Welcome to all things English at Margaret Wix
At Margaret Wix, we believe that all our children can become fluent readers and writers. This is why we teach reading through Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised, which is a systematic and synthetic phonics programme. We start teaching phonics in Nursery/Reception following the Little Wandle progression, which ensures children build on their growing knowledge of the alphabetic code, mastering phonics to read and spell as they move through school.
At Margaret Wix Primary School, reading is a top priority and is a key driver for our curriculum. It is
Staff promote a love for reading and exploit opportunities for children to read widely and deeply across all subject areas. Our desire is to develop a love of reading and to provide children with regular opportunities to share, discuss and explore their understanding.
Please see our Intent, implementation and Impact document below for more information
Our intention for writing at Margaret Wix is for all children to:
At Margaret Wix, we provide our children with opportunities to write across the curriculum. To ensure this, as a school, we follow the Herts for learning sequence overview, covering the entire English curriculum from Year 1 to Year 6. Currently (2021-22), we are following a carefully planned overview (Back on Track resources). This long term plan provides a progression of skills across all year groups and embeds key grammatical skills and techniques to ensure misconceptions are addressed. Through each writing unit, a high quality text is used to inspire the writing process. This sequence overview has been adapted and personalised to reflect our Margaret Wix curriculum; this incorporates half termly ‘Whole School Writes’ to encompass our school values and to provide the opportunity to write across a range of genres. The overview delivers a carefully planned curriculum, which is progressive by skills and ensures a consistency of writing.
In KS1 and KS2, the children are exposed to narrative writing, poetry and non-fiction writing. Carefully selected genres and high quality texts are selected so that children rehearse and build upon prior skills. Consequently, this ensures a progression of grammatical techniques. Opportunities to write at length have been carefully woven across all subject areas. Children are taught to craft their writing for different audiences and purposes.
During the writing process, we expect our children to evaluate their own learning, starting in Year 1, so they are made aware of the intention of the lesson, and, importantly, become proactive in establishing what they do and do not know. Children are taught to speak clearly and precisely in standard English using sophisticated, ambitious and expressive vocabulary. They present their learning in oral and written forms and have frequent opportunities to develop the art of public speaking.
At Margaret Wix, we use ‘Herts for Learning’ units (Back on Track) from Y1to Y6 as the vehicle for teaching writing, while EYFS teach to the Early Years Outcomes and Early Learning Goals. This is to ensure a consistent and systematic approach to teaching the skills of writing across all cohorts. This also means that children know what to expect when they change classes.
Teachers are given autonomy to adapt, change and edit the planning suggested in order to suit their cohort and allow room for cross curricular links. Lessons are objective led and planned in response to assessment information from prior learning. Learning is layered, building on the skills expected in each year group, in line with ‘National Expectations’ in an appropriate way for the audience. Suggested high quality texts are provided to inspire writing across all units.
At Margaret Wix, we have a strong focus on vocabulary. We are aware that the vocabulary deficit that most of our children have, needs to be addressed as a priority. In order to do this our staff model and expose our children to Tier 2 and Tier 3 vocabulary. To support the teaching of new and adventurous vocabulary, all year groups have access to, and make full use of, the books that are collated by Herts for Learning. Additionally, to suit the needs of all our children, we carefully select books for pleasure and unit specific books that will inspire writing and expose our children to rich vocabulary. As a school, we ensure our children are exposed to texts that allow them to feel represented and valued.
Opportunities for drama and for developing speaking and listening skills will be used in the initial stages of the writing sequence to build ideas, planning, vocabulary and confidence in the text type.
Our speaking and listening skills are developed across reading and writing, as well other subject areas:
After the teaching of a unit, teachers assess the final piece of extended writing. This is not expected to be completed independently; the children’s learning is scaffolded through word mats, shared and group writes etc. Throughout the unit of writing, the teacher and teaching assistant are used to guide the learning and offer formal, written feedback as well as verbal feedback, to address misconceptions or challenge a child further. Interventions on specific areas of weakness happen during feedback, in lessons or through 1:1 or group sessions. Teachers may use the Herts for Learning moderation materials to assess writing as well as the TAFS to mark off objectives to support in the assessment of writing. Half termly, we complete ‘whole school Writes’; these are used for moderation purposes across the whole school, as well as any other evidence from books, to ensure accurate assessments are made.
At Margaret Wix, we use the Herts ‘Essential Spelling’ scheme from year 2-6. Children are explicitly taught spelling through a rule. The children learn the rule on the first day and apply it across the week. Alongside learning spelling rules, children are required to learn their age groups’ national curriculum words. These are used in model texts, displayed on working walls and used in dialogue daily with the children.
There is an expectation that teachers track back to ensure that any gaps in knowledge are addressed.
Grammar is taught through the model text or where necessary through discrete lessons. Teachers embed grammar structures within the writing journey and practise using learnt objectives around the unit of writing they are working on. Grammar objectives are matched on our curriculum overview for each unit of writing.
There is an expectation that all teachers’ use of grammar is accurate. To ensure progression in grammar skills, all KS1 and KS2 teachers have been given a progression of grammar document, on which they highlight the grammar skills that have been taught. Any areas of weakness that are identified as a result of independent writing or the hot or cold tasks, are taught as part of the modelled text, or the grammar starters. Again, teachers are expected to track back to previous years’ objectives, if this is appropriate.
Writing across the curriculum is taught by showing the children what a good example looks like, before then identifying the features/grammatical techniques in the specific text type.
Handwriting is taught in the most appropriate way to best meet the needs of each year group (whole class, small group, individual). At Margaret Wix, we use the ‘Letter Join Scheme’ to model handwriting regularly to our children. This high expectation for handwriting is to be applied across the curriculum. Fine and gross motor targeted intervention are in place for those children who may need extra support.
The Writing curriculum is evaluated through:
See the Phonics to Early Reading intent, implementation and impact document
At Margaret Wix Primary School, reading is a top priority and is a key driver for our curriculum. It is our intention to ensure that by the end of our children’s primary education, all pupils are able to read fluently and with confidence, in any subject in their forthcoming secondary education. We, therefore, intend to encourage all pupils to read widely across both fiction and non-fiction to develop knowledge of themselves and the world in which they live, to establish an appreciation and love of reading, to gain knowledge across the curriculum, and to develop their comprehension skills.
We are committed to providing vocabulary rich reading material and the ‘Best of what has been’. Reading is at the heart of our curriculum. Staff promote a love for reading and exploit opportunities for children to read widely and deeply across all subject areas.
Our desire is to develop a love of reading and to provide children with regular opportunities to share, discuss and explore their understanding. Our Writing curriculum is text based and inspires children to read across a range of genres.
At Margaret Wix, we give pupils opportunities to read around these subjects and write in different genres. This enables them to form links and remember more effectively what they are learning. Children have access to high quality, appropriate reading content, including a school library and class book corners. Reading is taught discretely through guided reading and comprehension lessons.
The systematic teaching of phonics has a high priority throughout Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1. As a school we follow the synthetic, systematic programme ‘Little Wandle.’ Phonics is taught daily to all children in Foundation Stage, Year 1 and those in Year 2 who have not passed phonics screening in Year 1.
Staff systematically teach learners the relationship between sounds and the written spelling patterns or graphemes, which represent them.
Phonics is delivered in whole class and ability-group format as it enables staff to ensure application across subjects, embedding the process in a rich literacy environment for early readers.
Timely intervention is planned for those children who are working below expected levels as soon as needs are identified. This is tracked by the ‘Keep Up’ resources provided by Little Wandle.
Children in Year 1 and 2 complete 3 x Reading sessions to support the application of phonics learning.
Children are introduced to the books from our reading scheme, starting in Reception. All of our Early Years books are phonically decodable and match the progression of our phonics programme – ‘Little Wandle.’ When children demonstrate mastery of the skills for reading, they are moved on a level; children are regularly assessed to ensure their reading scheme book is carefully matched to their reading ability. The school ensures all texts are accurately matched to pupil ability and reading age. We use Big Cat Collins reading scheme books. Home reading is a priority at Margaret Wix and is encouraged the moment children enter our school.
Our ‘Give Me Ten’ reading initiative is used to raise standards and promote a love for reading. Parents make a note of books read in Reading Record and are encouraged to use question stems to ask their child about what they have just read, give them lots of praise and celebrate their successes. Our ‘Give Me Ten’ reading initiative rewards children who read regularly.
Each child takes home a practice reading book and a sharing book.
A reading practice book: This will be at the correct phonic stage for each child. The should be able to read this fluently and independently with only a small amount of help. This book has been carefully matched to each child’s current reading level.
A sharing book from our school or class library: children will not be able to read this on their own. This book is for both parent and child to read and enjoy together. In order to encourage children to become a lifelong readers, it is important that children learn to read for pleasure. The sharing book is a book they have chosen for parents and children to enjoy together.
All children from year 2 onwards take part in four whole class or guided reading sessions per week. All teachers use these to introduce pupils to a range of genres and to teach a range of techniques that enable children to comprehend the meaning of what they have read. Guided reading sessions are taught through a skills-based approach. Progression is established through the use of sequential learning steps: teachers read to pupils through chorus and echo reading. This is followed up by retrieval, prediction, comprehension and inference tasks, which are sequenced according to year group and ability. To support our reading sessions we use a range of texts, including Rigby Star. At Margaret Wix, we use the ‘Herts for Learning’ guided reading took kit to support our reading sessions.
Ensuring reading for pleasure
‘Reading for pleasure is the single most important indicator of a child’s success.’ (OECD 2002) ‘The will influences the skill and vice versa.’ (OECD 2010)
We value reading for pleasure highly and work hard as a school to grow our Reading for Pleasure pedagogy.
The Reading curriculum is evaluated and assessed in a variety of ways:
Please see the separate Little Wandle Intent and Implication document for more information.