We are passionate about English at Longford. We seek to ensure that all children enjoy English, developing strong literacy skills, enabling them to flourish. We believe this is vital for life-long learning, personal well-being and every-day life.
We aim to ensure that all children at Longford are exposed to a rich diet of quality vocabulary, celebrating the spoken word and our oral story telling history.
Spoken language is important regarding pupils’ development across the curriculum, and in particular, underpins the development of articulate communication, reading and writing.
Research shows that a child’s exposure to spoken language directly impacts on their capacity to learn and thus make good progress at school.
- use discussion in order to learn; they should be able to elaborate and explain clearly their understanding and ideas
- are competent in the arts of speaking and listening, making formal presentations, demonstrating to others and participating in debate
- listen and respond appropriately to adults and their peers
- ask relevant questions to extend their understanding and knowledge
- use relevant strategies to build their vocabulary, including stem sentences
- articulate and justify answers, arguments and opinions
- give well-structured descriptions, explanations and narratives for different purposes, including for expressing feelings
- maintain attention and participate actively in collaborative conversations, staying on topic and initiating and responding to comments
- use spoken language to develop understanding through speculating, hypothesising, imagining and exploring ideas
- speak audibly and fluently with an increasing command of Standard English
- participate in partner talk, discussions, presentations, performances, role play/improvisations, drama, singing and debates
- gain, maintain and monitor the interest of the listener(s)
- consider and evaluate different viewpoints, attending to and building on the contributions of others
- select and use appropriate registers for effective communication
Reading matters. Our ultimate intent is to foster a reading culture in school, encouraging a love of reading for personal pleasure and for life-long learning and enjoyment. Reading underpins all learning and is an essential life skill; great literature broadens the mind and ignites the imagination. Our aim is to nurture fluency and comprehension, through a wide range of carefully chosen quality texts. Reading is a priority subject area, particularly as we are mindful of the impact of Covid on some children’s reading progress.
At Longford children are immersed in a wide range of texts.
We aim to ensure that children:
- are competent independent readers,
- read easily, fluently and with good understanding,
- develop the habit of reading widely and often, for both pleasure and information,
- acquire a wide vocabulary, an understanding of grammar and knowledge of linguistic conventions for reading, writing and spoken language,
- and appreciate our rich and varied literary heritage.
- Quality first teaching
- Daily systematic phonics is taught as a gateway to reading. We use the Essential Letters and Sounds programme. Younger readers have an appropriate decodable individual reading book linked to the phonics phase which matches their current reading development.
- Continuing training for staff and parents
- Decodable phonics books
- Various reading resources and software packages including Word Shark and Reading Eggs
- Exposure to rich and varied vocabulary
- Daily whole class story time
- Frequent group and/or whole class guided reading
- VIPERS comprehension strategies: vocabulary, inference, prediction, explanation, retrieval and sequencing
- Independent reading books
- Themed whole school book weeks
- World Book Day
- A wide range of genres and challenging texts, including poetry and rhyme, non-fiction, modern and classics
- Class Book Corners
- School library
We aim to ensure writers can write clearly, accurately and coherently, adapting their language and style in and for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences, from formal letter writing to imaginative stories. From mark making in the Early Years to explanations in Year 6, we motivate children to write across the curriculum.
- Constant opportunities to write for purpose
- Talk for Writing and use of texts, objects and various medium to inspire and stimulate writing
- Modelled use of standard English
- Composition -teaching children to carefully plan and draft texts
- Transcription-spelling and handwriting sessions
- Editing skills
English is a popular subject at Longford and is taught with enthusiasm. The children are currently enjoying (October 2021) a whole school Dragon Book Week complete with a Dragon Dressing Up Day. Y5/6 have been reading Darwin’s Dragons by Lindsay Galvin. Y3/4- The Boy Who Grew Dragons by Andy Shepherd. Explorers’ Class have shared Zog by Julia Donaldson and The Dragon Machine by Helen Ward. As well as motivating reading, our dragon escapade is inspiring some great poetry and story writing. This year, the older children have been able to experience the joy and power of writing purposefully, sending out star poems to Nunton Church and the local nursing home at Christmas, and snowdrop and bluebell poetry, art and letters to the nursing home again in the spring, to cheer the residents in lockdown.
We have a holistic approach to learning at Longford; it is not all about data. We are a small village school and each child represents a high percentage. Here are some of our English highlights:
In 2019 the average point score for EYFS was 37.7. This was above national and LA data.
Regarding SATS In 2019, the last statutory assessment for reading, KS2 pupils achieved a high combined progress score of 2.2. This was a small cohort of 10 pupils, making each child a relatively high percentage compared to larger schools. 70% achieved expected or above.
Regarding KS1 reading 73% achieved expected or above, just below national and local authority data, but 27.3% achieved greater depth. This was well above national and local authority data.
In 2019 our small cohort of Year 6 pupils achieved a positive progress score of 0.5 for writing, with 100% of disadvantaged pupils achieving expected for reading and writing.