Curriculum & Assessment
English at Stillness
At Stillness Junior School our intent is to provide an English curriculum for our children that allows them to develop into confident, creative writers, readers and communicators.
We understand that developing strong literacy skills in primary school plays a key role in the ability of children to successfully navigate the later years of their school life, and indeed the years beyond education.
Having a well-planned, carefully structured progression of skills that runs from the beginning of year three to the end of year 6 allows us to have high expectations of all children.
At the heart of this is the intention of all staff here at Stillness Juniors to instil a love of reading, writing and discussion in our children that will have a positive impact on their development during their time here, and a lasting impact on their lives.
At Stillness Juniors we follow a ‘Talk for Writing’ approach, to teach children how to become effective writers for a range of audiences and purposes. This is a systematic approach which follows three stages: Imitate, Innovate and Independent Application.
During the initial imitation stage, children learn to recall a text by heart. This is done with expression and actions, with children encouraged to make use of a story map to support their retelling. This not only embeds high-quality linguistic patterns, but also provides children with a structure that can be manipulated when writing independently. Children then focus on interpreting unfamiliar language from the text through a range of reading strategies, including dictionary and thesaurus work and reciprocal reading.
At the innovation stage, children then take ownership of the text, for example through manipulation of the characters and setting. The structure of the original text is identified and children use this to create their own ideas. During this process, children use a variety of ‘writing tools’ that have been extracted from the text, previous work and their class reading book. The process of taking ownership is highly engaging and empowering and provides children with a deeper understanding of the intricacies of high-quality writing.
Finally, at the invention stage, children write independently, drawing on the rich vocabulary they have gathered from their reading, manipulating the memorised text and working co-operatively with their learning partners. The skills required to achieve this are taught through a series of strategies, including shared writing and guided writing.
Children at Stillness learn to read through whole class daily guided reading lessons which encompass all children’s needs and abilities. During these lessons, children discuss the text they are reading as a class, practise inference and deduction skills and develop strategies for comprehension. Reading skills are not taught in these lessons only, they are woven in all subjects of the curriculum as we believe that no opportunity for strengthening the breadth and depths of children’s vocabulary should be lost.
Every week the children are taught a new spelling rule and then practise applying this to a range of words. The spelling rules taught in these lessons will also link to the weekly spellings given as homework and every Friday a spelling test is completed. Additionally, children are encouraged in every lesson to use the correct spelling through classroom displays, key vocabulary lists, dictionaries and discussions with their teacher.
By immersing children in high quality texts and focusing on skills and the enjoyment of English, children develop an enthusiasm for the subject. They enjoy talking about their favourite books, discussing the stories they’re writing, and sharing their achievements with other children.
Children’s books show that they continually adopt new writing skills as they progress through the school while drawing inspiration from the books they read in class. Children’s writing is assessed at the start of the year and at the end of each term. This formal assessment complements the day-to-day assessment that takes place in classrooms and in books.
Children are also encouraged to assess their own work. Evaluating their own progress often feeds their eagerness to reach new targets and enables children to talk freely and enthusiastically about their next steps.
Spring Term Spellings (20 February 2023 to 31 March 2023):