The children at St Silas have an English lesson taught on a daily basis. Each unit of work is developed using a teaching sequence to meet the reading, writing, spelling and grammar needs of the children. A typical teaching sequence will begin with a wow factor to engage the children and leave them enthusiastic and wanting to research and find out more. A range of texts and vocabulary around the chosen topic will then be explored with a focus on children’s English targets at both group and individual level. A range of books will be explored to model a range of genres, writing styles, grammatical structures and use of vocabulary. The children will engage in a range of activities to capture ideas for their writing outcome. Specific grammar and punctuation skills are taught before being applied in the writing process. Children are expected to edit and improve their work and apply the skills taught in English across the range of curriculum subjects and opportunities for independent writing are incorporated into planning on a weekly basis. In addition to the teaching sequence, classes in Key Stage Two deliver the Cracking Comprehension scheme to develop written reading comprehension skills and participate in ‘A Time to Shine’ creative writing lessons to develop writing skills and stamina.
In addition to the daily English lesson children will also participate in a 20 minute guided reading session where they develop reading accuracy and comprehension skills. Each child receives a number of home reading books that are changed on a weekly basis. The home reading scheme consists mainly of books from the, ‘Oxford Reading Tree Scheme.’ To encourage reading for enjoyment we allow children to choose books that interest them from the colour band allocated according to the level that each individual child is working at. Each colour band is written in order to ensure careful progression so that children build upon and embed vital skills.
Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar
Children in Key Stage 2 are taught spelling using the No Nonsense Spelling scheme and are given spellings to learn weekly as part of their homework. Grammar and punctuation skills are taught within the daily English lesson and children are given opportunities to apply their knowledge when writing for different outcomes. The school participated in a grammar research project, run by Manchester Metropolitan University, to ensure the effective teaching and learning of the grammar curriculum.
A synthetic phonics programme is in place across the infants and all children participate in a daily phonic lesson lasting about 20 minutes to develop reading and spelling strategies. At St Silas, we base our scheme of work on the DFE publication, ‘Letters and Sounds,’ but ensure that teaching is flexible to address the needs of learners and that all the requirements of the 2014 National Curriculum are covered. Additional resources have been provided to support this coverage. Phonics teaching is split up into phases and different sets of letters, sounds and words and taught within each phase. The children are grouped in phases according to their stage of development. Opportunities are given for children in Key Stage 2 to continue with the phonics programme if they show a particular need in this area. Children in Key Stage 2 are taught spelling weekly.
Excellence in Literacy
We would like to announce that we have been awarded the, ‘Excellence in Literacy Quality Mark,’ by The Institute of Education in London.
Two assessors visited the school to observe a series of lessons and interview staff about the school’s policies. The assessors were extremely impressed with what they saw and will be using St Silas as a case study to help other schools develop outstanding practice.
Effective teamwork, professional development of staff and the development of spoken language and comprehension were highlighted as strengths of the school.
We would like to thank all staff, children, parents and governors for their contributions to all aspects of school life which help us in achieving these successes.
World Book Day
We celebrate World Book Day on an annual basis. The children and staff dress up as book characters. Children participate in a number of different activities to promote reading for enjoyment.
We have a wide range of books in our school library and each class is timetabled weekly to visit and change library books. Children are able to use the library during lunchtimes and parents are invited to use the library with their child after school. We ensure that every child has the opportunity to join the local library in Blackburn.