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At Buryfields our overarching aim for English is to promote high standards of oracy and literacy. We do this by equipping children with a strong command of the written and spoken word, and by developing a love of literature by encouraging reading for both pleasure and information. 

Children are encouraged to develop a positive attitude towards all aspects of oracy and literacy. We strive to provide a language-rich environment which promotes a culture of reading and writing.


We follow the principles set out in the Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum and the National Curriculum. Reading, writing and phonic skills are taught on a daily basis from Year R to Year 2. These skills are then applied in cross-curricular learning opportunities. Teaching and learning takes place within a whole class setting and within ability-led guided reading and writing groups.

Knowledge and Skills

  • Spoken Language

Spoken language has value in itself. Children are taught to develop the vocabulary needed to express, persuade, debate, explain, entertain etc. Speaking and listening forms a key element of teaching writing and is incorporated throughout the curriculum. 

  • Reading &  Phonics 

We follow a systematic and rigorous programme of phonics called ‘Letters and Sounds’. This is supplemented by ‘Jolly Phonics’ in the Early Years Foundation Stage, with children learning a song and action to accompany each phoneme. 

By the end of Year 2, children progress onto the ‘Support for Spelling’ programme. 

Phonic lessons take place daily and are taught as  discrete 20 minute sessions. Each lesson follows the structure of review, teach, practise and apply.

Our primary reading scheme is Oxford Reading Tree, including ‘Floppy’sPhonics’ and ‘Traditional Tales’. Reading books for home are supplemented by Collins 'Big Cat' scheme. 

We promote reading at home and reward children with 'Bronze, Silver and Gold' awards, and also ‘Buryfields Bookworm’ awards for continued effort. 

Children are taught skills such as decoding, comprehension and inference through guided reading sessions, using books chosen carefully to match their level of reading. Teaching objectives are pre-planned and sessions are characterised by explicit teaching of specific reading strategies, oral response and high levels of collaboration.

  • Writing & Spelling 

Children are taught to spell using their phonic knowledge and by learning common exception words, known to the children as ‘tricky words’. Spelling strategies are taught throughout Key Stage One and weekly spellings are linked to phonics or current topics. 

Handwriting is taught and practised regularly. The Early Years Foundation Stage uses ‘Writedance’ in the Autumn term to develop children’s fine and gross motor skills through stories and music. Our chosen handwriting scheme is ‘Penpals’, and begins in Spring term, Year R and continues through to Year 2.

Children are encouraged to develop positive attitudes towards and stamina for writing by writing for different purposes and in different genres. Children are taught to plan, edit and evaluate their writing. A weekly 'Star Writer' award is given by each teacher to celebrate effort and achievement in writing.

Higher order thinking is encouraged through effective use of questions which focus on the objectives set for the lesson. Thinking Maps© are used throughout the school and are a useful tool to scaffold writing. Thinking Hats© are used to develop oral skills, needed before the writing process begins. The Maps and Hats are displayed in each classroom. Habits of Mind also thread through all learning in English and serve to develop positive attitudes to lifelong learning.

Children are taught to use punctuation and grammar, following the guidelines set out in the National Curriculum.