The teaching and learning of English provides the basis of a solid and fluent education. Through a good grasp of English, both written and spoken, children are able to access a full and varied curriculum. At St Andrew’s we teach English through three main strands: Reading, Writing and Speaking.


In EYFS children are exposed to the teaching of writing through studying different picture books each week. As part of an immersive curriculum, they are provided with countless examples of writing in the environment, and at an age-appropriate level, encouraged to take part in aspects of transcription and composition through opportunities for mark making and through the variety of role play and practical activities. There are opportunities for writing both inside and outside. Children may choose to do this independently or be encouraged to take part in mark making and writing opportunities within a small group or as part of a whole class activity.

In Reception, children begin to develop their more formal writing skills through the daily phonics teaching. This is where they are taught the specific rules for transcribing. The stimulating, language-rich environment is designed to motivate and encourage children to want to write for a variety of audiences and purposes; linked in with the theme of learning for the week.

Key Stage 1 and 2

Our English overview identifies the different genres that children will cover in Years 1 to 6 across the Autumn, Spring and Summer terms. It also identifies core texts and other stimuli which will be used to teach these different writing styles. The overview makes links with other areas of the curriculum where possible; such as History or Geography themes, links to Science and other activities. Some texts or film clips will be linked to other areas of school life such as our values, times of the year, significant events in the school calendar. The different genres have been mapped out so that children from Years 1 to 6 will be encouraged and enabled to write for a variety of audiences and purposes, and in a variety of different styles. Each term includes opportunities for fiction, non-fiction and poetry writing.

The Writing Cycle

Each unit of writing that is taught is broken down into 3 phases.

The first phase of the unit focuses on exposure to the genre. Children may read or be read to. They may watch the video clip. They may listen to the video clip. The initial phase is about elements of prediction and discussion, leading to familiarisation with the text or the content of the film. If there are links to other areas of the curriculum, then they can be explored directly at this stage; enabling children to strengthen their understanding in a number of ways.

Whole class, group and independent activities may include:

  • reading and retelling
  • acting out or other role play activities (role on the wall, conscience alley)
  • identifying features of the text
  • compare and contrast
  • oral or written response to the text

The second phase focuses on unpicking and unpacking the text type or stimulus even more. At this point, children are made aware of what the product will be in terms of their writing. They develop an understanding of the audience and purpose for the piece of writing they will be producing. Children are also taught more about the explicit features of the text type through grammar lessons and activities.

Whole class, group and independent activities may include:

  • practising aspects of sentence structure or use of grammatical features
  • experimenting with or adapting parts of the original text
  • written response to the text
  • shared or modelled writing of a part of the text
  • any further opportunities to develop transcription skills such as handwriting, writing sentences, spelling practice

The final phase of the writing process focuses on the children producing their own piece of writing based on the original stimulus. This may take several days to develop with the children through a combination of planning, drafting, editing, redrafting and, where appropriate, publishing.

Whole class, group and independent activities may include:

  • storyboard activities or use of other planning templates
  • drafting of writing with use of scaffolds, close, word mats as needed
  • guided writing for parts of the text
  • peer, self and teacher feedback on writing
  • editing and improving
  • publishing work




Reading at St Andrew’s is highly valued and remains a priority across the school. This is because without a strong foundation in reading, children may struggle to access the wider curriculum and this will hinder their academic progress. In fact, recent research shows that children who fall behind with reading in the early years will continue to do so throughout their schooling. Reading aloud is a good way of developing vocabulary, language expression and expressive and receptive language skills. With this in mind, the teaching of reading at St Andrew’s is a joint effort and we expect our parents to engage with their child’s reading journey at home as often as possible and help to provide their children with this vital foundation.

Our children start their journey with reading in EYFS where they begin in phase 1 of the phonics programme ‘Essential letters and Sounds’. This systematic programme is taught daily across EYFS and KS1 and also in Lower KS2 where necessary. (Please see the phonics page for more details).

Reading at EYFS and KS1

Alongside phonics to teach the technical side of reading, we also teach reading as a whole class. In EYFS and year one this is done using ‘dialogic book talk’. This scheme takes well-known children’s books that the class is studying in English lessons and allows children to dive into the text at greater depth with teacher guidance. Over the course of a week, the children will look at various aspects of the text. In year two, the children begin to hone the skills that they have developed orally and learn how to compose written comprehensive answers when asked questions about the text.  This prepares them for their statutory tests and for the teaching of reading across ks2.

The key areas of focus are vocabulary, inference, prediction, explanation, retrieval skills and sequencing/summarising. These 6 areas of focus cover all the key reading skills your child will need to enjoy varied and rich texts through their lives.

Reading at KS2

In KS2, children follow a similar scheme using VIPERS (an acronym for the 6 areas previously mentioned). Reading lessons are taught for 45 minutes to an hour and cover a variety of texts and genres. There are many opportunities for discussion and children then have time to consider answers to questions requiring higher-level thinking.

Reading Assessment

Each half term, all children in EYFS and year one and some in year two and LKS2 are assessed on phonics up to phase 5 and assigned a phase. In year two, once children have completed the phonics programme, they are usually determined to be a ‘free reader’ meaning they can choose any reading book from the class library.  In some cases, it is decided that although children may have completed the phonics programme, they need time to build fluency and confidence.  In this instance, they receive adult support to choose a book from our ‘confidence builders’ selection that will support the development of their fluency before moving on to more challenging texts.

Reading at home

Each week children in EYFS and year one will bring home books appropriate to their phase to read at home. Alongside a ‘fully decodable book’, children will also bring home a ‘share with me’ text, which they should enjoy with an adult at home. We hope this will encourage them to read for pleasure and find joy in a wide variety of books. Those children who are deemed to be ‘free readers’ will also bring home a reading book of their choice and our expectation is that they too should be listened to as they read aloud each day.

We encourage and expect children to read at home for up to half an hour every day to encourage their fluency and understanding. Through the school year, we hold reading workshops for parents to provide further information as you support your child with their reading from home.

Reading across the curriculum

Reading is of course a very cross-curricular subject, and reading opportunities are also provided across other subjects with children being taught to develop and apply research skills as they move through the school