Language is the means by which we communicate. Achieving competence in speaking, listening, reading and writing is a vital part of a pupil's education. Without effective language teaching, a pupil's capacity to succeed throughout the whole curriculum is limited.
The literature we study at RBA reflects the experiences of people from different cultures and times. Pupils learn to become enthusiastic and critical readers of fiction and non-fiction. Looking at the structures, origins and conventions of English helps pupils understand how language works.
Pupils are taught to write in a variety of forms and for a range of purposes and audiences. Pupils plan, revise and proof-read, considering the effectiveness of their writing. In order to write well, knowledge of grammar and spelling is essential. Pupils receive regular teaching in these areas as well as punctuation and vocabulary work. Pupils work on specific spelling rules and a grammar / punctuation focus each week. These weekly areas of focus are shared with parents and carers through pupils’ SPAG books in Key Stage 2, in which they are encouraged also to keep a record of their personal reading.
Pupils are taught English in mixed ability form classes in year 5 until October, and then are set according to ability. This enables teachers to focus on the specific needs of the children to prepare them for assessments at the end of Key Stage 2. Pupils who find English a challenge are taught in a small group where their needs can be met. In year 6, pupils continue to be taught in ability groups for all of their English lessons. These groups are reviewed throughout the year, changes being made at the end of the Autumn term and after the mock SATs where necessary.
Pupils are taught how to retrieve information, and analyse and evaluate what they read. Intervention strategies are used where pupils may need specific guidance. Several novels and non-fiction texts are studied throughout each year. Opportunities are provided for high quality discussion to extend the skills of inference and deduction and to consider a writer's choice of language to create effects. Emphasis in years 7 and 8 is placed on pupils’ written responses to literature through an essay style, in preparation for GCSE work. Year 7 and 8 are assessed through regular teacher assessments, which inform pupils of their progress towards their end of year targets. Pupils are encouraged to read widely in lessons and at home, as well as during extra-curricular clubs. In all years, regular visits to the Learning Resource Centre are built in to English and other lessons to encourage that love of reading.