Here at Bishop Monkton, our English Curriculum securely reflects our vision. We intend to support our children to be healthy, happy and vibrant individuals, preparing them to become responsible and respectful citizens in the wider world.
Our English curriculum will teach the children the skills and knowledge required to communicate their ideas and emotions. The curriculum will also assist their development of individual choice. Through the power of books, it will nourish and stimulate their love of learning, and will therefore provide the tools the children need to explore themselves, others and the world.
Our English curriculum revolves around a heart of ambitious, stimulating, diverse and high-quality texts which will kindle an excitement in oracy, reading and writing. These carefully chosen texts will provoke discussion, exploration and provide a motivation for all individuals to develop and thrive. The English curriculum for both adults and children at Bishop Monkton, is galvanised by our phrase, ‘Love to read…read to succeed.’
In Nursery, the children here rhymes and explore picture books, factual books and poetry together. In Robins, we begin our more formal teaching of reading through our 'Big Cat' Scheme. This helps us know where your child is in their phonics development. Don't be surprised if they move slowly through the scheme. We want them to be thoroughly secure on the phonemes given before moving on. Please continue, alongside this scheme, to sit with your child daily, exploring a wide range of books - helping your child to see the world open up before them through their pages. Book bingo (please ask your class teacher) has been created to assist you and your child to explore an ever increasing range of reading material.
When the children are confident in reading all 44 graphemes and they are decoding words confidently, we shall then move them onto our 'Big Life' Scheme. This will take them through the rest of their primary years with us. The book bands here are much more relaxed but give us an indication of your child's reading level. Take a look at the attached guide to the levels. Remember, now is the time to continue to read with your child; to question; to explore and too enjoy books together. Poetry, non-fiction, plays, instructions, magazines, biographies, adventure...go for it! Teach your child to love to read, not just be able to read!
The children are encouraged to recognise letters from nursery and will use play opportunities (sand, water, paint etc) to begin to form their letters. Formal teaching of printed letters will begin in year 1 joining only if the child shows an aptitude towards it. Please encourage the correct direction of flow. Do see speak to your child's teacher if you are unsure. Malformation of letters can become a habit and pose difficulties later when they are trying to achieve a fluent script.
Formal teaching of a cursive, joined script will begin in year 2 and continue through year 3. We would hope that your child is forming letters correctly and beginning to gain control over the size and clarity of ascenders (t,l,k etc) and descenders (y,g,p etc). The children will now be formally taught to join their letters so that by year 5 and 6, they are writing fluently and legibly. It is important to note that the correct flow of letter formation is key. Only when this is secure will the children be taught to join their script. Extra practise may well be needed on certain letters that have become a habit of malformation!
Reading and Spelling at Bishop Monkton
In the Early Years and Key Stage 1, reading is linked through our phonics scheme, 'Little Wandle'.
The children explore and practise phonics daily and they will be given a reading books which reflects the phonics being practised in school. (Alongside their phonic-based book from 'Big Cat', please expose the children to a wide variety of books including poetry and non-fiction/information books).
Daily phonics teaching is formal and progression is carefully monitored each week with a statutory assessment called a 'Phonics Check' at the end of year 1. We use a scheme called Little Wandle which provides a thorough series of scripted phonics lessons and reading practice. The children's progress is carefully monitored and when required, the children may have 'catch-up' sessions to ensure that their knowledge is sound before they move forward in the process. The emphasis is on consistency, consolidating and embedding.
In Key Stage 2, we have implemented a plan which builds on the knowledge and skills that the children have gained in the Early Years and KS1. During Year 2, the children will remain on Little Wandle until they are ready to move to our 'Book Life' reading scheme. This scheme, as said previously, is colour coded to help monitor the children's progress. 'Book Bingo' encourages the children to read widely and celebrates achievements through certificates. Content maturity, book length, chapter length and vocabulary all feed into the choice of colour band.
Spelling will now take a structured approach which builds on the skills gained through Little Wandle. The children will have structured opportunities to explore meanings, the etymology of words (origins), root words and the changing classes (e.g. adjective, noun, verb, adverb etc) of words by adding suffixes and prefixes. The children will develop their knowledge of 'sound buttons' gained in KS1; this will provide them with a 'toolkit' to build new and more sophisticated words. We use the statutory list of words, including homophones, to help the children develop their spelling independence and vocabulary confidence. Each week there will be a 'check-up' to monitor the children's progress.
Vocabulary and reading are interlinked. Please read to your child, they can access more involved texts when read to. Please encourage your child to read on a daily basis and 'check-in with them. Explore vocabulary, themes, structure, settings and characters together. Have fun!
We provide a wide range of situations, audiences and activities which encourage children to develop confidence and competence in speaking and listening. Opportunities to develop speaking confidence are many: class assemblies, performance and plays, festivals and services, debates and leadership roles. Children learn mechanical skills required for effective oral communication, e.g. voice projection, tone, clarity, pace of speech and the importance of listening in all types of communication. Here at Bishop Monkton we teach 'prosody' (the rhythm and musicality of speech) from the early years songs and rhymes to class reading fun in year 6. Through PHSE and music, we teach the children how to listen and respond well.