Itchen Abbas is a rural village on the River Itchen about 4 miles north of Winchester. Most people who live in the community were born in the UK and migration and immigration into the area are low. Therefore, the community does not have a high level of diversity and children are not typically exposed to diversity within their daily lives. In recent years, since Covid, the school has seen more children join the school from abroad. However, most are white middle class with parents who were working abroad and children attending British Schools. A small number of families new to the school are from Ukraine and are refugees.
According to the 2011 census, Itchen Abbas has a higher education level than the average for England. The percentage of adults in higher paid, managerial and professional jobs is above average and this manifests into high expectations and ambition for children from their parents. Levels of deprivation are low in the area. Most people commute to their places of work although some families are still involved in farming.
Therefore, through our English curriculum, we will give our children:
- read easily, fluently and with good understanding
- develop the habit of reading widely and often, for both pleasure and information
- acquire a wide vocabulary, an understanding of grammar and knowledge of linguistic conventions for reading, writing and spoken language
- appreciate our rich and varied literary heritage
- write clearly, accurately and coherently, adapting their language and style in and for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences
- use discussion in order to learn; they should be able to elaborate and explain clearly their understanding and ideas
- are competent in the arts of speaking and listening, making formal presentations, demonstrating to others and participating in debate
English is the key to a world of new experiences; unlocking imagination and opening the door to unknown knowledge. A high-quality education in English will teach pupils to speak and write fluently so that they can communicate their ideas and emotions to others, and through their reading and listening they can communicate with them.
At Itchen Abbas Primary School, we are determined that all children will become highly competent readers and writers. As a school we are dedicated to encouraging children to be passionate about reading and writing and to offering opportunities for children to respond to their experiences both inside and outside of the classroom, making sure that the curriculum is relevant and of interest to them. Although the skills of a reader and writer need to be taught, we believe it is also important that children are taught to appreciate these skills in order to enhance reading and writing for pleasure.
Our aim is for all children to become life-long readers. We recognise that children must become competent and confident in both word reading and comprehension and our reading curriculum reflects the Hampshire Domains of Reading: Word reading, Comprehension, Inference, Language for effect and Themes and conventions.
Throughout their Reception Year and Year 1, children learn to decode words through daily teaching of Phonics using the Little Wandle programme. Children foster a love of reading from the very start through story-based topics and activities as well as enjoying our broad range of reading scheme books. Later children learn to master the skills of reading through Guided Reading Lessons. The books studied in these taught lessons are not limited to children’s reading ability, instead they ensure children experience a broad range of literature with exciting and varied vocabulary. We are committed to progress for every child. Alongside these high-quality reading lessons, we monitor children’s progress and rigorously monitor progress. We are passionate that all children should have access to high quality literature and are proud that our library, which we regularly update displays and books with different themes, such as diversity. Our links with Hampshire School Library Service ensure the books we have are relevant and engaging for the children in our school.
Handwriting, Spelling and Grammar
At Itchen Abbas, we recognise that Handwriting, Spelling and Grammar are the foundation skills that enable children to excel in English and we are dedicated to children mastering these skills. As well as embedding them in our English lessons, we also teach and monitor them through discrete lessons. In Reception Year and Year 1, children develop their knowledge of spelling through Little Wandle. Later our children’s learning in Spelling and Grammar is supported by the school’s subscription to the Spelling Shed schemes of work. We ensure high quality teaching for progress, through rigorous monitoring and as a school we have clear guidelines to ensure high expectations of children’s spelling and grammar is reflected across the curriculum. We ensure consistency and progression in Handwriting and are committed to each child developing a fluent, legible handwriting that is fit for purpose. We expect excellence in presentation across the curriculum, not just in English lessons. Hampshire primary schools are asked to screen all pupils in the last term of their Reception Year to identify pupils who are likely to experience literacy difficulties. During their first term in Year 1, pupils so identified work through the SIDNEY intervention programme, which was written jointly by local advisers and educational psychologists. The intervention programme was designed to be used for 15 minutes per day on a one-to-one basis. The aim is that pupils should progress towards age-expected skill-levels, and be able to spell CVC words accurately, with correct letter formation.
As a school, we are dedicated to providing a progressive and inspiring writing curriculum. We ensure that every child experiences a breadth of literature from which to draw upon in their own writing. Children study a range of high-quality fiction and non-fiction texts including media clips, heritage texts, novels, picture books, articles, graphic novels, short stories and poetry. We want all of our children to be able write for a range of purposes, show different viewpoints and to use language to affect the reader with increasing command. To support this, our writing curriculum is text led and provides opportunities for children to write in context and for real purpose through learning journeys. Each writing learning journey starts with immersion in the text to stimulate and generate ideas. Grammar, vocabulary, punctuation and composition are then taught through and practised within the context of the book. Drama and talk for writing give children the opportunity to explore and extend their ideas further ready for writing. Apprentice pieces of writing give clear opportunities to adapt and refine skills and throughout each learning unit, children learn to plan and edit effectively to promote excellence in written work. Each writing learning journey creates a final piece of independent writing that has a clear audience, purpose, style and viewpoint. This and further independent pieces of writing generated through the same text or through cross-curricular links build a picture of children’s progress and attainment. We internally and externally monitor and moderate writing regularly to ensure our expectations are in line with National standards and reflects our ambition for each child to use writing effectively to communicate their ideas.
We use Little Wandle Letters and Sounds as our Systematic, Synthetic Phonics scheme. Discrete phonics teaching is taught in the earliest days of Early Years and continues until our learners have a mastery of the graphemes and phonemes that make up the English language and are able to apply them to read a wide range of words fluently. Click on the links below to find more information about how reading is taught in the early stages of your child's journey.
English Long Term Curriculum
Teaching safeguarding through English
At Itchen Abbas, through our curriculum we support children to…
- reflect on human activity through social stories and stories with morals
- write about real life scenarios in an appropriate way
- be able to voice an opinion in a coherent and confidential way
- express opinions and views with respect whilst appreciating that others may have different ideas and perceptions
- engage in formal debate, listen to others and respond critically with care and sensitivity
- use characters to relate to real life and people/personality traits and help to step into someone else’s shoes