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Curriculum - English



A high-quality education in English will teach pupils to speak and write fluently so that they can communicate their ideas and emotions to others and through their reading and listening, others can communicate with them. Through reading in particular, pupils have a chance to develop culturally, emotionally, intellectually, socially and spiritually.

english2In school, the work we do in English impacts on every subject area, whether it be explaining a chosen method of working in Maths, debating an issue in an R.E. lesson, writing a scientific report or creating leaflet for healthy bodies and minds. Beyond the confines of the classroom, children interact socially on the playground, taking part in creative and inventive role-play situations as well as taking turns in games, they engage in dialogue with other adults when eating packed lunches or having hot school meals, and they demonstrate listening skills during Assembly time. The spoken and written word is all around them.

At Birchwood Junior School we aim to promote high standards of language and literacy by equipping pupils with a strong command of the spoken and written word, and to develop their love of literature through widespread reading for enjoyment.

English is taught every day at Birchwood Junior School.

The skills of WRITING are broken down into four sub-strands:

english3TRANSCRIPTION is initiated through a carefully taught phonics programmes in Reception and Key Stage 1 at our federated infant schools (Lancaster Infant School and Woodlands Infant and Nursery School). This continues to be developed as children move into Key Stage 2 at Birchwood Juniors (or whenever an individual child is ready to make the transition) through a carefully-planned programme of Support for Spelling, which enables children to understand rules, groups, patterns and exceptions, and how to apply these to their writing both in English and across the wider curriculum. Children become proficient at using a dictionary to check for accuracy of spelling as they move further up the school, and a range of dictionaries are available to suit individual needs. Thesauri are used by children to further help and support vocabulary expansion.

english4The teaching of HANDWRITING is structured to ensure that pupils can write a fully cursive script at the upper end of the school. Teachers follow our handwriting policy to ensure consistency for children, and letters are grouped together for teaching purposes to enable greater progression of skills, including spelling patterns. A strong emphasis is placed on the quality of presentation in all aspects of our curriculum.

english6VOCABULARY, GRAMMAR and PUNCTUATION are the building blocks of writing. Throughout their time at Birchwood Juniors the children are encouraged to explore and expand their vocabulary by interacting with the environment and those around them. Grammar sessions are linked to the main body of the English lesson whereby children can practise and then apply the skills during English teaching time, and through other subjects whenever and wherever possible, to ensure maximum exposure.

english7COMPOSITION: Our underlying belief here is that children should enjoy writing, and develop a love of writing with a sense of pride and achievement in their work. Any good composition, whether it be a non-chronological report about the March of the Penguins, the opening of a science fiction story, a historical narrative about an escape from Pompeii, a newspaper report about an Neil Armstrong, or witness statements following crimes including those in Macbeth. Planning always begins with sharing ideas and the opportunity to practice words, phrases and sentences aloud. As children move up the school, planning becomes more formalised but is still underpinned by a “sea of talk.” Children are taught and encouraged to edit and revise ‘purple polish’ their work to be the best possible writers they can be.

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english12Year 5’s Victorians topic, having produced some lovely learning using the editing and re-drafting process.

Class 3’s work. Having a great time taking Traction Man on an adventure and then writing about it.

Children appreciate that writing is for a huge range of purposes and that audience and reader vary depending on the composition, whether that’s writing to entertain, inform persuade or discuss; we draw on our own experiences as readers to aid and support us in our composition work. As with all areas of English, writing reaches far beyond the confines of a single subject area.


english13Birchwood Junior School is a school which loves books. All children read every day, whether as part of our reading skills development, reading aloud to an adult as part of the reading scheme, or though shared reading across classes or as part of a text which is a stimulus for our own writing and wider reading in other subject areas.

Spelling Activity Strategies Word List - Years 3&4 Word List - Years 5&6