At The Rissington School our English curriculum will develop children’s love of reading, writing and discussion. We aim to inspire an appreciation of our rich and varied literary heritage, and a habit of reading widely and often. We recognise the importance of nurturing a culture where children take pride in their writing, can write clearly and accurately and adapt their language and style for a range of contexts. We inspire children to be confident in the art of speaking and listening and who can use discussion to communicate and further their learning.
We understand that children need to develop a secure knowledge-base in their English and Literacy, that follows a clear pathway of progression as they advance through the primary curriculum. Having a secure basis in English and literacy skills is crucial to a high quality education and will give our children the tools they need to participate fully as a member of society.
Whilst we embrace the differences that being a split site school might bring, we are clear that children at both sites belong to one school and receive the same English/literacy provision and resources.
The Rissington School values of ABC ( Aspire Belong Challenge) and key drivers (Golden Threads) are the basis of our English curriculum design. We plan lessons that offer the children aspirational experiences, through discussion, conversation, reading and written experiences, trips, visitors, theme days, and aim to continually extend learning beyond national curriculum statements, bringing learning to life and facilitate knowledge and understanding that remains in long term memory. Our belong value is reflected in our English curriculum as we work together, collaborating in the classroom and learning with others, every child is expected to become a competent reader and a writer whatever stage and age in their primary education. We provide challenge throughout our English curriculum, having high expectations and challenging misconceptions.
In addition to the school values of Aspire, Belong, Challenge the English curriculum is planned carefully to represent our school and outlying community. Throughout the English Curriculum our key drivers (golden threads) are woven throughout the planning, teaching and learning:
- Vocabulary and language- ensuring that our pupils develop the use of a wide and ambitious vocabulary across the whole curriculum.
- Resilience and independence- instilling a growth mindset, so that pupils persevere and are independent in both their learning and social skills
- Equality and diversity- ensuring that learning encourages connections with both our local community and wider world.
Through the English Curriculum, we ensure that all children are active in the learning process and have implemented common language around good independent learning and characteristics of effective learning, starting from Early Years. Growth mindset is embedded, using the ‘Power of Yet!’, and understanding the importance of the 5 R's (Resilience, Responsibility, Reciprocal, Resourceful, Reflective), Growth mindset is rewarded and recognised when children support each other to overcome challenges and to be proactive in their learning.
As part of our curriculum and growth mindset, we promote and encourage the children to recognise The Characteristics of Effective Learning; these are:
- Go For it Gorilla - I will have a go.
- Exploring Elephant - I am an Explorer
- I know Rhino - I play with what I know
- Proud Peacock - I am proud of what I do
- Concentrating Crocodile - I join in and concentrate
- Persevering Parrot - I keep trying
- Choosing Chimp - I choose ways to do things
- Creative Chameleon - I have my own ideas
- Slinky Linky Snake - I can make links
Our English curriculum has been designed so that all lessons give the children opportunities to display one or some of the characteristics for example making connections from previous knowledge like a Slinky Linky Snake.
Our curriculum intent is embedded across all our English lessons and the wider curriculum. We have a rigorous, sequential and well organised English curriculum that provides challenging and purposeful opportunities for reading, writing and discussion. Teachers adapt curriculum planning as appropriate to their classes, and ensure that cross curricular links with concurrent units of work are woven into their programmes of study. Our curriculum closely follows the aims of the National Curriculum for English 2014.
The National Curriculum for English aims to ensure that all pupils:
- read easily, fluently and with good understanding
- develop the habit of reading widely and often, for both pleasure and information
- acquire a wide vocabulary, an understanding of grammar and knowledge of linguistic conventions for reading, writing and spoken language
- appreciate our rich and varied literary heritage
- write clearly, accurately and coherently, adapting their language and style in and for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences
- use discussion in order to learn; they should be able to elaborate and explain clearly their understanding and ideas
- are competent in the arts of speaking and listening, making formal presentations, demonstrating to others and participating in debate.
Early Reading: At the Rissington School we aim to excel in early reading. We have rigour and fidelity to the systematic phonics programme: Success For All Phonics. Fully phonically decodable texts support this programme and these texts form the basis of our early reading lessons and are shared readers at home. As children progress they continue to develop their range of reading skills, as well as a love of reading, through our carefully selected banded reading programme. Find out more about how we teach phonics.
Children who find reading difficult are quickly identified and supported with our Tutoring With the Lightning Squad Intervention. This is a dedicated reading intervention that is in line with our Success for All Phonics programme and children work in small groups to support each other and improve their reading skills.
For some activities, there may need be a ‘parallel’ activity for pupils with SEN and/or disabilities, so that they can work towards the same lesson objectives as their peers, but in a different way – for example using an ICT-based means of recording information to compensate for difficulties with handwriting.
At The Rissington School, we use a wide variety of quality texts and resources to motivate and inspire our children, including texts from the Pie Corbett Reading Spine. We also provide a wealth of enrichment opportunities, such as Start the Year With Shakespeare; celebrating Roald Dahl Day; Reading Teachers = Reading Pupils; attending the Cheltenham Literary Festival each year; running reading and creative writing competitions; hosting an annual in house speech competition and our Upper Key Stage 2 children competing at the North Cotswolds Speech Competition. In addition, we actively seek out visiting authors so that children benefit from access to positive role models from the local and wider locality. We also hold reading events to enhance our English curriculum and often use the same high quality text from EYFS to Y6 such as Mirror by Jeannie Baker and Here We Are by Oliver Jeffers.
As a result, the Rissington School has a community of enthusiastic readers and writers who enjoy showcasing their developing literacy knowledge and skills. They are confident to take risks in their reading and writing, and love to discuss and share their ideas. Our attainment at the end of EYFS, KS1 and KS2 is at least in line if not above that of the regional and national averages for English.