At Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic First School we always aim for excellence in our children’s English achievement throughout the school. We recognise the crucial importance of studying the English language alongside developing skills in Speaking and Listening, Reading, Writing and Phonics. Improved performance at reading, writing and spoken language will enable our pupils to express their thoughts and ideas more fluently, accurately and, ultimately, to their greater satisfaction. This will also help them to deal more successfully with other curriculum subjects, while enriching their lives beyond school. The teaching and learning of language skills are, therefore, given a high priority in our school and where possible the creative curriculum and IT will be used as tools. Our overarching aim for English is to promote high standards of language and literacy by equipping pupils with a strong command of the spoken and written word, and to develop their love of literature through widespread reading for enjoyment delivered through a contextualised Literacy approach ensuring that high quality texts are always used and ensure children are exposed to a language rich, literary experience.
The teaching of phonic skills is embedded within English teaching through daily sessions in Reception and KS1. These are for 20 minutes and we follow the Letters and Sounds Programme of Study. These comprise of learning different graphemes, focussing on oral and aural phonological skills and sight vocabulary.
As a school we recognise that handwriting is an important skill and children’s ability to write fluently for the rest of their lives depend on a good foundation of taught handwriting in the early years of their education. We believe that handwriting is a developmental process with its own distinctive stages of progression from readiness for handwriting, through to letter joins, practicing speed and fluency and higher presentation skills which is delivered across the school through our Letter-join Handwriting Scheme.
We run many competitions in school to further develop a love of reading and a passion for literature, including our hugely successful ‘Book in a Box’ competition which has meant the school librarians in Year 4 are able to bring stories to life for the children during their lunchtime reading sessions. In Key Stage 2 children have enjoyed a ‘Book Borrowing Box’ and ‘Never Judge a Book by its Cover’ initiative.
Every year we celebrate World Book Day in March with the children being encouraged to dress up as their favourite character from a book and the staff choose a staff theme. In the past these have included ‘Where’s Wally?’ ‘Roald Dahl’ ‘Traditional Tales’ ‘Stories by author Lucy Rowland’ who was a visitor in school to open our library and carry out workshops on writing with each class.
National Curriculum English Programme of Study: