At Cardinal Newman Primary School, our core aim is to provide an outstanding English curriculum for all our pupils. English contributes to our Catholic identity and the shared development of our values and beliefs; it has a vital place in education and in society. A high-quality education in English teaches pupils to speak and write fluently so that they can communicate their ideas and emotions to others, and through their reading and listening, others can communicate with them. Through reading in particular, pupils have an opportunity to develop culturally, emotionally, intellectually, socially and spiritually. Reading also enables pupils both to acquire knowledge and to build on what they already know. All the skills of language are essential to participating fully as a member of society. We endeavour to develop a passion for language, both written and spoken, that will follow all of our children into adulthood.
To achieve our aims, we endeavour to:
- Develop oracy skills to enable all pupils to become effective speakers and listeners which will empower them to better understand themselves, each other, and the world around them.
- Foster a love of reading by giving children access to a wide variety of stimulating literary texts.
- Teach reading through a structured programme of phonics, hear children read frequently and send reading books home with a reading record for teacher and parental contributions.
- Develop writing fluency, broadening skills across a range of writing purposes and audiences.
- Encourage accurate spelling and correct grammar.
- Support children in developing a clear and legible handwriting style.
- Maintain records of pupil achievement to assess a child’s progress and build upon success.
Reading: Word Reading and Comprehension
One of our core aims at the heart of the English curriculum is to foster a love of reading. All pupils are encouraged to value books and read for meaning and enjoyment from a rich and disparate range of literature.
Throughout the school, children are encouraged to read with fluency and understanding. Children’s awareness and understanding of syntax, punctuation, expression and comprehension is developed and assessed through high-quality class texts, comprehension tasks and through individual and shared reading opportunities.
Key Stage One pupils access a wide variety of scheme books - see here for a list. Phonics is taught explicitly through structured daily sessions as part of a Systematic, Synthetic Phonics (SSP) programme that sits around the Letters and Sounds scheme. This approach ensures consistently strong phonics results for our pupils. In the Early Years, we also use the Jolly Phonics actions to support children’s understanding and application of phonics.
As the children progress through the school, children deepen their appreciation and understanding of more challenging texts. They explore the use of language in literary and non-literary texts and develop a greater understanding of how language works. In KS2, reading is monitored through use of Accelerated Reader which motivates children to read and enables teachers to assess reading accuracy and reading habits.
Tailored intervention programmes are provided for individuals who require ongoing support with reading. Supporting children in this way develops fluency, enables rapid progress in comprehension and builds confidence in reading.
Finally, the English curriculum is supported by a rich range of literary experiences including; themed weeks, visits by poets and authors, literacy workshops and productions by visiting drama groups.
Writing: Transcription and Composition
Our aim for all children is to develop passionate and purposeful writers. Writing is explicitly taught through our Talk for Writing programme which sees pupils through a journey of imitation, innovation, independent application and invention of their own texts, writing for a range of fiction and non-fiction purposes. From EYFS, all children’s attempts at writing, including emergent writing, are valued and built upon, so that children appreciate the importance of their writing in conveying meaning to the reader. During Key Stage 2, pupils learn to write more independently and adapt their style to different situations, purposes and audiences.
Spelling Punctuation and Grammar
The English curriculum is driven by a strong emphasis on vocabulary development, grammar, punctuation and spelling. Literacy lessons include a ‘SPaG’ (Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar) focus to help prepare children for end of key stage assessments and to ultimately develop greater fluency in writing.
At Cardinal Newman Primary School, our aim is to provide a high-quality oracy education. We are committed to building and embedding a culture of oracy to enable all children to communicate effectively and with confidence. Through our Oracy teaching, children are encouraged to articulate ideas, develop understanding and engage with others through spoken language.
In our school the key areas are:
• Reasoning together
• Listening to understand
• Changing people’s minds
• Telling compelling stories
• Developing arguments
• Expressing yourself
• Speaking up for what you believe in
Talk is an underlying factor in the development of literacy, with children engaging by responding to text and explaining their choices and rehearsing their ideas in advance of writing. In maths, answers can be discussed, data interpreted and relevant language can be developed. However, all areas of the curriculum offer opportunities in this area and therefore it is necessary to teach Oracy skills explicitly across the curriculum.
In EYFS and KS1, children’s speaking and listening skills are developed across the curriculum as well as specifically in activities such as listening games, show and tell sessions and role play.
Useful Literacy Websites
Books for all primary school age groups can be accessed via the The BookTrust website (BookTrust is the largest reading charity in the UK):
National curriculum in England: Appendix 1 Spelling
National curriculum in England: Appendix 2 Vocabulary Grammar and Punctuation
Learning to read through phonics Information for parents: