Our Approach to Teaching English at DLA

Our ultimate aim is for our children to leave DLA as confident, literate learners who can communicate their ideas in the written and spoken form. English is taught as a cross curricular subject, making links within the IPC, to ensure that the children’s skills are being developed at every possible moment throughout the week.

English lessons are taught 5 times a week which includes an Extended Writing session. The use of Ros Wilson’s VCOP approach (with a DL twist!) is embedded within and underpins our curriculum, assisting our children in understanding the fundamental elements of writing, grammar and punctuation. Lessons focus not only on writing, but also incorporate speaking and listening elements through drama and role play activities.

Handwriting lessons occur throughout the week to support our children to develop a fluent, legible style using the Nelson Handwriting Font by Year 2. Spellings are set for the children to learn and are tested on these each week, with the expectation that the new words are then used throughout the curriculum. The children are encouraged to use their phonetic skills when spelling. The spellings that are set are fully aligned with the new National Curriculum’s expectations for each year group.

Throughout the year we hold events and competitions and invite authors and companies to school to encourage the children to develop a love of English within reading, writing and speaking and listening. We want all of our children to develop a life – long passion and dedication towards reading and writing.

The use of ICT is incorporated into the curriculum where appropriate. English games and links are used through our MLE (Fronter) and our children are able to go on programs such as EducationCity to further their abilities.

The use of ICT is incorporated into the curriculum where appropriate. English games and links are used through our MLE (Fronter) and our children are able to go on programmes such as EducationCity to further their abilities.


Our children are encouraged to ‘up-level’ their own work, an important aspect of AfL which is a major assessment tool for the children to use. The children are given opportunities to evaluate and improve their work, working independently, in pairs or as a small group. Peer and Self-Assessment plays a major tool in this success, as does the children assessing themselves against their individual targets.

Teachers and children also use the reading and writing APP; a teaching and learning tool first and a summative assessment tool second. Using APP also has an impact on the subject knowledge of our teachers, and the understanding of our pupils about what makes a successful reader and writer: what skills are needed to get to the next level and therefore to ‘reach for the stars’.

DL uses APP first and foremost to understand the progress in English, not tracking progress in English. Although it is also used to understand what is needed for each level of competence and skills. We use teacher assessment, as the most influential assessments in pupils’ learning in English; alongside external tests. Our teacher assessment drive learning in English – if our pupils are making more progress in this way, then attainment in tests should follow.

Moderation using APP is a regular feature throughout our school year. This is critical in terms of ensuring rigour and accuracy, as well as impact. We use APP throughout the term, creating a record of evidence and then look back over the records of the term to help support our overall judgements. Especially true and useful in relation to assessing reading.

Additionally, we have written our APP for writing and reading in child-speak, so our children can also use it to aim for higher attainment and reach their full potential.

Approach to Phonics and Reading

Phonics is the teaching of words which are made up from small units of sound known as phonemes. The children are taught how to identify the different phonemes and then how to read and spell words with these in by either segmenting, breaking a word up into phonemes, or blending, merging the phonemes together to make a word. The use of phonics is not only taught in discrete phonics lessons or in English lessons but throughout all areas of the curriculum to build the foundations for their education.

In the EYFS and KS1 phonics is taught on a daily basis for a minimum of 30 minutes per day in ability groups. In KS2 phonics is taught within Guided Reading sessions and at other times throughout the week were appropriate. Those children who have been identified as needing further support are given further teaching by Phonics trained members of staff individually or in small groups based on their phonetic ability. Assessment systems are used to track the progress of the children’s phonics knowledge so as to ensure that all children’s needs are met.

We have developed a variety of approaches including games, songs, actions and writing to develop their understanding of the sounds, both spoken and written. We use the Letters and Sounds and Read, Write, Inc programmes to teach the children.

Guided reading is taught 5 times a week, with a variety of activities participated in a carousel style. Our children are heard read by the teacher and TA throughout the week. Children are expected to read every night and have their reading record signed as part of their daily homework.

We have the Oxford Reading Tree Scheme books which are book banded and children regularly take these home to read. We are also in the process of developing our school library to give children even more choice of books to borrow and enjoy.

[button link=”http://www.davidlivingstone.croydon.sch.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/Phonics-leaflet-2014.pdf” newwindow=”yes”] DLA Phonics Guide[/button]

“To learn to read is to light a fire; every syllable that is spelled out is a spark.”
(Victor Hugo, Les Miserables)

 [button link=”http://www.davidlivingstone.croydon.sch.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/English-Medium-Term-Map-Year-1.pdf” type=”icon” icon=”paper” newwindow=”yes”] English Curriculum Map Year 1[/button]

 [button link=”http://www.davidlivingstone.croydon.sch.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/English-Medium-Term-Map-Year-2.pdf” type=”icon” icon=”paper” newwindow=”yes”] English Curriculum Map Year 2[/button]

 [button link=”http://www.davidlivingstone.croydon.sch.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/English-Medium-Term-Map-Year-3.pdf” type=”icon” icon=”paper” newwindow=”yes”] English Curriculum Map Year 3[/button]

 [button link=”http://www.davidlivingstone.croydon.sch.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/English-Medium-Term-Map-Year-4.pdf” type=”icon” icon=”paper” newwindow=”yes”] English Curriculum Map Year 4[/button]

 [button link=”http://www.davidlivingstone.croydon.sch.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/English-Medium-Term-Map-Year-5.pdf” type=”icon” icon=”paper” newwindow=”yes”] English Curriculum Map Year 5[/button]

 [button link=”http://www.davidlivingstone.croydon.sch.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/English-Medium-Term-Map-Year-6.pdf” type=”icon” icon=”paper” newwindow=”yes”] English Curriculum Map Year 6[/button]

[button link=”http://www.davidlivingstone.croydon.sch.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/FINAL_The_English_Handbook.pdf” type=”icon” icon=”paper” newwindow=”yes”] English Handbook [/button]

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