English Policy

Revision History

Version Date Comments Review Date
6 Spring 2017 Amended, approved and issued Spring 2018
5 Spring 2016 Amended, approved and issued Spring 2017
4 Spring 2015 Amended, approved and issued Spring 2016
3 November 2006 Approved and issued November 2007
2 November 2005 Approved and issued November 2006
1 September 2005 First draft
  1. Rationale

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

  1. Aims/Objectives

To ensure that all pupils:

read confidently, fluently and with good understanding

develop the habit of reading widely and often, for both pleasure and information

use a range of strategies for decoding and understanding unfamiliar words using a progressive whole school approach to the teaching of reading

be familiar with the structure of fiction and non-fiction texts

to identify pupils who require additional support and intervention by monitoring reading progress and assessing reading ages each term

to create a reading culture by providing a rich language environment within the classroom and throughout the school.

appreciate our rich and varied literary heritage

acquire a wide vocabulary, an understanding of grammar and knowledge of linguistic conventions for reading, writing and spoken language

write clearly, accurately and coherently, adapting their language and style in and for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences

use discussion in order to learn; they should be able to elaborate and explain clearly their understanding and ideas

are competent in the arts of speaking and listening, making formal presentations, demonstrating to others and participating in debate.

  1. Inclusion

3.1 At St John’s we use a variety of teaching and learning styles in   English lessons as recommended by the New English curriculum 2014.  Our principal aim is to develop children’s knowledge, skills, and understanding in English.  We do this through a daily lesson that has a high proportion of whole-class and group teaching.  During these lessons children experience a range of whole-class shared reading or writing activities, whole-class focused word or sentence activities, guided group or independent activities and a whole-class session to review progress and learning.  They have the opportunity to experience a wide range of texts and use a range of resources such as dictionaries and thesauruses.  Children use ICT in English lessons where it enhances their learning, as in drafting their work and using multimedia to study how words and images are combined to convey meaning.  Wherever possible we encourage children to use and apply their learning in other areas of the curriculum.

3.2 There are children of differing ability in all classes at St John’s.  We recognise this fact and provide suitable learning opportunities for all children by matching the challenge of the task to the ability of the child.  We achieve this through a range of strategies.  In some lessons we do it through differentiated group work, while in other lessons we ask children to work from the same starting point before moving on to develop their own ideas.  We use classroom assistants to support some children.

3.3 Teachers provide learning opportunities matched to the needs of children with learning difficulties.  Work in English takes into account the targets set for individual children Pupil Passport.  Teachers provide help with communication and literacy through:

using texts that children can read and understanding;

using visual and written materials in different formats;

using ICT, other technological aids and taped materials;

using alternative communication such as signs and symbols;

  1. Equality of Opportunity

The school recognises that all classes have children with different ability.  A variety of teaching styles group strategies are used to develop all children.  All Pupil Premium pupils are read with individually every day.  Other pupils are read with individually three times a week.

  1. Planning

5.1 English is a core subject in the National Curriculum. We use the New English Curriculum 2014 as the basis for implementing the statutory requirements of the programme of study for English.

5.2 It is the policy at St John’s to deliver writing objectives as set out in New English Curriculum 2014.  Each year group covers a balance of narrative, non-fiction and poetry throughout the year.

5.3 Pupils should be taught using the basic teaching sequence which moves from reading quality example texts; into identifying the features, and then into modelled, shared and then independent writing.  The written outcomes should be supported by quality talk time, drama and other activities in order that pupils have the good quality experiences to act as a stimulus for writing.

5.4   Staff are expected to provide a long term plan at the start of every year which outlines the order in which units are covered (see Appendix 1).  This can be used by the subject leader when monitoring and can also be used alongside the Learning Challenge Curriculum planning in order to include cross-curricular opportunities for writing.

5.5 Each unit of work should be planned in detail every week, with daily objectives (WALT) being taken from the overall unit objectives.  The school has an agreed planning document for Literacy (see Appendix 2) which all staff are expected to use.  Planning should show evidence of a range of activities and teaching approaches including: paired, group and individual working, teacher modelling, scribing, shared writing, guided writing, use of scaffolds, writing prompts or word banks. There should also be clear evidence in planning of pupils being given the opportunity to generate success criteria (in Key Stage 1 – Steps to success) for their writing and then having the opportunity to self and peer assess against those criteria.

5.6 We teach English in reception classes as an integral part of the school’s work.  The format for the daily lesson is similar to that used in the rest of the school.  As the reception class is part of the Foundation Stage of the National Curriculum, we relate the English aspects of the children’s work to the objectives set out in the Early Learning Goals which underpin the curriculum planning for children aged three to five.  We give all children the opportunity to talk and communicate in a widening range of situations, to respond to adults and to each other, to listen carefully, and to practise and extend their range of vocabulary and communication skills.  They have the opportunity to explore, enjoy, learn about, and use words and text in a range of situations.

6 Reading


To ensure that all pupils:

read confidently, fluently and with good understanding

develop the habit of reading widely and often, for both pleasure and information

appreciate our rich and varied literary heritage

use a range of strategies for decoding and understanding unfamiliar words using a progressive whole school approach to the teaching of reading

are familiar with the structure of fiction and non-fiction texts

who require additional support and intervention are identified through monitoring progress in reading and by assessing reading ages each term.

are immersed in a culture of reading by providing a rich language environment within the classroom and throughout the school.

6.1  The programmes of study for reading at key stages 1 and 2 consist of two dimensions:

word reading comprehension (both listening and reading)

It is essential that teaching focuses on developing pupils’ competence in both dimensions; different kinds of teaching are needed for each.

6.2 Skilled word reading involves both the speedy working out of the pronunciation of unfamiliar printed words (decoding) and the speedy recognition of familiar printed words.  Underpinning both is the understanding that the letters on the page represent the sounds in spoken words.  This is why phonics should be emphasised in the early teaching of reading when they start school, using the ‘Letters and Sounds’ programme.

6.3  Good comprehension draws from linguistic knowledge (in particular of vocabulary and grammar) and on knowledge of the world.  Comprehension skills develop through pupils’ experience of high-quality discussion with the teacher, as well as from reading and discussing a range of stories, poems and non-fiction.  All pupils must be encouraged to read widely across both fiction and non-fiction to develop their knowledge of themselves and the world in which they live, to establish an appreciation and love of reading, and to gain knowledge across the curriculum.  Reading widely and often increases pupils’ vocabulary because they encounter words they would rarely hear or use in everyday speech.  Reading also feeds pupils’ imagination and opens up a treasure-house of wonder and joy for curious young minds.

It is essential that, by the end of their primary education, all pupils are able to read fluently, and with confidence, in any subject in their forthcoming secondary education.

6.4 Throughout the school, pupils read aloud regularly to an adult.  As pupils begin to develop their reading, they are given books at an appropriate level which will allow them to practise and refine their skills.  As they move to become fluent and established readers, pupils are encouraged to select their own choice of reading material.  In both cases, the reading material is monitored by the class teacher or teaching assistant.

6.5 Teaching Reading –

Early Years.  On entry to Nursery, pupils are taught Phase 1 and Phase 2.  Reception pupils begin Phase 3 in September but will continue to reinforce Phase 2.  Phase 4 (Blending) is taught in the Summer term with Phase 3.  It is expected that all pupils will be secure at Phase 3 by the end of Reception.  Focussed intervention is delivered to pupils not secure at Phase 3.  In Spring Nursery pupils are given a home reading book (picture books to begin with) and a reading diary.  In Summer Nursery pupils that are ready receive a Guided Reading session by the Teacher and/or Teaching assistant.   Reception pupils are given a home reading book and reading diary in September, which is changed twice a week.  Each child receives a Guided Reading session by the Teacher and/or Teaching assistant each week.

Key Stage 1:  On entry to Year 1, pupils are taught Phase 5 (Phase 3 and 4 continues to be reinforced.  Year 2 pupils are taught Phase 6 in mixed ability groups, (Phase 3, 4 and 5 continues to be reinforced).  Focussed intervention is delivered to pupils not secure at their own year groups phase.  Each child receives a Guided Reading session by the Teacher and some pupils will also receive a Guided Reading session by the Teaching assistant.

Y1 pupils Phonic knowledge is assessed in October, December, February, April and a statutory test (Phonics Check) is given in the following June.

Y1 pupils who do not pass the Phonics Check receive a focussed intervention in July.  Y2 pupils who have not passed the Phonics check are reassessed in December and those who still do not pass receive a focussed intervention in Spring.  If they do not pass the statutory Y2 Phonics recheck then pupils will be put on a Pupil Passport (SEN) with parental permission.

Key Stage 2:  Spelling is taught following the statutory requirements of the New English Curriculum.

The link between the Phonics Phases and Book bands can be found in Appendix 3.

6.6 At St John’s, pupils read their reading book at home with an adult on a regular basis.  Every child is given a reading record in which all reading with an adult can be recorded, both in and out of school.  Pupils are expected to have their reading book and diary in school every day.  In the Early Years books are changed twice a week, Key Stage 1 are changed three times a week and Key Stage 2 change them as required. Home reading books should usually be at the same level or a level below their Guided Reading level.

6.8 At St John’s reading is taught mainly through a daily 25 minute lesson of Guided Reading.  These lessons provide pupils with the opportunity to be taught the skills of reading in small groups which are led by the teacher or teaching assistant.  All pupils will be involved in at least one guided reading lesson per week.  During guided reading lessons, pupils are given the opportunity to read a wide range of fiction and non-fiction texts from different.

6.9  Reading is promoted and encouraged in a variety of ways:  Book Week, reading a class novel/book at the end of the day, theatre productions at school, story tellers at school e.t.c

  1. Writing

The programmes of study for writing at key stages 1 and 2 are constructed similarly to those for reading:

transcription (spelling and handwriting)

composition (articulating ideas and structuring them in speech and writing).

It is essential that teaching develops pupils’ competence in these two dimensions.  In additions, pupils should be taught how to plan, revise and evaluate their writing.  These aspects of writing have been incorporated into the programmes of study for composition.

Writing down ideas fluently depends on effective transcription: that is, on spelling quickly and accurately through knowing the relationship between sound and letters (phonics) and understanding the morphology (word structure) of words.

Effective composition involves articulating and communicating ideas, and then organising them coherently for a reader.  This requires clarity, awareness and grammar.  Writing also depends on fluent, legible and, eventually, speedy handwriting.

7.1 In order to encourage our pupils to apply their learning and to reinforce the teaching, pupils should complete an assessed writing task each month.  The following is guidance on how that should be done:

  • Pupils should be asked to independently write in a genre that has been previously taught so that skills and learning are being reinforced.
  • The task should always be linked to other work being done e.g. a Literacy outcome from the unit or a link to another subject e.g. a diary from a historical character.
  • Pupils need quality ‘talk-time’ before being asked to write.  This will be used to generate ideas, to reinforce and revisit the teaching points from that genre, to look back at previous work and at targets set last time etc.  In Key Stage 1 whole class plans can be generated to aid this ‘talk time’ and some pupils will begin to add their own details to these plans.  In Key Stage 2 individual/paired plans can be written before this ‘talk time’ and amended accordingly.
  • A mixture of genres should be covered over longer (35-45 mins) and shorter (25 mins) sessions- especially in upper KS2
  • Targets should be taken from the level descriptors and should support a child in moving forward to the next sub-level.  Marking should also refer back to targets previously set.  (See the Marking and Assessment policy)
  • WALT and WILF should be included and pupils should self assess against the WILF criteria.
  1. Spoken Language

The national curriculum for English reflects the importance of spoken language in pupils’ development across the whole curriculum – cognitively, socially and linguistically.  Spoken language underpins the development of reading and writing.  The quality and variety of language that pupils hear and speak are vital for developing their vocabulary and grammar and their understanding for reading and writing.  Teachers should therefore ensure the continual development of pupils’ confidence and competence in spoken language and listening skills.  Pupils should develop a capacity to explain their understanding of books and other reading, and to prepare their ideas before they write.  They must be assisted in making their thinking clear to themselves as well as to others and teachers should ensure that pupils build secure foundations by using discussion to probe and remedy their misconceptions.  Pupils should also be taught to understand and use the conventions for discussion and debate.  Spoken Language is part of the Stoke Pathways assessment.

Pupils should be taught to:

Listen and respond appropriately to adults and their peers

Ask relevant questions to extend their understanding and build vocabulary and knowledge

Articulate and justify answers, arguments and opinions

Give well-structured descriptions and explanations

Maintain attention and participate actively in collaborative conversations, staying on topic and initiating and responding to comments

Use spoken language to develop understanding through speculation, hypothesising, imagining and exploring ideas

Speak audibly and fluently with an increasing command of Standard English

Participate in discussions, presentations, performances and debates

Gain, maintain and monitor the interest of the listener(s)

Consider and evaluate different viewpoints, attending to and building on the contributions of others

Select and use appropriate registers for effective communication

9 Spelling, vocabulary, grammar, punctuation and glossary

At St John’s Primary, we believe in the principle that spelling/phonics and grammar should be taught explicitly if our pupils are to become confident and independent spellers.  With this in mind, we have phonics lessons timetabled at 11.00 in the Early Years and KS1.  KS2 have a timetabled spelling lesson.  Grammar is also taught using the statutory requirements in the New English Curriculum 2014.  We use the Nelson Grammar and Nelson Spelling scheme.

9.1 Early Years and KS1

The classes in the Foundation stage and KS1 follow the CLLD programme for their phonics lessons.  These sessions are made up of daily 15-20 minute sessions, usually 11.00 in the morning.

At KS1 pupils receive daily spelling homework which they will repeat in morning register time.  This should reflect the week’s spelling / phonics objectives.  Independent spelling activities can be completed during guided reading time.  Pupils should be tested weekly on their spellings and half-termly (a selection of 20 words for KS1 and 30 words for KS2.  SEN pupils should be tested on their personalised spellings.).  Teachers should keep a record of scores and completed half-termly spelling tests, and corrections should be sent home.  (see Appendix).  Scores should be sent to the Literacy Leader on an Excel file so that data can be collected and analysed.

9.2 Key Stage Two

At KS2, the staff are expected to teach spelling of rules, patterns and tricky/ unusual words every week in a timetabled session. It is accepted that SEN pupils are having their daily input of spelling through SOS etc and so may be exempt from other spelling sessions.  However, if appropriate, they can join in and have words at an appropriate level.

The teaching of spelling can be grouped into two categories: the spelling rules and patterns and the unusual / tricky (quick) everyday words.

Independent spelling activities which fit in with the week’s spelling / phonics objectives can be completed, as appropriate, during guided reading time.

Pupils in KS2 are encouraged to be independent in their spelling.  To this end, classes are equipped with dictionaries for the pupils to use.  It is policy for pupils to have a go at the spelling and check it with a dictionary or other suitable support material e.g. word banks etc before asking for adult help.  Pupils are also encouraged to check their work for spelling errors before it is handed in for marking.  Errors in the pupils’ work should be neatly crossed out (or erased) and the correct spelling written above.  Spelling errors as picked up in marking should be identified with the symbol ‘sp’ in the margin and the word underlined in KS2.  In KS1 the spelling is written above the incorrect spelling and written in red at the end of a piece of work for the pupil to practise.  Up to three spellings per piece of work could become words to learn and as such they should be entered in the spelling log for future reference.

9 Handwriting

9.1 At St John’s Primary, we believe in the principle that handwriting should be taught regularly and consistently throughout the school, if our pupils are to develop fluent, legible handwriting.

9.2 The school teaches pupils using the Nelson Handwriting scheme.

9.3 The teaching of handwriting should consist of teacher modelling and explaining, pupils practising individual aspects under teacher instruction and independent practising.  These activities can be done with the whole class together or parts may be better achieved with smaller groups.  The taught sessions could be part of the English lesson or with younger pupils in short sessions throughout the week.

9.4 Independent handwriting practise can be part of the guided reading timetable of independent activities.

  1. Contribution of English to teaching in other curriculum areas

The usual standards of writing and presentation are expected in all areas of the curriculum and writing should be assessed in English and other areas of the curriculum throughout the year.

11 Assessment and Recording

11.1 Writing.

Teachers assess children’s work in English every month, using the Stoke Pathways Assessment tool.  These judgements are highlighted and dated on the sheets.  Teachers use these assessments to inform future planning for each of the guided reading groups. Teachers finalise these on-going assessments in reading and writing towards the end of each term. These assessments are recorded using the online tracking system ‘Dcpro’ at the end of each term.  The English leader collates data for the following each term and progress is measured and shared with teachers.  This data is put in the class file. Children undertake the national tests at the end of Year 2 and Year 6.  Completed assessments are passed on to a child’s next teacher and are then used as the baseline for the forthcoming year.  The most recent best piece of assessed writing is then stuck into their new book.

11.2  Reading.

Reading is assessed each term and the pupils reading age is ascertained.  Focussed intervention is planned for pupils below their reading age by one year.

11.3  Spelling.

Spelling is assessed each week and Teachers keep a record of this in the class file.  At the end of each half term  a selection of spellings are chosen and pupils are tested o n them.  Each spelling is said clearly twice.  Then put the word into a sentence.  The spelling is repeated once more.

Spellings are marked with a tick for a correct answers and a dot for wrong answers.  The tests are then sent home so that pupils have the opportunity to practise their personal spellings.  This can also be done during Guided Reading time/Key Skills.  The raw are recorded on a class list and sent to the English Leader who records them on EXCEL for analysis.  (This is shared with teachers.)

  1. Resources

12.1 There is a range of resources to support the teaching of English across the school.  A large selection of fiction and non-fiction texts and big books are stored centrally for all teachers to access to support their teaching.  Every classroom also has a selection of reading books for the pupils to read independently.  Children have access to the Internet through their classroom computer and the ICT suite.  Access to the Internet is also available in the library area.  The library contains a range of books to support children’s individual research.

  1. Monitoring and Review

13.1 Monitoring of the standards of the children’s work and of the quality of teaching in English is the responsibility of the English subject leader.  Pupil’s work, lesson planning and assessments are all used to monitor the subject as are lesson observations and pupil interviews.  The areas of focus for monitoring are planned for in the school’s monitoring matrix.  The SLT and subject leader assesses writing each week and include all Early Years, KS1 and KS2 classes.  (These are sent to the Headteacher.)  The monitoring takes planning and books into account and results in individual feedback outlining strengths and areas to develop. The work of the subject leader also involves supporting colleagues in the teaching of English, being informed about current developments in the subject, and providing a strategic lead and direction for the subject in the school.  The subject leader gives the Headteacher a termly summary report, which includes an analysis of progress made using Average Point Score system and compares the progress of groups, this forms part of the termly Headteacher’s report to governors.  At the end of each year an evaluation of the strengths and weaknesses in the subject, and areas for further improvement are outlined.

.pdf of English Policy 2017 appendices

English Policy Version 6 Spring 2017