Langley Mill Academy: English Curriculum
English at Langley Mill Academy promotes high standards of language and literacy by equipping pupils with a strong command of the spoken and written language. English will teach pupils to speak and write fluently so that they can communicate their ideas and emotions to others, and through their reading and listening, others can communicate with them.
We strive to promote a love of literature by reading around themes and exposing children to a range of genres so that they can explore and develop their enjoyment of reading. Through reading in particular, our pupils develop culturally, emotionally, intellectually, socially and spiritually. Integral to this development is every child being immersed in good quality literature which develops pupils’ acquisition of a wide vocabulary, thus addressing vocabulary gaps, and allowing children to explore and appreciate our rich and varied literary heritage. As our context is predominantly White British, our English curriculum promotes the rich diversity of Britain, including an appreciation of Langley Mill’s locality. We carefully choose the literature we expose the children to so that we can plan for purposeful opportunities to discuss important aspects of British values, history, mental health, well-being and citizenship, developing our pupils’ cultural capital.
English provides the knowledge & skills that pupils need to take advantage of the learning opportunities, responsibilities and experiences offered by our curriculum, as well as further education & later life, therefore providing for the 44% of pupils who come from disadvantaged backgrounds.
Our English structure helps pupils to build knowledge and understanding of reading, writing, grammar, spelling and speaking and listening. We enable pupils both to acquire knowledge and to build on what they already know, whilst also allowing us opportunity to identify what the children do not know and intervene appropriately and proportionately. We consider an English skill to be the capacity to perform, drawing on what is known.
A cross-curricular approach, which makes meaningful connections between English learning objectives & subjects, allowing teachers to plan creativity across the curriculum. Knowledge and skills are well sequenced and develop incrementally, following our pupil tracker for reading, writing, grammar, punctuation and spelling. It is recognised that knowledge is embedded through spaced retrieval and activation of prior learning when applied to a task. Key Performance Indicators and objectives are revisited by all year groups. For example: Prepositions, a Year 4 objective, are revisited in Year 5 and Year 6. All pupils (unless it is justifiable) are able to read to an age appropriate level and fluency & take part in whole class Themed Reading and learning. All pupils (unless otherwise specified) can access the curriculum and are not falling rapidly behind their peers. Progression is driven by expanding knowledge and vocabulary. Children are well read and enjoy a range of fiction and non-fiction texts that clearly link to their topic. The 'Class novel' support all English lessons and links to the three Langley Mill Academy main topics: Values, Journeys & Origins.
LMA’s Curriculum Structure:
Autumn Term: Values
Year 3: Invaders and Settlers
Year 4: Romans in Britain
Year 5: Ancient Greeks
Year 6: World War
During our values topic democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty & civil rights are explored considering why values of mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs is so important in our modern society. We explore how democracy has evolved from invasions, to emperors, to Athenian democratic rule and finally to what the world did when these values were threatened by fascist dictators.
Spring Term: Journeys
Year 3: 80 Days around the World
Year 4: How the World was changed by explorers
Year 5: To Boldly Go...
Year 6: An Unexpected Journey
Summer Term: Origins
Year 3: Robin Hood: A local Myth or Legend?
Year 4: What happened in Derbyshire in Tudor Times?
Year 5: What was Victorian Langley Mill like?
Year 6: Derwent or Nile: Which is the most important valley in the World?
Teacher subject knowledge enables all pupils to achieve their potential
The Class Novel
The class novel supports the English Unit and it is usually linked to the termly curriculum topic: Values, Journeys, Origins. It is read for 15 minutes every day in its own timetabled slot. The books are outside Edinburgh organised in Year groups. ‘Class Novel’ can also include non-fiction texts, such as a science text. There may be more than one text per English unit. For example, Tolkien’s ‘The Hobbit’ & National Geographic: Everything Volcanoes.
The class novel should be challenging. The children should be able to access it, but it should be a text that many of the class could not sit and read cover to cover independently. A class novel ensures children have access to and study a text in its entirety from start to finish and build the skill of following a text through.
Only the class teacher should read the class novel aloud so that children get the best possible understanding of it. We model self-correction when reading and draw attention to the fact we have done so.
We can use these sessions to focus on the skills of prediction and summary more than the other three ‘themed reads’. The novel is read with enthusiasm and passion. The the children are not given copies to follow – to avoid multitasking.
Themed reads are timetabled Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday in their own 45-minute slot. The reading themes include other curriculum subjects, poetry, classics, historical events, authors, songs, culture and social issues. They do not have to link to our English or Curriculum topics. The lessons have been saved on the server and we can develop our own themes in future around current events. The main skills covered are inference and retrieval.
1) The lessons should begin with the reading. All children need a copy of the text they can see / read. Texts should not take more than 15 minutes of the reading lesson to read. Teachers might read some of the text for modelling purposes, but children should do the majority of the reading
- Basic reading aloud - children take sentences or paragraphs depending on text length/sentence length/proficiency. Partners could take it in turns.
- Echo reading - teacher reads exactly how text should sound and asks a child to ‘echo it’ giving constructive feedback as appropriate.
- Choral reading - pairs, groups or the whole class read aloud at the same time.
- Drop ins - if a child has not read aloud to the class due to proficiency, the teacher should ‘drop in’ with them during an activity and hear them reread part of the text.
2) Children will then do a very short retrieval quiz (quick start) that shouldn’t require much, if any, looking back over the text.
3) After this, any unfamiliar or potentially limiting vocabulary will be explored and read around for a few minutes. This could be accompanied with pictures/visuals where possible for a deeper understanding.
4) Deeper questions or activities should then be presented one at a time. These should take three forms: individual thinking, partnered talk and solo work. Children should get into the routine of knowing what each of the three forms requires of them. Our Djanogly Reading Tracker could be used to assess pupil(s) during ‘Themed Reading’
- One book from our reading scheme. Encourage reading of both fiction and non-fiction. Reads recorded in the child's reading record.
- Five home reads are expected from all our pupils. A letter was shared with parents at the start of they year detailing why we ask for this and how they can support the children with reading.
- Children with SEND or additional reads are to read in school an additional three times per week in school.
- At a minimum: All other children read once per half term with teacher & twice with TA. Teachers will assess using our Djanogly Reading Tracker. All adults are to carefully consider the level of challenge a text provides and the appropriate / expected band for the Year group.
Overview / Long term plan
A ‘long term plan’ / overview of English is completed by all Year groups and is saved on the server in our English Curriculum folder. There are 12 units each year: two per half term. All folders are ready on the server to save planning.
- In the overview, each unit is planned considering the class novel (supporting texts). Highlight the objective if it is a KPI (blue) or revisited from a previous year (yellow). Plan for purpose, audience & features of main composition.
- Objectives are taken from the O-track and include the key performance indicators (KPIs) for each year group. These should be selected for each unit. Record by each objective which unit(s) they will be taught in. All objectives must be taught by the end of the year.
SMART lesson plans
A SMART board planning structure has been designed for a week of lessons (5 days). A unit will consist of 3 SMART board files saved in the prepared folder with supporting resources.
The SMART slides provide an initial framework for English lessons at LMA in 2020-21, which we can develop & improve. They are a basic structure that can be edited and added to with further slides and supporting photos, images, text extracts, quotes, other inspiring media & teaching resources. A set of planning slides contains an overview, the spellings for the week, the new vocabulary in the unit, a Boxed Up Success Criteria (BUSC) (or a reference to a display BUSC that can be photographed and put on the slide when complete), five spaced retrieval starters, five lessons and one reflection slide. A set of year group targets & a spelling overview are also included.
The English journey: Engage, saturate, identify & deconstruct, dabble, plan, draft, composition task, revise & edit, publish. This journey will generally take 3 weeks with the supporting class novel.
- Each lesson will have two main slides: a retrieval starter slide and a lesson slide with objective & three elements: identify, dabble and task. This is not set in stone & will depend where you are on the journey. For example, the first lessons in a unit will primarily be identify / dabble and later in the unit the majority of a lesson will be the task & composition.
- An approximate format could be: Day 1-2 to engage & saturate, day 3-7 to deconstruct & dabble within a supported framework with shorter written pieces for exercise*, days 8-12 for planning and composing and days 13-15 for editing and publishing. The task will include challenge for all pupils and refer to the BUSC. *The shorter task pieces should feed into the composition.
- The spaced retrieval slides are starters to a lesson, usually GPS based & can be completed on white boards. This part of the lesson should be quick, buzzy & limited to 10 minutes. The format for the week is as follows: Monday: Last week. Tuesday: Last term. Wednesday: Last year. Thursday: Spelling & phonics (selected from DLT spellings slides) Friday: This week's successes.
The Boxed Up Success Criteria links explicitly to purpose of writing and to the reader & is displayed in every classroom. In the middle, pupils put what the writing purpose is and its intended audience; outwards from this are the intended ‘effects’ on that audience, or what the writing is meant to provide for its readers; outwards again are the features from a studied text which might help to achieve these things and the final outer box contains examples of vocabulary, phrases, and sentences.
A reflection, written in purple pen, should be completed in books every week. This could include peer marking. All lessons will include review, analysis, success sharing & teaching points at any time. These do not just come in a plenary - if you do this you shouldn't need one.
Writing target slides are on the lower slides for each year group, with Key Performance Indicator objectives to refer to when writing.
Pupils have a wide vocabulary and a rich understanding of the meaning of vocabulary encountered. They can communicate and express themselves on an inter-disciplinary level, writing to inform, entertain and persuade.
Teachers are experts in the teaching of reading with a continuous weekly focus on vocabulary in English lessons, themed and individual reading. There is strong evidence that pupils’ comprehension, knowledge, vocabulary and ideas are developing as they should towards endpoints with 'Themed Reading' allowing pupils to express, communicate and share responses.
Current in school data indicates pupils at Langley Mill Academy are broadly in line with end of KS2 2019 national averages in reading and writing with the expectation that we will narrow the attainment gap between maths and reading at the end of Year 6.
‘Interventions’, including phonics, are used to support reading and accelerate progress. We have planned for 15% of all our pupils to undertake a daily 20-minute session working 1:1 with an adult on a 10-week programme called ‘Switch On’, designed to increase children’s fluency & understanding. Children undertaking Switch On should be reading at a 90-95% instructional level whilst also developing understanding. We also use a dyslexic screening test for pupils who would benefit from a profile of activities.
Training with staff is ongoing and focussed on what our pupils need. Currently staff training includes: Writing intervention training: Success @ Writing October 2020. Phonics: Staff skills audit & training 15/10/20 with phonics interventions established in Years 3-5.