Our English Curriculum

At St. Mary’s we are committed to providing a rich and diverse literary experience. 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.

Our curriculum closely follows the aims of the National Curriculum for English to enable all children to: 

  • 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.

These aims are embedded across our English lessons and the wider curriculum. We will provide the means for children to develop a secure knowledge-base in English, which follows a clear pathway of progression as they advance through the primary curriculum.  Assessments ensure that we are able to regularly monitor and provide targeted support so that all children experience success in English.

We believe that a secure basis in English skills is crucial to a high quality education and will give our children the tools they need to participate fully as a member of society. 

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Phonics and Reading

Phonics and early reading

Phonics and early reading is taught using Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised – a complete systematic, synthetic phonics programme.

This is used throughout Reception, Year and Year 2, and where appropriate for children in Key Stage 2, to support learners to reach their full reading potential. Phonics is taught daily by trained members of staff.

Every child will have a reading experience that is matched to their phonetical ability and this will be supported by them being given the appropriate Little Wandle decodable book.

Reading and reading for pleasure

Throughout the school, children are assessed and tracked to ensure that they are reading the appropriate books for their reading and comprehension age. For our reading scheme, we use the Collins Big Cat books as this is the complimentary scheme to Little Wandle.

All children take part in regularly reading skill sessions. These session may focus on the fluency and stamina of reading or on comprehension skills.

We believe that every child should be able to access books to read for pleasure. Therefore, alongside their book band reading book, children also have access to the wide and diverse range of fiction and non-fiction school library books, which they can share with parents and enjoy at their leisure.

Children are also exposed to reading for pleasure sessions, where they can sit, relax and listen to high-quality and engaging books being read by a skilled adult. These books are planned for and included on year group learning journeys.

Reading Assessment
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Our writing curriculum

English lessons are all planned around high-quality books, which carefully link to our year group learning journeys to ensure cross curricula learning. As a school, we have created our own writing curriculum which supports our vision of using high-quality, diverse and inspiring texts. Teachers make links to other areas of the curriculum to ensure that cross curricular links provide further context for learning.

Our writing sequences focus on fiction, non-fiction or poetry. Comprehension, spelling and grammar skills are taught and embedded within the sequence of lessons.     

Handwriting is taught within the weekly timetable and embedded in all lessons through teacher feedback and expectations.  

Writing assessment

We use stage writing assessments grids that have objectives taken from the National Curriculum to assess writing after each writing sequence.

These are then used to inform future teacher planning, as well as identify class and individual next steps.

Writing environments

All children’s writing is celebrated through year group writing displays, which can be found in our school corridors. These are updated each term to share and celebrate children’s progress.

In classrooms, we also use working walls to support pupils learning during the writing sequence.

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