St Nicholas Church of England Primary School

Excellence for All, Excellence from All

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Our Wholesome Curriculum encompasses: • Heart- Feelings and responding • Head- ‘sticky knowledge’ • Hands- physical skills •Health- physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, social and environmental

English and Literacy

The skills of reading and writing are essential for life-long learning.  Having an understanding of the written word allows children to access and understand the world around them. Our intent is to ensure quality first teaching of English throughout the Early Years Foundation Stage and Key Stages 1 and 2, so that children achieve, or exceed, national expectations.

We believe that a quality English curriculum will develop children’s love of reading, writing and discussion.

At the heart of the Early Years Foundation Stage is the teaching of early reading, which includes a systematic approach to the teaching and learning of phonics.  This continues into Key Stage One allowing them to become confident and fluent readers.  We strive to immerse all of our children in a language rich environment; ensuring that they have the linguistic skills required to succeed in life. We will inspire children to be confident in the art of speaking and listening. This will support them with developing a positive attitude towards communication in all its forms, independently expressing their opinions, emotions and their ideas.

Our children will be inspired to have 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 believe that children need to develop a secure knowledge-base in English, which follows a clear pathway of progression as they advance through the primary curriculum. A secure basis in oracy and 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. Through our English curriculum, we strive to teach the children how important their reading, writing, speaking and listening skills will be in the real world. By giving this context to their learning, the children understand the value of English to them now, and in their future.

How is our Wholesome Curriculum reflected in English and Literacy?

Reading at our school:

Reading is of the highest importance at our school- teaching the children to read and then supporting them to read for pleasure and to gain knowledge.

Our phonics scheme is the DfE accredited Twinkl Phonics and all members of staff are fully trained to teach this scheme.

Rhino Readers (Twinkl reading scheme) is used for guided reading and home reading books. The children start at level 2 and work through the scheme until level 6. After this, children work through books from colour banded books: turquoise (approx at Year 2), purple, gold, white, lime, brown, grey, dark blue, dark red and black (approx at Year 6)

Children also choose a 'reading for pleasure' book to take home on a weekly basis.

We also have a 'Book Nook' located in the playground, which is open every morning where children, parents and pre-schoolers can borrow books to share in the pleasure of reading.

Teachers read to their class daily- children hear stories that cover diverse themes, inspire their imagination, spark discussions and transport children to different times and places.

Phonics Policy

Twinkl Phonics and Reading Scheme overview

Our Reading Scheme- Rhino Readers

Reading Progression map

Reading at Home

We encourage children to read daily and to discuss the books they have been given and chosen. We actively encourage our children to change their book regularly and expect them to read at home daily.

Parental support is hugely important for developing their reading skills, confidence and understanding.  Even if your child is an independent reader, it is still important for you to read with them, listen to them and discuss the books they are reading. 


How to support developing readers at home

  • Try to listen to and read with your child regularly, 10 minutes a day is better than a longer session once a week.  It can help if a regular time is set aside so that it becomes part of a routine. 
  • Find a quiet place to share books where you can feel comfortable and relaxed – learning to read needs to be a positive experience - build their confidence by praising their efforts.
  • Encourage your child to have a go at reading words, by using phonic skills to read any unfamiliar words, and by working on building up their sight vocabulary.
  • Talk about the meanings of words to help to develop your child’s understanding and use of language. 
  • Encourage your child to read a range of texts such as stories, newspapers, comics, labels, poetry, non-fiction, tickets, signs, leaflets etc.
  • Read books to your child as well; if they see you enjoying a book it will encourage and motivate them to want to learn to read.
  • Ask them questions about the text to develop their understanding. 

The Book Nook

This is open everyday (apart from rainy days!) for your children, their siblings and yourselves to borrow books- no library card needed- just help yourselves. Bring the book/s back when you've finished and choose some more!

Writing at our school:


Our English curriculum intends to develop powers of imagination, inventiveness and critical awareness in all areas of literacy. Through being given opportunities to write for a range of purposes and audiences, children will gain an understanding of what it means to be a writer and how to effectively manipulate their growing literacy skills. We use 'Literacy Tree' as our main scheme for writing, which intends children to acquire a wide vocabulary, a secure understanding of grammar and punctuation, as well as the ability to spell new words by effectively applying the spelling patterns and rules they learn. The teaching of varied and rich literature inspires and nurtures a culture where children take pride in their writing.

Writing Progression map

What does impact look like in English and Literacy?

• Assessment for learning strategies are used on a daily basis. These will allow a picture to be built up of the children’s progress and any areas of strength or weakness can then be addressed in teachers’ planning. • The impact of interventions are routinely and regularly monitored using provision mapping across the school enabling support for children, especially disadvantaged or those with SEN, to be adjusted accordingly so that all children make sustained progress.

• Children will demonstrate progress in knowledge and understanding from their relevant starting points.

• Children have a range of skills and knowledge that meets the requirements of the National Curriculum for English (2014).

• Children will be able to transfer their literacy skills across all areas of the curriculum effectively.

• Children will have a wider vocabulary and understand how reading plays an important role in continuing to widen this.

• Children will be enthusiastic and capable readers who enjoy reading for pleasure.

• Children will have a clear understanding of how to adapt their writing to meet different contexts, audiences and purposes; therefore, they will achieve meaningful writing.

• Children will be able to apply spelling rules and patterns effectively and approach unknown words with resilience.

• Children will be equipped with powers of imagination, inventiveness and critical awareness in all areas of literacy.

• Children will have high aspirations for themselves and feel empowered by the range of literature to which they have been exposed. 

• Children will leave St Nicholas CEVC Primary school with creativity and confidence to articulate their ideas and with high aspirations which continue to grow and develop.