At Quest Primary we believe that a quality English curriculum should develop children’s love of reading, writing and discussion. We believe that a secure basis in English is crucial to ensure a high-quality education and will give our children the tools they need to participate fully in society.
We are passionate about books and the teaching of Reading. English lessons are organised so that reading and writing lessons are intertwined. This means that children have the opportunity to practise their reading skills whilst also being exposed to a range of high-quality texts, which can then be used as models for their own writing. English sequences are all focused around one key text
At Quest Primary, we believe that a child’s vocabulary is a huge indicator of a child’s future life successes, so we ensure that our children are challenged to use and understand ambitious vocabulary. Vocabulary teaching is planned and taught discretely to secure our children’s understanding and to widen their vocabulary bank. We have high expectations of vocabulary and children are encouraged to maintain high standards of written and spoken English at all times.
English teaching at Quest Primary focuses on fiction, non-fiction or poetry, in line with the 2014 National Curriculum, and comprehension, grammar and writing are embedded in lessons. The children also learn and practise spellings using an online platform called Spelling Shed and EYFS and KS1 classes have daily phonics sessions (see Phonics page).
Lesson sequences themselves build progressively towards an extended piece of writing and include a number of opportunities for oral rehearsal and skill development. Both writing and reading outcomes are recorded in literacy books to promote a high level of pride and presentation and to act as a working book, which children refer back to throughout their sequence of learning. Handwriting is also taught within literacy lessons.
Regular assessment and review ensures that we are able to quickly identify children requiring extra support and ensure they receive targeted intervention. Interventions are personalised to the needs of the individual classes so support varies from class to class. However, Precision Teach, phonic and handwriting interventions are used across the school to support the children in achieving and exceeding age related expectations within English.
When planning literacy lessons, teachers make links to other areas of the curriculum to ensure that cross-curricular links provide further context for learning and to support children in developing their cultural capital and vocabulary understanding. Making meaningful and purposeful links across the curriculum not only fully immerses the children in their learning but also provides them with opportunity to enhance their writing using their knowledge and understanding of the topic. Vocabulary is promoted across the curriculum, in all subject areas and children are encouraged to demonstrate their understanding of new words by including them correctly within written outcomes.
Quest Primary places great importance on developing basic literacy skills, especially teaching children to read. In EYFS and KS1 phonic sessions support children with early reading and phonic interventions continue into KS2 for any children who require any additional support. Children’s comprehension and understanding of books is developed and supported during reading lessons and individual reading sessions, group reading and reading fluency interventions all support children with the decoding aspect of reading and support children in becoming confident, accurate and fluent readers.
We are keen to inspire our children to develop a life-long love of books. All classrooms have dedicated reading spaces and regular reading events are held throughout the year. We have a lively, welcoming and well resourced library which promotes reading for pleasure, which is a high priority for us. World Book Day is a favourite, where parents are invited into read, older children read with younger children and adults and children bring in their favourite books. Students from Quest Academy come and support readers in classes on a regular basis throughout the year.
Parents are supported in learning how to best support their children with their reading at home. Teachers host workshops/online PowerPoints to support families in helping their children at home.
Our Quest Primary Reading Spine is made up of picture books. We have selected books that are rich in language, allow access to ideas, places and people that our own children’s experiences may not provide, and are full of beautiful illustrations that interact with the text to support children making meaning.
Picture books are an incredible stimulus to promote talk and develop enjoyment and excitement about a text, as well as provide space for children to explore and discuss their own interpretations, challenge their perceptions and help them understand there can be more than one interpretation of a text. We want all of our children to be able to enjoy a story with their families – hearing high-quality language, becoming absorbed in the fate of characters and expanding their knowledge of the world.
Our book warmers provide an introduction to the book and allow parents and children to explore some of the more challenging vocabulary together, before listening to the story. The book warmers also provide some context about issues or themes from the texts, suggest where children can find out more information to enhance their knowledge, support the children to make links with their learning at school and provide questions for discussion and debate. We aim for our children to become well-informed, tolerant and culturally aware young people who take responsibility for themselves and their communities – our picture books are chosen to support this aim. The themes children encounter in the texts are further encountered through our personal development curriculum throughout their time at Quest Primary.
Above all, we want our children to enjoy reading, have the opportunity to access stories at home and develop their own interest and enjoyment of reading into a passion that will last a lifetime.