At Watcombe, the teaching of English (reading, writing, spelling and grammar) aims to foster confidence and enjoyment so that the children acquire the skills necessary to equip them for adult life. Skills are planned from the National Curriculum.

It is our belief that reading is best taught when children have an enjoyment of books and are therefore self- motivated to do well. We aim to foster a love of real books while providing incentives, such as certificates and reading challenges, for pupils to read for themselves. At Watcombe we operate a book banding system which enables pupils, parents and staff to know at what point pupils are in their learning and what the expectation is for their age. Reading skills are directly taught through regular guided reading (group) lessons. Where necessary, pupils also read on a one to one basis with a trained adult. If pupils fall behind, the school offers interventions which enable the pupils the opportunity to catch up.

Spelling skills, such as phonic knowledge, knowledge of prefixes and suffixes and spelling rules, are directly taught through regular spelling lessons. Children are encouraged to apply their skills through their day to day writing. Teachers seek to find opportunities to model these skills to the children during writing lessons. Pupils are also given opportunity to learn common key words which they will use on a daily basis in their writing, and to correct spellings where appropriate.

Understanding of grammar is taught intrinsically through day to day writing lessons: pupils are encouraged to use the correct grammatical terminology to talk about their writing. Teachers also seek opportunities to model the correct use of grammatical terms through their teaching. In Year 5/ 6, grammar is also taught explicitly through dedicated grammar lessons, which aim to ensure that pupils are the best prepared they can be for the grammar element of their SATs tests.

Writing is planned from the national curriculum and delivered through a teaching sequence which works towards pupils being enabled to apply their skills independently. From foundation to year 6, meaningful links of a widening range of fiction and non-fiction text types are made to topics eg. report writing for a history topic, explanation writing for a science topic or instructional writing for a technology topic. Writing is therefore taught within the context of a topic that the children are familiar with and learning about. Where appropriate, the pupils also work towards a purposeful outcome for their written work eg. a recipe book within a food technology topic. In Key stage 1 and 2, teachers focus lessons on the four key areas of vocabulary, connectives, openers and punctuation (VCOP), which makes the learning of the variety of skills needed to be a successful writer more accessible, focussed and therefore understandable to the children. Pupils are given regular opportunities for extended writing, which we call ‘Big write’. This enables pupils to apply their skills independently, and teachers the opportunity to assess pupils’ progress.

Recent school data shows that these approaches have contributed towards enabling our pupils to make better than expected progress in English during their journey through the school.

Guide for Parents

Spelling Lists