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Our English Curriculum

"When I read great literature, great drama,speeches,or sermons, I feel that the human mind has not achieved anything greater than the ability to share feelings and thoughts through language."

James Earl Jones

At Guestling Bradshaw CEP School, we ensure that books and quality texts are at the heart of all our learning. We take pride in ensuring the children have access to a rich and diverse range of quality texts. These texts underpin the children’s development of language, reading and writing. As teachers, we use them to plan exciting and informative reading and writing lessons which support other curriculum areas. Children write for a purpose, through first hand experiences, inspirational texts and visits.

We believe that a quality English curriculum should be at the heart of all aspects of our teaching and learning.

The English national curriculum (2014) states that:

‘The overarching aim for English in the national curriculum is to promote high standards of language and literacy by equipping pupils with a strong command of the spoken and written language, and to develop their love of literature through widespread reading for enjoyment.’

The exposure of children’s literature within our school setting is vital as a rich context for learning; not only within English as a subject, but to support building a reading culture throughout the school.  We aim to use high quality books and themes (see appendix 1) that offer opportunities for children to develop empathy and support further enquiry across the curriculum. We intend for all our children to have full access to an English curriculum which:

  • Provides the required skills to master all elements of our spoken and written language.
  • Nurtures and enriches a love of reading that is enduring and self-motivating.


INTENT- What we want our pupils to learn...

  • We adopt a 'teaching through a text’ approach to reading and writing. We use the Literacy Tree planning resource to support the teaching and learning of the English Curriculum in daily English lessons.

    This ensures:

    • Thematic links ; Links are made through themes and conventions within significant literature
    • Engaging starting points: Dramatic conventions provide resonance and create a hook with the book.
    • Embedded comprehension: reading comprehension explicitly embedded through prediction and inference
    • Embedded grammar: explicit grammar skills for writing taught in context to be applied purposefully.
    • Purpose and audience: distinct shorter and longer writing opportunities rather than genre-led
    • Literary Language: Literary language explicitly taught and applied in writing
    • Spelling and Vocabulary: Explicit spelling skills are explored and linked to vocabulary acquisition
  • We use the Literacy Tree to structure our daily guided reading sessions in order to teach all the necessary domains and competencies of reading.
  • We use the Accelerated Reader programme to determine and track each child’s reading level with the opportunity to choose from a range of appropriately levelled books.

    Once pupils are secure in their phonic knowledge, (from Year 1 onwards) children make the transition to books which are tailored to their comprehension levels. They carry out a ‘Star test’ assessment which gives a reading age and a numbered range of appropriate books. Using Book Levels and their reading range as a guide, pupils then choose from a range of books appropriate to their interests and levels. A free online book-searching tool AR BookFinder allows students, teachers and parents to find interesting books at the appropriate level. After finishing a book, students take an online Reading Practice quiz within AR. These quizzes check that the student has understood the book and provides an opportunity to praise the student and give verbal or written feedback.

  • The Teaching of Phonics:

    We know that the teaching of phonics is integral to the children’s early success in reading. Set within the context of a broad and rich language and reading curriculum, phonics provides children with access to the written word, and enables the rapid acquisition of phonics skills required to read and write.

    The Rose Report (2006) advocates the teaching of high quality synthetic phonics as the prime approach to early reading. This should be systematic and discrete. Beginner readers should be taught:

     • grapheme–phoneme correspondences in a clearly defined, incremental sequence

     • to apply the highly important skill of blending (synthesizing) phonemes in the order in which they occur, all through a word to read it

     • to apply the skills of segmenting words into their constituent phonemes to spell • that blending and segmenting are reversible processes.

    INTENT statement for Phonics

    It is our intention to provide high quality daily phonics sessions to all children in Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1 using the Sounds-Write Phonics Programme.  Sounds-write is a comprehensive system of teaching reading, spelling and writing, and is DfE approved. This is a highly structured synthetic approach, which is multi-sensory, incremental and code-orientated.   It teaches all key elements of conceptual understanding, factual knowledge, and the three essential skills of blending, segmenting and phoneme manipulation necessary for learning to read and spell and it does so on a daily basis until all children achieve the automaticity that underlies the fluency of every successful reader.

    The programme is  designed for the teaching of discrete, daily sessions, progressing from simple to more complex phonic knowledge and skills and covering all the major sound/spelling correspondences.

    Throughout, Sounds-Write promotes the use of multi-sensory engagement with the materials pupils are working with in a manner that is commensurate with the level and abilities of the children being taught. Visual, auditory and kinaesthetic activities are at all times combined simultaneously to promote learning.

    In addition to being multi-sensory, the Sounds-Write programme has pace and utilises an array of stimulating lessons and resources. It also enables practitioners to differentiate the challenges placed before the learner in order to meet their individual needs.

    IMPLEMENTATION- What does learning in English look like?

  • What does the teaching and learning of phonics look like at Guestling Bradshaw School?
    • Access to high quality, discrete, daily phonics sessions in Foundation Stage and KS1, using the Sounds-Write programme.
    • Access to spelling and writing practice in every session.
    • Close matching of phonics books to support reading practice at the appropriate phonic level for all children.
    • Use of Bugclub e-books and activities to support daily teaching and home learning.
    • Use of multi-sensory approaches to support learning.
    • Regular and rigorous tracking of all children using Phonicstracker.
    • Early and immediate intervention of children requiring additional support, including use of 1:1 tutoring.
    • Continued intervention into KS2 for identified children.
    • What does the teaching and learning of reading look like in EYFS?

      The teaching of reading in EYFS:

      Our priority in the early years is threefold: to equip our young children with the phonic skills required to access reading, to build the foundations for comprehension skills leading to a deepening understanding of quality texts, and to foster a real and lasting love of reading for the pleasure it gives.

      • Daily systematic synthetic phonics sessions (see below)
      • Daily Literacy Tree sessions
      • Book Look (reading ) sessions ( 3X week ) focusing on language and vocabulary 
      • Individual reading with class teacher at least once a week.
      • Development of enhanced provision opportunities to bring books alive, including book corner, small world, puppets, role-play, drama and storytelling.
    • What does the teaching and learning of reading look like in KS1?
      • Daily systematic synthetic phonics  (see below)
      • Daily Literacy Tree sessions
      • Book Talk(reading)sessions (3 X week) using the Literacy texts and other cross-curricular related texts
      • Individual reading with class teacher at least once a week.
      • Teachers and teaching assistants continue to read on an individual basis with children as necessary. How often and who is based on assessment of progress.
    • What does the teaching and learning of reading look like in KS2?
      • Daily Literacy Tree Sessions
      • Book Talk (reading)sessions (3 X week) using the Literacy texts and other cross-curricular related texts
      • Guided Reading sessions daily
      • Teachers and teaching assistants continue to read on an individual basis with children as necessary. How often and who is based on assessment of progress
      • The use of STAR Assessments and Accelerated Reader continues throughout Key Stage 2 in order to monitor the progress of reading and create meaningful targets, based on personalized practice within reading.
      • Class teachers and teaching assistants continue to monitor children’s reading progress through a combination of individual, shared and whole class reading.
      • Opportunities for independent reading in school are provided to encourage children to develop reading stamina and reading for pleasure. This is alongside the continued encouragement of regular reading at home; children take books home that are within their ZPD level and can access an online library of books using MyOn, which links directly to their ZPD.


  • We have daily guided reading sessions, which focus on fluency development and comprehension skills.

    Every child has the opportunity to read with the teacher during these sessions.  A range of books are used including those of different genres. Children are exposed to books which link across the curriculum, in order to widen their literary experiences and range. Within Key Stage 1, there is a stronger focus on using phonic knowledge to decode, until phonic fluency is achieved.


  • What does the teaching and learning of writing look like in EYFS?
    • Opportunities for mark making and emergent writing inside and outside the classroom.
    • Developing fine and gross motor skills through physical activities.
    • Letter formation using Penpals Handwriting Scheme, and reinforced through the use of the Soundswrite Phonics programme.
    • Opportunities for writing across the curriculum.
    • Developing sentence construction using Literacy Tree English Scheme.
  • What does the teaching and learning of writing look like in KS1 and KS2?
    • Context for learning is vital – through using high quality texts, objectives set within writing (including grammar), all have meaning and purpose.
    • The purpose and audience for writing is made clear from the outset. Children have real reasons to write, whether to explain, persuade, inform or instruct and where possible, this can be embedded within text or linked to a curriculum area. A class’ termly theme will link directly to writing that takes place across the curriculum, and these themes are built upon    as the children progress through school (see appendix 1).
    • As much as possible, national curriculum objectives are covered more than once and children have opportunities to apply these several times over the course of a year, as well as to consolidate prior knowledge from previous years. We believe strongly that children should be secure in applying the skills of curriculum 2014 within their writing.
    • Working Walls are used to build children’s independence in writing, through providing scaffolds, prompts and reminders of learning to support them when writing.
    • Teachers provide effective feedback, in line with our Marking and Feedback Policy.
    • In Upper Key Stage 2, we build stamina for writing by providing opportunities to write independently and for extended periods.
    • Editing and reviewing form a large part of lesson time – with age-appropriate strategies for green-pen response marking used across the school.
    • Use of Penpals Handwriting Scheme (see handwriting policy)
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