English and Languages
Our curriculum is balanced and broad-based. It consists of activities designed or encouraged to develop the intellectual, personal, social and physical skills of the children.
At Great Bookham School, our English curriculum is designed with the intention to equip all children with a strong command of the spoken and written word. We aspire to develop their love of literature through widespread reading for enjoyment and knowledge and ensure they develop the cultural capital needed to excel in the future. We provide an environment that is rich in language in order to immerse the children in the sounds and words that will form part of their written and spoken communication.
Our comprehensive English curriculum follows the aims and objectives of the 2014 National Curriculum, augmented by our libraries and a diverse range of wider activities and events.
Children also benefit from a weekly French lesson, as part of our commitment to fostering curiosity beyond our own borders and developing an understanding of the diverse, multi-cultural world within which we all live.
Please find below further information about the teaching of English and Modern Foreign Languages (MFL) at Great Bookham School, including a breakdown of how each aspect of English is taught.
English Curriculum aims and organisation
Our aims in teaching English are rooted in the 2014 National Curriculum and ensure that all children will:
- develop the necessary skills to use the English language confidently, appropriately and accurately to the best of their ability
- be able to speak clearly, fluently and coherently
- be able to listen to the spoken word attentively with understanding
- be able to read a range of materials fluently and with understanding for enjoyment and for information
- be able to write effectively for a range of audiences and purposes, using spelling punctuation and syntax accurately and confidently.
As the children progress through their years at Great Bookham School, they develop a strong command of language; the curriculum is designed to continually develop and progress their learning across all aspects of English. Each week the children will focus on a text which they will study through a lens of comprehension, grammar, spoken language and writing. This allows the children to develop the necessary stamina for reading, writing and communicating, that they will need to be ready for the next stages of their education.
The English curriculum is organised as follows at Great Bookham School:
- Daily English lessons are timetabled with a focus on one genre / text type across the week. Children begin the week by exploring a text and a discrete aspect of grammar. They then further explore the text or genre through a variety of language-rich spoken-language activities, culminating in drafting and rewriting a piece of extended-writing based on the week's genre.
- We use a combination of commercially produced and school produced materials to deliver our curriculum, which have been rigorously evaluated.
- Equal importance is given to all aspects of the English curriculum.
- A reading scheme is in place which draws on the highest quality texts available - mapped to pupils' emerging needs and regularly monitored.
- Daily phonics lessons in the infant school are taught by ability until all children meet or exceed the required standard.
- Cross-curricular links are a fundamental part of English teaching and learning and are made both implicitly and explicitly during lessons across the curriculum.
- Provision is made for the full range of pupils’ needs and abilities by extra support from the SEN team both on an individual basis and in Focus Groups within the classroom and by the use of classroom assistants under instruction from the class teacher.
- Rigorous standards of English are upheld in written work across the entire curriculum, not just in dedicated English lessons.
The ability to articulate thoughts and ideas and to listen to others are fundamental language skills. There are two dimensions to talk: social and cognitive - making connections through thought, from concept to concept. Both need to be catered for in the classroom, especially the cognitive as this will influence a child's ability to learn right across the curriculum.
Spoken language at Great Bookham School is developed through:
- providing a range of opportunities for children to talk and listen in formal and informal settings
- the use of drama and role play to explore imagined situations
- links between language and music exploring rhythm
- a regular story time when the teacher or another adult reads aloud to the class
- class discussion and debate on topical or contentious issues, both local and worldwide
- showing times or news sharing when pupils are encouraged to speak to their assembled class
- interviewing carried out as part of a topic or project
- use of the Spoken Language objectives from the National Curriculum.
Reading is a crucially important skill that allows children to better understand the world around them, to engage with ideas and concepts beyond their own reality, and to spark and fuel their imagination and creativity amongst a plethora of other benefits. At Great Bookham School, we consider reading to be not only fundamental for accessing the full curriculum, but also to be integral for personal fulfilment.
Studies have shown that children who choose to read, enjoy reading and read regularly, reap the following benefits:
- socially (gaining an understanding of people, the world, life experiences and the ability to empathise and interpret situations
- academically (through language acquisition, reading proficiency, improved comprehension, greater cognitive development and ability to absorb and understand information in all subjects)
- areas of health (developing self-confidence, self-esteem and emotional vocabulary).
Reading at Great Bookham School is developed through:
- Providing a wide range of reading material and opportunities for children to select from this for information and for entertainment, freely accessible via our libraries.
- Use of a structured reading scheme, refined and curated over many years to build confidence, fluency, and understanding (including the use of closely matched phonics books for those learning phonics).
- Regular 1:1 and small-group reading in school with teachers, classroom assistants and parent volunteers.
- Opportunities for independent quiet reading in class and in our libraries.
- Home-school reading expectations with guidance available for parents to support children to develop both fluency and comprehension.
- Dedicated comprehension lessons each week as part of timetabled English lessons.
- A wide range of written resources used as part of other curriculum areas such as STEM, humanities and PSHE.
Language in the early years
As the children arrive in Reception there is a strong focus on Communication, Language and Literacy (CLL).
The children take small steps and begin by: listening to stories, songs and rhymes with enjoyment; responding to what they have heard; and using language to imagine and play.
The children also learn how to pronounce and write sounds through a systematic program of phonics, where they continually progress and learn new sounds for which they have a ‘Learning to Read’ book matched to the individual sounds they have learned at home and in school – as well as a book to instil a love of reading.
At the start of each year, information is issued to parents about our phonics programme and ways in which the children can be supported to develop their skills at home.
Modern Foreign Languages (MFL) at Great Bookham School
The intention of our French (MFL) curriculum is to open opportunities, foster curiosity and deepen understanding of the world and different cultures. We aim to enable children to express their ideas and thoughts in French and to understand and respond to French speakers in speech and in writing.
Pupils participate in a French lesson each week.
French is the language of our nearest neighbour. It is also a working European language. The learning of a foreign language provides a valuable educational, social and cultural experience for pupils. Pupils develop communication and literacy skills that lay the foundation for future language learning. They develop linguistic competence, extend their knowledge of how language works and explore differences and similarities between another language and English. Learning another language raises awareness of the multilingual and multicultural world and introduces an international dimension to pupils’ learning, giving them an insight into their own culture and those of others. The learning of a foreign language provides a medium for cross-curricular links and for reinforcement of knowledge, skills and understanding developed in other subjects.
The French Curriculum
French teaching is organised in a spiral approach with an emphasis on reinforcement and building on previous learning. As part of their stimulating studies, activities include:
- Listening and responding
Through the study of a range of cross-curricular topics, children are equipped with the skills and knowledge that they need to be successful for further study at Key Stage 3 and beyond.