Our Curriculum Approach
At Tyndale Community School we understand the great importance of our children developing literacy skills and exploring the English language. Improved performance at reading, writing and spoken language enables Tyndale pupils to express themselves more fluently and accurately, both of which are important life skills. The teaching and learning of language skills are given a high priority in our school; we also ensure that our literacy teaching is embedded within the wider curriculum subjects, enriching children’s lives beyond school.
Literacy in each classroom is planned in combination with our Project Based approach to learning. Each half term – where children are immersed in a project with a particular outcome and audience – includes the use of two high-quality core tests. Reading skills and writing genres are inspired by these texts to create an immersive learning experience.
At Tyndale Community School we are keen to teach reading and writing in combination with each other; pupils understand the importance of considering the reader when writing as well as the writer when reading. Our overarching aim for literacy, is to promote high standards by equipping pupils with a strong command of both spoken and written word, as well as developing a love of reading.
The teaching of reading at Tyndale Community School is designed to promote a love of books. We believe that every child deserves success and we know that the sooner children learn to read, the greater their success at school. For this reason, we put reading at the heart of what we do.
Reading is very often an invisible skill. At Tyndale Community School we bring reading to life through the use of the '6 Visible Reading Strategies'. These teaching strategies are designed to equip our children with a language about themselves as readers and for pupils to show their thinking and understand of what they are reading; reading is thinking!
Throughout the school, pupils have opportunities to undertake in guided, shared and independent reading sessions. The children also have access to a diverse range of reading books. We do not use any one published scheme to teach reading, instead we believe that it is important to provide pupils with a selection of reading books and experiences from different genres and subject matter, therefore we operate using ‘book bands’ in line with the Oxford Reading scheme. Electronic texts are also available for shared reading with the Oxford Owl website.
Reading at Home
We encourage children to read for pleasure at home and make a visual collection for themselves of books they have read. Every child gets to take home a printed bookshelf that they can fill in and use as a support whilst sharing books with their parents and carers.
At Tyndale there is a high emphasis on the importance of writing both within literacy lessons and the rest of the curriculum. This is a creative subject that supports the development of children’s imagination through story writing and poetry. Along with this, children are taught a wide variety of non-fiction genres such as non-chronological reports, recounts, explanations, instructions, discussion and persuasive writing. When children leave Tyndale they will have a clear understanding of these different types of writing and how to write them.
Explicit writing lessons happen each day. In EYFS children have writing opportunities in all areas of the learning environment and have writing modelled to them. They also have daily phonics lessons where they practice writing letters to the sounds they are learning and then begin to join these to create words. In KS1 and 2 an hour a day is dedicated to the ‘Teaching of Writing’ and this will follow the Gradual Release of Responsibility Model where a new skill/strategy is introduced to the whole class and then, when mastered, used independently in further sessions. The use of skills that are learnt during literacy lessons are consolidated through writing in other subjects. Inspiring children through the use of core texts, and by modelling the type of writing they are going to be doing, texts are broken down into understandable parts and steps, supporting children to see the skills they will need to apply in their own writing. There is a wealth of discussion and modelling of structure and composition of texts as well as the teaching and modelling of grammar, punctuation and spelling.
Phonics is the national approach for teaching early reading. It is the strategy of decoding words by learning to say, recognise, read and write individual 44 sounds. Then the student can use this knowledge to blend these sounds to form words. The phonics curriculum also covers other areas of learning such as the spelling rules and the recognition of Common Exception Words (tricky words). The aim of phonics is to equip children with a strategy that will support them in decoding unfamiliar words, which along with other reading strategies will allow them to become fluent readers. This is a vital and lifelong strategy that can support a reader of any age and ability.
At Tyndale, phonics is taught in EYFS and year 1 through whole class short daily (where possible) lessons. The skills learnt in these lessons can be practised throughout the school day, for example in literacy and guided reading sessions, and out of school such as home learning activities. In year 2, phonics is taught through short daily (where possible) Spelling Punctuation and Grammar lessons. There are also informal assessments of the subject knowledge learnt each term at the end of its respective term to influence the future planning of class lessons and interventions in place for children who need extra support to access the class lessons.
There is a national phonics screening check assessment at the end of year 1. It assesses their ability to use their phase 1-5 knowledge to decode phonetic words. The test consists of reading 40 words with phonemes from phase 2-5, 20 of which are real words and 20 are pseudo (alien) words. The pass mark is normally around 32/40, but can change each year. The children who don’t pass the phonics screening check in year 1 will be expected to retake it the following June when they are in year 2. These children will receive phonics interventions throughout year 2.
As a school, we choose to follow the National Curriculum for English.
Purpose of Study
English has a pre-eminent place in education and in society. A high-quality education in English will teach pupils to speak and write fluently so that they can communicate their ideas and emotions to others, and through their reading and listening, others can communicate with them. Through reading in particular, pupils have a chance to develop culturally, emotionally, intellectually, socially and spiritually. Literature, especially, plays a key role in such development. Reading also enables pupils both to acquire knowledge and to build on what they already know. All the skills of language are essential to participating fully as a member of society; pupils who do not learn to speak, read and write fluently and confidently are effectively disenfranchised.
The overarching aim for English in the national curriculum is to promote high standards of language and literacy by equipping pupils with a strong command of the spoken and written language, and to develop their love of literature through widespread reading for enjoyment. The national curriculum for English aims to ensure that all pupils:
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
appreciate our rich and varied literary heritage
write clearly, accurately and coherently, adapting their language and style in and for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences
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
Mr Paul Robertson: Reading
Mr Robertson joined Tyndale in 2019 as an Assistant Principal and the school’s first Year 6 teacher. He supports teachers with the teaching of reading and is keen to bring reading to life through the use of the 6 Visible Reading Strategies. Mr Robertson has a love for all things creative, including Tyndale's storytelling curriculum.
Mrs Hannah Dawson: Writing
Mrs Dawson joined Tyndale in 2019 and has over 15 years teaching experience across a wide variety of schools and settings in Scotland and England. She has always been passionate about writing and has developed a wealth of experience and skills throughout her teaching career. Using this wealth of knowledge about writing progression and genres, she supports other teachers in developing their understanding of the teaching of writing and its links with reading, speaking and listening.
Miss Hannah Holbrook: Phonics and Spelling
Miss Holbrook joined Tyndale in 2018 and has taught phonics across EYFS and Year 1 in this time. She is passionate about teaching early reading and equipping children with this lifelong skill. Currently she is working on creating an accessible teaching programme and supporting the teaching of phonics throughout the school.