At Tylers Green Middle School we believe that the central outcome of all of our teaching is to develop pupils’ abilities to use language to think, explore, organise and communicate significant meanings. We want every pupil to achieve their potential and develop self-esteem. We also recognise the importance language plays in the social, emotional and imaginative development of pupils as they use language to make meaning of their experiences and communicate with the world at large.
At our school, pupils are provided with a broad and balanced approach to the teaching of English across the curriculum, with opportunities to consolidate and practise taught literacy skills. Literacy lessons involve the teaching of reading, writing, speaking and listening. The school regularly monitors the teaching and learning of literacy across the school and assesses pupils’ progress, with the aim of raising standards of pupil attainment and accelerating progress.
The school places a lot of emphasis on developing discussion skills, speaking and listening and role-play as we firmly believe that children need to develop a wide and exciting vocabulary and need to structure their ideas. We also use visitors in school to work with our pupils and a wide range of first hand experiences designed to provide them with additional inspiration and motivation.
Speaking and Listening
We ensure that our children become confident, successful young people because of our commitment to the use of talking within the learning process. Children throughout their learning use talk partners, group work and whole class work to share ideas and develop their thinking. Role play, drama, discussion, debate, presentation and decision making play a significant part in the learning process. Opportunities such as ‘current affairs’ presentations allow the pupils to self-direct and present their ideas and learning to a wider audience, developing communication skills and confidence. In history, the children will recreate scenes from the past and then brainstorm feelings and phrases that the characters may have said. In science, the children have to plan an investigation with their group and decide what resources they will need. In maths, pairs of children will discuss which is the best method for solving a problem and then share this with the whole class. This talk for learning supports the children’s thinking and enables them to learn from each other and structure their ideas.
The children are encouraged to read for enjoyment and understanding, as well as for information. Reading books are sent home daily with a child’s reading diary, which is completed by the parent and child. We aim to work in partnership with parents when developing children’s reading skills and offer support and guidance on how to achieve this at home to those parents who feel less confident. As children enter the school we encourage them to read materials in line with their reading age and direct them to appropriate sections within our reading scheme to develop their confidence and fluency. We have recently aligned our scheme more closely to that used by our linked Infant School to ensure greater continuity and a more seamless transition between the two schools. Children whose phonological understanding of text is still not secure are supported through interventions delivered to give them confidence and strategies to tackle unfamiliar words.
From Year 3 to Year 6, all children across the school participate in weekly guided reading sessions where key skills are taught through a mixture of whole text books, and a variety of short read cards in fiction and non-fiction. We have trained support staff who also help practise key reading skills throughout each week. Where children encounter difficulties with their reading, individual programmes of support and additional practice are put in place to help close the gaps in their knowledge, skills and understanding.
The school has a well-stocked library and each classroom has a variety of reading material including fiction, poetry, library books, dictionaries and encyclopaedias. We use a computerised system to log the books that the children have selected to take home. All data stored on this system is held securely and is deleted when children leave the school.
We want all of our children to become successful and confident writers. From entry in Year 3 through to the end of Year 6, the children develop their writing skills through a wide range of purposeful and exciting activities and experiences. Supported by a variety of teaching approaches, the children are able to develop their writing skills alongside regular input and practice in key skills such as spelling and handwriting.
Our writing plans are linked to the topics for each half term. We also use ‘The Power of Reading’, which ensures high quality texts are shared in order to teach writing through a series of lesson. This ensures that extended, purposeful writing opportunities are planned across the curriculum which will engage and encourage the children with their writing. Through these well-structured units of work the children are also directly taught grammar and punctuation. Each unit lasts between 1 and 3 weeks. Towards the end of the unit, the children use the skills they have been taught and apply these to their writing in extended writing sessions. We celebrate writing by sharing good examples on our website and through a special assembly dedicated to English each term.