Hindsford CE Primary School
Name of policy: Spoken Language
Statement of Intent:
The National Curriculum (2014) clearly states that teaching the English language is an essential, if not the most essential role of a primary school.
At Hindsford C E Primary School, we recognise that without effective communication, little achievement can be made. We know that we have a duty to ensure that English teaching is a priority and we recognise that this is necessarily cross-curricular and a constant through-out school life and beyond. It is part of the ‘essential knowledge’ (p6 National Curriculum) that is needed in society:
‘Teachers should develop pupils’ spoken language, reading, writing and vocabulary as integral aspects of the teaching of every subject. English is both a subject in its own right and the medium for teaching; for pupils, understanding the language provides access to the whole curriculum. Fluency in the English language is an essential foundation for success in all subjects.’ (p10 National Curriculum)
We understand that a large percentage of children entering our Reception class come with spoken language skills that are well below national standards. To redress this discrepancy, staff strive to:
- Be role models of correct spoken language, using Standard English
- Sensitively explore and celebrate the diversity of regional dialect while raising children’s understanding of the importance of commanding a range of language styles, from informal to formal
- Increase children’s awareness and use of vocabulary through the provision of language-rich learning experiences
- Develop children into confident, articulate speakers who are able to express themselves and their ideas clearly
- To use Standard English at all times, when interacting with children
- To pick up on non-standard language errors in written work through rigorous marking (see Marking policy)
- To establish an ethos of supportive criticism amongst staff and pupils where non-standard dialectal features are identified and converted into Standard English
- To develop children’s vocabulary by modelling and encouraging the use of synonyms rather than simply accepting first ideas
- To draw on texts read within class as a way to explore and collect effective language use and vocabulary extension
- To provide opportunities for children to orally rehearse and present their ideas to different audiences
Approaches to teaching Spoken Language
The National Curriculum states that pupils should be ‘taught to speak clearly and convey ideas confidently in Standard English’ (p10) They should:
- Justify ideas with reasons
- Ask questions to check understanding
- Develop vocabulary and build knowledge
- Evaluate and build on the ideas of others
- Select the appropriate register for effective communication
- Give well structured descriptions and explanations
- Speculate, hypothesise and explore ideas
- Organise their ideas prior to writing
In July 2014, the English Subject Co-ordinator and Assistant Head Teacher developed a whole-school overview of English which is linked to the new 2014 National Curriculum. This overview ensures that children of all age phases have the opportunities to develop the skills mentioned above.
As part of our daily practice, we encourage our pupils to speak clearly and confidently and articulate their views and opinions. This begins when children enter the Reception class and embark on the RWInc programme (see RWInc policy) and it continues throughout school. We teach that children need to express themselves orally in an appropriate way, matching their style and response to audience and purpose. They are encouraged to listen and respond to literature, and to give and receive instructions. They also develop the skills of participating effectively in group discussions.
Across the curriculum, significant emphasis is put on learning opportunities which promote good spoken language skills. These include:
- provision of role play and drama opportunities to enliven and enrich children’s understanding of character and relationships
- The use of the microphones, dictaphones, the Radio Room and the Immersion Room
- The opportunity to present ideas to various audiences, including classmates, governors and School Council
- Make regular use of talking partners to allow children to develop their thinking
- Use Murder Mystery and Market Place techniques to encourage collaborative talk
Throughout the curriculum the children are exposed to specific or technical vocabularies, including Maths, Science, Geography and History which they will use in both spoken and written work. Teachers encourage and model the use of new vocabulary in spoken and written language and record new vocabulary on the class Magpie Wall to support future use. In line with the school values and the Behaviour, Conduct and Attendance policy, the children are also encouraged to talk respectfully to those around them, whatever their role within the school community.
Ways in which we enhance our Spoken Language provision
Children from Reception onwards participate in class productions and assemblies where they rehearse and recite lines from memory. In addition, children from Year 4 onwards take part in an annual Play-in-a-Day where they learn, practise and perform a topic-based play.
Inclusion and Equal Opportunities
We are an inclusive school and adhere to the notion underpinned in the National Curriculum, that ‘pupils…who do not learn to speak, read and write fluently and confidently are effectively disenfranchised’ (p13) We set high expectations for all, regardless of race, gender or ability. Activities which are planned to encourage full and active participation by all children, irrespective of ability. We plan teaching opportunities to help those for whom English is an additional language and those with disabilities outlined in the SEN code of practice.
Staff routinely identify children with spoken language difficulties as soon as possible, most frequently upon entrance to Reception (see SEN policy).Children with specific speech and language and auditory problems are identified and specialist help sought, where appropriate. Within school, a range of strategies and resources are provided to such children in order to support them. These include:
Black Sheep programmes:
- Friendship terrace
- Talk about friendships
- Talking about home
- Language through listening
- Fun with narrative
- Speaking and listening through narrative
Other resources and techniques:
- Talking partners/ Talk for writing
- RWInc methodology for vocabulary extension
- Talking Tables
- Sensory stories
- Talking Maths
Assessment for spoken language in Reception falls within the remit of the Communication and Language section of the EYFS curriculum and is assessed in its own right. Following the introduction of the new National Curriculum, from Key Stage 1 onwards, spoken language will be assessed through Reading and Writing, and in the other subjects of the wider curriculum.
Monitoring and Review
The English Subject Co-ordinator (SSL), English Subject Manager (SM) and Senior Leadership Team monitor and evaluate the work achieved. In consultation with the governors, the leaders identify areas for development, resource needs and moderate standards across the school.
This policy will be reviewed annually.