English Curriculum

At Poplar Farm School, we want every child to leave school with a love and respect for books. Our aim is for every child to become a fluent and expressive reader, who access books regularly for both pleasure and to acquire new knowledge. We want all children to use their experiences of books, to become competent, confident and creative writers. Our aim is for all children to reach age related expectations or make accelerated progress from their starting point. We hope that the children’s enthusiasm for reading and writing continues beyond their time at Poplar Farm School, and throughout their life.

Reading Intent

The aims of teaching reading in our school are to develop pupils who:

  • Have the phonetic knowledge and skills, to be able to read systematically and with fluency.
  • Be enthusiastic readers, who strive to progress to a higher level of reading material.
  • Read often, both fiction and non-fiction books, from a range of genres, and discover particular favourites.
  • Show respect and care for books.
  • Enhance their vocabulary through reading, and apply it within their writing.
  • Develop their reading in all subjects to support their acquisition of knowledge.
  • Have a love of reading and share this with others, discussing what they have read.
  • Read for pleasure both at home and school on a regular basis.
  • Through their reading, develop culturally, emotionally, intellectually, socially and spiritually.
  • Develop good comprehension; drawing from their linguistic knowledge.
  • Know a range of authors, and discover personal favourites.
  • Find inspiration from books and use them to influence their writing.
  • Feel part of community, who share a common interest in reading,

Special Educational Needs Disability (SEND) / Pupil Premium / Higher Attainers

All children will have Quality First Teaching. Any children with identified SEND or in receipt of pupil premium funding may have work and intervention additional to and different from their peers in order to access the curriculum dependent upon their needs. Some examples of additional support and opportunities include:

  • A buddy system, which is in place for Pupil Premium students and those pupils who have limited opportunities to read at home. This allows these children to have additional opportunities to read on a regular basis to a designated adult. The children will develop a relationship with an adult, whom they will share stories with and develop a shared love of books.
  • We offer the family learning course, 'Family fun with reading', to provide opportunities for parents/carers to improve their own skills and to increase the effectiveness of the support that they offer their own children with their reading at home.
  • Higher attainers, or those children who have a keen love of books, will have additional responsibilities to share their love of stories in a book club. This will allow them to discuss stories and authors they enjoy, and to share suggestions for reading material.
  • Children will have opportunities to become librarians when they demonstrate a care and respect for books. They will be responsible for developing the environment, recommending stories, and keeping the books organised and in a good condition.
  • To foster children’s interests, children will have opportunities to visit local libraries and bookshops and take part in additional workshops with storytellers and authors, visiting the school.

Reading Implementation

As well as teaching the skills of reading during Read, Write, Inc. phonics lessons and SPAG (Spelling, Grammar and Punctuation), we aim to create a reading community so children can develop an enthusiasm and passion for reading from an early age.

To ensure that Poplar Farm School has a strong reading community established in the school, each class:

  • Has a voting station in their classroom. This encourages children to view front covers, illustrations and read blurbs, to choose which book they want to read. They begin to discover their personal favourite and compare authors and writing styles. The book with the most votes is read aloud to the children at the end of the day.
  • Has an ‘Our Favourite 5’ reading display in the classroom. These are developed from the year groups ‘reading spine’, ensuring reading material is progressive across the school and promote diversity. These books include repetitive and rhyming stories, poems and traditional tales. The 5 books are rotated per term and are read on a regular basis to the class. This means that, all children will learn 30 books per year and know them well. Teachers are in tune with children’s interests and develop story baskets and writing material for stories children enjoy.
  • Has storyteller’s visit the school, to teach children the joy of reading, storytelling, story structure and characters.
  • Across the school, we hold open afternoons for parents and grandparents, which allow them to come into school and read with their children.
  • Promotes reading, by having reward systems, allowing children to access new reading material and prizes for reading on a regular basis.
  • Has opportunities to read to the residents of a local residential care home, and compare their experiences of books.

Reading Impact

Reading in our school is progressive and planned to meet the needs of all children. Assessments are carried out regularly to ensure children are accessing books of the right level and are being challenged in their reading. At the same time, we provide books to ensure that children read for pleasure and learn to love reading.

If children are keeping up with the curriculum, they are deemed to be making expected or exceeding progress. In addition, we measure the impact of our curriculum through the following methods:

-          Monthly Read Write Inc assessments

-          Year 1 Phonics screening check results

-          Book band colour

-          ZPD scores

-          Reading ages given through the AR program

-          Summative assessments each term, including on-going guided reading records.

The implementation of the RWI phonics had a huge impact on our phonics outcomes. As a developing school, we have not yet carried out a phonics screening check, but we were expected to have an 88% pass rate. The teaching of phonics in our school is systematic and all staff are regularly updated with any changes. Staff access training to further develop their teaching of phonics and reading.

Parent phonics and reading workshop
The document below details more information about early reading and phonics at Poplar Farm School. If you have any queries, please send a Class Dojo message to the class teacher.
Reading Vending Machine
We are delighted to launch our 'Reading Vending Machine' in school! Reading helps the children with their learning across the whole curriculum.
If a child reads 4 times a week (recorded in their reading record) they will receive a raffle ticket on a Friday.
Two tickets will be drawn from every class raffle, every term, and the winners will be able to choose a book from the vending machine to take home.
The weekly ‘Star Reader’ certificate winners will also receive a raffle ticket.
The more the children read, the more chances they have of winning!!!

Writing Intent

The aims of teaching writing in our school are to develop pupils who:

  • Show high levels of achievement and enthusiasm for writing.
  • Use and understand language as speakers, readers and writers.
  • Are competent, confident and independent in the use of language in their writing.
  • Write confidently for a range of audiences and purposes.
  • Apply their grammatical knowledge in their writing.
  • Apply their phonetical and spelling knowledge in their writing.
  • Apply the English language in all areas of the curriculum.
  • Use a wide range of vocabulary in their writing.
  • Think carefully about the most effective use of vocabulary and grammar to enhance their writing.
  • Value and celebrate diversity in culture and language.

Writing Implementation

Our school provides daily English lessons that are progressive and support skill development.

In the Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum, ‘Communication and Language’ is promoted within every day teaching. It is crucial that children have the skills to listen, understand and communicate effectively in order to develop the skills to read and write. This is achieved through play-based learning, group time speaking and listening activities, and teacher modelling. Our EYFS classrooms have a range of writing and mark making material that children can access independently to develop their skills as writers. As well as handwriting lessons, children have access to fine motor activities and mark making resources to develop their handwriting and pencil control. The skills of writing are taught during both English lessons and through supporting and scaffolding children’s independent writing during their play. Writing material is all areas of the classroom so children learn the different purposes of writing from an early age and see writing as a tool for everyday life.

At Poplar Farm School, English opportunities are planned through a variety of ways including through our text and via other subjects. English lessons are text-based, as we believe children need to develop comprehension skills, and have a good understanding of story structure and vocabulary to become strong writers. Children have opportunities to role-play, perform, and share their story ideas, before writing for a range of purposes. We want children to feel that every piece of writing is purposeful and for a specific audience to promote excitement around their writing.

Handwriting lessons are taught regularly, following the Pen-Pals handwriting scheme. The children have separate handwriting books and they are expected to apply their learning in all curricular subjects.

Writing Impact

Assessment for learning strategies are used on a daily basis. These build a picture of the pupils’ progress, and any areas of strength or weakness, which can then be addressed in teachers’ planning. Children are also encouraged to be active in assessing their own areas of strength and development, by checking their work against ‘Mr Men writing objectives’ and specific learning objectives for that lesson. Independent self-assessment is aided with the use of sentence checkers, phonics charts and common exception word lists, available to children at all times in the classroom. When children are ready, they are expected to use a dictionary to check their spellings and edit these independently. Children use a ‘purple polishing pen’ to edit their own work and to respond to teacher feedback. Peer-assessment and whole class marking are also strategies used to help children develop their writing skills.

Assessment of learning is completed termly. Children complete independent writing pieces within a unit of work, which are assessed against our writing criteria. Analysis of the data impacts upon teachers planning so pupils’ needs can be addressed. Moderation of teacher assessment is also completed termly in order to ensure that judgements are accurate. Children are formally checked so that they are making at least expected progress if not more than expected progress, this document is then monitored by subject leaders and SLT. Children who are not on track are identified for intervention.