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English

At St Giles’ we aim to inspire the children with the necessary skills to become effective communicators, a love of literature and a passion for writing.

It is our aim that by the time they leave St Giles’ pupils will be able to:

  • 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 skills of speaking and listening, making formal presentations, demonstrating to others and participating in debate

Spoken language

As part of our daily practice, we encourage our pupils to speak clearly and confidently and articulate their views and opinions. This begins when children enter the Foundation Stage and it continues throughout school. We teach that children need to express themselves orally in an appropriate way, matching their style and response to audience and purpose. They are encouraged to listen and respond to literature, and to give and receive instructions. They also develop the skills of participating effectively in group discussions.

Phonics

We aim to teach high-quality phonics to ensure the children have the best start possible in reading and writing. Phonics is the beginning of children’s body of knowledge, skills and understanding that are an essential part of learning to read and write. Synthetic phonics is used as the main approach to teaching reading at our school. It is an approach to teaching phonics in which individual letters or letter sounds are blended to form groups of letters or sounds, and those groups are then blended to form complete words. To ensure that the children have a good grounding in phonics we use the Read Write Inc programme.

Reading

Reading opens the door to learning and is fundamental to children’s success in every area of the curriculum. Children are taught to read using a combination of phonics development, learning to recognise sight vocabulary (common exception words such as the, is, to etc) and strategies to help children to understand what they are reading and discuss meaning.  This is taught through “guided reading” where children work in small groups with an adult developing their reading skills with children at a similar developmental level, guided by the adult. A wide range of books from PM Benchmarking and different schemes, where appropriate, are used to ensure the children experience a variety of genres and authors. We recognise that parental support is vital in helping children learn to read.

Writing

Competence in writing is crucial for the development of children’s communication skills. It offers the opportunity to store information for later retrieval, to interact with others, to reflect and to express ideas creatively. Skilled writers understand the characteristics of writing’s many forms, and are able to adapt their style to suit a wide range of purposes. Success in writing is an important ingredient for children’s progress in all other areas of the curriculum and our approach is cross curricular. It is designed to empower our pupils with the enthusiasm, creativity and technical skills to tackle all writing genres.