English at St. Mary’s reflects our mission statement in that it provides children with the means to make sense of the world created by God and illustrates the wonder of creation. It provides opportunities for the children to read and hear stories from the gospels and to be aware of the care and compassion of God. A caring atmosphere reflecting the true spirit of Christ’s love is evident in all lessons.


This policy outlines the teaching, organization and management of English taught and learnt at St Mary’s R.C. Primary School.

English is a core subject of the National Curriculum.

All learning takes place through the use of language, both inside and outside the classroom. An ability to communicate effectively in both speech and written forms and to read a wide range of texts is essential if children are to achieve their full potential. Our school views the acquisition of language skills to be of the utmost importance and correspondingly the teaching of all aspects of English is given a high priority.

Mastery over language empowers children to communicate; creatively and imaginatively as well as allowing them engagement with the world at large.

Our teaching in Year 1, 3, 4 & 5 is now planned in line with the programmes of study for English as laid down in the new national curriculum for England 2014. Our teaching in Year 2 and Year 6 is planned from the Literacy Framework taking account of the National Curriculum Programmes of Study for Speaking and Listening for this academic year only and will change to be inline with the other year groups. We work flexibly in our lessons following different lesson models at different times, to best suit the pupils and learning objectives. But we try to ensure that the appropriate balance of whole class, group and individual teaching is retained on balance.

We include designated SPAG (spelling punctuation and grammar) time within the lessons and separate times within the week to work on handwriting and fine motor skills. We always aim to create inspiring and motivational lessons that are multi sensory wherever possible and use “Talk for writing” and oral storytelling approaches.

In the Early Years opportunities are planned for the prime area of learning: Communication and language development through 20% teacher led and 80% child initiated activities across the EYFS curriculum areas.


  • To enable children to use language as listeners, speakers, readers and writers.
  • To encourage children to recognise and understand how meanings may be created.
  • To enable children to understand and use appropriate language, including Standard English, for different purposes.
  • To provide opportunities to monitor and assess the language development of each child.
  • To enable children to become confident and competent language users through a whole language approach.
  • To foster opportunities for children to find enjoyment and success in their language work.
  • To enable children to become visually literate.
  • To provide opportunities for the children to read and hear stories from the gospels and to be made aware of the care and compassion of God.
  • To foster a partnership with parents to support children’s language development.

The policy has been drawn up as a result of staff discussion and has the full agreement of the Governing Body. The implementation of this policy is the responsibility of all the teaching staff.

Teaching English

Statutory requirements for the teaching and learning of English are laid out in the National Curriculum English Document (2014) and in the Prime area of learning -Communication and Language and specific area of learning – Literacy section of the Curriculum Guidance for the Early Years (2012).

The English Curriculum is delivered in a thematic approach, using resources and ideas from many sources including incorporating links to class topics in other curricular areas. Early Learning Goals are followed to ensure continuity and progression from the Early Years curriculum through to the National Curriculum.

In the Foundation Stage (Nursery and Reception) children are given opportunities to:

  • speak and listen and represent ideas in their activities;
  •  use communication, language and literacy in every part of the curriculum;
  •  become immersed in an environment rich in print and possibilities for communication.

At Key Stage One (Years 1 and 2), children should learn to speak confidently and listen to what others have to say. They should begin to read and write independently and with enthusiasm. They should use language to explore their own experiences and imaginary worlds.

At Key Stage Two (Years 3-6), children should learn to change the way they speak and write to suit different situations, purposes and audiences. They should read a range of texts and respond to different layers of meaning in them. They should explore the use of language in literary and non-literary texts and learn how the structure of language works.

Approaches to Spoken Language

Interactive teaching strategies, including Kagan approaches, are used to engage all pupils in order to raise reading and writing standards. Children are encouraged to develop effective communication skills in readiness for later life.

We use language to express our emotions and to develop our spirituality both as speakers and listeners.

We are told in the scriptures that there is a time for everything.

“Everything that happens in this world happens at the time God chooses.

He sets….. the time for silence and the time for talk”. (Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8).


Talking is a means of learning. In a balanced curriculum, opportunities for exploratory talk, where children shape thoughts in new ways, as well as presentational skills, where children present ideas that are already formed, should be stressed. Children need to be able to express themselves orally in an appropriate way, matching their style and response to audience and purpose and they need opportunities to work in groups of different sizes.


This school recognises that effective communication can be achieved by focusing on activities based on purposeful language interactions. Purposeful talk is one of the major means through which children construct and refine their understandings of language.  We aim to underpin all language activities with talk, as it is a vital part of the whole learning process and therefore cannot simply be developed in isolation.


All children will be given the opportunity to participate at least once a year in a school performance to an audience of parents, governors and children. School assemblies will also provide opportunities to ‘perform’ before a larger audience. Circle Time in all classes offers the children the chance to build relationships and communicate thoughts, ideas and feelings.


Approaches to Reading

In order that pupils become successful, enthusiastic readers they need to learn to use a range of strategies to access the meaning of a text. The primary approach to decoding words is to apply phonic knowledge and skills and this principle is at the heart of the National Curriculum for English. Success in reading has a direct effect upon progress in most other areas of the curriculum and is crucial in developing children’s self-confidence and motivation. Competence in reading is the key to independent learning and therefore the teaching of reading is given a high priority by all staff.


All children have:

  • The opportunity and support to develop as skilled, enthusiastic, independent and reflective readers
  • The opportunity to read and to use a wide range of literature and non-fiction for interest, pleasure and information.
  • The opportunity, as their skills develop, to access bible and scriptural readings so as to aspire to the gospel values they contain.


A range of reading experiences which include:

  •  shared reading,
  •  guided reading,
  •  independent group reading,
  •  independent reading,
  •  performance reading,
  •  being read to,
  •  computer based texts.


Teaching which fosters:

· imaginative responses to what is read,

· the consideration of the quality and depth of what is read;

· the use inference and deduction,

· an evaluation of texts, referring back to relevant passages support opinions.


In accordance with the principles of the English programmes of study 2014 children will be taught to make use of all appropriate reading strategies which aid comprehension and independent reading, and will also be helped to develop different reading styles appropriate to a wide range of texts. Phonics is our primary approach to teaching reading and we have purchased reading schemes to reflect this. Our reading scheme books are also book banded to ensure progression.


In addition to the reading objectives outlined in the English programmes of study 2014. All children are encouraged to enjoy reading and have the opportunity to read regularly in different contexts. Target groups of children are given additional support by additional adults who listen to children read to develop confidence, encouraging progress. All children are members of the school library and classes regularly visit the local children’s library or the librarian visits them. In addition, all children are encouraged to participate in reading themed initiatives such as the summer reading challenge each year.


Our core reading scheme(s) are Oxford Reading Tree & Big cat phonics. This is supplemented by a range of reading books, colour coded at appropriate reading levels according to the book band system.

Home readers are taken from the appropriate reading levels.

Children also have access to books kept in each classroom.


Approaches to Writing

Our school views writing as a developmental process, so each child’s capabilities at each stage is highly valued and praised. Children learn to write in order to be able to communicate meaning to a wide range of audiences. They need to learn to match the style of their writing to the needs of their audience. They need to be able to structure their writing so that it is coherent and they must understand that correct spelling, punctuation and grammar help to make the meaning of their writing clear to the reader.

They need to develop as wide a vocabulary as possible so that they are able to express their ideas in writing and can engage the interest of the reader. It is also important that children recognise that writing is essential for learning, as a means of developing and organising, as well as communicating ideas.

All children have:

  • The opportunity to develop as skilled, enthusiastic, independent and reflective writers
  • The opportunity to write confidently in a range of different genres, appropriate to a variety of purposes and audiences
  • For example, in line with our Mission Statement, the opportunity is given for children to write their own prayers and stories for assemblies and Mass

A range of writing experiences which include:

  • shared/modelled writing
  • guided writing
  • independent writing
  • extended writing

Teaching which fosters:

  • compositional skills – developing and communicating meaning to a reader, using a wide-ranging vocabulary and an effective style, organising and structuring sentences grammatically and whole texts coherently
  • presentational skills – accurate punctuation, correct spelling and legible handwriting

Reading and writing are closely related: each reinforcing the other. In line with the principles of the English programmes of study 2014, children need to understand from an early stage that much of their writing will be read by other people and therefore needs to be accurate, legible and set out in an appropriate way. It is important, therefore, that they see the writing process being modelled by the teacher.

During KS1 the teaching of phonics following ‘Letters and Sounds’, spelling and handwriting complements this process and is used systematically to support writing and build up accuracy and speed. Through KS2, there is a progressive emphasis on the skills of planning, drafting, revising, proof-reading and the presentation of writing. The children also continue to work on autonomous strategies for spelling and correcting their own mistakes.


Long Term

The programmes of study in the new English Curriculum document 2014 outline the planning focus and direction which should aim for high levels of engagement for pupils at St. Mary’s School. Its coverage ensures that we are addressing the requirements of the English Curriculum 2014 and at the same time providing a range of activities, which will ensure progression across all key stages. Genres to be covered by different age ranges are identified in long term planning

Medium Term planning

Medium term plans ensure that progression is maintained over the whole year and that the English programmes of study are covered.

Short Term Planning

Lesson Plans should emanate directly from the termly plans.  An agreed lesson plan format is in operation allowing teachers to cover a variety of objectives, speaking and listening activities, SPAG, whole class teaching, group work and differentiation. Teachers are encouraged to annotate their lesson plans to create a reference point for the process of self-evaluation and self-improvement regarding all literacy teaching at the school.

Class Organisation

Classroom organisation is a key area to success in the teaching and learning. From Key Stage 1, all pupils will have a dedicated daily English lesson.  Within these lessons there will be a good balance between whole-class work, group teaching and individual practice. Collaborative learning (Kagan Structures) will also enhance learning within each classroom. English will be taught in both designated English sessions and through cross-curricular themes (creative curriculum topics in a two year cycle). Cross curricular opportunities will be used wherever possible for providing real purposes and audiences for writing. Using specific skills taught in English lessons.

Marking of English work

Refer to the school’s marking policy for details. Success criteria with WALT (We are learning to) and WILF (What I’m looking for) statements are used to show children where they have achieved and their next steps forward. Pupils then respond to these comments.

Out-of-class work and homework

The daily English lessons will provide opportunities for children to practice and consolidate their skills and knowledge, to develop and extend their techniques and strategies, and to prepare for their future learning. These will be extended through out-of-class activities or homework. These activities will be short and focused and will be referred to and valued in future lessons (the homework policy outlines the amount of time spent by each pupil in each year on homework).

Links between English and other subject

Literacy is an integral part of our daily lives and therefore manifests itself in many areas of the curriculum. Teachers will seek to take advantage of opportunities to make cross-curricular links. They will plan for pupils to practise and apply the skills, knowledge and understanding acquired through literacy lessons to other areas of the curriculum.

School and Class Organisation

How we cater for pupils who are more able

Where possible more able pupils will be taught with their own class and challenged through differentiated group work. When working with the whole class, teachers will direct questions towards the more able to maintain their involvement. More able children are also given opportunities to extend their skills with writing partners and differentiated work.

How we cater for pupils with particular needs

The daily English lesson is appropriate for almost all pupils. Teachers will involve all pupils through differentiation. Individual targets are set for each child and these targets are related to the child in an appropriate way for that child.

Pupils with special educational needs and individual education plans

Teachers will aim to include all pupils fully in their daily English lessons.  All children benefit from the emphasis on speaking and listening activities and participating in class activities using a variety of different multi sensory methods audio, visual and kinaesthetic. We will provide an inclusive curriculum which will meet the needs of all pupils, where the teaching and learning, achievements, attitudes and well being of every learner matters.

Activities within the classroom are planned in such a way as to encourage full and active participation by all children irrespective of ability.  Where an additional adult is available in the English lessons they are encouraged to sit with the children to re-phrase questions, to prompt and support their participation during the whole class sessions.

Children with specific speech and auditory problems are identified and specialist help sought where appropriate

Children with special needs are encouraged to take a full part in the Shared Reading discussions. Teachers differentiate their questioning in order to include children of all abilities both SEN and Gifted and Talented children developing personal response, literal and inferential understanding. Intervention through School Action and School Action Plus will lead to the creation of an Individual Education Plan (IEP) for children with special educational needs. The IEP may include, as appropriate, specific targets relating to Reading.

Extra support is given in various ways as best to suit the pupil’s needs and this provision is reviewed on a regular basis.

We support children with educational needs with an integrated programme of specific teacher/adult help, differentiated tasks and creative activities where the criteria for success are clearly outlined at the start.


English is taught in the EYFS, under the prime area of Communication and Language and in the specific area of Literacy which is subdivided into Reading and Writing. This is delivered through continuous and enhanced provision opportunities, and through directed teaching tasks.

Pupils are assessed in English in accordance with the 17 Early Learning Goals at the end of the Early Years and children are graded as either emerging, expected or exceeding depending on ability or may continue to work through their developmental age band that suits their ability e.g. 40-60 months or 30-50 months or 22-36months.

Great emphasis is placed on developing the speaking and listening skills of the under fives. Speaking and Listening is encouraged in the context of structured play and role play. The children learn nursery rhymes and build up a repertoire of stories and traditional tales.

In linking sounds and letters the children follow The Letters and Sounds programme which begins in the Nursery, develops a child’s phonic and reading skills.  Children are then encouraged to use the skills learnt in these sessions when reading, segmenting and blending words and recognising and reading ‘Tricky words’. Children in Nursery and Reception class cover a range of texts genres and are encouraged to take books home regularly. They also have opportunities to book browse to encourage them to develop reader-like behaviours, reconstructing stories and information based on their own experiences. Linking with Speaking and Listening objectives, the children are given opportunities to sequence and retell stories and talk about non-fiction texts.

Children begin to “write” long before they have control of the mechanics of writing. We consider, therefore, that the Early Years classroom should provide a safe, supportive environment where they may continue to experiment and take risks alongside the development of these mechanical skills. There are both indoors and outdoors opportunities for the children to experiment with and develop their mark making skills. Independent writing opportunities are important and seen to be supportive of the programme for developing handwriting and phonics skills. These opportunities include a writing corner, role-play area and reading corner.


Resources to deliver English lessons are stored in individual classrooms. Books, which cover the genre specific to each year group, are also kept in classrooms.

A variety of Big Books and sets of guided reading books are also available.

Children have access to the internet through the classroom computer, iPads and Laptops.

The library contains a range of books to support children’s individual research.

Reference materials for teachers use are also available.


Computers and other technology such as cameras will be used in various ways to support teaching and motivate children’s learning.

Teachers are encouraged to make use of the computer within English lessons, to develop and extend reading skills. There is access available to laptops, Ipads and recording equipment to support English lessons. The use of IWB and the Internet also extends English skills.

Teachers are also encouraged to make use of the computer within English lessons to explore the potential of English topics as a context for developing computing skills. Spelling skills are consolidated and practised using a range of software such as Wordshark.


Assessments take place at three connected levels: short-term, medium-term and long-term.  These assessments are used to inform teaching in a continuous cycle of planning, teaching and assessment.

Short-term assessments are an informal part of every lesson to check pupil’s understanding and give teachers information, which will enable them to adjust day-to-day lesson plans.

Medium-term assessments are timetabled at key points in the school year to assess key objectives that have been covered. The outcomes are recorded on a class spreadsheet and results are analysed during pupil progress meetings to determine where extra support is required.

Long-term assessments take place towards the end of the school year to assess and review pupils’ progress and attainment.  These are made through compulsory National Curriculum Reading and Writing tests/tasks for pupils in Years 2 and 6. Accurate information can then be reported to parents and the child’s next teacher.


Y1 children and pupils in year 2 who didn’t reach the desired level in year 1 are assessed using the Phonics screening in the summer term.

Y2 children take the SAT in Reading in the Summer Term.

The Salford Reading Test is administered toY2 – Y6 in the Summer Term.

Y6 children take SAT’s Reading Comprehension in the Summer Term.


Assessment in writing is undertaken in accordance with the schools’ Recording and Assessment policy. Each child has a “Gold” book in which examples of work provide evidence of the child’s attainment and progress.  This book moves with the child from year to year.


The school is currently trialling ways to assess reading and writing in years 1, 3, 4 and 5.


Inclusion statement

We will provide an inclusive curriculum which will meet the needs of all pupils, where the teaching and learning, achievements, attitudes and well being of every learner matters.

Management of English

Role of the Coordinator

The Subject Leader is responsible for improving the standards of teaching and learning in English through:
Monitoring and evaluating English:

  • pupil progress
  • provision of English (including Intervention and Support programmes)
  • the quality of the Learning Environment;
  • the deployment and provision of support staff
  • Teaching demonstration lessons
  • Working co-operatively with the SENCO
  • Taking the lead in policy development and with the writing of the development plan.
  • Auditing and supporting colleagues in their CPD
  • Attending INSET to maintain progress
  • Purchasing and organising resources
  • Keeping up to date with recent English developments

Role of the Headteacher

  • Lead, manage and monitor the implementation of the Strategy, including monitoring teaching plans and the quality of teaching in classrooms.
  • With the English governor, keep the governing body informed about the progress of the Strategy.
  • Ensure that English remains a high profile in the school’s development work.
  • Deploy support staff to maximise support for the teaching of English.

Parental Involvement

At St Mary’s RC Primary School we encourage parents to be involved by:

  • Supporting children with their reading using Reading Records to aid communication between home and school
  • Helping with regular literacy homework set throughout the school
  • Inviting parents into school to discuss the progress of their child
  • Parent’s Evenings in the Autumn and Spring Terms
  • Information booklets/newsletters/providing website links and literacy focused information meetings to inform parents

Within the context of the home/school partnership, parents are encouraged to appreciate the value in time spent talking and listening to their children. They are also supported to understand how Speaking and Listening skills enrich those of Reading and Writing. The annual meeting for the parents of Reception children, and the accompanying Parents’ booklet, suggest ways in which parents can support their children’s oral development.

Parental involvement is encouraged in all aspects of school life, nowhere more so than in promoting reading among our children.

When parents/volunteers come into school they support the class teacher in providing additional opportunities for the children to read aloud and by supervising phonics programmes, in the playing of games and puzzles with groups.

Parents are urged to share books and hear their children read at home. The reading record is formulated with this in mind, enabling parents to make a written comment.
The reading records is a vital communication link between parents and teacher.


This policy also needs to be in line with other school polices and therefore should be read in conjunction with the following school policies:

  • Teaching and Learning Policy,
  • Assessment and Record Keeping,
  • Marking policy,
  • Special Educational Needs Policy,
  • Computing Policy,
  • Equal Opportunities Policy,
  • Health and Safety Policy.

Mrs L Croston,
English Co-ordinator.

The governors agreed this policy on 23 October 2014 and it will be reviewed in partnership with staff, parents / carers and students again on 23 October 2015 unless there are changes in National or Local Guidance.

Signed by L Croston (Coordinator), J Leader (Governor), D Raynor (Headteacher).