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English has a pre-eminent place in education and in society. A high-quality education in 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. Through reading in particular, pupils have a chance to develop culturally, emotionally, intellectually, socially and spiritually.

National Curriculum 2014

Intent - What we want for our English curriculum?

At Horn’s Mill, every child is given the opportunity to acquire the knowledge and skills necessary to become analytical readers and competent authors. We promote the enjoyment of reading by carefully selecting high-quality texts that are used as a vehicle for learning across the curriculum. By providing our children with the skills to read, they are able to broaden their knowledge in a range of subject disciplines.

Children are exposed to a word-rich curriculum. Through immersion in high-quality texts, teachers identify and explicitly teach rich and varied vocabulary, providing them with the tools to become confident communicators, readers, and writers. By doing this, we aim to close the vocabulary gap for our most disadvantaged children.

Carefully planned writing lessons allow our children to develop their skills, by adapting their language and style in and for a range of contexts, purposes, and audiences. They are given the opportunity to apply their skills across the curriculum and they are encouraged to use language effectively to create a desired effect on the reader. Our children will leave Horn’s Mill having had the opportunity to master skills in speaking, reading, and writing that will prepare them for secondary education and life beyond the school gates.

Our whole-school literature spine

At Horn’s Mill, we believe that high-quality texts should be at the core of our English curriculum. Our writing spine ensures that children are immersed in six stunning texts each year to develop their speaking and writing skills. Each book is studied in-depth with children producing extended, independent writing every half term. This ensures children have studied a breadth of texts and experienced writing in a range of genres, forms, and styles. 

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Alongside our writing unit texts, we have mapped out diverse texts that children will have read to them in each year group. We prioritise class read a-louds and understand the role that this plays in engaging children in books and creating positive reading experiences to foster a love of reading across the school. The chosen texts enable children to be exposed to diverse authors and fiction genres. Each class have focus spotlight authors each half term, meaning that each year, children find out about and read books by 6 new authors. For further information about these authors and the class texts in each class, our reading spine can be accessed below.

Implementation - How is the curriculum delivered?

The teaching of reading

After completing our phonics programme ‘Read Write Inc’ in Year 2, children begin whole class reading lessons. These lessons focus on developing children's fluency and reading comprehension skills to ensure that they leave Horn's Mill as confident, expressive readers who have a good understanding of what they are reading. This is taught progressively, year on year, with children encoutering inreasingly complex texts as they move through school. We have clearly outlined reading grids, detailing what children should learn within each year group. For further information about these grids, please contact Mrs Jobber on the details below.  The whole class reading lessons have explicitly planned texts that support the development of reading in each year group and give opportunities for children to read, analyse and enjoy a wide range of genres. These texts have been carefully chosen to aid the delivery of our curriculum offer by having themed texts which target specific subject knowledge and vocabulary that we want children to acquire and later be able to use across the curriculum.    

At Horn’s Mill, we use a variety of quality texts for whole class, small group and independent reading. Each classroom has a varied selection of books for the children to choose from that is updated regularly depending on children's stage of development, class teaching and reading interests.  We also use targeted Big Cat texts as home readers throughout KS2. 

For further information on class texts that children will be using and the spotlight authors they will learn about, please see the attached reading spine.  

DEAR time happens regularly from Year 1 throughout the school, where children and adults are encouraged to ‘Drop Everything and Read’.

The teaching of writing: Pathways to Write

At Horn’s Mill, we aim to ensure that the writing skills being taught are progressive across the year and between year groups.  In lessons, children follow clear, sequential episodes of learning based around an ambitious model text, that allow for the development of vocabulary and contextualised spelling, punctuation, and grammar. By using this approach to writing, our curriculum is coherently planned to ensure that all objectives are taught and revisited throughout a year group and age phase. If you wish to find out more about the progression of the teaching of these writing skills and the specific genre outcomes for writing units, you will find this in the progression of writing skills document below. For EYFS writing progression and outcomes, please look at the EYFS curriculum document.

Impact - How do we know our English curriculum is effective?

Our curriculum ethos is that children produce high-quality, extended writing each half term based on the focus text. There are opportunities for writing to be planned, drafted, redrafted, and then published as a celebration of children's achievements. We believe that if children have become knowledgeable and skilful readers and writers then they will be able to articulate their understanding with confidence. This is why pupil voice is an important tool in assessing whether children have made progress, alongside outcomes in their independent writing.

Summative Assessment

Each half term, once children have completed our phonics programme, children complete a fluency benchmarking assessment. Every term, children complete a standardised reading assessment. These assessments help us to appraise the impact of our curriculum, whilst also informing teachers' planning for the coming term. 

Discrete Teaching of Spelling

At Horn’s Mill, we teach spelling in context within our units of work. In addition to this, we use the ‘Read Write Inc’ spelling scheme, which follows on from our phonics teaching in EYFS and KS1. This scheme helps our teachers deliver short, daily, 10-15 minute lessons and ensures that children are taught the full breadth of spelling patterns appropriate to each year group and age phase. 

Discrete Teaching of Handwriting

At Horn’s Mill, we use ‘Read-Write-Inc’ phrases to support the teaching and learning of letter formation from EYFS. If you wish to learn more about the handwriting phrases that we use from EYFS as children learn letter formation, please ask Mrs Davies or email adavies@hornsmill.cheshire.sch.uk. 

Children begin to learn pre-cursive handwriting from Year 2 and are taught joins from Year 3. Please see below for our Handwriting policy.

If you have any further enquiries relating to the English curriculum, please email Mrs Jobber on deputy@hornsmill.cheshire.sch.uk.