Kings Academy College Park believes that every child should have high standards of language and literacy. Our aim is to develop children’s love of reading, writing and discussion of new language. Our curriculum aims to provide widespread opportunities to read for pleasure and for information, giving them the ability to express themselves as critical and creative thinkers in the wider world. We have high expectations of the children’s speaking and listening skills, focusing on improving language acquisition and developing the use of appropriate vocabulary across the whole curriculum. This in turn enables pupils to become fluent, independent readers and creative writers, something we consider to be essential life skills.
Children in the Early Years will follow Development Matters working towards Early Learning Goals, which they are assessed against at the end of the Reception year. The relevant guidance and curriculum are used to support the teaching and planning of all activities, ensuring the recommended amount of child-led play or exploration. Independent Learning Time (ILT) sessions incorporate a variety of English and phonic-based learning.
In KS1 & KS2, English is taught following the National Curriculum framework 2014, offering opportunities for the reading and writing of fiction, non-fiction and poetry. Cross-curricular links are made between English, reading and our termly topics, enabling children to draw on a wide range of knowledge when writing. This allows children to use their wider subject knowledge for differentiated outcomes. Assessment for learning is continuous and progress recorded at regular intervals, using teacher assessment for writing and standardised reading assessments.
Pupils begin their school life following a systematic, synthetic phonics teaching approach. Children work at a pace that best suits them, recapping and extending as necessary. The government requires that in Year 1 each child take the Phonic Screening Check which we prepare them for. Recaps of phonic knowledge and targeted interventions to plug ‘gaps’ in children’s knowledge and application are present in Year 2 and into KS2. Phonics is part of the establishment phase in Year 3 to ensure children are prepared for the KS2 curriculum as well as into upper KS2 if necessary, through interventions.
Spelling rules are taught both discretely and through our English lessons. Children are taught to spell phonetically regular words using specific spelling rules where appropriate. Pupils are also taught common exception words outlined in the KS1 & KS2 curriculum, with the exception of Year R.
Across Kings Academies College Park, children work through a colour-banded reading progression, which matches closely to their phonics knowledge, starting with books with no words as a way of teaching pre-reading skills, and ending as ‘free readers’. They are encouraged to read a range of genres and use the language found in these books to improve their writing. Incentives to read at home are used across all key stages to further develop skills and embed the learning. The bookmark scheme and reading assemblies encourage children to read outside of school and ‘Bug Club’ enables children to read online at home. Reading lessons are planned to include regular reading aloud in pairs or small groups, with a heavy focus on understanding new language through discussion. Comprehension skills are taught through guided reading rotations or whole class teaching.
We introduce print handwriting in Year R and pupils learn how to form their letters during phonic sessions. There is a handwriting progression to show how children will then go onto write cursively as they go through KS1. With each unit of writing across KS1 and KS2, children are given opportunities to immerse in the text type; create a shared text, which allows the teacher to model the writer’s process before planning and writing their own text independently. Skills for writing are taught as part of the English lesson, or as discrete SPaG lessons when appropriate.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, attainment data for primary schools was not published in 2020 or 2021. Results from 2019 are as follows:
- EYFS results show that the percentage of children achieving EXS+ in Reading and Writing was 88% and 90% respectively. This is above national averages.
- The percentage of children achieving a pass mark in the phonic screening check for Year 1 pupils was 85%. This is above national averages.
- KS1 reading results at EXS+ remained in the 80%s for the third year running with GDS results at 37.5%.
- Writing remained above the national average at 81% with GDS at 21%.
- KS2 results show SPaG at EXP+ was73% and 21% at GDS. These results were below national averages and show a dip in comparison to the previous year’s outcomes.
- Reading results also dipped to 67% at Expected with 20% reaching GDS.
- Writing at the Expected standard rose to 80% with all judgements agreed at external moderation with GDS at 5%.