‘When all else fails, write what your heart tells you. You can’t depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus.’
We love English at Monkhouse and it lies at the heart of everything we do in school. Developing a love of reading and writing with children from the earliest stage of their educational journey provides our children with the stepping stones they need to experience success across the whole curriculum and beyond. We provide a broad balanced and progressive English curriculum which is integrated into other areas of the curriculum where appropriate. We aim to ignite a passion for learning and exploring and give all children the opportunity to succeed. We truly believe that every child can experience success in English and this passion flows through the English curriculum at Monkhouse.
What it looks like at our school:
English lessons are designed to ensure all children are engaged, achieve and flourish. We aim to spark a child’s imagination and take them on an adventure with every story they read and write. Reading for pleasure and writing for a purpose are two of our fundamental mantras at Monhouse; we believe supporting the development of these will instil skills for future success and enjoyment. In English, we use assessment for learning within and across a series of lessons to determine where children require further support or challenge. This ensures all children have the opportunity to reach their true potential and feel successful, building on their individual starting points and celebrating every achievement with them along the way.
English is fun, imaginative and challenging and challenges children to be their best. Children are given experiences beyond their school years, with writing opportunities establishing a purpose and audience for children to engage with in a real-life context. Writing is explored through English lessons, Basic Skills teaching and across the wider curriculum. Children are given the opportunity to be creative in their writing, to edit and evaluate their writing with an understanding of ‘tweaks make things better’, and the chance to publish their writing outcome to a wider audience; the use of technology is often paramount in this.
We teach writing using the principles of practise, apply and embed, and have tailored this approach to meet the needs of our school community and link with our creative project based learning journey. Children become immersed in a writing style, develop knowledge of the writing features and grammar skills that accompany that genre and write for a purpose with a wider audience at the forefront. We provide children the opportunity to see ‘what a good one looks like’ through the use of modelled texts, and to innovate this example to begin to create their own texts using a supportive structure and appropriate language features. Following on from this, children are guided through teaching that develops and deepens their understanding of sentence cohesion and language structures, and they apply their skills through the invention of a text showing greater independence. Children are supported in making connections within and between texts to develop their wider understanding of literary features.
In the Early Years Foundation Stage, educators will prepare the children for the primary curriculum with a focus on oral communication, attention to listening and developing the skills needed for early writing. In EYFS, Oral rehearsal strategies are a key focus to engage children in a range of texts and to allow them the opportunity to be exposed to high quality spoken literary language. This allows for nursery rhymes and traditional stories to be enjoyed and learned to provide a firm foundation for English with our youngest of children. Our foundation stage is based on the key principles of how children learn and enables them to imitate the key language they need orally before reading, writing and manipulating it. Through fun activities and oral rehearsal, children internalise the text structures and language patterns before putting pen to paper. We approach this in 3 stages: Imitation, Innovation and Invention, with the aim of the whole process being to create independent, enthusiastic authors.
At Monkhouse, we are passionate about English, as we believe it lies at the heart of the curriculum and is the stepping stone for children’s achievement and enjoyment across their primary years. Immersing children in high quality literature and purposeful writing experiences linked to the world around them, encourages our children to develop a love of writing, to engage with an imaginative adventure which transports them away from reality and to become effective and confident communicators.