‘With joyful hearts, we love, learn and praise as the family of God’
At Sacred Heart Catholic Primary School we aim to foster a love of literacy in every child through immersing them throughout their primary education in high quality texts. Our literacy curriculum builds on children’s previous learning and aims to strengthen each of the literacy strands; spoken language, reading and writing.
We aim to promote high standards of literacy and language by equipping children with a strong command of spoken language through opportunities of role play and drama, and to develop their love of literature through widespread reading for enjoyment and writing with purpose. The mapping of Literacy across school shows clear progression in line with age related expectations.
We believe that our curriculum allows children to develop socially, emotionally, intellectually and spiritually by choosing texts which are rich and balanced to provide appropriate challenge for each year group in their reading and writing tasks. Writing lessons enable children to explore these texts by following our medium term planning sequence where children predict, read, analyse, plan, edit, write and read aloud. We aim to plan lessons which give children a purpose and an audience for their writing to ensure our high expectations are achieved with children writing with purpose and value.
Our personalised curriculum allows children to better make sense of the world around them as books such as Malala and Wonder are taught in Year 6 and Fantastically Great Women Who Changed the World in Year 2 broaden their cultural knowledge.
Literacy in our school is enhanced by our individual class working walls designed to aid children through each topic, through apps such as Spelling Shed and IDL and through enhancements such as ‘More able writers’ trips, themed reading weeks coincided with ‘World Book Day’ and taking part in the ‘Shakespeare Festival’.
Teachers are supported through regular CPD and curriculum development days ensuring confidence in the skills and knowledge they are required to teach.
At Sacred Heart we are creative and personal in our approach to implementing a high-quality English curriculum. Our implementation is developed through secure understanding of the curriculum and subject area.
Phonics is taught throughout Early Years and Key Stage 1 through the Read Write Inc programme. Children learn the English alphabetic code: first they learn one way to read the 40+ sounds and blend these sounds into words, then learn to read the same sounds with alternative graphemes. Lively phonic books are closely matched to their increasing knowledge of phonics and ‘tricky’ words and, as children re-read the stories, their fluency increases. Children are assessed and streamed in abilities groups. Each half term they are assessed and regrouped so that their progress is closely monitored.
Once children have completed the programme they move into guided reading groups. Guided reading is structured so that children are consistently revisiting and building on previous learning. In Key Stage 1, our guided reading carousels include children completing comprehension tasks, practising handwriting, reading for pleasure and reading a text matched to their reading ability with a teacher. High quality questioning on comprehension, language, inference and text types by teachers allows all children to make good progress in reading. Modelled answers by the class teacher further supports children to articulate and record their ideas accurately.
In Key Stage 2 children take part in whole class guided reading with a teacher every day. This enables children to read more and comprehend more. Books are chosen to be challenging and engaging for children, with an aim to expose children to a variety of texts types including newspaper articles, websites, songs, poems, traditional tales, contemporary novels and books celebrating diversity. Children who require additional support with their reading and comprehension skills take part in small group reading sessions using Project X. Project X aims to support and inspire children to read confidently and progress with their reading skills through high quality, diverse texts and engaging resources.
Writing lessons are planned and taught following a writing sequence where teachers plan and deliver motivating and exciting writing opportunities based around their chosen text. This includes children writing letters, non-chronological reports, diary entries and fictional stories. Teachers make sure that children are aware of how to be successful in their writing by sharing success criteria and making sure writing activities have a purpose that children are aware of. Spelling, punctuation and grammar focuses are built into the planning cycle so children can demonstrate what they have learnt in their final written piece.
Children make excellent progress in reading at EYFS and KS1 with phonics screening results being above national average. Teachers monitor and track children’s progress closely and implement extra provision for children not making expected progress at the first opportunity. Attainment in literacy is strong at both KS1 and particularly KS2 with a higher percentage than national achieving greater depth in reading and SPAG.
Attainment is tracked using summative assessment every term and end of year in Years 1, 3, 4 and 5 with more regular assessment taking place in Year 2 and Year 6 as these are end of key stages. We use NFER tests to track attainment in Reading, SPAG and Spelling. NFER tests reflect the style and format of the national curriculum tests to help build pupils’ familiarity with more formal assessment. Termly teacher assessment is inputted onto Insight to make sure good progress is being made and indicates which children need extra support to achieve expected expectation or greater depth expectations. Phonics is tracked and monitored every half term to ensure children are making good progress inline with expectations. Children are identified early if not keeping up with expectations and intervention is put into place either 1:1 or in small groups of children with similar needs.
Children are able to demonstrate the impact of their learning in literacy to many other curriculum areas and their enthusiasm and motivation for reading and writing will enable them to continue to be successful life-long learners.