The Bible has inspired many authors. Works by C.S. Lewis, T.S. Eliot and many more show us that writing can re-tell but also re-imagine and make further sense of the Christian story. In doing so, literature which draws on Christian narratives, themes or symbolism can ask searching questions of the existence and the nature of God. It can also explore the journey of faith in more modern contexts. Stories of many forms, verses, song, and letters are the material of the Bible and have inspired much literature, Christian or otherwise. The telling of stories is essential to Christians; it is part of giving witness to God, of sharing the journey or lessons of faith with others.
NC Programme of Study Aims
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 word, and to develop their love of literature through widespread reading for enjoyment. The national curriculum for English aims to ensure that all pupils:
At All Saints’ we aim for excellence in English throughout the school. We aim to develop pupils’ abilities within an integrated programme of Speaking & Listening, Reading & Writing.
Our aims for pupils leaving All Saints’ at the end of Year 6 are:
reading and writing with confidence, fluency and understanding, using a range of independent strategies to take responsibility for their own learning including self-monitoring and correcting their own errors;
with a love of reading and a desire to read for enjoyment;
with an interest in words and their meanings; developing a growing vocabulary in relation to grammatical terminology;
understanding a range of text types, media types and genres;
able to write in a variety of styles and forms appropriate to the situation;
using their developing creativity, imagination, inventiveness and critical awareness;
having a suitable technical vocabulary to articulate their responses in any discussion.
At All Saints’ we have several established approaches to help us achieve these aims. Here are some of them.
We use Jolly Phonics and Letters and Sounds
We are fortunate to have the support of a large group of parent readers who read with pupils across Reception and KS1 on a regular basis. This means that pupils are continuously heard reading.
Learn to Love to Read
Learn to Love to Read is a local charity whose services we use to train parents new to phonics how to support their child at home with the starter steps to reading and also how to grow those all important comprehension skills.
Reciprocal reading is started in Year 1 towards the summer term and develops up the school. This approach to guided reading helps pupils prepare text and have an understanding of it before they read to an adult. It gives pupils responsibility for the text and leads to discussion about the text without adult direction.
Further up in KS2 children have to opportunity to learn from their peers in guided comprehension sessions. This allows them to identify the types of questions and master strategies for providing effective written answers.
We use Beanstalk volunteers who are trained in supporting reading on a one-to-one basis. This support is aimed at pupils who might be older and has been identified as possibly benefitting from benefit continued one-to-one reading in a fun environment. Beanstalk readers will also play short games with pupils and discuss news from home or around school.
We are very pleased with a growing tradition of running a Shakespeare Week at All Saints’. We follow the lead set by the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust and every year focus on a different Shakespeare play. Each year group accesses the play at an appropriate level. We have had monologues (most notably the Seven Stages of Man) and extended writing through to matching characters from plays to suitable football positions. We all of course look forward to the dressing up.
No self-respecting primary school will skip World Book Day. We tie this in to Book Week. The focus for this week is strongly class based and hopes to enrich writing with a short sharp focus on books which teachers love and where they can share their passion for a particular book or author with their class.
Roald Dahl Day
Roald Dahl Day gives children the chance to immerse themselves in the rich writing of this well-loved author. The most recent book we focused on, the BFG, allowed for many writing opportunities and for imaginations to run wild but also to link to our school values of kindness and friendship.
Whole School Writing Progression Display
Every year staff agree on a whole school writing task to showcase an area of writing, whether it is grammar in writing, a particular genre or even the writing process. This highlights the progression through the school to staff and visitors, but also to children and stimulates a growth mind set.
The school enters a team for the annual Model United Nations General Assembly debating competition, to develop debating skills in pupils where the school feels this might benefit certain individuals. All Saints’ has been very successful in the past, reaching the final round often and in 2016 being joint winners of the Best Debating Skills award. The team, working with Earlsfield Primary School, subsequently represented the Borough of Wandsworth in the English Speaking Union London finals and came second!
Word of Mouth Performance Poetry Competition
Speaking of a different kind is experienced by the pupils who are part of the teams who have entered Wandsworth’s annual KS2 Performance Poetry competition. Individual and group competitors perform poems to an audience of several other schools and for a panel of expert judges. Participation in the competition has fostered a keen love of poetry across the school.
To promote confidence in speaking there is a regular programme for sharing in class. Most children come prepared for their slot and is then also ready to answer questions from their friends. This also allows for questioning skills to develop.
The school will enter for writing competitions on an ad hoc basis. We are very aware that writing presently requires strict evidence of age related expectations and that this often leaves creativity unrewarded. Writing competitions, like the Wicked Young Writers Award, often promote just this.