Good spoken language skills underpin literacy development and support thinking and reasoning skills crucial to learning across the curriculum. Language development steadily builds on the solid foundations that are established during the early years. Children learn language by hearing good examples around them every day. Their attention, listening, understanding, vocabulary, speech, grammar, storytelling and conversations all develop further in terms of skills, knowledge and complexity as they mature. Building relationships and emotional development also rely on the ability to effectively communicate. Many children and young people at risk of under-achieving have weaker language skills; a focus on spoken language can help to reduce this gap in attainment. Spoken language skills develop in a supportive environment where opportunities and encouragement to talk and listen are provided and where adults take time to listen as well as talk.
The Spoken Language Programme for Years 1-6 follows 12 statements that build on the EYFS curriculum where children will be taught to:
1. Listen and respond appropriately to adults and their peers
2. Ask relevant questions to extend their understanding and knowledge
3. Use relevant strategies to build their vocabulary
4. Articulate and justify answers, arguments and opinions
5. Give well-structured descriptions, explanations and narratives for different purposes, including for expressing feelings
6. Maintain attention and participate actively in collaborative conversations, staying on topic and initiating and responding to comments
7. Use spoken language to develop understanding through speculating, hypothesising, imagining and exploring ideas
8. Speak audibly and fluently with an increasing command of standard English
9. Participate in discussions, presentations, performances, role play, improvisations and debates
10. Gain, maintain and monitor the interest of the listener/s
11. Consider and evaluate different viewpoints, attending to and building on the contributions of others
12. Select and use appropriate registers for effective communication
Support that can be provided at home to help scaffold and accelerate children's development includes:
- Modelling for children what is meant by ‘good listening’
- Giving children the time to understand what has been said to them before expecting a response
- Developing the expectation that children should understand what they hear and if they don’t they should have the skills and confidence to ask for clarification
- Talking about new words when they arise and helping children to make links with words they already know
- Modelling good communication skills by speaking clearly and in sentences that aren’t too long and complicated
- Encouraging every-day exposure to precise and increasingly ambitious vocabulary choices
- Breaking down the skills needed to work in a group and giving children opportunities to practise these skills
If you would like further guidance about how to support your child's spoken language development, please see your child's teacher and/or Miss Haji and Mrs Emery.
Now that we can finally meet again for assemblies, we have relaunched our pop-up-poets initiative. Children love it and our first volunteers recently shared their own poetry in KS2 assembly. Well done to Kai, Rocco, Tess, Caitlin and Chloe in Year 6 for bravely standing up at short notice and having learnt their poetry off by heart.
Poems were based on the subjunctive mood. Kai is particularly proud of his:
If I were a shape
I'd be a circle
I'd be a dartboard that always scored 180
I'd be a football that Harry Kane always kicks
I'd be a dinner plate full of cake
If I were a circle
In Year 4, Sophie D recited 'Cats can Sleep Anywhere' and Anna S recited 'Ode for Catherine of Aragon' in their KS2 assembly. Well done girls. In Year 5, Morven, Alice and Joss have worked together to combine and recite their shape poem. In Year 6, Kai has popped up AGAIN as a car! Frosso and Caitlin, also Year 6, have been bitten by the performance bug and have shared their shape poem in our KS2 assembly too.
Recital helps with language and working memory, but it also also a lot of fun! We look forward to hearing more children pop up soon.
Pop up Poets
Year 5/6 have all worked hard together to learn Owen's famous - and challenging - poem 'Dulce Et Decorum Est' as part of their Fighting for Freedom topic. Jack, Noah, Ethan and Jacob (in Year 5) popped up in our whole school Remembrance Zoom assembly to share their recital with their peers. They did a terrific job of it! Other Year 5/6 children are also rightly very proud of their achievement too and some groups have asked to share their recital with parents via recordings.
Children's own poetry
Year 6 English Challenge
There once was a fellow named Paul
who went to a fancy-dress ball
he thought he would risk it
so he went as a biscuit
but a dog ate him up in the hall!
This year's English Challenge will be held internally: each Year 6 class team will compete against the other across both school sites. Our challenge will soon be scheduled for the spring term.
Last year, much fun was had with poems and limericks. Once learnt, these are often fondly remembered into adulthood. All children are invited to pop-up in an assembly, or in their own classrooms, to recite any poetry they have learnt by heart and would like to share. Although it can be initially somewhat daunting, children really do enjoy this experience once they try it, so please encourage this at home if you can.
Pupil Governor Elections
Congratulations to Jack (Y6) and Austin (Y5) who have been elected by their peers as this year's pupil governor and deputy. There was strong competition again this year with candidates from both year groups bravely standing up in a KS2 assembly to present their pitch. Our new governor Jack told us, "It was nerve-wracking standing in front of the whole key stage, but I'm glad I did it and am looking forward to my first meeting." Austin was equally thrilled to be elected as deputy and shared, "I was stunned that I was elected over others. I am very proud that I have been elected." We have faith that these two boys will represent the views of the student body with enthusiasm and conviction.
Pupil Governor Hustings
We are very proud of our Year 6 candidates who were articulate, passionate and brave when pitching their ideas to an audience of their peers in a KS2 assembly. They also had the added challenge this year of having to do this over Zoom. Having listened to their ideas we are hopeful, as theirs are the voices who will speak for us in the future. Well done Eilidh in being elected as Pupil Governor (your first meeting has already been a great success!). Congratulations to Pavlos and Annahita for their election in the supporting role of Deputy.