Throughout their journey at Westfield Primary Academy, we believe that every child should:
Have the opportunity and support to become fluent, confident and skilled communicators, irrespective of their context or starting point;
Be exposed to a rich and diverse range of experiences, in both Reading and Writing, and be challenged to deepen and apply their English skills and knowledge throughout the curriculum;
Develop conceptual fluency in Reading and Writing, through a carefully developed curriculum that encompasses the principles of cognitive neuroscience and best practice;
Enjoy a curriculum that places emphasis on evidence-led research: cognitive load theory, principles of instruction, making vocabulary explicit, ensuring that generative learning tasks fit together securely in a curriculum structure to develop excellence.
Experience a curriculum that is unapologetically ambitious, cohesive and rich in knowledge and vocabulary.
English in EYFS
In EYFS, Reading is at the heart of our curriculum and our aim is to encourage a love of reading right from the start. In EYFS, we have ‘Our Favourite 5’ each half term. The aim is to expose children to a range of books that not only develop a love of reading, but have been chosen specifically to develop their oracy, vocabulary and comprehension.
These five books will be embedded in our provision through activities, story sessions and on display for children to access independently. Through this, children begin to internalise new vocabulary, language patterns and begin to retell stories. While we do not specifically follow the CUSP structure used in Key Stage 1, our curriculum is carefully constructed to prepare children and ensure that there is cohesion and consistency with our approach through:
The inclusion of high-quality texts which are age and stage appropriate Modelled reading and re-telling opportunities across each session
Structured comprehensions questions based on Blooms Taxonomy
A focus on Tier 1, 2 and 3 Vocabulary
Dedicated phonics sessions, employing tricky and high-frequency words
Cooperative learning behaviours which develop oracy and interdependence.
Children are encouraged to apply their phonics in independent and supported writing opportunities across the curriculum from letters, to recipes, short stories and information reports.
English in Key Stage 1 and 2
At Westfield Primary Academy, in Key Stage 1 and 2 we teach Reading and Writing using Curriculum by Unity Schools Partnership (CUSP).
CUSP is an evidence informed, carefully sequenced English curriculum, which maps core content in Reading and Writing across the primary journey, ensuring that learning is taught and revisited over time so that pupils commit their understanding to the long-term memory.
CUSP Writing draws on taught content from CUSP History, Geography and Science and from the depth study of core texts from the literature spine. Expert subject knowledge is carefully woven into each Writing module which gives teachers the opportunity to teach and rehearse key knowledge and skills before applying this learning to meaningful extended outcomes. The careful architecture of this curriculum ensures that pupils build on prior learning and maximise purposeful curriculum connections to become writers for life. Within the CUSP curriculum, punctuation and grammar is taught both directly and discreetly with pupils receiving a daily SPaG lesson.
Handwriting is taught using the programme, Letter-Join. Pupils learn pre-cursive handwriting in Year 1 moving to cursive handwriting in Year 2. In Key Stage 2, pupils continue to develop their speed, fluency and presentation of handwriting.
CUSP Reading is deliberately designed to be ambitious and aspirational, ensuring that every child leaves our school as a competent, confident reader. Drawing on the latest research around explicit vocabulary instruction, reading fluency and key comprehension strategies, this curriculum is a synthesis of what we know works in helping children make outstanding progress in reading and a distillation into consistent, well-structured practice.
Pupils will receive a daily diet of excellent reading teaching and this will be supplemented by regular opportunities to engage with shared reading experiences, promoting the joy of reading with the whole school community. The clear structure and principles ensure that teaching is progressive, challenging and engaging and the rich, diverse literature spine acts as both a mirror so that every child can see themselves in the core texts and as a mirror to engage pupils with experiences beyond their own field of reference.
At Westfield Primary Academy, we understand that systematic, synthetic phonics is the most effective way of teaching young children to read, developing the skills they need to tackle reading new words.
We follow the DfES Letters and Sounds programme to ensure consistency across the school as well as Jolly Phonic songs for mnemonics. In Nursery, children focus on Phase 1 which concentrates on developing children’s speaking and listening skills and lays the foundations for the phonic work which starts in Phase 2. The emphasis during Phase 1 is to get children attuned to the sounds around them and ready to begin developing oral blending and segmenting skills, prior to GPC.
In Reception, Phase1 continues but children are introduced to Phase 2 and 3 where they will develop GPC and segmenting and blending skills to decode words. During the Summer term, children may move on to Phase 4 if they are ready.
In Key Stage 1, children move though Phases 4-6 ensuring that they master the alternative GPCs, can confidently decode more complex words, develop their fluency and can apply rules for spelling.
Phonics is taught in daily discrete lessons, however, we firmly believe that for Phonics to be most effective, it must be embedded across all areas of the curriculum and strive to make links wherever possible. We are committed to ensuring that all children become fluent readers by the end of Key Stage One. At the end of Year 1, children undertake a national phonics check. For more information about phonics please visit: https://www.readwithphonics.com/parents-phonics-guide
We offer parent workshops in phonics throughout the year. Please speak to Mrs Dale if you are interested in finding out more.
English at Home
Children are encouraged to read at home and are listened to regularly in school. In EYFS and Key Stage 1, they are given books that match their phonic knowledge in order for them to apply their learning with the aim of becoming successful, confident and fluent readers.
In order to help your child be successful in reading and writing:
Aim to read with your child for at least ten-twenty minutes every evening
Discuss new and exciting vocabulary with your child wherever possible
Encourage the use of dictionaries and thesauruses to support spelling and vocabulary.
As well as each child having a carefully matched reading book to take home, all children have access to appropriately levelled reading books and quizzes online via Bug Club.
At Westfield Primary Academy, we also use Accelerated Reader to support children’s individual reading. This programme is for Year 3 – 6 readers and children complete short quizzes on completion of their home reading book. These quizzes give a score and a reading assessment. Children are offered rewards and incentives to encourage reading at home and to develop their comprehension.