Intent, Implementation, Impact,
The teaching of English at Ethelbert Road is designed to create endless opportunities to provide a positive reading, writing and speaking culture, where all are promoted, enjoyed and considered ‘a pleasure’ for all children. We aim to ensure that all of our children are given learning opportunities to achieve their full potential in all areas of English.
Our creative, cross curricular, topic based approach to the teaching of English ensures children embed knowledge and skills. Supporting children to become confident readers and to develop their all-important phonic and comprehension skills is key. We recognise the importance of nurturing a culture where children take pride in their writing, can write clearly and accurately and adapt their language and style for a range of contexts. We want to inspire children to be confident in the art of speaking and listening and who can use discussion to communicate and further their learning.
We believe that children need to develop a secure knowledge-base in English, which follows a clear pathway of progression as they advance through the primary curriculum. By giving children the key skills and knowledge, they will be enabled to access material in all curriculum areas, and provide a foundation for learning throughout their school career and beyond.
To achieve this, teachers are focused on delivering a rich and exciting curriculum, teaching key skills through topics and texts. We engage pupils with the joy and wonder of books, piquing their imagination and creativity.
Ethelbert Road has chosen to have Topic Books, instead of separate Writing Books to ensure all aspects of English are an integral part of our creative curriculum. English knowledge and skills are transferred into other subjects and this ensures consolidation of skills and a deeper understanding of how and when to use specific grammar, punctuation and spelling objectives.
We use a wide range of children’s reading books, as we believe that one scheme does not fit all children’s needs. We have recently invested in new phonic books to enhance the teaching and learning of phonics from Year R to Year 3 and beyond. Our Reading Buddies Scheme, goes from strength to strength with older children looking forward to reading to a buddy, or younger children hearing fiction, poetry and non-fiction texts read to them by older children.
Alongside our Reading buddies, we have also implemented a Reading Ambassador Scheme (Kent Literacy Award 2020) which pairs specific Year 6 pupils with younger children. Short, daily reading meetings take place between the pairs to reinforce reading, speaking and listening skills. Year 6 pupils are trained in synthetic phonics and how to boost confidence. Regular meetings enable a bond to form between the pupils and we have noted how Year 6 children are so keen for their partners to succeed and move forward with their reading skills, rewarding them for their efforts.
We use Rocket Phonics as our systematic synthetic phonics validated programme.
Our Literacy/Early Years Leader regularly monitors provision of Rocket Phonics , to ensure that learning meets our high standards, and that children’s progress is carefully tracked.
We make sure all new staff are given high quality phonics CPD, and we provide regular ‘refreshers’ in terms of monitoring and feedback, staff twilights, and peer coaching, using our own experts to demonstrate lessons and share experiences. We all teach to the same programme.
This is delivered both at school and home. Books are categorised into phases to ensure each child receives the correct phase reading book for their ability. Rocket Phonics is delivered from Reception to Year 2 and we run Rocket phonics interventions for any KS2 pupils who need further phonics support. Our Reading Teaching Assistant supports all of these sessions.
Alongside KS2, to support children with their fluency and understanding on their reading journey, children participate in shared reading and guided reading. In Reception, KS1 and some KS2 classes, 1:1 reading is used to support children with their progression.
At Ethelbert, we encourage a love of reading through our well-resourced library, special events such as National Poetry Day and World Book Day, Shakespeare Club, author visits, book fairs and Book Club. During daily reading time, as well as through English lessons, all children have classic texts read to them in all year groups. This may include Traditional Tales and Rhymes in EYFS and KS1 through to classic novels in KS2. Detailed Text Maps depict the texts shared in each year group and clear progression.
Reading is not only encouraged at school, but at home too, on a daily basis. We also promote holiday reading activities and library challenges. Along with use of reading books and school library books, children have online access to Rocket Phonics Ebooks. This online tool aims to support children and parents with fluency and promote reading for pleasure through quality texts and fun quizzes.
High quality texts are also used as a springboard to inspire our children with their writing. We embed a positive writing culture by promoting and championing excellence in writing modelled by leading authors and poets. Transcription is taught through the teaching of spelling through key skills sessions with a focus on spelling patterns, root words, prefixes, suffixes and common exception words. We have recently purchased the Sir Linkalot Spelling App to support the learning of spellings in a fun and interactive way. Teachers follow the sequence of review, teach, practice, apply. Grammar and punctuation rules are taught in key skills sessions, and also alongside writing objectives. We aim to develop composition of writing through an awareness of audience, purpose and context. Key literary devices and the use of a wide vocabulary are considered paramount when developing writing skills. Our children regularly keep word banks to collect new and ambitious vocabulary. We also champion learning a key word every morning with the Mrs Wordsmith Storyteller's Word of the Day.
Marking is rigorous in English and across the curriculum, with regular verbal feedback to pupils either as a group or individually. Staff encourage children to edit their work and amend spellings independently. Regular Topic book scrutinies and lesson observations are carried out to check all teachers are following our marking policy and lessons are high quality.
At Ethelbert Road, we identify children who need support and provide interventions through our robust Class Provision Plans. We have a Reading Teaching Assistant who supports the learning of phonics and reading skills across the school. The success of this support can be seen in our latest national results. We also have a very successful Reading Ambassador Scheme where the lowest 20% readers are supported by trained Y6 reading ambassadors.
We are fortunate to have supportive parents who value the importance of reading at home, as well as parents and governors who come in regularly to hear children read. We run parent information sessions on reading and phonics for Year R parents, phonic sessions for Year 1 parents, reading and SATs for Year 2 parents and a SATs meeting for Year 6 parents so that they understand age-related expectations. These sessions are always very well attended by parents and carers who often comment about how helpful the sessions have been for them.
Our language rich classrooms and displays support children’s understanding of language and encourage independent learning skills. Through our cross curricular approach, children confidently use the language of different subjects and we encourage them to speak like scientists, historians, mathematicians etc.
Our English curriculum is enhanced through termly drama workshops undertaken by our Creative Arts Lead; being part of the Shakespeare Associate Schools Programme; and a range of trips and visits which enrich and complement the children’s learning. Every classroom has an exciting book corner to encourage the children to use books for pleasure and to support their learning.
We are really proud to be chosen to participate in the Associate Schools Programme 2021-2023 in partnership with The Marlowe Theatre and the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) for a third consecutive time. The programme is targeted towards schools who want to develop and improve access to Shakespeare, and to deliver the best teaching in the classroom through active drama techniques. Through the Associate Schools Programme we have received fantastic development training for teachers and rich cultural and learning experiences for our children. We are now regarded as a strong partnership school and were the only school chosen to perform at the Marlowe Theatre’s Annual Supporters Dinner 2019.
All year groups take part in Shakespeare workshops led by our Creative Arts Leader. These workshops develops our children’s speaking and listening skills, curiosity of language, use of ambitious words and build confidence. Children learn to read scripts and use this rich language in their writing.
The impact on our children is clear: progress, sustained learning and transferrable skills.
By the end of their journey at Ethelbert Road Primary School, our children leave with highly developed communication skills that they can take with them to secondary education and beyond. Success is not only achieved through children’s attainment, but through their engagement with, and enthusiasm for, the many English opportunities that have been provided throughout their time with us.
Upon transition to secondary school, our children can read fluently and widely, with a thirst for reading a range of genres and text types, including poetry. Children appreciate the joy and wonder of reading and are able to express preferences and opinions about the texts that they read.
With the implementation of the writing journey being well established and taught thoroughly in both key stages, children become confident writers and by the time they are in upper Key Stage 2, most genres of writing are familiar to them and the teaching can focus on creativity, writer’s craft, sustained writing and manipulation of grammar and punctuation skills.
Formative and summative assessment demonstrates that most children at Ethelbert Road are achieving in Literacy at age-related expectations or above.
2019 National Data (last recorded data due to the COVID Pandemic)
■ Key stage 2 progress in reading (2.2) was significantly above national and in the highest 20% of all schools in 2019.
Attainment (all key stages)
■ Key stage 2 attainment of the expected standard (100+) in reading (90%) was significantly above national and in the highest 20% of all schools in 2019 as well as in 2018.
■ The three-year average reading attainment score (109.2) was in the highest 20%.
■ Early years foundation stage attainment of the expected standard in the reading early learning goal was not significantly different to national
■ Key stage 2 progress in writing (3.0) was significantly above national and in the highest 20% of all schools in 2019.
■Writing progress has improved between 2018 and 2019.
Attainment (all key stages)
■ Key stage 2 attainment of the expected standard in writing (97%) was significantly above national and in the highest 20% of all schools in 2019.
■Key stage 2 attainment of greater depth in writing (43%) was significantly above national and in the highest 20% of all schools in 2019.
■ Key stage 1 attainment of the expected standard in writing (86%) was significantly above national and in the highest 20% of all schools in 2019.
■ Early years foundation stage attainment of the expected standard in the writing early learning goal was not significantly different to national
■In 2019, 87% of pupils achieved the key stage 2 expected standard in reading, writing and mathematics, significantly above national and in the highest 20% of all schools.
Ethelbert Road Primary School was awarded 'Best School' in the Live Canon Children's Anthology Awards 2021 and received two Kent Literacy Awards, one in 2019 for ‘Best Library’ and one in 2020 for our ‘Reading Ambassador Scheme’.
We hope that as children move on from Ethelbert Road to further their education and learning, that their creativity, passion for English and high aspirations travel with them and continue to grow and develop as they do.