The English curriculum at William Davis is designed to meet the high standards set by the 2014 National Curriculum for reading, writing, spelling, punctuation and grammar.

In Spring 2016 we adopted an engaging yet rigorous talk based approach to English teaching, drawing on elements from Pie Corbett’s ‘Talk For Writing’ toolkit. Children are taught to speak and perform a wide range of fiction, non-fiction and poetry texts and to read and explore the purpose and language of each text type. When they are familiar with a text type, for example folk tales, they then write their own version of the tale, using high quality language taken or ‘magpied’ from the original text. Finally, when they are thoroughly confident with the language of the genre, children write their own original text which is often shared and celebrated in displays or whole class books. This approach has proven effective across Tower Hamlets in supporting strong language development in children who speak English as an additional language and we are excited to be using this well tested toolkit to raise standards here at William Davis.

The Talk for Writing approach also encompasses a firm emphasis on punctuation and grammar. Grammar is taught daily in the first fifteen minutes of the English lesson, through spoken or written games and exercises which aim to increase confidence in children’s use of language structures and meet the demands of the new National Curriculum.

In KS2 spelling and handwriting are also taught in short fifteen minute sessions throughout the week. As well as learning the specific spelling rules and patterns laid out in the National Curriculum, children are taught to develop their own personal lists of spellings which they learn using a bank of strategies that they develop throughout the year.

In order to improve our teaching of reading in KS1 we have updated our phonics programme (Read Write Inc.) and re-trained all members of staff that deliver it. The updated programme ensures full coverage of the 2014 National Curriculum with a focus on word reading and comprehension as well as transcription (writing and spelling). Our aim is for all children to be competent readers by the time they finish Year 1. Reading skills continue to be developed through small-group Guided Reading sessions in Year 2 and KS2, with a strong focus on comprehension skills.