At St Margaret's, we are passionate about children learning to love reading, explore their imaginations and create writing of their own that they are proud of, at every stage of their learning journey.
Speaking and Listening
From the very beginning of their time at St Margaret's, children will be speaking and listening; learning all the time. We aim to provide good opportunities for children to talk to each other in lessons across the curriculum. They will also have numerous diverse drama opportunities to enhance learning. Hot-seating, role-play, conscience alleys and circle time are all examples of opportunities children will have to share ideas and listen to the ideas of others, comment on and develop what they hear.
Phonics and Reading
In Reception and Key Stage 1, children are taught phonics daily in class to help them decode words to progress into fluent reading and strong understanding and comprehension of texts by the time they enter key stage 2. We use the Read Write Inc programme across Reception and KS1.
Children from Reception to Year 4 have access to book banded books to take home and read to teachers, teaching assistants and volunteers in school. Teachers will assess when they may need to move up a colour band. Our book band books come from a range of schemes to give children opportunities to read a wide range of texts including Collins Big Cat Books, PM benchmark books, Rapid readers, OUP texts and ORT books.
Classes each have a weekly opportunity to visit our wonderful school library and choose a book to take home and read for pleasure.
Guided Reading takes place daily in class where children will read and discuss a range of texts with the teacher, have the opportunity to work with a TA and complete independent work which is usually follow up work to what they have read with an adult.
In KS1, the ‘Project X’ staged scheme of books provides stimulating texts for whole class or group-based Guided Reading.
Years 3 - 6 follow a whole class guided reading model with Year 3 introducing the VIPERs approach to reading comprehension skills. Additionally, in Years 4-6, the classes use ‘Comprehension Express’, a scheme of whole-class teaching of reading that focuses on 10 essential comprehension skills.
Children are given daily opportunities to learn and practice handwriting beginning with correct letter formation and moving onto cursive joining. Taking pride in their presentation is a vital step towards becoming confident and enthusiastic writers. Reception children have a weekly Write Dance session and the school uses the letterjoin scheme from Y1 onwards.
Children have the opportunity to write a range of fiction, non-fiction and poetry through the year in units of work of 2 - 3 weeks designed as ‘learning journeys’. They begin a unit with a ‘cold write’, the outcomes of which help inform the teacher’s planning for the forthcoming learning journey. At the end of the journey, children complete a ‘hot write’ which demonstrates the new skills they have embedded and progress achieved.
From Year 2, following on from phonics, children have spelling lessons 2-3 times a week based on the spelling pattern in the words sent home to learn that week. These last for 15 minutes and offer a fun way for children to learn different spelling patterns as well as tackle tricky ‘common exception words’ for their year group. These spelling words sent home will be tested each week. At St Margaret's we follow a spelling programme called ‘No Nonsense Spelling’ from Year 2, which covers the National Curriculum spelling expectations. The lessons in school time are fun and engaging, and encourage the children to use a range of strategies which you can also use when practising with your children at home. Below, we have attached information about the No Nonsense spelling patterns covered in each year-group, as well as the Statutory Spelling Lists for Years 3 and 4, and Years 5 and 6.
Within our English learning journeys, grammar will be taught as outlined in the national curriculum for each year group. Grammar is taught in the context of the focus text and genre of writing.
Assessments in English
At the end of Reception, children are assessed against the early learning goals for reading, writing and speaking and listening. In Year 1, children undertake the ‘Phonics Screening Check’ which assesses their ability to decode a range of real and made up words using skills learned in phonics lessons. Children requiring further support will be given this in Year 2 and reassessed at the end of this year.
At the end of Year 2, children undertake national assessments in Reading and Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar (SPaG). Writing is assessed based on evidence the teacher gathers throughout the year. Teacher assessment of reading also informs their judgement.
Throughout the year, teachers have numerous opportunities to moderate their marking of writing with other teachers in school and with teachers of the same age group in other local schools.
We aim that children are exposed to a range of high-quality and inspiring books and texts through English teaching and through class books enjoyed as a class daily.
Supporting your child at home with their reading
Supporting your child at home with their spelling