At Buckingham Park Church of England Primary School it is important that every member of the school community feels valued and respected, and that each person is treated fairly and well. We are a caring community, built on a clear Christian foundation and rooted in Christian values. We aim to provide the highest quality all round education, for each and every child, in partnership with parents, within the context of a Christian community. In short, ‘Excellence, through God who strengthens us’.
All school policies are therefore designed to support the way in which all members of the school can live and work together in a supportive way. It aims to promote an environment where everyone feels happy, safe and secure.
The school has a set of values that are based on Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. These are a means of promoting good relationships, so that people can work together with the common purpose of helping everyone to learn. These values are displayed below and permeate everything we do:
We are kind, helpful and polite We do our best We are honest We share We are peacemakers We forgive others We take care of everything, and everyone
Intent At Buckingham Park we believe that all children can become confident readers and writers which is why we have designed our English curriculum with the intent that all children, regardless of background, will become fluent, insightful readers and technically skilled, creative writers. We believe that a high quality English curriculum should develop children’s love of reading and writing and recognise that a secure basis in English skills is crucial to a high quality education and will give our children the tools they need to succeed in all other areas. One of our top priorities is enabling children to develop their reading skills and a love of reading. Our children will engage with a range of genres and develop their understanding of fiction and non-fiction styles. We recognise the importance of nurturing a culture where children take pride in their writing, can write clearly and accurately and are able to adapt their language and style for a range of contexts. We understand that a good grasp of English is the foundation of the entire curriculum and that children who are confident and adept readers and writers will be empowered to thrive in all areas of the curriculum.
At Buckingham Park we have designed a secure, knowledge-based English curriculum which follows a clear pathway of progression
Reading Reading is an integral part of our curriculum at Buckingham Park. We believe in providing pupils with opportunities to read throughout the day, not only to develop their reading and comprehension skills, but also to develop a love of reading for pleasure. Teachers explicitly model reading skills by reading to the children daily. For example, by reading a story book or class novel at the end of the day. This is an enjoyable experience which exposes children to new vocabulary and genres but most importantly, it allows our teachers to share their passion for reading.
Phonics and Early Reading Please see our separate Phonics and Early Reading policy for a detailed overview of how early reading is delivered at Buckingham Park.
Whole Class Reading In Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 reading is taught through Whole Class Reading sessions, these are taught in addition to daily English lessons. The reading skills taught are: vocabulary, inference, predication, explanation, retrieval and summarising (VIPERS). Whole class reading sessions mean that children of all attainment bands are immersed in the same high quality literature and the high quality, language rich discussions that these texts promote. Whole Class Reading includes a range of activities (not all of which have a written outcome) that enable pupils to develop their vocabulary and comprehension skills. They are also exposed to the enhanced reasoning skills of more confident readers.
Reading Scheme We use the Collins Big Cat reading scheme, this is a whole school programme that provides complete support for primary reading from early phonics development to fluent reading and comprehension. From early decodable readers to chapter books, Collins Big Cat supports a journey from phonics to fluency, with levelled readers that systematically increase the level of challenge, vocabulary and stamina as children work up through the bands. Books are colour banded to ensure they match appropriately to the ability of each child. For further information on this and for the progression of coloured bands, please click on the 'Big Cat Book Band Progression' button at the end of this page. Children who are learning Phonics phases will read a phase book which could be a variety of colours as they include phonemes from the appropriate phase. Once children have passed the BP Phonics Phase 5 assessment they will begin reading Orange books and can then be benchmarked. Benchmarking We use the Collins Big Cat Assessing Reading in Fluency benchmarking system to assess reading fluency across the school, from Reception to Year 6. These assessments are used to determine whether a child is ready to move up to the next book band. They usually happen half termly by a Teaching Assistant who works in the year group with the child, but can take place whenever the child is ready. Benchmarking assesses pupils’ speed, accuracy, expression and understanding by asking the child to read a short passage of text and then answer a couple of questions about it. Adults mark any errors the child makes, how many words they read in a minute and records their answers to the comprehension questions and then uses this information to calculate an “accuracy percentage” which will advise whether the child is ready to move to the next coloured band or is currently on the correct level. Children who are learning Phonics phases will be assessed using BP Phonics assessments. Once they have passed the Phase 5 assessment they will move onto Orange books and will then be benchmarked. Assessing reading Teachers are responsible for assessing the progress of all pupils in their class and do so using a range of strategies. The assessment of reading is used to inform the planning, teaching and additional provisions needed to support reading development. We use the Rising Stars PIRA (Progress in Reading Assessment) termly assessments in Years 1 to 6 to gain an understanding of children’s ability to read a text and answer a range of questions about it. Each paper has a number of text types in, which increase in difficulty throughout the paper and year, and include a variety of question types. These assessments are then inputted onto the Rising Stars system to give the teacher a “scaled score” which can then be used to inform teacher assessment as to whether the child is working at, below or above age related expectations.
Reading at Home We work in partnership with parents so that children develop a love of sharing and discussing books. All children take home a reading book and a reading record to record the reading they do at home. These should be brought into school daily so that children can be listened to read regularly at school as well as at home. Reading records are checked daily by classroom staff and reading books are changed regularly. Teachers monitor how often children are reading at home and reading records provide a means of communication between home and school. Reading is regarded as a regular home learning activity, with the expectation that all children read at least three times a week at home. We encourage all parents to listen to their child read and take time to discuss the book and ask questions; inside each reading record is a list of comprehension questions which can be used before, during and after reading a book. These are differentiated by key stage. For examples of this, please click on the 'Reading Record Questions' button at the bottom of this page. Reading for Pleasure There are four specific practices that, combined, motivate children to choose to read and become frequent readers who develop a love of literature. These are: Reading aloud to, and with, children This is in addition to the reading done in English and Whole Class Reading sessions. Reading aloud for pleasure enables children to access rich, challenging texts and creates a class repertoire of ‘texts in common’ to discuss. At Buckingham Park we share stories with our children every day. Informal book talk Talk about texts is essential in all English teaching, but informal, reader-to-reader talk is also crucial. This is often spontaneous and includes book-related play and recommendations. Teachers model book recommendations and children are invited to share these. Recommendations of texts can also be found in our library. Choice-led reading time Children need time to read and explore books in a relaxed environment. Time is given regularly to children to choose and read books in their classroom; this may be first thing in the morning, ERIC (everybody reading in class) or once they have finished their work. Classes also visit the school library regularly, allowing them to read and take challenging and exciting books to read at home in addition to their reading book. Reading environments Exciting reading environments are key to promoting a strong reading culture. All classrooms have inviting and exciting well-stocked book corners with fiction and non-fiction titles. Teachers ensure that a wide range of texts are available in terms of content, form and genre and, where possible, books relating to learning in Humanities and Science are included in the book corner. Books are changed regularly to ensure the class library stays fresh and exciting for all children. The learning environment also promotes reading in an engaging way. Key vocabulary is included and referred to on class displays for different subjects, which the children are encouraged to access during lessons. In Key Stage 1, displays also include elements of phonics.
Inclusion We are committed to providing effective learning opportunities for all of our children at Buckingham Park to enable them to achieve the age-related expectations. We recognise that occasionally, some children may find reading challenging and, when this is the case, all reading sessions and resources can be adapted and differentiated to ensure that all children make progress. Teachers use their secure knowledge of the pupils in their class to adapt Whole Class Reading sessions and activities to ensure that each child’s needs are met. When assessing pupils, adaptations are made for children with additional needs, for example by providing extra time or support when completing the Rising Stars PIRA assessments. Children who are making slow progress with their reading may become a “daily reader” to support their reading and comprehension, or may be part of an intervention, for example to support phonics or comprehension skills. Further intervention may be arranged with the SENDCo who can advise on targeted support for individual children.
We believe reading for pleasure is important and have therefore created a recommended reading list for each year group. Please click on a year group below for some examples of texts that we recommend!
Writing At Buckingham Park, all children are provided with many opportunities to develop and apply their writing skills across the curriculum. Our intention is for children to be able to successfully plan, share, evaluate, edit and publish their writing, to be able to do this effectively, children will be immersed in a language rich environment where the extensive use of classroom talk supports their composition and writing is purposeful and focused on creating the intended effect for the reader. We have high expectations for transcriptional accuracy, spelling and handwriting and want children to strive for excellence in their writing.
We intend to develop in our children: · Their imagination and creativity so they excel as writers · Excellent oral language skills to support their writing · The confidence to write with growing independence · The competence to produce a high standard of work · An awareness of audience · A fluent handwriting style · A good understanding of phonics, spelling, vocabulary, grammar and punctuation Early writing Early writing is taught through mark making, then when the children begin Phonics they are taught letter formations. This begins with writing CVC words (whether with a writing tool or in the air) and then moving on to short sentences using the sounds they have been taught. The children also learn to recite and write stories using the Helicopter Stories approach interweaved with Talk for Writing. Children in Reception are encouraged to write independently in continuous provision.
Talk for Writing At Buckingham Park we use Pie Corbett’s ‘Talk for Writing’ approach to teach writing. This is a nationally, and internationally, recognised process and has proven to have significant impact on developing children as writers. Talk for Writing is impactful because it is based on how children learn and moves children systematically and supportively from being a dependent writer to independent application. Talk for Writing is inclusive, which means that all children can learn to be a writer and access lessons, it also supports children with English as an Additional Language by immersing them in language. The Talk for Writing approach is base on three phases as shown in the image below. We ensure that children have regular opportunities to learn new skills but also revisit and apply ones that have been previously taught. Our curriculum ensures that there is a progression in both skills and writing genres throughout the school, and that during each writing unit, children explore high quality texts and literature. Talk for Writing enables us to deliver a focused approach to teaching new vocabulary. Model texts are pitched to provide examples of new ‘tier 2’ and ‘tier 3’ words; these are words that the children are likely to be unfamiliar with. ‘Tier 2’ words are known to the children as “Speed Words” and there will often be a lesson based around these when the children learn the definitions of these and have the opportunity to use these in their writing. ‘Tier 3’ words are words that the children may not come across in their day-to-day reading or are subject specific. Grammar is embedded in the model text, but may also be taught through discrete lessons. Teachers adapt the model text for their writing units to reflect any gaps identified from the cold write. Teachers map the grammar skills for the year group to their writing units using the toolkits designed for each genre. Again, teachers are expected to track back to previous year’s objectives, if this is appropriate. There is an expectation that all teachers’ and teaching assistant’s use of grammar is accurate. Teachers are very aware that, if grammar is to be understood in a meaningful way, it must be taught purposefully and discretely alongside being applied and examined in the context of real composition. To support and maintain high standards of written work, each phase has an “everyday toolkit” which details the expectations for all written work. This is progressive and builds on the expectations of what should be included in each piece of written work as the children move through the school. These toolkits are displayed prominently in classrooms and are also regularly referred to by adults throughout lessons. A copy of these can be found by clicking on the 'everyday toolkit' button below.
Assessing writing In Years 1 to 6, teachers set a ‘cold write’ before beginning a new Talk for Writing unit, this is usually completed the half term before beginning the new unit. This is used to assess the areas the children will need to be specifically taught, which may mean tracking back to objectives from previous years, in grammar and genre. After the teaching of a writing unit, teachers assess the ‘hot write’ at the end of the unit and compare this to the ‘cold write’. Progress should be evident between the two pieces. Both the cold and hot writes should be completed mainly independently as they are used for assessment.
Spelling Good spelling is an essential skills which allows children to communicate their understanding in all subjects. In order for pupils to develop into effective and confident writers, they need to develop and use a range of effective strategies. By providing these, we equip them with the independence to attempt spellings before seeking support. We want children at Buckingham Park to develop a love of language and the confidence to spell more challenging and ambitious words.
Teaching and Learning To support the teaching and learning of spelling at our school, children use Emile from Year 1. This is a programme that includes a range of resources that has been developed by teachers, academic and game developers. All resources are underpinned by robust pedagogical research and are tested rigorously by teachers in real classrooms.
Emile has adopted the Assess, Practice, Achieve model which ensures students are working at the right level and are making progress. Students are engaged by an enchanting adventure, crazy characters, enthralling game modes and class competitions. The more questions children answer, the more Emile is able to know which questions to allocate and the more data is therefore available for teachers to know what their class needs help with.
We do not do weekly spelling tests. Instead, children receive one ten minute spelling lesson a week, using the Emile teaching resources which include a power point, word list and word search. Children are then given a spelling list to take home; this may be in a separate spelling book or stuck inside children’s reading records, and includes “game codes” that the children are expected to access on Emile.
Teachers are able to set specific word lists for their classes, which are all aligned to the national curriculum and have been taken from the appendices for Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2; an example overview can be found in the appendix. Children are able to complete various activities focusing on these word lists, but can also complete a ‘rating game’ which gives access to a range of spelling rules and increases in difficulty.
Teachers can see how their class are progressing with word lists and spelling rules by looking at a RAG overview which shows when students login, how they perform across multiple attempts and week by week tracking, which enables them to see which spelling rules may need to be revisited.
Spelling in lessons Spelling and punctuation is largely self-monitored as children write; children have green pens to correct any errors and are regularly encouraged to read through and check their finished writing. Children are encouraged to use their phonics skills to attempt spelling unfamiliar and tricky words and phonetically plausible ‘invented’ spellings are seen as acceptable.
Children are encouraged to have a go at spelling words they are unsure of and asked to underline this with a wavy line so that, when marking, teachers are aware that the child is unsure of the spelling but made their best attempt.
Handwriting Handwriting is a skill which, like reading and spelling, affects written communication across the curriculum. The ability to write legibly and fluently enables children to communicate their thoughts, ideas and responses effectively. Children need to have a secure understanding of correct letter formation before progressing to writing with a joined style. To support correct letter formation, there should be plenty of opportunities to practise and consolidate skills.
At Buckingham Park we believe that handwriting should be taught regularly and systematically using demonstrations, explanations and practise. Our aims in teaching handwriting are that children will:
Understand the importance of clear and legible writing
Take pride in the presentation of their work
Develop their letter formation and handwriting skills through a multisensory approach
Develop a comfortable and legible joined handwriting style
Be able to write quickly and fluently to support them when expressing themselves creatively
Teaching and Learning To support the teaching and learning of handwriting at our school, we use Penpals for Handwriting, a scheme of work published by Cambridge. The scheme is used to plan a clear progression of skills from EYFS to Year 6.
Handwriting is a taught skill that develops at different rates for different children; Penpals for Handwriting provides a range of teaching resources to support the planning, teaching, learning and assessment of handwriting. All of these can be adapted to suit the needs of individual children. The resources we have for each year group include:
A Teacher’s guidebook
Practise book or PDFs of practise sheets
A big book for whole class or group teaching which is ‘write-on, wipe-off’
CD-ROMs which includes videos, warm-up exercises, animated letters and joins
Font The font we use is Sassoon Penpals which has a number of variations to support the development of children’s handwriting. Examples of some of the fonts are below:
Posture A good posture and pencil hold are vital for good handwriting. Children should be taught the importance of sitting upright and correctly on a chair, with their feet on the floor. Sitting on one foot, kneeling on a chair or wrapping their feet around the legs of a chair should be discouraged.
Pencil grip Children are encouraged to use the ‘Tripod Grip’. Children should be shown how to place their pencil on the table in front of them with it pointing towards their bodies. This then makes it easier to allow the pencil to fall back into the tripod grip when they pick it up. We recognise that other pencil holds may be more comfortable, particularly for left-handed children – the aim is for children to be comfortable with their pencil grip and for it not to hinder their legibility. It is important that, when a child is writing, the pen or pencil they are using is the correct size for the child and not too large.
Modelling All staff should model the Penpals handwriting style suitable for the age group they are working with; this includes any writing an adult does on the board, in children’s books or on classroom displays. Children’s worksheets, spelling lists and book labels should use the Penpals font when possible. Classroom displays may use different fonts but a display modelling Penpals should be somewhere prominent in the classroom (at the front of the room near the whiteboard, smartboard or English display).
Progression of Skills Penpals for Handwriting provides a detailed ‘Scope and Sequence’ guide of progression which can be found at the end of this document. A brief overview of the progression of letter formation is as follows:
Long-legged giraffe letters (l, i, t, u, j, y)
One-armed robot letters (r, b, n, h, m, k, p)
Curly caterpillar letters (c, a, d, o, s, g, q, e, f)
Zig-zag monster letters (z, v, w, x)
Writing words with double letters (ff, ss, etc.)
Early Years Throughout Nursery and Reception, children will:
take part in a variety of engaging activities to develop their fine and gross motor skills and recognition of patterns; for example forming letters using their index finger in sand, using paint or taking part in activities such as “Dough Disco”
be given plenty of opportunities to create patterns: exploring straight lines, loops, circles and angles
begin to learn how to correctly hold and use a pencil
be shown how to sit at a table with good posture
Key Stage 1 Priority is given to teaching the correct letter formation before progressing to joining. All pupils should have at least a 10-minute teacher-led handwriting session each day with further opportunities to practise and develop letter formation and handwriting skills as necessary. This may take the form of small group interventions. Children will record their handwriting in separate handwriting books. In Year 1 these will have handwriting guides and in Year 2 they will be the same 8mm lines that the children will be using in their English books.
In Year 1, links should be made to promote the correct letter formation in Phonics sessions. Adults should continue to support and guide children to maintain good posture and use a comfortable and efficient pencil grip. Lines in exercise books should be 15mm with children encouraged to correctly space their words.
In Year 2, children should have a secure understanding of correct letter formation and spacing. Exercise books should be 8mm with a separate handwriting book for taught sessions. When the teachers feel it is appropriate, joining can be introduced following the Penpals for Handwriting scheme. It is important that joined writing is modelled explicitly to the children and that there are plenty of opportunities for them to practise joining in handwriting sessions. The National Curriculum states that children should also be taught which letters are best left unjoined (break letters). These are: b, g, j, p, q, x, y, z
Key Stage 2 By the time children are in Year 3 they should have learnt and be able to use at least some of the joins for handwriting. Children will continue to have direct teaching and regular practice of handwriting, securing joins and developing their speed and fluency. Children in Key Stage 2 should have a 10-minute handwriting session at least three times a week; it may not be necessary to have a separate handwriting book for these sessions but some teachers may choose to for individual children. Handwriting will be recorded in the back of the children’s English books. By the end of Year 6, children should have a clear, fluid handwriting style and be able to adapt this for different purposes; for example presented work, note making and labelling diagrams.
Marking and Feedback It is not necessary for handwriting books to be marked after a session unless the teacher feels it is beneficial to do so. Teaching staff should give immediate verbal feedback during handwriting sessions; addressing misconceptions and modelling the correct formation and joins in children’s books before giving the child another opportunity to practise. Inclusion We expect the vast majority of the children at Buckingham Park to achieve the age-related expectations in handwriting but recognise that occasionally, some children may find handwriting challenging. When this is the case, all handwriting sessions and resources can be adapted and differentiated to ensure that all children make progress. Children who are not yet ready to write are provided with a range of pre-writing activities, some of which are provided in the Penpals scheme. Further intervention may be arranged with the SENDCo who can advise on targeted support for individual children. Where necessary, additional resources such as triangular pencils, pencil grips or seat cushions can be discussed with the SENDCo.
Left-handed children At least 10% of the population are left-handed. Teachers are aware that adaptations and provisions may be needed for children who are left-handed. This may include:
children positioned so that they can place their book to their left side
left-handed children sitting to the left of a right-handed child so that there is plenty of space
not holding a pencil too close to the point as this can interrupt the child’s line of vision
the teacher modelling letter formation or handwriting using their left hand on an individual or group basis, even if the resulting writing is not neat
Writing in Pen
Published Work All children are encouraged to use a pen when writing their ‘hot piece’ in English or any other writing that is going on display. This emphasises the importance of the piece of work and gives it more of a purpose and ‘published’ feel. All other writing will be completed in pencil.
Whole school English texts
Please click on the document below to see further information regarding the English texts taught across our school.