At St Mary’s we have taken a holistic approach to English to ensure there is coherence between all facets of the English national curriculum. By the time the children leave our school, they will have an enduring love for the subject in its own right and see English as an essential life skill which will enable them to have a successful future.

We believe that reading is the keystone of our English Curriculum providing opportunities for our children to ignite their imaginations and fan the flames of their curiosity. We aim to underpin the strength of high-quality texts and our children’s response to reading them by building in opportunities for reading into writing and applying the use of taught vocabulary. Our English Curriculum model has been carefully designed to combine our cohesive approach to the teaching of English as a whole, whilst recognising the various component strands. All of the strands complement each other and support our children’s development and success by:

  • ensuring a solid grounding in spelling, handwriting and punctuation
  • promoting ways of working within the classroom, which encourage full participation of pupils.
  • teaching children the craft of writing in order to develop in children the confidence and skills to write well for a range of purposes and audience.
  • promoting an interest in words, their meanings and developing a growing vocabulary in spoken and written forms.
  • creating opportunities for developing the powers of imagination, creativity and critical thinking
  • valuing and celebrate diversity in culture and language

The diagram below illustrates how the teaching of systematic synthetic phonics and reading for pleasure are woven around writing for purpose:

Phonics is a way of teach​ing children how to read and write. It helps children hear, identify and use different sounds that distinguish one word from another in the English language. The Department of Education establishes the core criteria for effective systematic synthetic phonics teaching programmes. Using phonics programmes, children are taught to read and write using phonics, which is by directly linking phonemes (sounds in words) and graphemes (the symbols used to represent them).

Our children learn phonics through the Twinkl phonics Curriculum Scheme. In synthetic phonics lessons, children learn the relationship between letters and sounds. Teaching them to recognise the sounds each letter makes and how to put them together, enables them to read. It also helps with spelling as they learn how to break up words into sounds, in order to spell them. The idea that surrounds synthetic phonics is that once they are comfortable with the letters and sounds that make up words, children should even be able to read ‘nonsense’ words that don’t actually exist in the English language.  We compliment the phonics scheme with the Big Cat Phonics Reading Scheme.

Handwriting - At St Mary’s our aims in teaching handwriting are that the pupils will:

  • Achieve a neat, legible style with correctly formed letters in accordance with St Mary’s chosen font.
  • Develop flow and speed.
  • Eventually produce the letters automatically and in their independent writing.

Our English policies show, in detail, the intent, implementation and impact of our English curriculum at St Mary's.

reading policy oct 2023

Writing policy oct 2023

Phonics policy Oct 2023

Handwriting policy Dec 2022Reading skills progressionEnglish vocabulary lists