English and Drama
At Wandsworth Prep we aim for all our pupils to develop a love of both reading and writing. We do this through the use of high-quality texts that stimulate and excite children’s imaginations so they can use these authors as mentors to inspire their writing.
We understand that in order to develop a love of reading, all children need access to text, therefore our rigorous programme of daily phonics from Reception to Year 2 ensures decoding and fluency. This, coupled with a wide range of early readers, help to develop early readers confidence and interest in texts around them.
We appreciate that accessing a text is not only through decoding but through a deeper understanding of what is read. Our daily Shared Reading in Lower School and Guided Reading sessions from Year 2 to Year 6 offer a wonderfully warm environment to discuss and analyse texts.
Spelling is taught through a comprehensive spelling programme which runs throughout the school and we strongly believe in embedding these spelling strategies as part of our daily writing.
Writing should be a stimulating and exciting experience. We want our pupils to view themselves as authors from an early age and we use our Growth Mindset learning environment to draft, share, edit and improve until we can publish and share our writing as authors throughout the school.
To further spark interest in reading and writing, children throughout the school are provided with opportunities to write for a range of purposes and with the chance to enter writing competitions such as Radio 2’s 500 Word Story or voting for the Scholastic The Laugh Out Loud Book Award for their favourite funny book or ‘The Awesome Book Awards’ where Upper School attend the ceremony and vote for the best novel published by a first-time author. In addition to this, our annual ‘World Book Day’ event is an exciting two-week text and drama focused unit used as a springboard to ignite children’s curiosity and enthusiasm around a text.
Technical accuracy is an important part of our writing and we embed this within our writing lessons in the same way sub-editors do when editing authors’ first drafts. All pupils have a wide variety of stimulus - from high-quality texts to the use of film and drama. Regular drama workshops in Upper School allow pupils to enter the world of a story and bring depth and emotion to a pupil's writing once they have experienced a dilemma in a workshop. What could be more inspirational for writing a persuasive argument as Hermia in A Midsummer Night’s Dream than experiencing being a member of Duke Theseus’ courtroom? Only once the pupils have experienced being evacuated in World War II can they make sense of and compose a historical report fit for a non-fiction shelf.
Special events such as our end of term showcases highlight our innovative approach to drama and public speaking. All pupils are trained in presenting to adults at exhibitions to develop their public speaking skills and they are able to do this confidently through ownership and a deep understanding of their writing pieces. Our now infamous annual Poetry Café delights our parent community every year as do our annual Lower School Nativities (performed at Putney Arts Theatre) and our dramatic ensemble performances where every pupil has the opportunity to shine. View an example, here.
“Pupils achieve excellent levels of attainment in all areas of literacy.” ISI Report, 2019
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