'I spent most Saturdays during my early years at the library, drinking in fairy stories, myths and legends, classics, contemporary stories, fantasy, science-fiction and anything else I could lay my hands on' - Malorie Blackman
English ~ Reading
At Mount Hawke Academy, we are passionate about reading and children's access to books. We have an up to date choice of reading material - always involving the children's input. We also belong to Cornwall Schools’ Library Service, so we get a book exchange from the Library Van every term, and our library is regularly refreshed. There are shared story sessions for the children. All teachers read, entertain and thrill their classes with whole class reading daily.
We strive to nurture life-long readers, who take pleasure in searching out new books to read, exploring and discovering through literature. Our children’s reading experience is much more than the reading book which comes home from school. Reading is happening all the time in our school. It is taught in specific reading and English lessons, but our children are practising and using their reading constantly across all subjects too. Our children’s reading journey begins with ‘learning to read’ and moves on into ‘reading to learn’. It is almost impossible to overestimate the importance of reading. Without the ability to read, our children cannot access other subjects properly. Reading is empowering and wonderful.
Building on a love of reading, we strive to teach English as a discrete subject and in a cross curricular way. Guided Reading and focused sentence level work may be taught outside the normal English lesson. English is at the heart of curriculum planning so that subject matter from other curriculum areas is available as content or stimulus for speaking, listening, reading and writing. All curriculum areas involve some aspects of English.
As with all of our practices at Mount Hawke Academy, we are always reflecting and striving to improve. We are continuing to target the teaching of reading and we also focus closely on spelling. We have organised our timetables to provide short daily focused sessions of spelling, and we have introduced a whole class approach to teaching reading comprehension. Regular, rapid, daily phonics is used to supplement learning in the younger classes of the school and there have been parent information sessions to enable improved and understanding support from home. Please see our separate page on Phonics and Reading for more information on this.
English ~ Writing
At Mount Hawke Academy, we teach writing using a variety of strategies to inspire children's work. We take many principles from the Talk for Writing philosophy, as laid out by Pie Corbett, and combine these with other techniques and ideas. Children use drama and text-interrogation techniques, as well as spending time unpicking the technical features of the text type and investigating language and structure. With all of these tools and techniques at their disposal, children are able to use high-level, quality literacy texts to inspire high quality writing.
Children are encouraged to edit and redraft their work, using a range of tools to support them in their work. We use a range of peer, teacher and self-marking where children use structured marking ladders and success to assess their work.
Assessment is both formative and summative, with children being given a combination of written and verbal feedback to inform their improvements and next steps. Teachers will assess children's writing against the objectives of the National Curriculum and use these to inform their planning for each written topic.
All aspects of English are an integral part of the curriculum at Mount Hawke Academy, and we expect knowledge and skills taught explicitly in English lessons to transfer into other subjects, so improving cross curricular writing standards and consolidating and deepening skills.
Spelling is taught discretely throughout the whole school, and is reinforced in all subjects too. In Foundation Stage and Key Stage One, the children’s spelling lists follow their phonic knowledge to reinforce and embed this. In Key Stage Two, children have lists based on spelling patterns following statutory word lists and patterns. The children make use of Spelling Shed to practise in class and at home.
We teach Grammar in a variety of ways. Children experience whole-class Grammar sessions in-line with the National Curriculum. Furthermore, some English lessons will have a grammar focus when teaching writing skills, particularly when looking at advanced punctuation, which has an impact on the meaning of sentences.