At Roecroft Lower School, English sits at the heart of our curriculum. We believe all children should be given every opportunity to develop their reading, writing, and speaking and listening skills. We offer an engaging, progressive curriculum, based on the National Curriculum, from the moment children start in the early years until they leave us in Year 4 and promote the use of English skills across all areas of our curriculum. Our purpose is to enable children to:
• Read with enjoyment and for a variety of reasons.
• Write for different purposes in an appropriate style using spelling, punctuation and syntax accurately and confidently.
• Communicate effectively.
• Develop accurate listening skills.
Consequently, this allows children to achieve their full potential not just in English lessons but across all curriculum subjects and feel better equipped to access the curriculum as it becomes more challenging and rapid in the next stage of their education.
We go beyond the National Curriculum by teaching both writing and reading through core texts which are both engaging and high-quality. Our carefully chosen selection of literature allows children to develop a wide, internal library and develop their own writing toolkit as they write for a wide range of different purposes.
For further details of the core texts, text types and which elements of the National Curriculum your child is learning each term in English please see our 2023 - 2014 English Curriculum Maps:
The National Curriculum for English is split into different dimensions. Our curriculum allows pupils to become competent in each of these areas by building on the skills previously acquired. For further details of the skills being introduced in each year group please see our English Skills Progression Maps:
Phonics is a systematic way of teaching children how to read and write by developing their phonemic awareness – the ability to hear, identify and manipulate different sounds used in the English language. Children learn the correspondence between sounds and the graphemes that represent them in order to become successful readers and writers. In the earlier years of education, reading (by decoding using phonic knowledge) and writing (applying phonic knowledge) are inseparable.
At Roecroft, we teach phonics in daily sessions using the Read Write Inc. phonics programme.
To read more about how we teach phonics at Roecroft please look at our Phonics Handbook.
Each year, we run a workshop for our families to learn more about phonics. Here is our presentation from the workshop Phonics Workshop 2022
We teach spelling from Year 2 to Year 4 using the Spelling Shed spelling programme which is designed to align with the spelling patterns in Appendix 1 of the National Curriculum.
In sessions throughout the week, children build their knowledge of word families, prefixes and suffixes, common exception words and spelling rules. Spelling homework is assigned weekly via the online portal so children can practice the new patterns at home.
Spelling is embedded in all lessons, reinforced using focused activities in English lessons and teachers promote accurate spelling across the curriculum. This enables all children to have confidence in expressing themselves when writing by the time they leave us in Year 4.
In each year, children are expected to learn to read and spell common exception words (also known as red words in the Read Write Inc phonics programme). These words contain graphemes which have not yet been taught, but are words that the children will frequently use in their writing. These can be found below if you would like to practise with your child:Year 1 Common Exception Word List
Year 2 Common Exception Word List
Year 3 & 4 Common Exception Word List
In all year groups, we teach writing through rich, high-quality texts – ranging from wordless picture books to chapter books. These have been selected to engage and excite, in order to build children's love of literature and writing. It is our aim that our children learn to write creatively for enjoyment and academically by understanding the structure and language of different text types.
Children are given the opportunity to write for a range of different purposes: to inspire; inform; entertain; instruct; persuade; and many more through extended writing sessions called Big Write. These sessions improve children’s writing stamina and independence.
In daily English lessons, prior to writing, children develop their initial ideas, understanding and vocabulary through drama, storytelling, drafting sentences and discussion. They learn about grammatical structures, the features of different text types, how to vary their language when writing for specific audiences and how to use punctuation by exploring high-quality models of writing, before moving on to planning their own piece.
Teachers then go on to model the writing process through shared writing (modelled writing with contributions from the children), guided writing (writing in small groups with support) and then children have the opportunity to write their extended piece.
Then as children develop as writers, they have further opportunities to edit and evaluate their writing, improving their vocabulary, grammar, use of punctuation and spellings.
Reading is a fundamental part of our English teaching. We believe children should be given every opportunity possible to develop their reading skills. We strive to ensure every child develops a love of reading and becomes an independent and confident reader by the time they leave us in Year 4.
Children are taught to read in a variety of ways which are detailed below in our document:
We believe parental involvement is key to developing a child’s confidence and enjoyment of reading. During term time, children take home books from our phonics-based reading scheme to read aloud and discuss at home. Our reading scheme offers a diverse range of different texts at each level to build children's vocabulary and their internal library of texts including non-fiction, poetry and stories of all types.
For further information of how to support your children with their reading comprehension at home please see our guides below:
At Roecroft, handwriting is taught as a separate discrete lesson as well as through daily phonics and accurate modelling by teachers across the curriculum. Every term, we run a handwriting competition where children’s achievements in handwriting are celebrated. Children in Years 2-4 also have the opportunity to earn a pen license when they reach the expected standard for their year group.
As part of the National Curriculum, children are expected to develop an explicit knowledge of grammar allowing them to make conscious and controlled choices as both speakers and writers. We believe the most effective way to teach grammar is to introduce and practise skills when it is appropriate to the genre children are writing. Therefore the teaching of grammar and punctuation is fully embedded within the writing process.
The following guides detail the grammar which will be introduced in each year group and can be used to support your child at home.