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.’
Reading is centre to all our English teaching at Bishop Monkton. Our school library is well stocked and continually added to. New books are highlighted in whole school assemblies and promoted through our Friday reading club: ‘The Bookworms’. Our Book Bingo Award Scheme helps families to explore a wide range of genres from science non-fiction to humorous poetry to stories set in other countries. We hold performance poetry afternoons across the school and always celebrate World Book Day with style.
In EYFS, a foundation for the love of reading is developed through the exploration of sound. Here, there are opportunities to listen, remember and talk about sounds through rhythm games, songs and book sharing. Then in Reception, the children begin their formal teaching of reading through ‘Little Wandle’. Little Wandle provides a consistent, daily approach to the teaching of phonics. It uses the ‘Big Cat‘ scheme of books to lead the children through the accumulation of knowledge. Once the children are confident in all the phonics phases, they may move onto our second scheme: Book Life. If the children are not secure in all the phases, then they shall receive ‘catch-up’ teaching using the Little Wandle resources. For this to happen effectively, the children are continually monitored and assessed to ensure the rigour of this resource.
Once the children are ready, they will move to our Booklife scheme. A huge range of books rotated between the classrooms and the library have been colour banded according to maturity of content, vocabulary, structure and size of text. This banding provided a loose structure to guide the continuing development in reading skills. These books are broad and diverse with the aim to encourage a personal love for reading. Teachers monitor choices through reading diaries in years 2 and 3, planners and ‘Reading Journals’ in years 4-6. In these the children can express their interests in their chosen books through opinions, drawings and score them using a 5 star system.
Once the children have left the Little Wandle Scheme, then the teaching of reading continues to build on the Little Wandle methods to ensure consistency. From year 2 – year 6, the children have 3 dedicated, whole class reading lessons. These use short texts from The Literacy Shed which may be poetry, non-fiction, plays or narrative texts.
Lesson 1: The text is modelled and tricky vocabulary explored. The children will understand the difference in tier 1, 2 and 3 words and will use the tools available to them to explore their pronunciation and meaning (dictionaries, thesaurus, iPad, discussion, ‘Grow the code’ chart and knowledge.
Lesson 2: The text is modelled with the focus on prosody and fluency. The children practise reading with prosody.
Lesson 3: Using the ‘Vipers’ questions at the end of the text, the children explore their comprehension of the text. They will explore structures, inference, summarising, words and phrases and learn how to retrieve information.
Oracy in school
Children at Bishop Monkton are provided with many opportunities to develop their speaking and performance skills. Each class, from Nursery to year 6 will take part in performance such as nativity and summer productions. All will contribute to our services at Harvest-time, Christmas and Easter with the year 6 leading the rest of the school. Each class will present an aspect of their learning to parents and the school, twice a year through class assemblies. In the summer, our year 6 children will put together their leaving service giving them the opportunity to express their experience of their time at Bishop Monkton through music, dance and prose.
All children from Reception to year 6, will develop the skills needed to read aloud and engage their audience through weekly prosody lessons. They will use these skills whilst sharing work in their classrooms and celebrating their achievements during our weekly celebration service.
Alongside the above, the children in KS2 shall explore the art of debate through regular opportunities provided by their study.
The teaching of writing at Bishop Monkton
A framework of genres provides guidance to ensure progressive coverage and our suggested book list ensures that we use diverse texts which stimulate and excite our children into becoming people who write for pleasure. We use The Literacy Tree as our main resource for writing from EYFS to year 6. The Literacy Tree provides a wide variety of opportunities to write and to model writing, using outstanding, diverse texts. It also brilliantly embeds the teaching of punctuation and grammar. We will always contextualise the teaching of grammar and punctuation where possible. Using our long term plans for grammar, punctuation and spelling, we monitor our coverage and we will offer stand-alone lessons to ensure that the curriculum needs are fully met. The intention of the writing opportunity is at the heart of all teaching. Here at Bishop Monkton, we wish to encourage the joy of writing so that the children are equipped to use written communication within any area of their lives.
Please visit our class pages for examples of excellent pieces of writing to help you gauge the expected standards of writing of each year group.
Also on our class pages, you will find an English tab where you will find a range of learning from our English lessons.
Spelling at Bishop Monkton
In EYFS, spelling is taught through the structure of the Little Wandle scheme. Children on catch-up will receive teaching through their sessions.
Once the children leave the Little Wandle Scheme, they will be formally taught spellings through three or four ‘Grow the Code’ sessions per week. This provides consistent and familiar teaching methods that build on Little Wandle practice.
Grow the code lessons will include:
Meaning - exploring the meaning of the weekly word list using a thesaurus, dictionaries and discussion.
Orthography of the words - breaking down spellings into the smallest units of sound and cluster them into syllables in order to read and write words efficiently. We call these ‘sound buttons’.
Morphology – lessons that consolidate children’s knowledge of common morphemes such as root formations, prefixes and suffixes.
Etymology – exploring the origin of words.
Teachers will use the online ‘Spelling Shed’ resource. This will provide security of coverage and also provides an online home practise app.
In line with the National Curriculum, the children are taught to edit their writing for spelling errors. They will be aware of the tools available to them such as, online spelling apps, dictionaries, thesaurus, Grow the Code charts, ‘Have-a-go’ sheets that are in their English books from year 2 and peer support.