This page contains information about the intent, implementation and impact of our English curriculum.
Next, you will find information and photographs of recent activities relating to English.
Lastly, there are links to documentation about how English is planned and the schemes that are used to plan teaching and learning.
At Bridekirk Dovenby Primary School, we believe that a quality English curriculum should develop children’s love of reading, writing and discussion. We have a rigorous and well organised English curriculum that provides many purposeful opportunities for reading, writing and discussion. Our curriculum closely follows the aims of the National Curriculum for English 2014 to enable all children to:
● read easily, fluently and with good understanding
● develop the habit of reading widely and often, for both pleasure and information
● acquire a wide vocabulary, an understanding of grammar and knowledge of linguistic conventions for reading, writing and spoken language
● appreciate our rich and varied literary heritage
● write clearly, accurately and coherently, adapting their language and style in and for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences
● use discussion in order to learn; they should be able to elaborate and explain clearly their understanding and ideas
● are competent in the arts of speaking and listening, making formal presentations, demonstrating to others and participating in debate.
These aims are embedded across our literacy lessons and the wider curriculum. We will provide the means for children to develop a secure knowledge-base in Literacy, which follows a clear pathway of progression as they advance through the primary curriculum. Rigorous assessment and review will ensure that we are able to provide targeted support so that all children experience success in literacy; we believe that a secure basis in literacy skills is crucial to a high quality education and will give our children the tools they need to participate fully as a member of society
Early reading is currently supported through 'Letters and Sounds', although this is currently under review as key staff are familiarising themselves with the recently published list of the DfE validated Systematic Synthetic Phonic schemes for use in schools. Key Staff have recently attended training and observed phonics teaching in the local 'English Hub' school and are currently reviewing the validated schemes. Once the most suited scheme for our school has been selected, training and development days for relevant staff will follow to ensure they are equipped to deliver the programme.
Once the children have completed the Phonic Scheme, they develop deeper reading skills through reading texts from a variety of structured reading schemes. The order of the books has been carefully designed to ensure progression in complexity of text ( as measured by sentence and word length and the frequency of unfamiliar words) and also to offer both fiction and non-fiction titles. The children's reading skills are further developed by regularly reading both at home and at school. From Year 1 upwards, the children read books that are recognised by Accelerated Reader. Each class has a well resourced library and children chose their own titles from the up-to-date selection that is regularly updated as new titles are published. The children begin their school day with 30 minutes of quiet reading time. At the end of every half term, certificates are awarded to a selection of children from each class for their varied successes. The children also take part in organising and developing their classroom reading area.
When planning literacy lessons, teachers make links to other areas of the curriculum to ensure that cross curricular links provide further context for learning. Teaching blocks focus on fiction, non-fiction or poetry, in line with the 2014 National Curriculum and comprehension, grammar and writing are embedded in lessons. Lessons sequences themselves build progressively towards an extended piece of writing. Handwriting is also taught within literacy lessons, and outcomes in KS2 are recorded in literacy books to promote a high level of pride and presentation across all written outcomes.
To enrich the literacy curriculum, the school reaches out to invite local authors into school or visit if there is an author in the area. This ensures that children have access to writers from the local and wider community as positive role models. Children regularly take part in poetry and creative writing competitions and Bridekirk Dovenby School often have winners from local events - both in writing and speaking competitions.
Assessment for Learning is embedded in literacy lessons and children are active in reviewing the successes in their work and identifying, with support from their teacher, target areas for development to ensure a continuous and individualised approach to improving their work.
The organisation of the English curriculum, has realised a community of enthusiastic readers and writers who enjoy showcasing their developing literacy knowledge and skills. Children are confident to take risks in their reading and writing, and love to discuss and share their ideas. Outcomes of work in both literacy and topic books evidence the high quality of work and the impact of varied and cross curricular writing opportunities. These enable children to write across a range of forms and adapt their writing successfully, considering the purpose.
Attainment at the end of KS2 is well above that of Cumbria and the National Average year on year.
Two pupils have been awarded prizes in the Cockermouth Rotary Club’s 2021 writing competition.
One was the joint-winner overall across the seven schools that entered the competition for her enthralling account of delivering a lamb in Blindcrake.
All Year 5 and 6 pupils across Cockermouth’s primary schools had been invited to enter the competition, writing a short piece entitled “My Happiest Day”. Bridekirk also enjoyed success in the Year 5 competition, with a pupil coming in second place across the schools for her emotive tale about a trip up Scafell Pike with her family.
Additionally, two more pupils were both awarded second place in the Bridekirk Dovenby entries.
Despite Covid restrictions preventing a formal awards ceremony from the Rotary Club, students received certificates and prizes in school.
Proud pupils hold certificates and prizes
At Bridekirk Dovenby School, we believe that primary school children participating in drama, experience an increase in self-confidence. We also have confidence that listening and speaking skills also improve through performing on stage. Plays are chosen to develop the children's knowledge of stories written by famous English writers. The children perform in a local theatre to packed audiences every year.
Scenes from the most recent performance of ‘Oliver Twist’
From Year 1 upwards, we put all children in the driver’s seat to develop their reading skills. The children are guided to selecting books from their 'Zone of Proximal Development' which means the books are a perfect level to improve their love of reading , while engaging quizzes and activities help hone students’ reading skills with authentic practice—encouraging growth.
We have a whole school celebration at the end of every half - term to share the achievements of the children. Certificates and trophies are awarded for a variety of reasons.
Who has read the most words in each year group this half -term?
Who has read the most books in each year group this half term?
Who has improved their reading level by the most points this half term?
Year 1 readers receive their certificates and special awards at the end of the year for children in school who read over 1,000,000 words -some as young as Year 3!
Authors at Bridekirk Dovenby School
Sadly, the coronavirus pandemic has curtailed opportunities for authors to visit us in person - something we have really valued in recent years, with authors such as Helen Haraldson and Cathy Cassidy visiting last year - but we have not let that prevent our children from connecting with them. Making use of excellent live web platforms, our younger children Zoomed in on a special Gruffalo afternoon.
For KS1 pupils, the plan is to bring poetry alive at Dove Cottage dressed as robins, learning about the animals that lived here with the Wordsworths. They will be building movement and language skills through imaginative play and performance with the under-7s.
This year teachers are also planning to take the KS2 pupils to visit Dove Cottage to attend a Workshop developed in partnership with the Armitt Museum Ambleside. Children will have the opportunity to: explore poems and diary entries by William and Dorothy Wordsworth through an interactive story and Dorothy’s journal; make a sketchbook and create animal characters based on Beatrix Potter’s drawings from the Armitt collection, and develop a piece of art work taking inspiration from the collages of Kurt Schwitters.
A trip has also been booked for KS2 pupils to visit Keswick's 'Theatre by the Lake' to see Tom's Midnight Garden in December. Fingers crossed these trips are able to go ahead.
Cathy Cassidy signed her books and Helen Haraldsen spoke about her work as an author
Mrs Taylor, our Year 6 teacher at Bridekirk Dovenby School is very proud that one of the pupils she taught a few years ago, Rachel Pattinson, loved writing so much, that she went on to write her own books and they were published.
In addition, Andrea Haley was a teaching assistant at our school and she talked to the children about writing her book:
'The Spider's New Friends' and the process of having it published. Many of them bought her book.
World Book Day - 2021
Reading for pleasure is the single biggest indicator of a child’s future success – more than their family circumstances, their parents’ educational background or their income. At Bridekirk Dovenby School we strive to develop a life-long habit of reading for pleasure and the improved life chances this brings them.
World Book Day is a perfect opportunity to spend the day celebrating great books, having fun and, of course, our teachers love dressing up along with the children. Reading changes lives through a love of books. In order to promote reading for pleasure, every child had the opportunity to take home a bag containing books for them to keep.
Writing is the most complex of the four language skills which are reading, speaking, comprehension and writing. Writing incorporates almost all the other three elements. Given the reality of our highly dynamic and interconnected world, to be able to write effectively and precisely is an imperative competence that must be aimed at. This makes teaching writing a significant activity.
The teaching of writing at Bridekirk Dovenby School is based around the work of Pie Corbett - Talk for Writing.
Shared writing lies at the heart of teaching writing. This is the generic term for writing with and in front of the children as a precursor to the class writing more independently. It is the key moment at which writing is taught.
The teacher uses the assessment of children’s writing to decide on the key ‘progress points’ that need to be focused upon during shared writing.
These may be aspects of composition or a more general aspect of writing behaviour (eg using a plan to develop plot).
There are two key, interrelated processes – ‘demonstration’ and ‘joint composition’. Shared writing is pitched about one level above the children’s own writing so that they are constantly engaged in progress. The foundations for becoming writers are taught in Early Years and then built on in KS1 using talk for writing. Mrs Taylor has developed this further into upper KS2 with her own model for the teaching of narrative writing.