English at Southwater Junior Academy
English has a high priority at Southwater Junior Academy for two main reasons. Firstly, we believe that the English skills taught facilitate children to succeed in other areas of the curriculum, thus allowing them to achieve their full potential. Equally, if not more importantly, we aim to inspire every child to think of themselves as a reader and a writer and to have a positive attitude towards books and the written word.
The curriculum is planned in accordance with the national curriculum for England and has been updated to incorporate all new targets for English, with a specific focus on grammar and spelling. We believe that wherever possible, English should have strong cross-curricular links. Learning is therefore planned around the termly topics in each year group. Where this does not inspire the best learning, skills are taught in a discrete manner.
Please click here to view our poem recitals for World Book Day.
Speaking and Listening
Speaking and listening skills underpin so much of the curriculum and it is vital that children learn to listen and respond appropriately. Children are encouraged to speak audibly at all times and in discussions they learn how to build on from points made by their peers. Questioning is key to deep learning so is also encouraged. Our children delight in exhibiting their speaking skills in class assemblies and school productions.
When teaching reading, we aim to encourage enjoyment and pleasure. Children have access to a wide range of fiction and non fiction material, as well as journals and magazines. The main library and class libraries are constantly being updated and children are encouraged to request books to supplement our collection. The ICT suite offers another resource to encourage reading. There is something for everyone!
A reading scheme has been introduced into the lower school to ensure that children are secure with their reading before moving on to becoming a ‘free reader’. To encourage children to become reflective and to develop a good understanding of texts, they take part in guided group reading and whole class teaching of comprehension skills. Children needing more support will have the opportunity to read regularly with a member of staff. We encourage children to be discriminating in their choice of reading so that they are maximising their opportunities to improve their skills and stimulate their imagination. Parents are strongly encouraged to be involved in the reading process and ensure that their child reads at least five times a week, as that makes such a difference to progress.
During lessons children are taught to write for a wide variety of purposes and audiences. Their writing is strongly influenced by the quality of what they read so high quality models are essential as these help children to develop a broad and varied vocabulary. The writing process is a complicated one consisting of many different facets but has two basic aspects: compositional and secretarial. The compositional aspect is about thinking, planning, writing, reflecting, editing and communicating meaning. The secretarial aspect is about spelling, punctuation, sentence structure, handwriting and presentation, which makes their writing accessible to others. Our main aim however is to encourage confident, independent writers who achieve pleasure from their own creations.
With spelling, we aim initially to help children confidently spell most of the words they are likely to use frequently in their writing. A variety of strategies are taught to help children remember how to spell, particularly those with difficulties. Throughout the school, children are encouraged to learn words associated with different subjects, which are displayed around the classroom or on their tables. Spelling and accuracy is promoted across all year groups and is therefore tested weekly. The close link between handwriting and spelling is recognised. Cursive writing is taught building on from the foundations laid at the Infant Academy.
Please click here to get some more help with spelling.
As with all things at Southwater, we expect the highest of standards from the children and the staff, which is evidenced through the work that the children produce over the year. All class teachers are encouraged to reflect on their own teaching by watching themselves on video, as well as watching their peers teach. It is essential that good practice is shared. This is why we are so excited by and proud of what is achieved at Southwater.