English is taught on a daily basis within the school, reflecting its’ standing as a core subject within the curriculum. The English curriculum is mapped out over the key stage with year each group planning units of work which denote the various genres, such as poetry, narrative writing, diary writing and play scripts etc. Over the course of the four years the children will experience a broad and balanced English curriculum exploring the various text types as they progress up through the school. Click on the document below or here to access the areas covered by each year group.
The school adopts a text based approach to the teaching of English where appropriate, using quality texts, chosen to engage and inspire the children. The school has compiled a literature spine which runs through the school, comprising of carefully selected books and stories which will act as catalyst to motivate and enthuse children’s study of literature.
In each year group, Talk for Writing features greatly in the teaching of narrative writing. This involves the children playing creative warm up games, taking well known tales and poems, imitating them and then innovating them, creating their own poems and stories by changing and embellishing the original. Using this approach, the children learn the focused text by heart, devising actions to help them remember the pattern of the story or structure of a poem. Once the children have internalised the text, they can then re-tell it, but then create their own version of the story using story maps or boxing up techniques, with the children ultimately writing or performing their own work. This process can be adapted for a variety of texts and has proven to be a highly effective tool in developing the children’s skills of narrative writing.
Word of the day has become a familiar sight in the classrooms, with the children being given a Word of the Day, which is generally taken from the text the children are working on, and which could be used in future writing, to improve the quality of their writing. The children explore the definition of the word, then use white boards to create exciting sentences including the given word, then add the word to their Magpie Books, thereby over time, compiling a list of powerful verbs and adjectives to incorporate into future writing.
In line with the new curriculum, grammar and punctuation are taught during English lessons in all classes, within the teaching of reading, writing and speaking. Aspects of grammar and punctuation are revisited throughout Key Stage 2, to allow for consolidation of knowledge and to promote a deeper understanding. All classes display the terminology, which the children need to learn and use in the course of their English work, as explicit knowledge of grammar is important in giving children a more conscious control and choice in the use of their language.
Through the school’s creative curriculum approach to teaching and learning, English is embedded throughout the planning and underpins much of the children’s learning.
At Market Drayton Junior School children are encouraged to develop a love of books and reading. Reading is at the heart of the curriculum and allows children access to a world of discovery and learning.
All children are encouraged to read for enjoyment and pleasure, both fiction and non-fiction books, to acquire knowledge, to pursue interests and preferences, to feed the imagination, allowing them to use a varied and rich vocabulary in their own writing and developing the art of communication which will serve them well not just for now but throughout their lives.
The school is extremely well resourced to deliver a rich reading curriculum. The school library is fully stocked with both fiction and non-fiction books which are regularly reviewed and updated. Staff use the wide resources available from the School Library Service to engage children in various topics throughout the curriculum and on entry to the school children visit the local library to become familiar with the services it offers and to become members of the library. All children also have access to read online books as part of our subscription to Curriculum Visions; Fiction Express; Purple Mash and through the Shropshire Library E-books.
In addition to their English lessons within school children participate in two hours per week of guided reading sessions, where they explore a variety of text types, discuss texts in depth and develop those key skills of summarising, clarifying, predicting, retrieving information and decoding to name but a few. Activities may include role play, reciting of poems, research, group reading, web based activities and hot-seating, but fundamentally the children are engaged in focused reading for a sustained time.
This year the school as held its second annual Poetry Reciting Competition taking the poetry of the First World War as its focus. All children have participated in the Reading Challenge, World Book Day has been celebrated in style and we have welcomed as part of the Shrewsbury Bookfest, the successful author, Megan Rix into school to deliver a workshop to all the children.
Reading is indelibly linked to all areas of the curriculum and as such is pivotal to learning, promoting challenge and creating a climate for success in all we do!
Spellings are given to children on a weekly basis. The spellings are based on the spelling patterns included in the new curriculum for English, which is currently being followed by Years 3, 4 and 5. In addition to these spellings the children will be introduced to words taken from the Y3/4 and Y5/6 words list which children are expected to be able to spell by the end of their time in Key Stage 2.
The importance of maintaining a high standard of presentation in all children’s work in all subjects is stressed in all lessons throughout the curriculum, and all staff expect the children to ensure that they present their work to the best of their abilities and to be proud of the work they produce. This is celebrated in our annual Handwriting Competition.
Many of the English initiatives are shared with the schools within the town of Market Drayton. Staff share initiatives and new approaches to the teaching and learning of English with other English lead teachers, allowing for consistency and cohesion as part of the Town Schools Partnership, thus promoting best practice across classrooms and schools. Governor links are also well established with the link Governor regularly meeting with the co-ordinator to be briefed upon developments within the subject and new ideas being trialled and eventually rolled out across the whole school. It is a very well-resourced subject, with established links with the school library service and local library being utilised fully to ensure that the children are exposed to quality texts and research materials to source a given text type or theme.
English has a very high profile within the school. The love of books and reading is celebrated annually during World Book Day, and this year the school held its inaugural poetry reciting competition, with the children demonstrating their ability to both learn and recite poems for an audience. This was a very impressive and eloquent performance from all the children and served to inspire other children to participate in future events.
Over recent years, the school has welcomed a number of prestigious authors to the school, including Liz Pichon, author of the Tom Gates books. The children regularly experience live theatre, with performances not only bringing well known stories to life, but also historical plays and performances linked to scientific themes, such as Bunsen Towers.
English is at the heart of the teaching and learning throughout the curriculum. It is implicit in almost everything we do. A vibrant force within the school, English is subject which is constantly evolving, continually exploring new approaches to teaching and learning. Ultimately it is a crucial tool in our learning, a corner stone of our academic journey but also a source of enjoyment and pleasure for all.