top of page

English Curriculum


The development of English is fundamental in all areas of the curriculum and therefore is given high priority. The four language modes: speaking and listening, reading and writing (including spelling and handwriting), are interdependent. The purpose of language is communication; therefore, we teach pupils to speak and write fluently so that they can communicate their ideas and emotions to others, and through their reading and listening, others can communicate with them. All skills covered through English lessons are developed and transferred across the curriculum.

English Progression Documents can be found here:



Speaking, Listening and Drama

Spoken language underpins the quality and variety of language that pupils hear and speak. It is vital for developing children’s vocabulary and grammar and their understanding for reading and writing. As a school, we ensure the continual development of children's confidence and competence in spoken language and listening skills. Children are given opportunities for exploring their thinking skills through discussion, debate, drama and role play. In order to do this, the basic skills have to be mastered and the opportunities to develop these skills must be consistent, progressive and well balanced in line with the National Curriculum. Periodically, throughout the school, classes are involved in a wide variety of creative activities that enable children to develop their language experiences that in turn supports creative writing and drama. With close links to the church, regular opportunities to demonstrate these skills are woven in to the school year, reflecting the Christen calendar, local community activities and achievements in school.


Reading is the most vital skill learnt in the early years of school. Through reading,

pupils have a chance to develop culturally, emotionally, intellectually, socially and

spiritually. There are two strands of reading; being able to read words and being

able to understand the meaning of words and sentences. We aim to teach children

to become fluent independent readers and to develop a love of literature and

books. We understand and recognise that pupils will develop at a different rate

therefore strategies and approaches are adapted to meet the needs of each child.

Our phonics approach is based on the most effective ways that children learn to read and write. Emphasis is also put on children learning the high frequency words to support their reading and writing.

When the children start in Reception we use the Essential Letters and Sounds (ELS) programme to teach and secure their phonic skills and books have been purchased to match closely to their phonic knowledge.  This programme continues through Key Stage 1 for all children and into Key Stage 2 for those who need additional input.  Once children are secure with their phonic skills they move onto our colour coded selection of books, matched to their reading and comprehension levels. The school has a well-stocked library from which children choose and enjoy books. Parents are actively encouraged to be involved in the process of reading with their children and books are regularly taken home to be enjoyed together.



We aim to make children competent, confident writers, to enable them to use the written word to communicate effectively. Opportunities for fiction and non-fiction writing occur throughout the curriculum. In this way they begin to understand that writing takes different forms for different purposes.  We encourage children to edit and improve their writing, focusing on their spelling, punctuation and grammar. 

We actively seek to provide opportunities for outside visitors to visit our school to stimulate and enthuse our learners in the writing process. Children are actively encouraged to complete an extended piece of writing each term that is celebrated in class.

Handwriting is taught as a single lesson in our curriculum to develop the correct formation of letters. We base our handwriting on the Penpals approach and font, introducing letter formation and joins progressively across the school.  In later years, children are encouraged to join their letters together. Although handwriting is taught separately, children are expected to use fluent and legible handwriting in every lesson.

Spelling, vocabulary, grammar and punctuation

There are many different spelling strategies that we teach children to help them to decode spellings effectively. Spellings are also used to enhance children’s vocabulary and the children are encouraged to use these newly found words in their everyday writing.

Essential Letters and Sounds 

Essential Letters and Sounds (ELS) is our chosen Phonics programme. The aim of ELS is ‘Getting all children to read well, quickly’. It teaches children to read by identifying the phonemes (the smallest unit of sound) and graphemes (the written version of the sound) within words and using these to read words. 

Children begin learning Phonics at the very beginning of Reception and it is explicitly taught every day during a dedicated slot on the timetable. Children are given the knowledge and the skills to then apply this independently.  

Throughout the day, children will use their growing Phonics knowledge to support them in other areas of the curriculum and will have many opportunities to practise their reading. This includes reading 1:1 with a member of staff, with a partner during paired reading and as a class.   

Children continue daily Phonics lessons in Year 1 and further through the school to ensure all children become confident, fluent readers.  

We follow the ELS progression and sequence. This allows our

children to practise their existing phonic knowledge whilst

building their understanding of the ‘code’ of our language

GPCs (Grapheme Phoneme Correspondence). As a result,

our children can tackle any unfamiliar words that they might


Children experience the joy of books and language whilst

rapidly acquiring the skills they need to become fluent

independent readers and writers. ELS teaches relevant,

useful and ambitious vocabulary to support each child’s journey

to becoming fluent and independent readers.  

We begin by teaching the single letter sounds before moving to diagraphs ‘sh’ (two letters spelling one sound), trigraphs ‘igh’ (three letters spelling one sound) and quadgraphs ‘eigh’ (four letters spelling one sound).  

We teach children to:  

• Decode (read) by identifying each sound within a word and blending them together to read fluently  

• Encode (write) by segmenting each sound to write words accurately.  

The structure of ELS lessons allows children to know what is coming next, what they need to do, and how to achieve success. This makes it easier for children to learn the GPCs we are teaching (the alphabetic code) and how to apply this when reading. 

ELS is designed on the principle that children should ‘keep up’ rather than ‘catch up’. Since interventions are delivered within the lesson by the teacher, any child who is struggling with the new knowledge can be immediately targeted with appropriate support. Where further support is required, 1:1 interventions are used where needed. These interventions are short, specific and effective.  

Supporting Reading at Home: 

  • Children will only read books that are entirely decodable, this means that they should be able to read these books as they already know the code contained within the book. 

  • We only use pure sounds when decoding words (no ‘uh’ after the sound)  

  • We want children to practise reading their book 4 times across the week working on these skills: 

                  Decode – sounding out and blending to read the word. 

                  Fluency – reading words with less obvious decoding. 

                  Expression – using intonation and expression to bring the text to life! 

    We must use pure sounds when we are pronouncing the sounds and supporting children in reading words. If we mispronounce these sounds, we will make reading harder for our children. Please watch the videos below for how to accurately pronounce these sounds:  



At the beginning of each academic year, we will hold an information session for parents and carers to find out more about what we do for Phonics, Reading and English at our schools. Please do join us.  

How can parents help with English learning at home?

Engaging children in rich conversation using clear sentences that stimulate conversation about the world around them will help to develop your child speaking and listening skills. This in turn will develop your child’s enquiring mind helping them to engage in learning.

Reading and writing are all around us, road signs, street names, labels; we are almost reading all of the time without realising it. Just think how much reading you do on a trip to buy groceries. Everyday activities provide opportunities to read and discuss written words with your child.

From playing 'I spy', thinking about initial sounds, to reading the instructions to make a jelly, all help with developing reading skills.


In addition to playing games and highlighting how much reading there is around us, we encourage you to read as often as possible at home with your child. This may be in a book from school or one chosen from home. Please see this one-page guide to helping your child read with questions to ask them about the book being read.  


Writing can be supported at home, through providing children with real opportunities to put words on paper, writing a birthday card, list of party guests, a new song or a story to share. Supporting your child with school home writing activities that can be found periodically in The Star, all help to develop the fluency, content and quality of written work.


We base our handwriting on the Penpals scheme and font, introducing letter formation and joins progressively across the school. Encouraging the correct pencil grip and letter formation at home will help with fluency in writing.  For more information go to Penpals Primary support and download the parent pack here.  

Handwriting can also be encouraged at home by entering the Queen Mother annual handwriting competitions, this is publicised in the Star during the Spring Term.

Spelling Frame

Spelling can be supported through the online learning platform  we use, this  is detailed below:

In Early Years and Year 1, phonic and spelling activities are sent home to encourage children to

recognise common sounds and words.

Homework tasks are set using the Spelling frame-learning platform from Years 2 to 6. All activities set link directly with spelling rules taught in lessons and are aligned with the National Curriculum expectations for each year group.


National curriculum expectations for phonics and

spellings can be found in the centre pages of your

child’s reading diary.

bottom of page