English is taught on a daily basis from Nursery to Year 3. In the Lower School your child uses their imagination in an engaging curriculum suited to their age and stage of development. English lessons are progressive and start with a stimulus which is built upon throughout the week. They learn and explore a range of literary genres throughout the year through various topics. Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar are embedded within each lesson and they are encouraged to structure their sentences correctly. We will assess your child’s writing each half term and allow their imaginations to flow with this piece of independent writing.
Phonics is taught weekly and we use the ‘Letters and Sounds’ document to deliver short, engaging sessions throughout the week. Pupils are taught the different phonemes and graphemes through songs, interactive games and other activities, allowing them to practise and apply what they have learnt.
Weekly handwriting lessons are taught from Reception to Year 2 using the Nelson Thornes Handwriting Scheme. Your child will be taught how to form their letters correctly and practise positioning their letters on the line, ensuring they are the correct height and length. They start to practise the horizontal and diagonal joins in Year 1 to prepare them for Year 2 where they start joining their writing.
We encourage your child read regularly and practise their decoding, fluency, expression and comprehension through having them bring a new book home each week. In the Lower school, an adult will listen to your child read throughout the week to ensure they are progressing. They are able to access different kinds of books to broaden their learning and understanding, and we monitor their choices on a regular basis to make sure they read a wide range of books before they progress to the next level.
From Year 4, English is taught daily by subject specialists. Our Upper School English department delivers a challenging and stimulating curriculum designed to engage and stretch your child. During their time in Upper School, your child will study and explore broad and exciting themes within literature from the classics such as Shakespeare and Dickens to a wide range of contemporary fiction. Igniting a lifelong love of reading is our goal in English, and all year groups are encouraged to participate in termly Reading Challenges.
Your child will continue to develop their writing skills as they move into Upper School. Each week they have the opportunity to explore and practise a range of writing genres, including poetry and prose. The teaching of spelling, punctuation is also taught explicitly and implicitly on a weekly basis. We regularly assess progress in both reading and writing, and have readily available interventions to support and accelerate learning.
Throughout the academic year the English Department regularly runs exciting competitions, one of our most prestigious events is the Poetry Competition. Each year we encourage Upper School to learn and memorise a poem with the finalists performing in front of the school, parents and judges. Book Week at Staines Prep is another exciting event. Not tied to just one day, we hold a full week of book-themed activities, workshops from visiting authors and participate in World Book Day.