The curriculum for English

Our aims in teaching English at Lady Margaret Primary School are to:

  • Children are to read easily, fluently and with good understanding.
  • They should develop the habit or reading widely and often, for both pleasure and information.
  • Children should acquire a wide vocabulary, an understanding of grammar and knowledge of linguistic. Conventions for reading, writing and spoken language.
  • Children should appreciate our rich and varied literary heritage.
  • They should write clearly, accurately and coherently, adapting their language and style in and for range of contexts, purposes and audiences.
  • They should use discussion in order to learn and children should be able to elaborate and explain clearly their understanding and ideas.
  • Children should be competent in the arts of speaking and listening, making formal presentations, demonstrating to others and participating in debate.
  • Children should read and re-read books to ensure fluency.
  • Word lists and aspects of spelling and grammar to be taught in specific year groups.
  • Children should learn material by heart.
  • These changes are embedded across the whole curriculum and not just in literacy lessons


Our aims in teaching writing at Lady Margaret Primary School are to:

In accordance with the National Curriculum, Lady Margaret Primary School believes:

Writing has a pre-eminent place in education and in society. A high-quality education in writing at Lady Margaret Primary School will teach pupils to write fluently so that they can communicate their ideas and emotions to others and through their reading and listening, others can communicate with them. Through engaging in high-quality activities based around a high quality text, pupils have a chance to develop culturally, emotionally, intellectually, socially and spiritually. Literature, especially, plays a key role in such development. Pupils will also have acquired a wide range of vocabulary, an understanding of grammar and knowledge of linguistic conventions for reading, writing and spoken language. Through the core texts selected and studied, the pupils at Lady Margaret will learn to appreciate our rich and varied literary heritage and by the end of their primary school journey pupils should be able to write clearly, accurately and coherently, adapting their language and style in and for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences.

How writing is taught at Lady Margaret Primary School

The writing curriculum is carefully planned alongside the aims of the National Curriculum guidance for Key Stages 1 and 2 with clear progression across year groups. Pupils in EYFS will be provided with every opportunity to engage in writing and talk around writing through the use of role play, small world scenarios, helicopter stories and daily phonics sessions. The curriculum is planned to ensure that a wide range of literature from different cultures and heritages is explored and valued.

At Lady Margaret we ensure that we maintain high standards of handwriting and this is taught using the Nelson Handwriting programme. This is a whole-school programme designed to help all children develop a confident, legible and personal handwriting style and meet higher curriculum expectations. Children develop their early writing skills in EYFS through strengthening their gross motor and fine motor skills, which evolves further as they move throughout the school.

Lady Margaret Primary School has worked in close partnership with CLPE (Centre for Primary Literacy) and Mark Hartley (educational consultant) to select high quality core texts and to create writing sequences whereby pupils are provided with opportunities to write for real purposes and real audiences. Our pupils have opportunities to apply and showcase their writing skills across the curriculum through a wide range of activities such as achievement assemblies, work of the week, poetry assemblies and WOW authors.

Together, we have designed the curriculum to best suit the needs of our pupils and to spark interest, challenge and curiosity. We teach writing alongside a different core text every half term which is often linked to the History/Geography topic being studied. The writing sequences ensure:

  • There are high quality model texts for the children to deconstruct and analyse with their teacher. The model writes are based on the core text and focus on specific grammar aims obtained from the National Curriculum.
  • Spelling, punctuation and grammar are taught in the context of pupil’s own writing, and where necessary through discrete lessons.
  • Pupils have abundant opportunities for talk within writing lessons in order to engage and understand the core text thoroughly through a range of drama activities such as freeze frames, role play and conscience alleys.
  • There are ample opportunities for teachers to model writing skills by teaching pupils how to create, improve and revise their writing through shared writing (appendix 4), whiteboard work and through the use WOW authors.
  • Every opportunity is provided for pupils to become critical readers of their own writing by using self or peer-evaluation and by checking their work independently or alongside their writing buddy for sense, precision and meaning.
  • Pupils are provided with a wide range of vocabulary and differentiated word mats which the teacher will activate through their pithy and accurate teaching of Writing.
  • Pupils are taught to develop their ability to organise and present their writing.


By the end of year 6, we want pupils to:

  • Write effectively for a range of purposes and audiences, selecting language that shows good awareness of the reader.
  • Describe settings, characters and atmosphere in narratives.
  • Integrate dialogue in narratives to convey character and advance the action.
  • Select vocabulary and grammatical structures that reflect what the writing requires, doing this mostly appropriately (e.g. using contracted forms in dialogues in narrative; using passive verbs to affect how information is presented; using modal verbs to suggest degrees of possibility).
  • Use a range of devices to build cohesion (e.g. conjunctions, adverbials of time and place, pronouns, synonyms) within and across paragraphs.
  • Use verb tenses consistently and correctly throughout their writing.
  • Use the range of punctuation taught at key stage 2 mostly correctly^ (e.g. inverted commas and other punctuation to indicate direct speech).
  • Spell correctly most words from the year 5 / year 6 spelling list,* and use a dictionary to check the spelling of uncommon or more ambitious vocabulary.
  • Maintain legibility in joined handwriting when writing at speed.

How to support your child at home

  • Practice spelling words from the spelling list.
  • Provide writing opportunities for your child e.g. writing a thank you note, writing the shopping list, party invitations and letters to family etc
  • Teach your child new words each week and encourage them to use them. Your child can keep a vocabulary notebook.
  • Encourage your child to speak in full sentences using correct Standard English.

Handwriting Guidance for Parents
Top tips for practising spellings


Our aims in teaching reading at Lady Margaret Primary School

The Importance of Reading

Reading is a significant life skill and the development of reading strategies will enable our children to read and write confidently throughout their school career and on into adult life. Evidence suggests, that children who read for enjoyment every day, not only perform better in reading tests than those that don’t, but also develop a broader vocabulary, increased general knowledge and a better understanding of other cultures.

In fact, there’s evidence to suggest that reading for pleasure is more likely to determine whether a child does well at school than their social or economic background. At Lady Margaret Primary School we passionately encourage and require our children to read everyday and aim to nurture a love of reading through carefully selected texts, which inspire and motivate pupils to become life-long readers.

Oxford Owl

Oxford Owl is an award-winning website to help support children’s learning, both at home and at school. Click here to visit their site.

How reading is taught at Lady Margaret Primary School

Pupils develop skills in reading through the understanding of core texts. Our teaching sequences are tailored to meet the needs of our pupils and have been designed in collaboration with the CLPE and other experts such as Mark Hartley, who has received an MBE for his services to education. In essence, pupils study a book, related to their half-termly topic, which are more challenging than those which they might not be able to read independently. They will use this book as the basis for reading, writing, oracy tasks and links to foundation subjects. Year groups also have link texts to support their understanding of key themes and explore vocabulary further. 


Pupils are encouraged to read widely, through our use of differing class texts, recommended reads, library books, high-quality texts and home reading practice books. Our classrooms and school reflect a literature-rich environment and we ensure reading takes place throughout the curriculum.  


Pupils are encouraged to read for pleasure and develop a life-long love of reading through practices such as: Every day, Every night (EDEN), reading partners, quiet reading time, engaging story times, reading challenges and working through recommend reads for their year groups.  In EYFS and KS1, we also have Everyday Magic which promotes story telling.  


In Early Years, pupils learn to read accurately and fluently through daily phonics in reception and year 1, following the programme, Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised. They read regularly to adults through Reading Practice sessions using Big Cats decodable books and continue to develop their confidence in reading through repeated practice of the books at home. These reading sessions are designed to support children develop their fluency, prosody and comprehension. Children are also exposed to daily phonics, story time, focused story time reading sessions and opportunities for additional reading/phonics throughout the school day. 


From years 2-6, children read as a whole class every day during English lessons. Reading and writing are both taught using teaching sequences which involve choral reading as well as opportunities for the teacher to read aloud modelling expressive reading and for individual children to read aloud to develop their oracy skills and confidence. 


Pupils’ comprehension skills are formally assessed each term and statutory assessments take place in Reception, year 2 and year 6. Any pupil who is not meeting age related expectations is support through additional sessions, 1:1 reading or phonics, small group reading/phonics and booster classes. Throughout English sessions, pupils have many opportunities to learn and develop their reading skills and these are practiced and apply in other areas of the curriculum too.  

By the end of year 6, we want pupils to:

By the time our children leave Lady Margaret Primary School we aim for all of our pupils to leave as free, confident readers with a love of reading. Your child will be using their reading for learning across all subjects as well as for pleasure, and they will be developing their own reading tastes.

The emphasis is now on your child reading and responding to what they read accurately and quickly. They will be using accurate grammar and punctuation, as well as adventurous ideas, words, sentences, and paragraphs, to improve their writing as they draw on their wider reading experience. Your child should also be able to read and spell unfamiliar words using their knowledge of phonics and word structure. They will develop their spoken language through public speaking, performance, and debate.

We want the children to have a secure understanding of the different reading skills and know how to apply the reading strategies confidently.

How to support your child at home

Read to your child
Reading daily to young children, starting in infancy, can help with language acquisition and literacy skills. This is because reading to your children in the earliest months stimulates the part of the brain that allows them to understand the meaning of language and helps build key language, literacy and social skills.

For an overview of our core texts please click here.

Sign up to your local library
Get your child a library card. They’ll be able to get their hands on hundreds of fantastic books, as well as the latest video games, blu-rays and DVDs. Let them choose what they want to read to help them develop their own interests

Have them tell you a story
One great way to introduce kids to literacy is to take their dictation. Have them recount an experience or make up a story.

Teach phonetic awareness
Young children don’t hear the sounds within words. Thus, they hear “dog,” but not the “duh”-“aw”- “guh.” To become readers, they have to learn to hear these sounds (or phonemes). Play language games with your child. For instance, say a word, perhaps her name, and then change it by one phoneme: Jen-Pen, Jen-Hen, Jen-Men. Or, just break a word apart: chair… ch-ch-ch-air.

Listen to your child read
When your child starts bringing books home from school, have her read to you. If it doesn’t sound good (mistakes, choppy reading), have her read it again. Or read it to her, and then have her try to read it herself. Studies show that this kind of repeated oral reading makes students better readers, even when it is done at home.

Sign up for audio books
Audio books are a fantastic way to for children to listen to stories. It allows children to listen to complicated topics and listen to better-quality books than your child might find at their own level. That exposure strengthens comprehension skills, particularly for children who have reading difficulties.

Ask questions
When your child reads, get her to retell the story or information. If it’s a story, ask who it was about and what happened. If it’s an informational text, have your child explain what it was about and how it worked, or what its parts were. Reading involves not just sounding out words, but thinking about and remembering ideas and events

All reading is good – Don’t rule out non-fiction, comics, graphic novels, magazines or leaflets. Reading is reading and it’s all worthwhile







Workshop Resources

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