A focus on teaching English at Portsmouth High Junior School | Portsmouth High School

A focus on teaching English at Portsmouth High Junior School

I often write about the rounded educational offer that we have here at Portsmouth High Junior School, with computing and sport being particular themes in recent weeks.

But what about the core curriculum and those subjects that are at the heart of a Junior School education? This week I will focus on English and the progression of skills within the language as the girls advance through the school.

The building blocks are developed in early years through our phased phonics programme. This is a fluid approach where girls work specifically on progressively more advanced stages, concentrating on areas of weakness and consolidating strengths. They are taught seamlessly across Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 as they take steps to grow their reading and writing knowledge. Assessment of progress is continued throughout so that staff are fully aware of how each child is performing. This is one element of learning alongside other skills such as handwriting.

The enhancement of these areas is continued into Year 3 and beyond with an emphasis on writing and developing

creativity. Reading has already been established but continues to be the core around which all the other elements of English revolve.

As the girls progress through the years they have specialised spelling and grammar programmes to help them advance as individuals within larger groups. By Year 6 they will be writing extensively and have bespoke homework and targets which help them to focus on areas that need to be improved. Firefly is used extensively as a tool to offer specific platforms for different girls. Once again, regular assessment informs teaching at all levels.

The speaking aspect is addressed through drama and public speaking. The girls regularly display their prowess in this area through celebration assemblies and our many performances.

The development of English across the junior school is an important part of our day-to-day existence and one which the girls tackle with enthusiasm.