At our school we believe that a high quality English curriculum should develop children’s love of reading, writing and discussion. We aim to inspire an appreciation of our rich and varied literary heritage and a habit of reading widely and often. We recognise the importance of nurturing a culture where children take pride in their writing, can write clearly and accurately and adapt their language and style for a range of contexts. We want to inspire children to be confident in the art of speaking and listening and to ensure that they can use discussion to communicate and further their learning.
We believe that children need to develop a secure knowledge-base in Literacy, which follows a clear pathway of progression as they advance through the primary curriculum. We believe that a secure basis in literacy skills is crucial to a high quality education and will give our children the tools they need to participate fully as a member of society.



We aim to enable every child to gain in confidence and develop transferable skills in English so that they successfully:

  • Read a variety of texts with fluency, accuracy and expression, showing a good understanding
  • Develop the habit of reading regularly and widely, both for pleasure and to discover new information
  • Appreciate our rich and varied literacy heritage
  • Develop a legible, joined style of handwriting
  • 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 across a range of contexts, purposes and audiences
  • Use discussion in order to learn. Be fluent and articulate in the use of the spoken work 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 At Oak Cottage we use a cross curricular approach to ensure that English is placed at the heart of the curriculum.

Phonics is taught following the Letters and Sounds scheme supplemented with online resources from Phonics Play. We use phonically decodable reading books through Foundation Stage and KS1 as children develop their phonic knowledge. Our books are from Dandelion Readers, Collins Big Cat, Comic for Phonics,Bug Club,  Rigby Star, ORT phonics. As children become able to easily decode books using phonics they move onto colour banded books and self selected library books.

Some children will struggle to develop their phonological awareness and we aim to identify these children quickly and put in place individual and small group support. 

We use individual, guided and whole class reading to develop reading skills and we work hard to ensure that children develop a love of reading as well as the mechanics of reading

Our English scheme of work for KS1 and 2 is based on high quality childrens' literature. These include classic childrens' literature , hard hitting modern books such as Trash, poetry and non fiction books as well as films.

Writing is taught using The Write stuff in KS1 and 2 and Fantastic Foundations in Early Years.

English Curriculum 2021

Spelling is taught using No Nonsense Spelling. Please look at the spelling document below for information about what is covered in specific year groups.


Reading for pleasure is always high on our agenda and we have a lovely spacious library and well stocked book corners in each classroom as well as a special library outside Mrs McGowan's office for older children. Both children and staff are keen readers and are often seen swopping recommendations and discussing what they are currently reading.

We have a very close relationship with Gorton library and we regularly visit for author and creative events. This year one of our aims is to get every one of our children signed up as members of the library and using it.

We love to welcome authors to school and also take advantage of the many free activities offered by the library services in Manchester

Please look at the tabs below for more information on each aspect of English and the detail of our English curriculum.

English Curriculum 2021


Learning to read is one of the most important things your child will learn at our school. As well as teaching children to be able to decode and understand what they read we also want your child to love reading. A love and enjoyment of reading opens up a whole world. It is a love that will last a lifetime. This is why we work hard to make sure children develop a love of books as well as simply learning to read.

 Developing an interest in books and reading starts long before your child gets to school. Sharing books and stories is a vital part of a child’s early development. If your child arrives at school having shared books at bedtime and talked with you about the pictures  and stories they will be well prepared for the next stage of learning to read.

Phonics is a key strategy for starting to learn to read. Phonics is the sounds that written letters make. English is more complicated than most other languages as we have 26 letters in the alphabet but these are put together to make 44 sounds! We start by teaching phonics in Reception following the sequence of sounds set out in ‘Letters and Sounds’.  To begin with in Nursery, we encourage children to listen out for sounds in the environment and experiment with a range of sounds using their whole body. We believe phonics should be fun, so teach the sounds using the catchy Batty Basics actions and pictures.

 In daily phonics sessions children learn how to ‘read’ the sounds in words and how those sounds can be written down. This is essential for reading, but it also helps children learn to spell well.The children also practise reading (and spelling) ‘tricky words’, such as ‘once,’ ‘have,’ ‘said’ and ‘where’.

 Once children can blend sounds together to read words, they practise reading books that match the phonics and the ‘tricky words’ they know. They start to believe they can read and this does wonders for their confidence. We have a wide range of reading books which the children take home. They are all decodable, which means that children will use their phonics knowledge to read the words. We use Big Cat, Rigby Star, Dandelion Readers, Comics for Phonics and Song Birds.

Teachers regularly read to the children, too, so the children get to know and love all sorts of stories, poetry and information books. This helps to extend children’s vocabulary and comprehension, as well as supporting their writing. To support this, we actively encourage children to take home ‘real books’ from the class collection or the library that may be of a higher level than they can read on their own. We want children to experience books about all sorts of topics and have the opportunity to share these with parents and families at home.

 In guided reading sessions your child will work with children who are at the same reading level.  This is so that the teaching can be focussed on their needs.  Some older children will continue to access phonics groups if they need further consolidation and development of reading skills.  We check children’s reading skills regularly so we that we can ensure they are in the right group.  Children will move to a different group if they are making faster progress or may have one-to-one support if we think they need some extra help.  

Not all children learn to read using phonics and for some children other approaches are used such as whole words.

 As the children move into Key Stage 2 we begin to explore how the writer has used language to keep the reader’s interest. We look at the features of a range of different fiction and non-fiction texts, discussing the use of different layouts and sentence structures. In Key stage 2 we use whole class reading as our main teaching of reading strategy. 


At St Francis RC Primary school aim to develop the children’s ability to produce well structured, detailed writing in which the meaning is made clear and which engages the interest of the reader. Attention is paid throughout the school to the formal structures of English, grammatical detail, punctuation and spelling. 

We use the Penpals Handwriting Scheme (linked to spelling) in school to help children develop fluent, clear and legible joined up writing. 


  • We teach grammar through the texts used in English lessons. We believe that this gives a real context to the learning . Children will sometimes be asked to complete an out of context grammar exercise in order to give extra practice. We correct grammatical error orally/ written work (where appropriate)
  • We have a systematic approach, we revisit key learning and build upon it in all areas from phonics, through to grammar and spelling
  • We use high quality texts, modelling and shared/ collaborative writing to demonstrate good practice
  • We encourage and promote oracy for writing
  • We provide writing frames to support the least confident
  • We provide time for planning, editing and revising
  • We mark extended pieces of work in-depth and set targets with the pupil
  • We use checklists for pupils to self-assess or peer assess, when appropriate so they can evaluate effectively   
  • We encourage joined handwriting from Year 2 to support spelling and speed
  • We use drama and hot-seating to help pupils to think about another point of view

Vocabulary Development

The National Curriculum makes clear that learning vocabulary is key to ‘learning and progress across the whole curriculum’ since it allows pupils to access a wider range of words when writing and for them to understand and comprehend texts efficiently.

Our vocabulary teaching aims to be:

  • Active
  • Progressive/ systematic
  • Making links from known words
  • Develop understanding of shades of meaning
  • Include ‘instruction verbs’
  • Subject specific, accurate mathematical and scientific words


We encourage our pupils to have a curiosity and love for words and to develop  a wide and growing vocabulary in a number of ways, these include:

  • Spelling lists/ key words to take home and learn
  • Display of key words linked to topics and subjects
  • Using the correct vocabulary orally
  • In-depth word based lessons looking at patterns
  • Using dictionaries, thesaurus and similar programmes
  • Using high quality texts to explore vocabulary choices and the effect they have

Cross Curricular Literacy Opportunities

 Teachers will seek to take advantage of opportunities to make cross-curricular links. They will plan for pupils to practice and apply the skills, knowledge and understanding acquired through literacy lessons to other areas of the curriculum, with a particular focus on writing through all subject areas where the same standard of writing is expected as seen in English books

English in Action

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