The teaching and learning of English at Langley Preparatory School at Taverham Hall is based on three beliefs:
- Teaching and learning should be fun.
- The texts and novels being studied should be relevant to pupils’ lives and educational requirements.
- Pupils’ strengths and weaknesses should be recognised, giving all pupils the opportunity to achieve in English and to be challenged in their areas of strength and supported where they require it.
We encourage our pupils to recognise that they have different strengths in English and our varied and differentiated approach to teaching allows all pupils to learn in a way that suits them and which also challenges and supports them in their areas of strengths and weaknesses.
The curriculum is divided up into units of work based upon the latest National Curriculum and the Common Entrance syllabus. This is to allow pupils are able to easily transfer into independent school education and also prepare them adequately both for senior school and further education in the public sector. The units of work fall into the following categories: Narrative, Non-fiction and Poetry.
Each lesson is structured so that the objectives and differentiated outcomes of the lessons are made clear to the pupils, making it easy for them to see what they are expected to achieve by the end of the lesson. This enables all pupils to progress and achieve at their own rate. Pupils’ learning styles are taken into account when planning and delivering lessons. We aim for the curriculum to be delivered in an interesting and accessible way so that all pupils have the chance to progress and achieve.
Speaking and listen activities play an important part in the teaching and learning of English. Varying from group work and informal class discussions to promote ideas and provide inspiration, to debates and drama activities. We recognise that speaking and listening contribute equally as much to pupils’ learning and language development, as writing and reading activities.
At the end of each unit of work, pupils undergo core-assessments which assess the main skills that have been taught in that particular unit. As well as the traditional comprehensions and writing activities, which help prepare them for Common Entrance and entrance exams for their senior schools, we also ensure that the assessments are varied, interesting and take into account the different learning styles.
In addition to English lessons, Years 5-7 also have the opportunity to experience one library lesson per week. The focus in these lessons is the enjoyment of reading. The teacher helps support the pupils in the selection of their books, if they require it; listens to some pupils read and asks the pupils to reflect on their reading by filling in a reading log on their chosen topic for that lesson. Recommendations of books between the children themselves are also actively encouraged.
We also have the luxury of being visited once a term by The Norfolk Children’s Book Centre. They not only provide the children with the opportunity to explore and purchase a wide range of interesting books, but also the chance to listen to inspirational employees of the centre talk about their favourite and newly released books.
Please click on the following links to find out more about age appropriate reading lists:
Love reading for schools
Norfolk Children’s Book Centre
Spelling is individually supported and challenged across the curriculum in all lessons, through the use of spelling logs. We have found spelling logs to be very successful at raising its level of importance in all subject areas, helping pupils to focus on spellings which are at the correct level for them and enabling parents and form tutors to become more involved and aware of the spellings on which the pupils need to be working. The teaching of spelling is incorporated within the structure of the lesson, drawing on pupils’ phonic knowledge and other knowledge of spelling, such as morphology and etymology.
We also give all pupils the opportunity to participate in the House Spelling Bee competition. This is a highly contested event which ensures all pupils are excited about spelling!
Within all our activities, direction is given in the use of grammar, spelling, vocabulary and language structure, so that our pupils will express themselves clearly and coherently throughout all their academic work. This direction includes the use of a wide ranging vocabulary which they are encouraged to improve and develop as they write or speak.
We encourage them to investigate the use of language, literary and rhetorical devices in poetry, literary works, speeches and a variety of non-fiction texts: a skill which they will need as they approach the Common Entrance and Scholarship examinations in Year 8, and which will stand them in good stead in their future school careers.
The use of technology is an integral part of our curriculum and is used effectively throughout the English department, as an important part of a modern communication programme. The use of the interactive whiteboard varies from being used for quick starter activity games, to the modelling of writing, textual analysis and pupils delivering their own power point presentations. We also regularly use ICT, flip camcorders and digital cameras to enable pupils to convey their comprehension and express themselves through different ways.
Above all, we hope that our pupils will enjoy using their language skills both practically and imaginatively and that they will gain from their experience at Taverham Hall, a lasting love of books and reading which will go with them throughout their lives, together with an increased confidence in their abilities in English.