English is a core subject in the National Curriculum and is taught throughout the week in daily English lessons and through shorter, directed guided reading and spelling sessions. At Thames Ditton Junior School, we see the skills that our pupils develop in their English learning as skills for life and regularly encourage the application of these across the curriculum. As a school, we aim for our pupils to develop a love of reading and writing that, in turn, motivates them to strive to be capable, creative and courageous readers and writers that use and understand the English language with progressing confidence.
Our English curriculum strives to be creative, varied and enjoyable through the exploration of different genres. Units of work normally last between two and four school weeks and cover a particular text type or focus on a particular text, which acts as a stimulus to help practise writing skills across genres. Each unit will make use of these steps to success:
Pupils are stretched in English through coaching and feedback to engage with more complex stimulus, the encouragement to be more adventurous with vocabulary and punctuation in writing, verbal feedback that is tailored to their ability with appropriate next steps, and higher expectations that ensure they have a deeper understanding and greater grasp of their year group criteria. This can be supported at home through promoting a pleasure for reading and writing, discussing work and celebrating successes, practising skills that we are covering in lessons (through homework tasks or home-school communication) and encouraging exposure to a wider range of quality texts across topics, text types and authors.
The texts that we use at Thames Ditton Junior School are carefully selected to inspire, engage and guide our pupils with their learning. We also use DVD and video clips where appropriate, as well as building in opportunities to use ICT as a starting point and support for writing. Across the school, we ensure that children have the chance to work with a wide range of stimulus that will challenge their skills as a reader and writer, as well as their understanding of the world that they live in. We strive to ensure that the material we use reflects the diversity of modern Britain and world.
In addition to English lessons, children have the opportunity to write extended pieces in other foundation subjects such as recounts in history, or diary entries in RE lessons. This allows pupils to write for different purposes, still using all of the features of text types and the spelling, grammar and punctuation rules that they have been taught in their English lessons.