English Policy

This policy should be read in conjunction with the school’s Teaching and Learning Policy, Assessment Policy and Marking Policy.


The aim of this policy is to provide teachers with a framework for high quality teaching and learning in literacy and English. At Thurton Church of England Primary School we aim, supported by the Primary Framework for Literacy, to help children develop skills and knowledge that will enable them to:

  • communicate effectively and creatively with the world at large, through spoken and written language
  • respond critically to a wide range of texts
  • enjoy and appreciate literature and its rich variety

In addition, this policy will support the development of children to:

  • be effective, competent communicators and good listeners
    read fluently
  • be able to express opinions, articulate feelings and formulate responses to a range of texts both
  • fiction and non-fiction using appropriate technical vocabulary
  • be interested in words and their meanings, and develop a growing vocabulary in both spoken and written form
  • engage with and understand a range of text types and genres
  • be able to write in a variety of styles and forms showing awareness of audience and purpose
  • develop powers of imagination, inventiveness and critical awareness in all areas of literacy
  • use grammar and punctuation accurately
  • be competent spellers and understand spelling conventions
  • produce effective, well presented written work.

Reading Aims

We aim to enable children to:

  • develop positive attitudes towards reading and read for purpose and pleasure
  • use reading skills as an integral part of learning throughout the curriculum;
  • read and respond to a variety of texts whilst gaining increased level of fluency, accuracy, independence and understanding
  • develop different strategies for approaching reading and be able to orchestrate the full range of strategies

Reading Entitlement

Pupils have access to a wide range of reading opportunities that include:

  • shared reading
  • guided reading
  • regular independent reading
  • home/school reading
  • hearing books read aloud on a regular basis
  • selecting own choice of texts including ICT texts
  • reading whole texts
  • reading in other subjects including ICT texts
  • reading in the community

The Primary Framework of Literacy provides a detailed basis for implementing the statutory requirements for reading. Much of the Programme of Study will be taught in Literacy lessons, particularly during shared and guided reading sessions. Additional time is provided on a regular basis for reading at other times. There is time set aside for independent reading, using the library, listening to whole class stories and research linked to other subjects. National recommendations for the teaching of phonics and early reading are implemented in full.

Teaching and Learning

Teachers promote and value reading as an enjoyable activity and also as a life skill. The Simple Model of Reading (Primary Strategy) provides the framework for the teaching of reading. Progression in reading starts with the systematic teaching of synthetic phonics. This is in the context of a broad and rich Foundation Stage curriculum which celebrates reading for pleasure and proactively develops children’s speaking and listening skills and language development. As pupils develop reading fluency throughout KS1, teachers teach a broad range of comprehension strategies which allow pupils to engage with text in a variety of ways to suit different learning styles.

In shared reading the teacher models the reading process to the whole class as an expert reader providing a high level of support. Teaching objectives are pre-planned and sessions are characterised by explicit teaching of specific reading strategies, oral response and collaboration. Texts are rich and challenging, beyond the current reading ability of the majority of the class, and are linked to the unit of work under current study.

Guided reading is the key strategy and vehicle for the explicit and direct, differentiated teaching of reading comprehension. In guided reading texts are chosen to match the ability of the group but still provide an element of challenge. All children have a minimum of one guided reading session per week.

Teachers plan for independent reading activities during sessions of guided reading. Texts are selected so that pupils can access them without support. The focus for the reading is to provide practice, to develop personal response to text and crucially, reading for pleasure. Many other opportunities are provided for pupils to practise and extend reading in other subjects. Pupils select texts under the guidance of the teacher for independent and home/school reading. Independent reading is monitored and progress discussed with individual pupils on a regular basis. Where pupils are working below age appropriate objectives, a reading programme will identify additional opportunities to read with an adult.

Reading at home is regarded as an important part of reading development. Children are encouraged to respond to the books they are reading at home using reading diaries and reading journals.


The school has well-stocked book areas with a range of fiction and non-fiction. Classroom collections are changed at regular intervals.  Pupils also have opportunities to read magazines, information leaflets and ICT texts.  The school libraries are an important resource and pupils are taught how to use it appropriately.  A volunteer librarian supported by children supervises a weekly library session for each class.

Time is allocated in the timetable for teachers to read aloud to their classes regularly.

Writing Aims

Enable children to:

  • write in different contexts and for different purposes and audiences
  • be increasingly aware of the conventions of writing, including grammar, punctuation and spelling
  • plan, draft and edit their writing to suit the purpose
  • use ICT as a literacy medium for presenting work and manipulating text
  • form letters correctly, leading to a fluent joined and legible handwriting style, giving increasing regard to presentation

Writing Entitlement

Pupils have access to a wide range of writing opportunities that include:

  • shared writing
  • guided writing
  • independent writing
  • writing different text types and narrative styles
  • writing in different curriculum areas
  • handwriting – direct teaching and practice
  • collaborative writing
  • writing related to own experiences and enjoyment
  • writing from a variety of stimuli including small world, drama, video, photography and other curriculum areas
  • planning, drafting, editing and presenting using ICT

Writing Teaching and Learning

The Primary Framework for Literacy guides teaching and learning in Literacy. Teachers promote writing and look for ways to inspire and motivate pupils so that they see themselves as ‘writers’. Teachers establish the purpose and audience for writing and make teaching objectives explicit to pupils so they know why they are studying a particular text type, the kind of writing activities they need to undertake and what the expected outcome will be.

The teaching sequence for reading and writing is used as a framework for planning a unit of work:

Reading and responding 

  • introduction to reading
  • enjoyment
  • teach reading strategies
  • response


  • analysis of texts for structural and language features
  • teacher demonstration of usage of sentence and word level features
  • further consolidation of key features

Planning and Writing

  • Talk for writing including drama and small world activities
  • Analysing real text
  • Create steps to success
  • Planning and drafting
  • Revising and editing

Subject-specific texts that link to work being undertaken in other areas may also be used in literacy lessons to support the wider curriculum.  Teachers use shared writing to model the writing process. Shared reading and writing provide a context for discussion and demonstration of grammatical features at word level, sentence level and text level. Activities are differentiated through the use of writing frames, spelling banks, collaborative work and peer or adult support.  Teachers encourage ‘talk for writing’, explicit links with ICT, visual literacy, small world, drama and feedback as an integral part of the process.


Teachers provide opportunities to practise and improve handwriting and encourage pupils to develop a fluent legible style. Teachers model the agreed style consistently across the school.

Writing Resources

Each class has a range of materials to support the writing process. Writing materials are kept accessible and organised and pupils are encouraged to take care of the equipment and return it to where it belongs. Each class also has a set of age appropriate dictionaries, thesaurus and word banks.

Teachers use Primary Framework and NLS resources alongside commercially produced resources to support writing. These include:

  • Developing Early Writing
  • Grammar for Writing
  • Improving Writing Fliers
  • Primary Framework for Literacy
  • Five session Spelling Programme
  • Film and ICT media resources eg. Google images
  • Communication Matters
  • Early Years Foundation Stage
  • Letters and Sounds
  • Other teacher resources are kept in a central resource area and are regularly reviewed

Speaking and Listening Aims

Enable children to:

  • communicate effectively, speaking with increasing confidence, clarity and fluency
  • participate in discussions and debate in a variety of contexts
  • listen to the views, opinions and ideas of others with increased interest
  • articulate ideas and thoughts clearly with appropriate tone and vocabulary, recognising audience
  • respond to questions and opinions appropriately
  • retell stories and poems which are known by heart
  • ask questions with increasing relevance and insight

Speaking and Listening Entitlement

Pupils have access to a wide range of speaking and listening opportunities that include:

  • Planned teaching and learning of speaking and listening skills, drama, group discussion and interaction
  • talking about their own experiences, recounting events
  • participating in discussion and debate
  • talk for writing
  • retelling stories and poems
  • expressing opinions and justifying ideas
  • listening to stories read aloud
  • presenting ideas to different audiences
  • taking part in school performances
  • responding to different kinds of texts
  • talking to visitors in school
  • listening to ideas and opinions of adults and peers
  • role-play and other drama activities across the curriculum
  • philosophy for children

Speaking and Listening Teaching and Learning

Teachers’ provide a wide range of contexts for speaking and listening throughout the school day.

Teachers’ model speaking clearly; this includes clear diction, reasoned argument, using imaginative and challenging language and use of Standard English.

Teachers are also sensitive in encouraging the participation of retiring or reticent children.

Listening is modelled as is the appropriate use of non-verbal communication, respecting the views of others.

Speaking and listening outcomes are planned for in all areas of the curriculum and speaking and listening objectives are identified in planning.

Roles are shared with pupils: sometimes a pupil will be the questioner, presenter, etc.

Learning takes place in a variety of situations and group settings.  For example these could include reading aloud as an individual, working collaboratively on an investigation, reporting findings as a newscaster, interviewing people as part of a research project, acting as a guide for a visitor to school, responding to a text in shared or guided reading.

Social and Emotional Aspects of Learning (SEAL) is embedded in the curriculum, and provides opportunities for children to learn to respect the views of others and the importance of speaking and listening with regard to others.  Through assessment for learning strategies such as ‘Talking Partners’, through discussion and debate in subjects such as Philosophy for Children, and by embedding the NLS Speaking and Listening objectives across the curriculum, pupils are explicitly taught a range of speaking and listening strategies, skills and objectives in planned and systematic progression throughout the school.

Speaking and Listening Resources

Teachers have access to a range of resources for speaking and listening activities. These are kept in the central literacy resource area. There are also some useful Physical Social Health Education resources which also support this area as well as DfE Speaking and Listening Materials.

Spelling Aims

To enable children to:

  • understand the alphabetic code and spell accurately in order to communicate
  • effectively and independently in writing
  • understand the conventions of English spelling in order to be able to decode and read
  • text independently, accurately and fluently
  • be creative and use ambitious vocabulary
  • proof read their work accurately

Spelling Entitlement

In an age of electronic literacy, children still need to express themselves quickly and accurately on paper. The ability to be able to spell correctly is an essential life skill and one that society demands.

Spelling Teaching and Learning

Through the daily teaching of synthetic phonics in early reading development in Foundation Stage, pupils are taught a balanced programme which develops understanding of the alphabetic code, the phonemes of the English Language and their corresponding graphemes and skills in segmenting phonemes for spelling and blending them for reading. Towards the end of Y1 and throughout Y2 this phonics learning leads seamlessly into teaching and learning of spelling, which continues throughout KS2.

Explicit links are made between teaching of handwriting and the teaching of spelling.


  • Letters and Sounds
  • KS2 Spelling Programme