Outwoods Primary School


At Outwoods Primary School, we firmly believe that English and the teaching of English should be at the centre of children’s learning. It is our aim to ensure high quality teaching and learning in all aspects of English thus enabling the children to read, write and speak fluently, allowing them to become life-long learners as well as confident communicators of their ideas and emotions to others. We aim for the children to be advocators of high quality talk, attentive listeners, curious about words and confident authors where they express themselves and showcase their writing skills. English is a key skill, which is essential for all aspects of everyday life including independent learning and the world of work; this is why we believe that is has central importance to our curriculum.

In our school, we understand that decoding skills are a prerequisite step for every pupil’s reading success.  We use our own systematic synthetic phonics programme that promotes the use of phonics as a route to reading unknown words and develop spelling strategies. The aim being to jumpstart on important facet of reading development early and quickly. All EYFS and KS1 children are taught daily phonics within direct teaching sessions; these are routine driven, engaging and active.  There is a clear progression from one lesson to another and in addition, children are provided decodable reading books that support and consolidate their learning. 

In Outwoods, phonics is not taught alone but with a concurrent teaching focus on reading, fluency, motivation, and comprehension.  As a school, we want to foster a lifelong love of reading, where children choose to read and share their pleasure of reading with others. We believe that reading is the most important factor to enable children to access all other areas of learning and that every child can be a reader.  Alongside promoting a love and enthusiasm for reading, we have decided to implement a whole class approach to reading where the skills of reading are the driving force of the children’s learning.  We aim to ensure that the children become analytical readers, have an awareness of authorial intent and can justify and explain their own opinions.   Adopting this approach also allows all children to comprehend above their word reading ‘level’. It is expected that all of our children will develop good levels of comprehension.  Good comprehension draws from linguistic knowledge (in particular of vocabulary and grammar) and on knowledge of the world.

The whole class approach to reading allows opportunity for the development of comprehension skills.  We believe that the best way to develop comprehension skills is through pupils’ experience of high-quality discussion with the teacher, as well as from reading and discussing a range of stories, poems and nonfiction. With the new National Curriculum split into three key areas: Reading for Pleasure, Vocabulary Development and Oral Comprehension, a whole class approach to reading enables the children to develop their skills within each of these. All children are given the opportunity to read aloud, read independently, listen to peers or listen to a text read by a teacher, where modelling of how to read, the use of expression and inference are crucial and develop their ability to be able to discuss what they have heard in a constructive way.  Unfamiliar vocabulary is explored and explained within a familiar context, ensuring a breadth and depth to their reading as well as enhancing their enjoyment.

At Outwoods, we are very passionate about ensuring the children experience high quality texts in all curriculum areas.  Discussion about high quality literature is expected from the beginning of their school life at Outwoods and the quality of the children's contribution to these discussions and the evaluations that proceed will develop throughout their time with us, with teachers ensuring that this is always to a high standard.  Within our reading sessions, as well as other areas of the curriculum, staff model high expectations of discussion, an enjoyment and pleasure in reading, and a desire to learn and experiment with new and unfamiliar vocabulary.

Our approach to writing breaks the learning pathway down into a logical sequence and lessons rely on teacher expertise, specifically the transferring of knowledge and information to construct writing in a certain way.  Each lesson is split into three learning chunks and within those is a smaller sequence of delivery.  This allows for ‘short bursts’ of learning to avoid overloading the children’s working memory as well as making good use of explicit instruction and composition writing ‘live’ in the classroom. These small steps are built on high expectations of quality writing and each step is explained and modelled during the teaching sequence, allowing for practise time so children can refine and rehearse their writing. At each learning chunk, modelling of the writing process is at the forefront.  The children see a sentence unravelling before them as well as the internal writing voice of the teacher who is making the process of constructing writing visible.  As we follow this approach, the teaching of grammar is taught in context.  We include the National Curriculum requirements for grammar at Key Stage 1 and 2 and these are revisited regularly through a variety of worked examples in a range of different writing circumstances.  This enables the children to see how grammar elements work in different genres.  Our writing lessons are based on whole class direct instruction teaching; however, consideration for those children that need extra support to complete the writing is taken.  We work on the principal that all children are involved in the learning exchange and tasked to do the same writing.  Those needing more support are then provided with extra language sentence scaffolds, frames or additional adult interaction to enable them to ‘progress’.  Challenge is provided through ‘Deepen the moment’ and is designed to deepen the children’s thinking, encouraging them to showcase what they know and apply ‘without a model’ into their current writing. By taking this approach, we allow time to develop the children’s vocabulary, focus on the construction of sentences while using specific grammar elements and the effective use of a variety of stylistic devices. The ‘short bursts’ of direct teaching and child led writing ensures lively and engaging sessions with on task learning at all times.

At Outwoods, our approach to learning is an active one and we ensure this is integrated in our teaching across the wider school curriculum.   The teaching of English is multi-faceted, incorporating oracy, drama, real contexts and high quality literature and our priority is to create fluent readers and writers with all the skills they need to be confident and literate in life.  

We thrive for all of the children to be confident and happy young people who develop a love for English through the enjoyment of speaking and listening, reading and writing.