English at Filton Hill
Philosophy of English
At Olympus, our English curriculum is driven by a range of high-quality texts which seek to challenge and lead to the development of the personal and cultural capital of the children attending our schools. The texts provide a stimulus for reading, writing and oracy and aim to deliver an opportunity for all to be immersed in a rich vocabulary; one that will support their own development and nurture a genuine love of language and the written word. We believe that all of our children are authors and that the link between reading and writing are heavily entwined. Children are encouraged to question author choices and explore the context in which a text is written, making links with the world around them. Our aim is that English learning is contextualised in children’s experiences and therefore is carefully planned with explicit links to children’s wider learning. We enrich English learning with visits from authors, trips and experiences that will provide a real purpose for reading and writing.
Bottom up planning
At Olympus English is taught through a sequential journey that encourages children to read like a writer and write like a reader. The children use a high quality text each term as the basis of their learning. The text is then supplemented with other genre specific texts dependent upon the expected writing outcome, whether it be to entertain, to inform, to persuade or to discuss.
We plan a unit of work over a period of 2-3 weeks, ensuring that we have a balance of skills and application being taught throughout. Well-planned learning intentions based on formative assessment are mapped out over a complete sequence, enabling learners to move through the gears from novice to expert. We plan a sequence backwards, beginning with the end of unit outcome and focusing on the skills that need to be developed in order for children to meet the required expectation; this is known to teaching staff as ‘bottom-up planning.’
At Olympus, we break down a unit into three stages and use planning circles to support us in the organisation of these. Each stage allows children to develop their skills and be fully immersed in the text through using talk for writing skills such as book and writer talk; encouraging discussion about authors’ choices and context and making links.
At Olympus we believe that the skills of inference and deduction, retrieval and text analysis should be taught explicitly. This may be through whole class analysis lessons or within smaller guided group reading sessions. Children will be taught how to deconstruct a text and explore how author’s effects and techniques contribute to the effectiveness of writing. This expectation is in all year groups and aims to develop a deeper understanding of language choice and composition. Children will be able to articulate author preferences and be able to question authorial choices in every year group. At Olympus we promote the love of reading and children will be exposed to a variety of authors from the past through to the present, promoting a range of genres within non-fiction and fiction texts. Our learning environments support opportunities and spaces to develop the enjoyment of reading in classrooms and shared spaces.