English

The new curriculum for English was unveiled by the DFE in 2014 (a copy can be found on the curriculum page of the website) but what does it mean for your child?

In a nutshell nothing huge has changed but we have seen many objectives 'drop down' a year or so, meaning that your child may be now be tackling much trickier concepts than they did last year.  Here is a precis of the main changes:

  • Stronger emphasis on vocabulary development, grammar, punctuation and spelling (for example, the use of commas and apostrophes will be taught in KS1).
  • Handwriting (not currently assessed under the national curriculum) is expected to be fluent, legible and speedy.
  • Spoken English has a greater emphasis, with children to be taught debating  and presenting skills.
You are able to check the expectations for your child's attainment by looking at the sample 2016 SATs materials that have been released by the DFE.  You can find these here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/national-curriculum-assessments-2016-sample-materials

The spelling and grammar tests clearly show how much the curriculum is emphasising an in depth knowledge of grammar rules for both year two and year six pupils.  We are meeting these needs by offering your children stand alone spelling and grammar sessions each week to teach and hone these skills.  We are also ensuring all staff have relevant knoweldge by undertaking staff training sessions and resourcing all classrooms with books such as these:

Along side these skills based sessions, we are also ensuring that the English curriculum is rich and varied for your child.  They will have lots of 'real life' opportunities to write and will engage with quality texts to ensure they have good ideas for their writing.  We do have some reluctant writers and we are tackling this through our mindsets approach and by finding the right stimulus e.g. writing a graphic novel or a script for a short film.

You can help and support at home by ensuring your child is reading a range of texts regularly.  Even if they are fluent, you should still question them about what happened/what will happen next/who did what, as it will be their understanding or comprehension of these texts that will be tested throughout the year.  A comprehensive guide to our reading scheme and how to help can be found below:

Reading for pleasure is now a key part of the curriclum so don't forget to show your children how enjoable reading can be.  Don't hide that thriller on the night stand! Show your child how much you enjoy reading too and read alongside them!

If you would like any help or advice about how to develop your child's or your own knowledge of the English curriculum please see me (Mrs Blake) or your child's teacher.

Handwriting
 
In March 2016 we responded to the DFE's assertion that all children from Y2 up should join their handwriting 'fuently and legibly' by developing a new handwriting policy.  This policy clearly signposts the steps needed to allow all children to write in a cursive style; beginning with pre-cursive in reception and year one, allowing children to naturally begin joining in Y2.  A copy of the policy, a letter to parents about the change and some practise sheets can be found below.