Writing at MHS is interwoven in all areas of our curriculum and is a focus within our creative curriculum. The skills of being a competent writer, being able to express yourself through the written form is an invaluable life skills that we aspire for all our pupils to attain.
The key skills are taught through our focused Topic lessons, which are transcription (spelling and handwriting) and composition (articulating ideas and structuring them in speech and writing).
We strive to help our pupils develop into articulate and imaginative communicators, who are well-equipped with the basic skills they need to become life-long learners. We believe in the importance of pupils becoming competent writers both as a vital life skill for effective communication and as a vehicle for expression and pleasure. When planning learning in writing lessons, teachers follow the teaching sequence for writing.
Writing is linked to learning in across the other lessons and learning is intertwined with other subjects across the curriculum, applying their knowledge to different genres. This enables the pupils to see the usefulness of being a competent writer, as well as giving them meaningful, real-life purposes to practise writing.
Our curriculum is shaped to enable all pupils, regardless of background, ability, additional needs to flourish to become the very best version of themselves they can possibly be. We teach the National Curriculum, this ensures that skills and knowledge are built on year by year and sequenced appropriately to maximise learning for all children. Our writing curriculum ensures that pupils are exposed to a wide range of text types, with a variety of non-fiction, fiction and poetry.
Our pupils write for a purpose, their writing is always meaningfully linked to their topic and class text. They learn to organise and structure it appropriately and recall previous learning that they can build on. We aim to develop pupils’ ability to produce well-structured, detailed writing in which the meaning is made clear and which engages the interest of the audience / reader. Particular attention is paid throughout the school to the formal structures of English: grammatical detail, punctuation and spelling. Pupils have opportunities to write at length, in extended, independent writing sessions at the end of a unit of work – applying their taught skills to an unsupported piece of writing. Inaccuracies with the basic skills are picked up on swiftly by teachers and steps are put in place to support pupils with gaps in these. Throughout Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2, we teach writing through our creative curriculum focus, which allows us to meet the needs of the pupils that we are teaching – through choosing a theme that will engage, inspire and motivate.
Pupils are taught discrete punctuation and grammar skills, appropriate to their academic need yet always aiming to age related expectations, within our approach to planning, allowing opportunities to identify, practice and consolidate grammatical understanding, whilst also being immersed in a topic. Spelling is taught to each pupil at their academic level. A great focus is placed on all pupils acquiring phonetic fluency whilst building a solid knowledge of spelling rules and patterns. Learning to recognise the high frequency words on sight is crucial in developing fluency and accuracy in reading and then writing.
Pupils’ learning in writing is regularly assessed to measure impact and to inform teachers’ future planning. The skills that pupils develop in writing are transferable as they progress through the school and there is frequent discussion of the key knowledge that will be helpful for the pupils to build upon with their new learning. Because the pupils in our school revisit genre types, it is the expectation that they will be able to recall the key features with growing ease and so they can focus on creativity, writer’s craft, sustained writing and manipulating grammar and punctuation. Pupils will be able to write effectively across the curriculum as their writing skills are transferred to other subjects.
Assessment for learning in writing is continuous through the planning, teaching and learning cycle and daily assessments ensure that teachers can adjust their planning to reflect the learning that the pupils need. Attainment and progress are moderated as a whole English department, with the secondary English lead taking an active role to ensure the standardisation of the expectations for writing across our school. Any areas of concern are highlighted and steps are put in place to support any pupils who require it.
Pupils are aware of their targets for writing as these are discussed 1:1 on a regular basis. Teachers point pupils towards these targets throughout their writing lessons so that the pupils are aware of the target they are working to achieve in that lesson.
Muntham House School recognises that reading is a life skill required within real world situations outside of our community at all stages of an individual’s life. Every pupil should feel confident in their reading ability with an understanding of the importance of reading as a life skill. The invaluable impact that reading has on not only an individual’s ability to learn in their childhood but also how this extends into their adult life and future prospects. With this in mind our reading curriculum has been created to engage our pupils with a consistent, systematic approach to the teaching of synthetic phonics with multiple daily opportunities for pupils to utilise their skills and develop their ability alongside the development of a genuine love of learning within our pupils as they begin to recognise the wealth of opportunities reading can offer.
We believe that every pupil should be given the opportunities to identify their own love of reading. Developing each pupils’ confidence in their reading skill is of paramount importance to enable them to develop, recognise and maintain a joy from reading for pleasure. Our curriculum is designed to enable the pupils to become proficient in using technical skills and to develop their comprehension abilities whilst also identifying and minimalizing any potential barriers they face in reading at age related expectations. Every opportunity for pupils to read in all taught subjects and areas of the school day including free times should be exhausted to allow for a high engagement of reading, this will also include throughout the 24hr curriculum for both our day and residential pupils.
All primary staff are trained in our reading programs and resources. This ensures staff with a high skill set are able to identify pupils who are failing to make age expected progress using the sequenced program, assessment tools and tracking sheets. The reading scheme allows for pupils to access reading material at the appropriate stage of their reading ability rather than age as the focus whilst keeping the design free enough to allow for pupils to develop their own sense of preference within these materials.
Our curriculum is designed to best identify pupils’ ability levels, support and extend their knowledge and skill set and thoroughly assess and track their development with high quality interventions in place to further target those requiring additional support.
The implementation of our curriculum is based on high quality and effective teaching, in topic (English) and phonics lessons. Within these timetabled opportunities our staff are able to explicitly teach, monitor and assess cognitive skills, of decoding, word recognition and comprehension.
At the start of each term, pupils are assessed on their reading ability using the Star Reading Assessment or Star Literacy Assessment. Pupils working at a lower level within reading will also be assessed using teacher judgements on pupils’ ability to access Monster Phonics at the appropriate level. All pupils requiring phonics teaching will have continuous tracking data no matter what primary year group they are in.
Independent reading is implemented daily by staff in each class, ensuring every pupil is also reading to an adult to ensure reading is progressing appropriately and that pupils’ have the confidence to read aloud. Pupils are encouraged to develop a personal preference towards literature, through staff attention to individual pupil’s skills, experiences and interests we ensure the Primary library is updated regularly to meet individual reading styles and promote a love of reading.
The measure of the curriculum impact is in the personal development of the individual pupils. This will be a process of gathering both quantitative and qualitative data which will be recorded for individuals on their phonics tracking documents, termly progress data, MHS Progress Wheels, the annual review/CLA/PEP paperwork and subject assessment sheets.
The impact of developing reading skills to a high ability will allow for pupils to attain key skills required to access learning through the primary and secondary curriculum, providing them with opportunities to progress into further learning and live a more independent life beyond their schooling career. Whilst many of our pupils may have additional barriers to acquiring age related reading skills, we are determined that they will be able to thrive under our reading curriculum and become not only fluent readers but readers with confidence who have a love for reading
Muntham House School recognises and values the development of strong speaking and listening skills within our pupils. They are life skills which will impact how our pupils communicate and thrive in the world. Whether they are looking to develop their learning, create and maintain healthy relationships, assert themselves, explore new ideas or even navigate through conflicts they will need to know how to express themselves healthily and appropriately in their surroundings and how to really hear the other voice.
At Muntham House School, we aim to deliver a speaking and listening curriculum that ensures opportunities to develop these key skills are embedded throughout the entirety of the pupils’ school day in both key stage one and two. Our intention is that pupils develop age appropriate speaking and listening skills to enable them to engage with others in social situations as well as participate fully within their learning environment. We aim for pupils to be able to:
All pupils will be assessed upon entrance into Muntham House School by our in-house speech and language therapist. This will determine each individual’s ability and understanding of speech and gauge whether they require speech and language support through our therapy team. If a pupil is identified as having a speech and language need, they will receive weekly sessions in therapy. This ensures a cohesive working relationship to bridge the gap between therapy and class.
The teaching staff within the Primary Department work closely with the speech and language therapist to discuss key issues presenting amongst pupils, developing strategies to help overcome these. With the use of Widget, key vocabulary is used throughout the Primary Department to ensure it is inclusive to, all no matter their speech and language need. This can also be integrated within planning for individuals across all subjects, to allow for them to use visuals to embed new learning.
During lessons, each pupil is given the opportunity to express their thoughts freely, with guidance from staff to ensure these thoughts are portrayed respectfully. Adults will ensure that each child is listened to by both adults and peers and help provide opportunities for open discussions. Group working is implemented across all subjects for particular topics, where pupils will at times be integrated with higher or lower working abilities.
Through an intensive focus of promoting speaking and listening development across the school day, pupils are given the fundamental skills for learning, providing them with the opportunity to reach their full potential socially, emotionally and academically. Developing speaking and listening skills provides our pupils with the fundamentals for learning to read and write, manage emotions, maintain friendships and for employment in later life.
Effective communication skills increases pupils self-esteem by giving them the confidence to communicate with those around them, set boundaries and develop a sense of pride in themselves. This skill set further promotes the ability for pupils to develop strong, positive and purposeful relationships with peers, teaching staff, those within the family home and any other people they may come in to contact with. Effective communication also allows pupils to develop their creativity, as well as providing key practical skills required with problem-solving; enabling them to find solutions and work through differences with others or through difficulties and difficulties with others
DfE No. 938/7003 Charity No. 1105085 Registered Office: Barns Green, Horsham, West Sussex, RH13 0NJ