English teaching at Glebe
English Leadership Team
- Naomi Welsh
- Gemma Baker
- Hattie Leeves
- Sarah Leverton
- Kirsten Beatty
- Kate Gieler
How we teach English at Glebe
At Glebe, we believe that language is fundamental to all aspects of children’s home and school life. It is a subject in its own right but is also a key ingredient for gaining access to the whole school curriculum. Communication, both oral and written, is the key to educational progress. Through our English teaching, we aim to develop children's competence as listeners, talkers, readers and writers so that they can live, work and succeed in a literate world. All the skills of language enable children to participate fully as a member of society.
Speaking and Listening
Speaking and Listening skills are essential stepping stones for English; therefore we encourage our children to participate in class and group discussions and make presentations. The curriculum provides continuous opportunities for the children to listen attentively, share ideas, ask questions, give and receive instructions, offer explanations, argue points of view and use role play and drama to express themselves. These oral activities help to support children’s thinking, language development and confidence. The quality and variety of language that pupils hear and speak are vital for developing their vocabulary and grammar and to prepare their ideas before they write.
Phonics - Read Write Inc
We use the 'Read Write Inc' programme in the early stages of teaching children to read; this is a rigorous and dynamic synthetic phonics programme where children are taught to decode and segment unfamiliar words; this enables them to comprehend what they read, read with fluency and expression and write confidently. The children learn all the sounds in the English language and their alternative spellings. The children are taught in small ability groups and learn quickly and effectively; the programme is brisk, lively and fun.
We have invested heavily in a wide variety of books, which provide a structured approach to reading throughout the school. These graded books ensure that children make steady progress in their reading. We are also fortunate to have well-stocked KS1 and KS2 libraries, where children can enjoy a range of fiction and non-fiction texts.
On completion of the Read Write Inc programme, the children participate in Guided Reading sessions. In these sessions, children enjoy a range of stories, poems and non-fiction, often linked to topic areas, either in small groups or as a class. The books are used to teach specific reading skills and enable the children to develop language and ideas for their own writing. In addition to this, teachers regularly read to children just for pleasure and enjoyment to engender a love of reading. The school’s overall objective is for each child to become a fluent and confident reader.
We highly value the role of parents/carers in their child’s learning and there is an expectation that children in EYFS and KS1 read with their parents/carers at least three times per week; we believe this plays a major part in children’s learning and appreciation of books. From Year 3, children’s love of reading is fostered through their independent Reading Journal, which includes a range of tasks for children to choose from in response to their own reading book. This work is celebrated fortnightly in class, with winners chosen to receive a book prize from the headteacher.
Writing is integrated throughout the curriculum and, where meaningful, linked to topic areas in each year group. Formal aspects of grammar, spelling and handwriting are taught progressively throughout the school, within the teaching of reading, writing and speaking. Time is made in the curriculum to address ‘back to basic’ skills to ensure that grammar, spelling and handwriting are the best they can be.
Our diverse and exciting topic areas inspire children to write for a variety of meaningful purposes and diverse audiences, enabling them to acquire a wide, rich vocabulary alongside developing the linguistic conventions for writing language. A superb range of key texts are used to drive the children’s learning and provide an excellent stimulus and model for developing children’s creative writing skills. We believe in exposing children to many different sources to help ‘hook’ them; ranging from high quality texts, film clips and real life experiences. Children are thus engaged and excited about their writing.
Spelling has heightened importance in our curriculum and individual spelling lessons are planned into the English curriculum. From KS1 onwards, children are taught how to spell words with specific spelling ‘patterns’. These are frequently used within our classroom environments and these patterns are mapped out progressively across the year.
We have also introduced a system of assessing spelling called ‘Spelling Keys’. Each half term children are baseline tested on a selection of words from the National Curriculum for their phase. These words are then sent home with suggestions of games, websites and activities to help learn them. At the end of the half term, these spellings are then tested again to measure progress. For more able spellers in our baseline assessment, we follow a ‘mastery’ approach where children use the same words but are given different challenges to deepen their understanding.
Enrichment and successes within English
Glebe offers pupils an array of enrichment activities to provide exciting, stimulating experiences that enhance our curriculum and children's individual learning.
Chatterbooks club: In July 2017, our Chatterbooks group took on the challenge of reviewing brand new science related books for the Royal Society Young People's Book Prize. The aim of this was to inspire young people to read about science and promote the writing of excellent accessible books for under 14s. The Chatterbooks group read and reviewed each book and they took photos, recorded their comments and made a video of the process. Over 300 schools entered and well...we won! Our prize was £500 to spend on books for our school libraries! Special thanks still go to Kate Gieler, Fiona Dunn and Tom Silburn for supporting the children and enabling them to accomplish this superb achievement.
Please click on the link below to see the fantastic winning video.
Whole school writing competitions: In the spring term last year, we asked our pupils to imagine what school would be like in 20 years' time. There piece of writing could have been a description, story, poem, diary entry, news report to name a few.
Author visits and workshops: In March 2018, our pupils and parents/carers were thrilled when author, Stewart Foster visited Glebe. He spent the day with pupils from Years four to six, starting with an engaging and entertaining presentation about his journey to becoming a writer. Throughout the day, he led a number of fascinating workshops which the children loved. Stewart also helped to open our fantastic new KS2 library. Stewart stayed to sign books and chat to children and parents at the end of the school day.
The impact of Stewart’s visit has been immediate.
Kate Gieler, school librarian
Reading Challenges: Our Easter 2018 reading challenge proved to be extremely popular. The challenge was to take a photo yourself reading somewhere unusual.
World Book Day Winners: In May 2018, we were delighted to be one of the 200 winning schools in the Great Giveaway for Schools competition for World Book Day 2018. We won £250 to spend on www.worldofbooks.com
More Able reading workshop: During last year's summer term, some of Year 5's talented readers enjoyed a poetry workshop with Mrs Rose. They worked on Lewis Carroll's 'Jabberwocky' and tried to make sense of the nonsense! Using dictionaries, they looked at how portmanteau had been used to create non-nonsensical words and then had a go at writing their own version of the poem.
I liked the workshop because I learnt that nonsense words can sometimes be more powerful than real words
Maddie C, Year 6 pupil
Pupil Librarian of the year award 2018: Congratulations to Barney S and Dulcie G who received special commendations from West Sussex Library Service, after being nominated by their class teachers for Pupil Librarian of the Year Award. Jessica, George, Charlie,Poppy, Khloe and Theo were also nominated and presented with certificates.