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Woodford Primary School


Our approach to English



At Woodford we realise the importance of developing spoken language across the whole curriculum – cognitively, socially and linguistically. We believe that spoken language underpins the development of reading and writing and therefore, we wish to promote activities which will help pupils develop their vocabulary and grammar. We aim to help pupils develop confidence and competence in spoken language and listening skills. Pupils develop a capacity to explain their understanding of books and to prepare their ideas before writing. Pupils are encouraged to make their thinking clear to themselves as well as to others and we use discussion, debate, role play, drama and a variety of other strategies to build secure foundations for speaking and listening, including adopting roles, responding to others appropriately, improvising, refining and responding to drama performances.





  1. Woodford, we promote a love of reading for pleasure by encouraging our pupils to read widely across both fiction and non-fiction to develop their knowledge of themselves and the world they live in. We realise the importance of providing opportunities for reading to gain knowledge and make links across the curriculum. We believe that reading widely and regularly, improves and increases pupils’ vocabulary as they encounter words they would not usually use in everyday speech. We also believe that reading feeds pupils’ imagination and provides endless opportunities for curious young minds to experience joy and wonder.


We follow the programmes of study in the 2014 National Curriculum and planning follows the Curriculum’s reading objectives, encapsulated in the two main dimensions of:


  • word reading
  • comprehension (both listening and reading)


Our teaching focuses on developing pupils’ progress and attainment in both dimensions.


Early Reading

Early reading is facilitated through the daily teaching of systematic, synthetic phonics (Letters and Sounds) in Foundation and KS1, to enable children to decode words in text and then apply this in independent and guided reading, exploring reading for meaning.



Independent Reading


Daily independent reading is encouraged and supported at Woodford through a daily timetabled half hour to read their selected reading book independently, or with adult support as needed, in the classroom or library. There is also the expectation that children will read regularly at home (at least three times per week) preferably with parental supervision and support where needed. This is evidenced and checked weekly through entries in each child’s personal reading record diary which evidences their reading and provides an important link between home and school. Children in KS2 are also required to respond in writing by reviewing the books they select to read.


Independent reading at the appropriate level, is supported in the early stages by the use of colour banded reading books and regular assessment of children’s word decoding and comprehension ability by the provision of BM Benchmarking materials. Once children have progressed through the banded books, developed fluency and pace to their word reading and gained a good level of comprehension of what they have read, they can then select books from a range of Lexile-levelled books from the Scholastic Reading Pro scheme in the KS2 library, at their own assessed Lexile level.


Our school offers numerous opportunities to celebrate and promote reading as a valuable and worthwhile pursuit. Each year group has its own set of designated, high quality, contemporary authors, which form the basis of author-focussed learning throughout the year, class novel reading and enthuses and inspires children in their own enjoyment of reading for pleasure. Our school holds an annual ‘Book Fair’ with opportunities to buy books, themed book events such as author visits and whole school book character events, celebration of National Book Week and visits to the local library. Reading outside of school is successfully promoted by the high levels of pupil participation in the Annual Summer Reading challenge.



Guided Reading

Opportunities for weekly guided reading is planned and timetabled for every year group. Good comprehension draws from linguistic knowledge (in particular of vocabulary and grammar) and on knowledge of the world. We understand that comprehension skills develop through pupils’ experience of high quality discussion with the teacher and their peers and this is facilitated and practiced in guided groups through a clear session focus and the use of a ‘key question’ linked to a national curriculum objective for the year group. Children experience reading and discussing a range of stories, poems, play-scripts and non-fiction texts.


Reading Comprehension

The teaching of comprehension skills is at the heart of our teaching of reading. All children are explicitly taught comprehension skills and given time to practice these skills in weekly, whole class, reading comprehension teaching sessions. Consistent and progressive comprehension reading materials are allocated to individual year groups to support quality teaching and learning at an age appropriate level.





We follow the programmes of study in the 2014 National curriculum which consist of two dimensions:

  • transcription (spelling and handwriting)

  • composition (articulating ideas and structuring them in speech and writing)


    In the Foundation stage and Year one, the daily teaching of phonics, using the Letters and Sounds programme, provides the basis for the systematic teaching of segmenting for spelling, and blending for reading.


    Across key stage one and two, we teach discrete lessons for spelling, grammar and punctuation (SPaG), fully cursive handwriting and composition. We provide opportunities for teachers to ‘model’ and guide the composing and writing process, as well as opportunities for children to compose and practise writing independently and ‘show what they know’. Interesting and imaginative texts are used to facilitate the study of a wide range of genres for writing including a selection of narrative, non-fiction and poetry to enable children to imitate authors’ language and style.


    We plan teaching and learning to make meaningful links across the curriculum wherever possible, and encourage pupils to write for a variety of purposes and audiences applying their writing skills in different contexts. Children apply their knowledge of grammatical sentence structure and spelling through their supported and independent writing and composition.


    At Woodford, children’s achievements in writing are celebrated throughout the school through visual displays and through the presentation, sharing or performance of children’s writing with each other and with parents and families.



    Emergent Writing

    Emergent writing is encouraged in KS1 to support children to view themselves as writers and to build their confidence in and enthusiasm for writing. Their attempts are valued and learning of more conventional writing techniques build upon this initial foundation.


    Shared, guided and independent writing

    Shared writing is used for the teacher to model writing skills and to provide opportunities for children to develop and contribute their own ideas and writing skills. Teachers may work with individuals or groups of children to guide and support the application of writing skills, leading to independent writing allow the application of word level and sentence level writing skills.


    Extended writing

    Pupils are given the opportunity to produce extended pieces of writing throughout each teaching unit to build stamina for writing and to consolidate and apply skills learned. Units begin with a cold ‘have a go’ writing task to inform future planning and teaching and ending with an innovated ‘show what I know’ task to celebrate and evidence writing progress. Opportunities for extended writing are also given in foundation subjects, providing cross-curricular links.



    Fully cursive handwriting (Letterjoin) and high standards of presentation are taught, encouraged and modelled throughout the school including Foundation stage. In KS2 children are gradually introduced to writing in pen, gaining a ‘pen licence’ as the standard of their handwriting improves.



  • Early spelling is taught and practiced through the provision of daily phonics sessions in Foundation and Year 1, and further up the school where needed, to support blending and segmenting skills. The Letters and Sounds programme is used.


    The National Curriculum statutory requirements, spelling rules and guidance are used to teach spelling across the school. Spelling strategies, families and rules are taught in discrete spelling lessons and children explore strategies through spelling games and investigations to support and learn ‘tricky’ words that do not follow spelling rules. Weekly spellings are identified, taught and practiced in school and given as homework to help and to consolidate learning in school. Spellings are practiced in the context of dictated sentences.



    Discrete vocabulary, grammar and punctuation sessions are taught, following the statutory National Curriculum. Lessons are planned to link with writing opportunities in class in order to apply and embed these skills and knowledge in a context. The correct use of Standard English is modelled and promoted and we recognise the strong link between spoken and written language. We aim to give children the ability to vary both their spoken and written language and grammatical sentence structures to fit a variety of both formal and informal contexts. Pupils are given opportunities to check, edit and ‘polish’ the use of vocabulary, punctuation and grammar in their own writing to ensure we produce independent, technically accurate writers.