At Sparsholt CofE Primary School, we pride ourselves in setting high standards in all aspects of the English curriculum. Children are encouraged to develop their creativity and imagination through a regular diet of: speaking and listening; focused reading and reading for pleasure; and inspired writing sessions. All the National Curriculum objectives are covered thoroughly in a creative way that seamlessly links text, sentence and word level activities.
Speaking and Listening
Throughout their time here at Sparsholt CofE Primary school, children develop as confident speakers and focused listeners. From Reception onwards, children are taught how to speak for different purposes. They perform in a variety of performances including the Christmas Nativity and the whole school summer production. In Collective Worship, including those held in the church, the children present to the whole school, parents and visitors. They debate their point of view on a variety of topics, read plays aloud and present informative reports to their peers including highlighting key issues such as climate change and tolerance and understanding. Such opportunities provide a valuable means of building confidence and developing the ability to listen to, and appreciate the efforts of others.
Great importance is attached to enabling our children to become fluent readers. The school follows the progression of Ruth Miskin’s synthetic phonics scheme ‘Read, Write Inc’ to teach early reading. In KS1, the school uses book banded reading books (which include books from the Oxford Reading tree scheme) to continue to develop both decoding and comprehension skills. Once children are confident and fluent readers, they move onto small chapter books from our library. The class teacher assists with the selection of these books to ensure they are suitable.
Whilst we would hope that by the time our children reach KS2, they are all fluent readers, for some children further targeted support is needed. For those children, we use a number of targeted support programs including ‘Fresh Start’ and NESSY as well as providing quality first teaching within the classroom setting.
Guided reading sessions take place daily in all classes. These sessions focus on many skills including prediction, inference, summarizing etc. In addition, many of our children also have the opportunity to read regularly to our plethora of volunteers. As a school, we also encourage children to read for pleasure to ensure they develop a love for reading. All the children are encouraged to read independently on a regular basis both at school and at home with parents. Their progress, as independent readers, is tracked through personal reading diaries.
Our expectations and standards for writing are high. We ensure that the children have a wide range of opportunities for writing; and that they are valued as writers from reception age. From the moment children enter school, they are keen to make their mark and write. We want children to maintain their natural enthusiasm and so we plan opportunities that are purposeful and often linked to other curriculum areas.
Teachers in the school aim to provide a positive role model for the pupils at Sparsholt. By doing so, pupils see the creative side of writing first hand: the editing and improvement; the creative strategies that are used and above all the overriding enthusiasm and love that can be gained for the language.
However, we are rigorous in teaching the written 'code' that requires expert teaching and regular practice. As a child progresses, an increasing emphasis is placed on the correct use of spelling, grammar and punctuation. Spelling and grammar knowledge is taught in discrete sessions each week as well as during the writing process. The school follows the ‘No Nonsense’ Spelling program which focuses on spelling rules and patterns. Children are encouraged to apply taught spelling and grammar rules whenever they write in all areas of the curriculum. A whole school approach for handwriting using the ‘Letter join’ resources is aimed at children progressing towards a cursive style and being able to write smoothly, legibly and neatly.