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English Curriculum 


High quality phonics teaching secures the crucial skill of word recognition that, once mastered, enable children to read fluently and automatically thus freeing them to concentrate on the meaning of the text. As a school we follow the Read, Write, Inc phonics programme. From Nursery to Year 2, Read, Write, Inc is taught discretely every day. In Key Stage 2, phonics interventions take place to enable all children to be fluent readers.

The following link demonstrates correct pronunciation of all phonics sounds and is linked to our teaching of phonics.

English in Early Years Foundation Stage
The Early Years Profile is followed to ensure continuity and progression from the Foundation Stage.

In the Foundation Stage communication, language and literacy is taught as one of the six areas of learning covering children’s physical, emotional and social development and is incorporated in each area of learning as set out in the ‘Curriculum Guidance for the Foundation Stage.’ We know that children learn best when activities engage many senses, when they are happy and confident. A love of books, rhymes and poems, sounds and words is developed through planned and incidental work. Structured play activities provide valuable opportunities for children to:

  • Engage in conversation with other children and adults
  • Share music, songs, poetry, stories and non–fiction
  • Experiment with writing for themselves through making marks, personal writing symbols and conventional script
  • Apply phonics knowledge and skills within all aspects of learning

English in Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2
English is delivered using a personalised English Curriculum based on the National Curriculum. This was devised in partnership with Chris Quigley (Specialist in Primary Education) , Mrs Ganley (Assistant Headteacher) and Mrs Burkes (Head Teacher).

English is based on books to expose children to a wide range of texts, genres, authors and poets, developing their cultural capital. The book itself, or themes from the book, are used to drive activities where objectives from the curriculum are met in composition, spelling, grammar and punctuation. ‘Books as Hooks’ captures the children’s imagination and encourages them to become fluent, thoughtful and creative writers. Each unit starts with a ‘hook’ and then the children journey through the book completing different genres of writing with specific audiences and purposes. Teachers use milestones 1, 2 and 3 to ensure objectives are taught and revisited on a two-year cycle.‚Äč

Approaches to Speaking and Listening

Speaking and listening permeates the whole curriculum. Children are encouraged to develop effective communication skills in readiness for later life. Children are encouraged to speak in a range of contexts and as they grow older, adapt their style of speak appropriately.  Children have regular opportunities to debate, discuss and present to an audience, both formally and informally.

A Communication lesson is taught each week from Year 1 to Year 6 where the teacher reads a text, which may not otherwise be accessible to the children as readers. As well as introducing children to a variety of genres; shared reading enhances the teaching of comprehension skills and challenges children to explore a text on a variety of levels. This is used as platform to encourage wider reading, discuss themes, broaden vocabulary and ask and answer relevant questions.

The other part of the lesson is focused on speaking and listening. The teacher will use a real life event (current news) or a fictional event (possibly from a class book) to allow for the opportunity to reflect, debate and discuss a key question which is based on a spiritual, moral, social or cultural angle.

This lesson, along with English lessons, enables children to immerse themselves in language whilst extending their knowledge and understanding of the world around them.

Approaches to Reading
Shared Reading takes place regularly during English and Communication lessons.

Discrete comprehension lessons take place each week. A teacher-led taught comprehension lesson takes place in which the 7 strands of reading are covered. This lesson is followed up by an application session. In this session, children apply the taught skills they have learnt.

Children are given the opportunity to read every day and to share books within whole class story time, and at home. Individual reading books are provided to all children.  For children accessing Read, Write, Inc Phonics, their reading book will link to the current sounds they are learning.  Teachers ensure children can confidently read 95% of the text to build fluency.  Once children have a sound phonetical knowledge, they access banded books leading on to free readers. In addition to these books, children take home a book from the school library to share with an adult.  The purpose of this book is to promote a love of reading and exposure to a wider range of text types and vocabulary. Home-school liaison is achieved by having regular parental contact through the child's reading diary.

Teachers or teaching assistants will regularly read one-one with children, across school.  Where required, children are given additional opportunities to read and share a story with an adult or older child.    

Each year Bedford Hall Methodist Primary School has a book fair from which children and parents are invited to buy new reading materials to develop an interest in reading.

Please click the link below for Oxford Owl advice for parents reading:

For Ebooks that can be read at home:

Approaches to Writing
All children have the opportunity to take part in shared, guided and independent writing tasks during English sessions. Guided writing is teacher-led and is an essential component of a balanced writing curriculum, providing an additional supported step towards independent writing. Guided writing is planned in regularly and is targeted towards groups of children according to their individual needs. It is used to support children during the different stages of the writing process.

In the Foundation Stage, children are encouraged to use emergent writing and phonics knowledge to write freely. The children see writing modelled by the teacher in shared writing sessions and phonics lessons. By the end of Reception, most children should be confident with their phonetical knowledge and apply this to spell simple words and write simple sentences.

Within Key Stage 1 and 2, children are taught to write in a variety of genres, for a variety of audiences.

Punctuation, grammar and spelling are taught discretely within English lessons and link to the text being studied at the time. Additional grammar and punctuation sessions are planned in each week to reinforce learning and address any misconceptions.

The Nelson Handwriting Scheme is used across school.

Spelling strategies are taught twice a week across school focusing on a weekly spelling pattern. These sessions are followed by a spelling test at the end of the week. The National Curriculum Spelling Bank and Babcock scheme is used as a resource for this.

During English (and phonics lessons in Key Stage 1) all children learn the sounds of letters and letter patterns. Children use word banks and dictionaries to support them when spelling unfamiliar words.