The Literary Curriculum at Dove Holes is a complete book based, thematic approach to the teaching of primary English that places children’s literature at its core. Children explore over ninety literary texts and experience at least seventy-five unique significant authors as they move through the school. As a whole-school approach, it provides complete coverage of all National Curriculum expectations for writing composition, grammar, punctuation and vocabulary, as well as coverage of spelling, phonics and reading comprehension. All plans lead to purposeful application within a wide variety of written outcomes.
The English national curriculum (2014) states that: ‘The overarching aim for English in the national curriculum is to promote high standards of language and literacy by equipping pupils with a strong command of the spoken and written language, and to develop their love of literature through widespread reading for enjoyment.’
• We believe the exposure of children’s literature within the primary school setting is vital as a rich context for learning; not only within English as a subject but to support building a reading culture throughout the school.
• We aim to use high quality books that offer opportunities for empathy and can aid philosophical enquiry, as a means of developing the spoken language requirements through debate, drama and discussion using the issues raised through, and within, the text.
By placing books at the core, we are allowing teachers to use the text as the context for the requirements of the national curriculum. The national curriculum states that:
‘‘This guidance is not intended to constrain or restrict teachers’ creativity, simply to provide the structure on which they can construct exciting lessons.’
This would suggest that a context for learning is vital – and this is where our chosen approach can support teachers with ensuring that objectives for reading and writing, including those for grammar can have purpose.
We will always aim for our writing opportunities to be meaningful; whether short or long and that the audience is clear. Books offer this opportunity: our final aim would be that that children have real reasons to write, whether to explain, persuade, inform or instruct and that where possible, this can be embedded within text or linked to a curriculum area. Writing in role using a range of genres is key to our approach as is writing a critique of the text and making comparisons – all writing skills that will support children in preparation for their time in secondary school. This sits comfortably alongside the following statement from the English national curriculum:
‘The national curriculum for English aims to ensure that all pupils write clearly, accurately and coherently, adapting their language and style in and for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences.’
Through use of The Literary Curriculum we have mapped the coverage of the entire English Programme of Study for KS1 and KS2, as well as meeting the needs of the statutory (March 2017) Early Years Framework. In many cases objectives are covered more than once and children have opportunities to apply these several times over the course of a year, as well as to consolidate prior knowledge from previous years. We believe strongly that children should be secure in applying the skills of curriculum 2014 within their writing and their reading and that this approach is fully comprehensive. Where needed, planning sequences are adapted, personalised and differentiated to ensure all access arrangements can be made to support children with the requirements.