work and make amendments and improvements. Our system of pen licences encourages children to place value on the development of correct letter formation and neatly presented handwriting. We give children a wide range of opportunities in which to develop their writing skills and display work of which they are proud. Through our English curriculum, we aim to nurture in the children a love of literature and language, and the confidence to continue reading and writing throughout their lives.
Our children are involved in the setting of their own targets for improvement from Key Stage 1 onwards. Through verbal and written feedback, children are aware of their next steps in learning and progress is rigorously monitored.
In the event of a child or class being unable to attend school due to Covid-19 restrictions, each year group will have access to a ‘Home Learning Grid’. The grid will include a range of tasks and activities to support children to continue their learning. Focused English tasks will include phonics, spellings, writing and reading activities both online and paper based. In addition to this, children will be encouraged to access their year group Google Classroom page and also have the opportunity to attend some live lessons via Google Meet with parental consent.