English at Fulham Primary School
At Fulham Primary School English is taught throughout the curriculum in order for pupils to communicate, understand and investigate. We also teach English daily as a discrete subject from Year 1 to Year 6 following the National Curriculum, with opportunities for English in the Foundation Stage being well incorporated within the child’s day according to principles of the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS).
The initial teaching of reading is supported using a phonics programme which follows the government initiative ‘Letters and Sounds’. The programme is introduced in Nursery and consolidated throughout Key Stage 1. Opportunities are also given during Key Stage 2 during reading sessions for further consolidation of phonics and some pupils undertake specific intervention programmes if they experience difficulties with reading.
A mixture of whole class reading and small group guided reading is taught from Nursery to Y6. Lower down in the school, the class teacher works with a group of no more than 6 children to teach the decoding of words and the skills needed for fluent and expressive reading. As the children become fluent readers, these reading sessions move towards a more whole class approach focusing on improving comprehension skills. Reading lessons allow pupils opportunities for the independent reading of a rich variety of texts which include classic literature to pieces appropriate to living in modern day Britain (this could be an extract from Shakespeare to a newspaper article about elections), boosting reading comprehension skills through VIPERS questioning alongside a task in response to the text.
Some classes use their reading lesson time to visit our newly renovated school library. Alongside this, all classes have allocated times to visit the school library where there is a wide range of texts for the children to borrow and take home, some of which are related to their creative curriculum topics.
At Fulham Primary School we celebrate books and the pleasure of reading every day. Children are expected to read every night as a part of their homework, but they are also encouraged read around topics and to read often from their inviting class book corner which are updated each half term. We hold an annual Book Week where the theme changes from year to year. Previous themes have included Rhythm and Rhyme, The World of Roald Dahl and Illustration. We invite guests to perform, tell stories and lead workshops. The week is always fun packed and is rounded off with an explosive day of fancy dress and drama. The whole school come together to share their amazing and creative costumes – staff included!
At Fulham Primary School, English lessons are often linked to pupils’ foundation subjects to ensure cross-curricular links are made. Each class has (at least) one high quality text to study from the half term, which is selected from The Power of Reading. Depending on the length of the text, the class will focus on it for 2-6 weeks. Writing at FPS has a clear purpose – it may be producing recipes to encourage others at school to eat healthily or even writing stories for the Queen on her birthday (we even got a thank you letter back from Buckingham Palace!). In EYFS and KS1 a Talk4Writing approach is adapted to develop pupils’ vocabulary and story repertoire. Pupils learn entire stories (often written by staff) through actions and this supports the pupils writing their own versions: you may have seen a whole class perform an entire story in their class assembly. In KS2, pupils are expected to write through a wide range of genres. A clear structure to English lessons is in place; pupils develop their understanding of the text through discussion and practical activities including class visits, role play. They then plan, write, edit and often publish their work. We spend time in English conferencing with pupils, giving them immediate verbal feedback for their writing which is highly tailored to each individual’s needs.
Each class has discrete lessons studying spelling patterns and rules, grammar and punctuation, which is then applied throughout pupils writing. Every child is given a list of words to learn as part of their homework on a Friday, they are then tested on these words the following Friday and the results are sent home to parents.
At Fulham Primary school we follow a cursive handwriting scheme where all children are taught and expected to write using joined up handwriting. Handwriting is taught throughout English and all curriculum subjects.
If you have any further questions about how pupils study English at FPS, please speak to a member of staff.