Our approach to the English curriculum at LMS is based on what we know about how our children learn best.
At Leyland Methodist Schools, we follow the Little Wandle (Letters and Sounds Revised) scheme, which is a systematic synthetic phonics programme to help our children to master the skills of reading and spelling in their early reading years. The programme begins in EYFS and guides the children through the early stages of sound discrimination, rhythm and rhyme, alliteration and oral blending and segmenting. Once they are ready, children move onto letter recognition, learning and practising the skills needed to blend graphemes for reading and segment for spelling. As the programme progresses, there is also an emphasis on reading and spelling high frequency words, 'tricky' words and polysyllabic words.
We have a comprehensive reading scheme in school that runs alongside the teaching of phonics. The Big Cat Phonics books offer a chance for children to practice their decoding skills regularly throughout a series of fun, exciting and phonetically decodable titles.
By the time our children leave Leyland Methodist Schools, we expect them to be avid readers, children who read fluently and widely and are able to express preferences and opinions about the texts that they have read. We want them to read for pleasure, having had access to a wide range of text types, genres and authors in order for them to make informed opinions about their favourite books. We want to produce children who write with confidence and accuracy for a variety of purposes and audiences whilst developing their own individual flair.
Our English curriculum provides a rich tapestry of broad learning experiences that give our pupils the cultural capital to embrace and enjoy life to the full. Our curriculum is language-rich to enable children to use, understand and articulate their knowledge with precision and accuracy. We encourage the development of viewpoints through discussion based units on current and prevalent issues in the 21st century. We embed opportunities within our curriculum for live workshops to enrich their learning opportunities. We aim to provide an inclusive classroom which encourages our children to apply their phonic skills, develop their innovation and spoken language skills, and as a result, inspire emergent writers.
We want our children to be able to write with grammatical accuracy and be able to apply spelling patterns correctly using a neat handwriting style. We aim to expose our children to a wide range of vocabulary so that they able to decipher new words and then use them when speaking both informally and formally. We also aim for our children to apply all of these English skills to all areas of the curriculum.
Early Years Foundation Stage
Our Early Years Foundation Stage is where the magic happens. The development of children’s spoken language underpins all seven areas of learning and development. Children’s back-and-forth interactions from an early age form the foundations for language and cognitive development. The number and quality of the conversations they have with adults and peers throughout the day in a language-rich environment is crucial. By commenting on what children are interested in or doing, and echoing back what they say with new vocabulary added, practitioners will build children's language effectively.
It is crucial for children to develop a life-long love of reading. Reading consists of two dimensions: language comprehension and word reading. Language comprehension (necessary for both reading and writing) starts from birth. It only develops when adults talk with children about the world around them and the books (stories and non-fiction) they read with them, and enjoy rhymes, poems and songs together. Providing them with extensive opportunities to use and embed new words in a range of contexts, will give children the opportunity to thrive. Through conversation, story-telling and role play, where children share their ideas with support and modelling from their teacher, and sensitive questioning that invites them to elaborate, children become comfortable using a rich range of vocabulary and language structures. Skilled word reading, taught later, involves both the speedy working out of the pronunciation of unfamiliar printed words (decoding) and the speedy recognition of familiar printed words. Writing involves transcription (spelling and handwriting) and composition (articulating ideas and structuring them in speech, before writing).
At Leyland Methodist Schools, we provide an English programme that caters for the need of our EYFS, KS1 and KS2 learners. Our units not only meet the requirements of the 2014 National Curriculum, but they have been specially adapted to provide an extra level of challenge over and above the expected level. An example of this can be found at KS1 when the children look at Discussion Texts linked to their Geography Unit on Hot and Cold Places. Within this unit of work, the skills of oral discussion are developed as the children consider which flavour of ice-cream is the best one and why. The features of a discussion text are explored and the oral skills are then applied to a written outcome at the end of the unit when the children question: Is it better to be a meerkat or a penguin?
At LMS, we also aim to offer access to new and untried texts and authors that children may not have come across before. Whilst some material used is well-known e.g. The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Andersen, we also visit the works of authors who may be lesser known to our children like Toby Forward and Sarah Roberts. Through carefully tailored guided reading sessions and whole class study, we aim to give children a broad and diverse reading diet.
Our English units cover a wide variety of genres, poetry styles and non-fiction to give our children access to a broad range of quality literature from significant writers, researchers and poets over time. Classic works are a feature throughout the seven years that the children spend at Leyland Methodist Schools and famous works from Hillaire Belloc, Shakespeare and Edward Lear sit alongside more contemporary works by Benjamin Zephaniah and Cornelia Funke.
Aspects of oral traditions also feature and in all year groups, children have a chance to get to know, learn and perform a poem for an audience. Humourous performances of Custard the Dragon and Albert and the Lion are balanced by more serious-themed works such as The Highwayman and The Lady of Shalott.
In addition to study in school, our children have the opportunity to experience high quality theatre throughout their KS2 years. Each year, the Junior School visits The Octagon Theatre in Bolton to enjoy high quality performances such as Treasure Island, The Wizard of Oz and The BFG. This fantastic opportunity allows our children to experience the joy of live theatre whilst seeing their favourite stories brought to life.
We recognise that we live in a diverse world and seek to use literature to reflect and explore the rich tapestry of experiences, events, people and places which surround us. The units of work are chosen to reflect a broad range of literature including stories and poems from other cultures and countries.
Within God’s love for everyone, Our school family is committed to serve by:
- celebrating everyone’s unique God-given talents;
- giving the best of ourselves for all the world;
- doing all the good we can together.