English Curriculum

At St. Philip's Primary School, we are committed to providing our children with a curriculum that has a clear intention and impacts positively upon their needs.


Our vision is to ensure that every child in our school is given a broad and balanced curriculum that enthuses and motivates them, whilst considering the requirements of the English National Curriculum. We believe that reading, writing and communication are key life skills and we, as a school, endeavour to provide exciting and inspiring learning opportunities that promote the importance of these lifelong skills.


Our purpose is to enable children to:
•    Read with enjoyment and understand for a variety of purposes.
•    Write for different purposes in an appropriate style using spelling, punctuation and grammar, accurately and confidently.
•    Communicate effectively.
•    Develop accurate listening skills


When children leave our school, we intend for them to read fluently and widely and be able to express preferences and opinions about the texts that they read. We want them to read for pleasure, having had access to a wide range of text types, genres, and authors in order for them to make informed opinions about their favourites. We want our children to write with confidence and accuracy for a variety of purposes and audiences whilst developing their own individual flair. By exposing our children to a wide range of vocabulary, we aim to give them the skills to decipher new words and then use them when speaking both informally and formally. We aim for our children to apply all these English skills to all areas of the curriculum.





We recognise that reading is the most fundamental skill that children need to learn and is an essential skill for participation in all areas of life. Our core aim is for children to become confident and independent readers who gain not only understanding, but also real pleasure from the reading activities and texts they engage with.

In EYFS and Y1, the development of reading skills begins when children are introduced to phonics. Children are assessed regularly, and additional interventions offer support to those requiring it. Home reading books for these children match the phonics phase being practiced in school. 


Guided Reading 

We use the small group guided reading approach to teaching reading in our 'Reading Workshop' sessions.  The overarching aim of all our reading sessions is to:

  • Instill a love of reading within each child
  • Teach children the skills that help them to read for meaning
  • Develop and widen children’s vocabulary   

Our quality-first teaching of reading involves explicitly teaching the eight domain elements of comprehension (see below), ensuring that we develop competent, resilient, and well-informed readers.  

All staff use the reading domain sentence stems, working on the following areas: 


2a – give / explain the meaning of words in context

2b – retrieve and record information / identify key details from fiction and non-fiction

2c – summarise main ideas from more than one paragraph

2d – make inferences from the text / explain and justify inferences with evidence from the text

2e – predict what might happen from details stated and implied

2f – identify / explain how information / narrative content is related and contributes to meaning as a whole

2g – identify / explain how meaning is enhanced through choice of words and phrases

2h - Make comparisons within the text


In KS2, fluent readers carry out five reading tasks over the week: 1. A pre-read, 2. An adult guided session, 3. A follow-up task, 4. An independent reading task and 5. OTTER time (Our Time To Enjoy Reading).  In EYFS and KS1, our early and beginner readers take part RWI lessons where they read for enjoyment and understanding daily. Children beyond RWI move on to the Comprehension aspect of RWI. 


Click to download our Reading Progression of Skills


Home Reading

In EYFS and KS1, our home reading scheme is Read Write Inc. Following their 'Storybook lessons,' the children take home two books that are closely matched to their phonics reading ability.  Of the two books, one is the core text, of which they are familiar with, and the second, known as a 'Book Bag book' is a supplementary book for the children to practise sound-blending. Each book bag book corresponds with their core phonics book and it has a similar theme and the same
graphemes.  See 'Storybook Lessons' below for more information.

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Once children complete RWI and are fluent readers, they choose one of our banded books from a range of published schemes. Our wide range of fiction and non-fiction books are engaging and carefully matched to the children's maturity and reading ability.  

Children are expected to bring their reading books to school every day.  We endeavour to make sure that every child reads to an adult in school at least once per week and children working below age related expectations will have additional reading sessions with adults in school.


Our 'Home School Agreement' states that children should read aloud to an adult at home at least three times each week. That adult will then sign the child's reading record. A child's reading record can also be signed if they have read other materials at home such as magazines, a library book, or a book from their own collection. If the reading record is signed, finished books can then be changed. 




Our reading motto, taken from Read Write Inc, is 'Keep up, not catch up'. We identify children who need support and provide intervention immediately and daily.  Our 1:1 reading tutors take the children for up to 10 minutes every day. The subject leader monitors this half termly, but earlier if the 1:1 tutor feels they have caught up. 


In Key Stage 2, children working below ARE work on a personalised writing programme with an experienced TA3. Here they build on missing skills following short, independent writes. 


Reading Success

We love to celebrate success of all learners and strive to help all children achieve their goals. Reading is celebrated in classrooms and around school. 

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In addition, throughout the school year our English curriculum is enhanced through World Book Day, an annual Spelling Bee competition, parent 'Come and Read' sessions and a range of trips and visits which enrich and complement children’s learning.

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Reading Areas

Our reading areas are now welcoming and well stocked, with a range of age-appropriate fiction and non-fiction books. 

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In EYFS and Key Stage 1, we follow the Ruth Miskin, Read Write Inc Scheme for teaching literacy. Read Write Inc is a high-impact phonics programme that transforms reading and writing for every child. Read Write Inc. is used in our school for children learning to read in Reception, Years 1 and 2, and for struggling readers in Years 3 and 4. 

Words are made up of just 44 sounds in English. Here's a quick explanation of some of the key concepts. 

  • Phoneme - the smallest unit of sound as it is spoken.
  • Grapheme -  a written symbol that represents a sound (phoneme) that's either one letter or a sequence of letters
  • Digraph - two letters that work together to make the same sound (ch, sh, ph)
  • Trigraph - three letters that work together to make the same sound (igh, ore, ear)
  • Split digraph - two letters that work together to make the same sound, separated by another letter in the same word. This enables children to understand the difference in vowel sounds between, for example, grip/gripe, rag/rage, tap/tape.

Meet Fred - Fred is our mascot in phonics and in sessions, he will say the 'sounds' of words and children will work out the word. For example, Fred will say the sounds c–a–t, and children will say the word cat. This is called Fred Talk.


Storybook Lessons 

Our children are grouped by reading ability and are assessed by Mrs Swire, the Reading Leader every half term (sooner if needed).  The sessions from Red Group onwards are 1 hour long. Shorter in EYFS.  Books are sent home as follows: 

  • Set 1 letters - a daily letter sheet linked to the sound learnt that day 
  • Sound blending books - as and when set one sounds are learnt and your child can orally blend
  • Ditties - daily paper ditties are sent home
  • Red Ditties -  every three days (two books)
  • Green, Purple, Pink & Orange Books - every three days (two books)
  • Yellow, Blue and Grey books - every five days (two/three books)

Alongside the books they have been reading in their storybook sessions, the children bring home a matching 'Book Bag Book'.  It is important they get as many chances as possible to read these books over the time they have them at home. 

We have seven reading teachers in school: Miss Peel, Mrs Hussain, Mrs Romanska, Mrs Mahmood, Mrs Thomas, Mrs Swire and Mrs Hanif. The staff undergo regular training to ensure they are able to rotate groups each half term. Each reading teacher has a base set up in which the children move to for their storybook lesson. 

Beginner Readers are taught set 1 letters and will then go on to using magnetic letters to support them with their blending skills: The teacher will model the words and then the children with use their Fred Fingers to help them make the word.  

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As their reading skills develop, the children move through the colour books until they are confident, fluent readers. Children that know all 75 sounds and are reading Grey books fluenty, move onto English lessons with Miss Peel using Lancashire English units and they begin Guided Reading sessions to tie in with learning that takes place in KS2.  

Click here to see the complete list of RWI books. Children will not be expected to read all the books.  

Sometimes a child will assess in the same colour group.  We have enough books to ensure they do not need to reread books they have already read. Remember, the more they read at home, the more fluent they will become and the better progress they will make. 

Within each RWI session, the children complete a range of tasks, each session starting with a 'Speed Sounds' session. Again, the tasks they will complete depends on their challenge point. Here is a brief overview of what a session entails: 

Set 1 Speed Sound Session

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Set 2 Speed Sound Session

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Set 3 Speed Sound Session: 

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They then follow a set timetable: 

Paper Ditties and Red Ditty Books

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Green, Purple, Pink & Orange Books

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Yellow, Blue and Grey Books

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Click the link below for ideas on how to support your child with phonics at home:

Parent Guide to Read Write Inc. Phonics 


Once our children progress beyond Read Write Inc, they follow an English curriculum based on Lancashire Unit Planning - Reading into writing.  



For a small school, we are really lucky to have such a lovely school library. The children from EYFS to Year 6 visit it every week to choose a book to share with their grown-ups at home (KS1) or to read for pleasure.  Books are monitored on the library using the management system Libresoft.


Our Reading Ambassadors are going to hold story telling sessions on the library each week for children in KS1.  In Autumn 2023, the Reading Ambassadors will be holding a competition for a new library theme.  

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We have made links with the local library in Nelson and each class visit it over the course of the school year to enjoy a story session and various library tasks with the wonderful staff that work there. Children are encouraged to become a member of the local library. 

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Vocabulary is key! 

Vocabulary will always be one of the most essential parts of teaching in both reading and writing.

On 17th May 2021, we held a 'We Love Words' day to launch our whole school push on vocabulary. Everyone in school dressed up as a word.  Look at some of the teachers below:

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Working Walls

English working walls are a non-negotiable in school.  These bright and engaging walls are used effectively during all English lessons and are referred to throughout the units being taught.  Vocabulary is an essential part of the wall and words that have been explored are then added to the class vocabulary jar. Teachers model writing in all lessons (where applicable), and these modelled writes are added to the working walls as a WAGOLL (What a good one looks like). Children also contribute to the working wall to ensure they too take ownership of them.  

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Our 2-year rolling program for the English curriculum follows the sequence of skills required for each year group. English planning for writing follows the phase system- reading and analysing, gathering content, planning and writing.  Working walls are used effectively by showing the skills the children are working on, new vocabulary they have been immersed in and the toolkit they are working with. 

We teach English skills through a carefully selected range of high-quality children’s literature to stimulate children’s imaginations and we encourage children to: 

  • Write for pleasure and express creative ideas in many forms including poetry
  • Write for a variety of audiences including real audiences
  • Write a range of genres and for different purposes
  • Plan, draft, discuss and reflect on their writing
  • Use cursive handwriting which supports correct letter formation and spelling
  • Use correct grammar and punctuation.
  • Use phonic awareness to help spell unknown words.
  • Develop a good knowledge and understanding of spelling patterns and irregularities in English spelling

Marking & Feedback

Whole class marking takes place in English and teachers feedback to the class at the start of each session.  Children are given ‘Response Time’ to act on feedback given. During writing weeks, quality marking takes place daily and children are given scaffolding prompts to support them with their next steps to correct and consolidate their work.




Handwriting is an important life skill that influences the quality of work throughout the curriculum. At St. Philip's, we teach handwriting using Letter-Join.  We aim to make handwriting an automatic process that does not interfere with creative and mental thinking. By the end of Key Stage 2, we expect all pupils to have the ability to produce fluent, legible and, eventually, speedy joined-up handwriting.  

Click here to download support on how to form: 

Lowercase Alphabet

Capital Letters


Spelling, Punctuation & Grammar

All children from Year 1 to 6, have three spelling sessions each week. Spelling strategies are developed through a range of activities. Through investigation, independent activities, games and the ‘look, say, cover, write, check’ strategy, children will learn spelling rules, word definitions and how to use these words in sentences.

Grammar, in the form of the I-Model is taught at the start of every English lesson.  Using the five 'Is', children are first immersed in the focus skill before building up the skills to innovate and then improve sentences of their own. 


Early Years 

Children in EYFS work towards achieving the Early Learning Goals.  They experience a language-rich curriculum in which they are encouraged to explore the use of language through role-play, stories, rhymes, and other activities.  Oral storytelling enables children to re-tell known stories with a series of actions.

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The impact and measure of this is to ensure children not only acquire the appropriate age-related knowledge linked to the English curriculum, but also skills which equip them to progress from their own personal starting points, and within their everyday lives.

As all aspects of English are an integral part of the curriculum, cross curricular writing standards have improved and skills taught in the English lesson are transferred into other subjects; this shows consolidation of skills and a deeper understanding of how and when to use specific grammar, punctuation and grammar objectives. 

Long term pupils will:

• be confident in the art of speaking and listening and to be able to use discussion to communicate and further their learning
• be able to read fluently both for pleasure and to further their learning.
• enjoy writing across a range of genres
• Pupils of all abilities will be able to succeed in all English lessons because work will be appropriately scaffolded
• have a wide vocabulary and be adventurous with vocabulary choices within their writing
• have a good knowledge of how to adapt their writing based on the context and audience
• leave primary school being able to effectively apply spelling rules and patterns they have been taught
• make good and better progress from their starting points to achieve their full potential

Assessment and Monitoring in English:

The impact of our English curriculum is measured through the monitoring cycle in school:

We carry out:

  • Lesson observations
  • Book looks
  • Learning walks
  • Pupil voice quetioannires 

When assessing progress, staff use: 

  • Ongoing formative assessment 
  • Summative assessment (Termly)
  • Independent work/oral dicsussions
  • LAPS for reading and writing 


Data is added half termly to Target Tracker 

Pupil progress meetings are used to idenitify children who are falling behind or those that need additional intervention to catch up, and this is put into place at the start of each half term


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Nelson St Philip's CE Primary School

Leeds Road, Nelson, Lancashire, BB9 9TQ

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T: 01282 614463

E: head@st-philips.lancs.sch.uk

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