English Curriculum

We offer an exciting English Curriculum at St Francis.  Click on the tabs below to find out more about each area.

As a reading school, we ensure every child has a love of reading by exposing them to varied texts throughout the year, linked to different cultures.  In Key Stage 2, whole class reading lessons take place 3 times weekly, with a focus on vocabulary and fluency, as well as following the VIPERS (a range of reading prompts from Ed Shed linked to the NC). In Key Stage 1, elements of VIPERS are used alongside whole class starter activities and then children are split into more focus guided reading groups. Each child is listened to 1:1 each week and Years 2-6 teachers run a book club after school to target pupil premium children and children who need targeted intervention to work at an expected level. We also have links with St Peters high school and have weekly 1:1 reading support in Ks1 and Ks2 for children identified as not being regularly listened to at home, to help develop their fluency and confidence. Year 4 also enjoy being reading buddies with Year 2 children on Monday lunchtimes. Children who, through formative and summative assessment, have been identified as needing further support are placed into intervention groups by teachers. 

Every class has a class novel and one reading lesson per week is linked to this, to explore new vocabulary, make predictions and sequence or summarise the text. We have created working walls linked to this novel so that the children are exposed to new vocabulary throughout the half term and can recap the story so far.

Our reading knowledge and skills ladder clearly outlines progression of reading throughout each year group allows teachers to understand where children have come from and where their next steps.  VIPERS reading is used throughout school and children are familiar with the vocabulary and skills related to the VIPERS scheme.

Assessment – Reading is assessed through teacher formative assessment in reading lessons, 1:1 reading and in interventions and each term children complete one summative assessment to support this. Information is then input into itrack, to evaluate children alongside national curriculum objectives – sorted into working towards, working at or working above.

Reading for pleasure is always high on our agenda and we have a lovely spacious library and well stocked book corners in each classroom. 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.


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, exciting vocabulary, punctuation and spelling.  At St Francis Primary School, children will become skilled, confident writers who can apply their skills independently to write for both pleasure and for purpose.


To support our teaching of writing we have adopted The Write Stuff by Jane Considine to bring clarity to the mechanics of writing.  The Write Stuff follows a method called Sentence Stacking which refers to the fact that sentences are stacked together chronologically and organised to engage children with short, intensive moments of learning that they can then immediately apply to their own writing.  An individual lesson is based on a sentence model, broken into 3 learning chunks. Each learning chunk has three sections:

  • Initiate section – a stimulus to capture the children’s imagination and set up a sentence.
  • Model section – the teacher close models a sentence that outlines clear writing features and techniques.
  • Enable section – the children write their sentence, following the model.
    • Children are also challenged to ‘Deepen the Moment’ which requires them to independently draw upon previously learnt skills and apply them to their writing during that chunk. Teachers have scaffolded these lessons in order to support children with SEND.

The Write Stuff  uses three essential components called the Zones of Writing to support children in becoming great writers, which are displayed in each classroom and children are becoming increasingly familiar with the ‘lenses’ associated with each zone so they can ensure their writing includes a variety of techniques and sentence structures.

The three zones of writing :-

IDEAS -  The FANTASTICs uses a child friendly acronym to represent the nine idea lenses through which children can craft their ideas.

TOOLS - The GRAMMARISTICS. The grammar rules of our language system and an accessible way to target weaknesses in pupils grammatical and linguistic structures.

TECHNIQUES - The BOOMTASTICs which helps children capture 10 ways of adding drama and poetic devices to writing in a vivid visual.

At the end of each unit, children have the opportunity to create a piece of independent writing based on the text studied in class. Children are encouraged to include writing techniques (lenses) in their plan to subsequently include in their independent writing. Children are then given feedback (editing points) and an opportunity to edit and improve their work.

In Early Years, the writing is designed around the book of the week and follows children’s interests. The writing is planned using development matters and the statutory framework, with elements of The Write Stuff interwoven.

Following the periods of lockdown and home learning, Key Stage 1 are using Focus English to support children in their writing and ensure the pace and structure of lessons allows new and existing learning to be secured before moving on. Children require support with structuring sentences and basic punctuation before they are ready to move to The Write Stuff. They are exposed to elements of The Write Stuff by using Grandma Fantastic to introduce new and exciting vocabulary in their writing lessons.


The impact on our children is clear: progress, sustained learning and transferrable skills.  We aim that by the end of KS2 all of our children have made considerable progress from their starting points in EYFS.  With the implementation of The Write Stuff being well established in Key Stage 2 and Focus English currently being delivered to ensure progress and coverage in Key Stage 1, our children are becoming more confident writers.  By the time they are in upper Key Stage 2, all genres of writing are familiar to them and teaching can focus on creativity, writer’s craft, sustained writing and manipulation of grammar and punctuation skills.

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. 

English Curriculum

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


Click here to see our reading blog posts

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