English is taught at Bollin Primary School through the use of Quality Texts. From Year 1, children are immersed in a world of pictures and words through the use of texts which are rich in meaning. We aim to inspire children and develop in them, a deep and abiding love of language. Our texts are chosen to challenge and enchant the children, to thrill or to make them question; we believe passionately that children learn best when their learning has a context and are ‘hooked-in’. This philosophy of learning transcends English and underpins everything we do at Bollin Primary School.
The Quality Texts we use have been carefully chosen and often, have been selected because they link to other areas of the curriculum the children are learning about. In Year 6 for example, ‘Little Ships’ is used to tell the heroic tale of soldiers rescued from the beaches of Dunkirk during World War 2 and in this way, the text provides a meaningful and poignant context for the children’s history topic.
Our English framework places value on the key skills of Speaking and Listening as children are encouraged to respond to texts and develop the ability to articulate their ideas. Children are taught to use the conventions of discussion and debate and use drama as a vehicle to explore the characters and worlds they find themselves in, building confidence along the way. Spoken language and pupils’ skills in oracy underpin development and progression in both reading and writing; allowing children the time to ask questions about a book, talk about it and simply wonder, is something that we believe is fundamental in helping lay the foundations for a lifelong love and appreciation of the written word in all its forms. Quality Texts also provide a valuable platform for teachers to develop children’s comprehension skills. Through the interrogation of images and language, we develop skills in inference and deduction, discuss why authors choose the language they choose and make connections with other texts and authors we have encountered.
Writing soon follows and in this way, children follow a ‘process’ which starts with Speaking and Listening and brings together the different strands of English in a meaningful, contextualised way. Children begin to ‘read as writers’, exploring how grammar and sentence construction can be employed to create an effect and similarly, how vocabulary sits alongside to engage the reader. Vocabulary is vital and the children learn that words are not only the building blocks of the sentences we craft, but a tool to express our ideas and emotions: to write a persuasive letter about single-use plastics, to be Churchill’s speechwriter or produce newspaper report about an alien Watertower.
At Bollin Primary, children write when they are ready and their reading and enjoyment of a Quality Text means they have developed the necessary skills and empathy to produce something which is purposeful and crucially, means something to them. A drafting and editing process takes place and children are taught that even the best authors do not get it right at the first time of asking rather we polish and edit at word, sentence and paragraph level working with our fellow writers in the class to improve and refine.
A final piece of writing is therefore a genuine labour of love - our Golden Writing. With its own bespoke book, the children’s Golden writing showcases the journey the children have gone on. Talk to children at Bollin Primary about their Golden Book and they will speak with pride and affection about what they have accomplished.