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In line with the 2014 National Curriculum for English we aim to ensure that all 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,
  • use discussion in order to learn,
  • are competent in the arts of speaking and listening,

At St Mary’s we believe that a high quality English curriculum will support a child’s love of reading, writing, debate and conversation. We aim to inspire an appreciation of our wide and varied literary traditions and a habit of regular reading. We recognise the importance of developing a culture where children write clearly, imaginatively, accurately and take pride in their writing. Our ambition for all children is to be confident in the art of speaking and listening to communicate on a range of levels, respecting the point of view of others’ and to further their learning.

Children need secure literacy skills which follow a clear pathway of progression e through the primary curriculum. A solid basis in literacy skills is crucial to a high quality education, giving our children the tools they need to participate fully as a member of society.



We use two schemes to teach phonics: ‘Letters and Sounds’ and ‘Jolly Phonics’. We follow the Letters and Sounds programme of work for phonics and supplement it using Jolly Phonics to teach the actions for each phoneme and grapheme.  Regular and planned Letters and Sounds activities take place in whole class sessions and in key groups.

The first seven Aspects of Phase 1 are taught in Nursery.  Reception briefly revisits Phase 1 on entry to consolidate the learning and inform assessments. Then we introduce Phase 2 and Phase 3.  In Reception letter sounds are sent home for the children to consolidate their learning.  In Year 1 and Year 2 Phases 4, 5 and 6 are taught - Refer to Department for Education National Curriculum English Programme of Study KS1 & 2.


Independent and Individual reading is seen as a crucial aspect of the development of English.  A selection of different scheme reading books are introduced to the children at the Foundation stage and as their reading progresses so will their reading material. Books are graded according to sight vocabulary and/or comprehension.

Children are expected to read regularly both at home and in school (to a Teacher or Teaching Assistant).  The children are provided with a reading book from the Oxford Reading Tree Scheme to read at home.  They also have the opportunity to select a book from the school library which they can take home and read.  At St Mary’s we actively encourage parents to read with their children and to discuss the books in some detail. 

Big Reading is undertaken on a fortnightly basis. Children have the opportunity to read a variety of fiction and non-fiction texts and discuss this with their peers and their teacher.  They are also provided with different activities to complete based on the text.


Children take part in Big Writing fortnightly. Different types of writing are taught to children through the English sessions and also via a cross-curricular approach.  Teachers carefully plan their approach to all subject areas in order to ensure that structured opportunities for their work are provided, thus stimulating the development of pupils’ independent writing skills.  Pupils are taught a variety of skills to write for a variety of purposes and for different genres.  Pupils are taught to become fluent with handwriting, spelling and sentence construction.