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Our English Curriculum

English has a pre-eminent place in education and in society. A high-quality education in English will teach pupils to speak and write fluently so that they can communicate their ideas and emotions to others, and through their reading and listening, others can communicate with them. All the skills of language are essential to participating fully as a member of society; pupils who do not learn to speak, read and write fluently and confidently are effectively disenfranchised.

The National Curriculum in England - July 2014

In English, we teach a broad, contextualised curriculum which covers reading, writing, spelling, grammar and oracy.

Links to our core abilities

We have identified seven core abilities that we hope to develop through our whole curriculum offer.

  • Questioning and curiosity
  • Critical thinking and open-mindedness
  • Perseverance and resilience
  • Communication
  • Independence
  • Team work
  • Creativity

Above, in bold, are the core abilities that we aim to to develop throughout our teaching of English.

The English leader at our school is Jack Horton - who is also the Class 4 teacher. For further information about the English curriculum, or for other support, he can be contacted via email.


What is Reading?

"Reading" is the process of looking at a series of written symbols and getting meaning from them. However, “skilled reading” is a combination of automatic and strategic strands which include: background knowledge, vocabulary, language structure, verbal reasoning, literacy knowledge, phonological awareness, decoding and sight recognition.

- Scarborough (1990)

Reading is fundamental to education. Proficiency in reading, writing and spoken language is vital for pupils’ success. Through these, they develop communication skills for education and for working with others: in school, in training and at work. Pupils who find it difficult to learn to read are likely to struggle across the curriculum, since English is both a subject in its own right and the medium for teaching. This is why the government is committed to continuing to raise standards of literacy for all.

- The Reading Framework - July 2021

What is our vision for reading?

At Scarcliffe Primary School we believe that one of the most important jobs we undertake is to teach children to read well. We prioritise reading in our curriculum from the moment they arrive in Reception up until they leave in Year 6. The subject leader's vision for reading is for all children to be able to read fluently and competently by the time they leave us so that they become avid readers and learners for life. To do this, we aim to develop decoding, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, background knowledge and comprehension strategies whilst promoting a positive culture of reading.

“The more that you read, the more things you will know.
The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go!”

Dr. Seuss

Reading Curriculum Intent

At Scarcliffe, we have focused our attention on the “simple view of reading” in which reading comprehension can be understood as a function of two components:

  • Word reading
    • Skilled word reading involves both the speedy working out of the pronunciation of unfamiliar printed words (decoding) and the speedy recognition of familiar printed words (fluency).
    • Underpinning both is the understanding that the letters on the page represent the sounds in spoken words (phonics).
  • Language comprehension
    • Good comprehension draws from linguistic knowledge (vocabulary and grammar) and on knowledge of the world (background knowledge).
    • Reading widely across both fiction and non-fiction to develop their knowledge of themselves and the world they live in.
    • An appreciation and love of reading (reading for pleasure) through the promotion of talk and stories and to gain knowledge across the curriculum (reading across the curriculum).
    • Reading widely and often increases pupils’ vocabulary because they encounter words they would rarely hear or use in everyday speech. Reading also feeds pupils’ imagination and opens up a treasure house of wonder and joy for curious young mind.
    • At Scarcliffe, we are also aware of the substantial body of evidence that reading strategies can be beneficial to support the comprehension of children as a result of metacognition.

How Reading is implemented at Scarcliffe (including use of schemes)

Phonics and early reading

The first step for all of our children to becoming fluent and competent readers begins with phonics and early reading. This is why we teach reading through Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised, which is a systematic and synthetic phonics programme. We start teaching phonics in Reception and follow the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised progression, which ensures children build on their growing knowledge of the alphabetic code, mastering phonics to read and spell as they move through school. As a result, all our children are able to tackle any unfamiliar words as they read. At Scarcliffe Primary, we also model the application of the alphabetic code through phonics in shared reading and writing, both inside and outside of the phonics lesson and across the curriculum. We have a strong focus on language development for our children because we know that speaking and listening are crucial skills for reading and writing in all subjects.

To read our phonics and early reading policy CLICK HERE.

To find our full Reception and Year 1 teaching programme overview to see what your child will learn and when CLICK HERE.

If you have any questions about our implementation of phonics and early reading you can also email our Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised leader Lucy Swift - who is also the Class 1 teacher.


Language comprehension

As previously mentioned, reading is more than just sounding out the letters on a page. Therefore, we ensure we develop our children's language comprehension and deeper understanding of texts in the following areas:

  • Background knowledge (Facts, concepts, text types, etc.)
  • Vocabulary (Meaning, links, precision etc.)
  • Language structure (Syntax, grammar, cohesion, etc.)
  • Comprehension strategies - SEE BELOW
  • Prosody (fluency, expression, tone, volume)

All children, from Reception to Year 6, have reading practice sessions at least three times a week. In these sessions, children develop the areas written above by using a variety of texts throughout the year.

  • In Class 1 (Reception and Year 1), these are small group sessions of approximately six children and use books which are matched to the children's secure phonics knowledge which is based on the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised assessments.
  • In Class 2 (Year 2 and 3), Class 3 (Year 4 and 5) and Class 4 (Year 5 and 6), these are whole-class sessions and use a variety of quality texts (including poetry, fiction and non-fiction) which have been chosen based on the class topic in relation to the current stage of the learning journey, an aspect of science, something that links or extends their knowledge of a concept further, the quality of the text, current themes, or linked to our school values. These are often chosen from books or are supported by Literacy Shed+. Children all read the same text together, after modelled by an adult, and a rich discussion takes place as children begin to develop their understanding of what they have read and make purposeful connections and inferences.

Our Scarcliffe Reading Strategies Download Document

Reading for pleasure

‘Reading for pleasure is the single most important indicator of a child’s success.’ (OECD 2002)

‘The will influences the skill and vice versa.’ (OECD 2010)

We value reading for pleasure highly and work hard as a school to grow our Reading for Pleasure pedagogy:

  • We read to children every day. We choose these books carefully as we want children to experience a wide range of books, including books that reflect the children at Scarcliffe Primary School and our local community as well as books that open windows into other worlds and cultures. Several times throughout the year, the children choose their own book to read by completing a Book World Cup!
  • All children at Scarcliffe are encouraged to take two books home per week. One book is pitched at their reading ability whilst the other is simply a book that they want to read for pleasure or share with a family member.
  • At Scarcliffe, we also have incorporated "Reading Allowed" which is a pupil-led intervention which involves some of our older children in Class 4 reading and sharing books with our younger children in Class 2. This occurs twice per week during two assembly slots.
  • Every classroom has an inviting bookcase that encourages a love for reading. We curate these books and talk about them to entice children to read a wide range of books.
  • Children in KS1 have a home reading record. The parent/carer records comments to share with the adults in school and the adults will write in this on a regular basis to ensure communication between home and school.
  • In KS2, we also regularly connect with authors by inviting them into school, or writing tweets to them with our questions and comments.
  • In Class 4, we have "Librarians" who are responsible for supporting other children with their book choices and support the reading leader with identifying solutions and celebrating successes from the results of the reading surveys which are completed twice a year.

Here are some of our latest replies from authors! So far we've had replies from: SF Said, David Walliams, Polly Ho-Yen, Vashti Hardy, Andy Griffiths, Aisling Fowler, Phillip Pullman, Sara Pennypacker, Maz Evans, Sharna Jackson and Onjali Rauf .

Reading at home (KS1)

In order to develop fluent, competent readers we greatly appreciate parental support in this area.

  • As previously mentioned, all children at Scarcliffe are encouraged to take two books home per week. One book is pitched at their reading ability whilst the other is simply a book that they want to read for pleasure or share with a family member.
  • Children in Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 progress through phonetically controlled colour banded books – these are Phase and Set specific (in keeping with Letters and Sounds) books from Big Cat, which match the children's attainment in Phonics. Adults will regularly listen to children read to assess their fluency and understanding, whilst considering their current phase of phonics and then match this to the appropriate book level.
  • You can click here to support your child with saying their sounds and writing their letters.
  • The video below shows how you can support your child with their reading at home.

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Reading at home (KS2)

In order to develop fluent, competent and independent readers we greatly appreciate parental support in this area.

  • For all children by the end of Y2, we use Accelerated Reader. Accelerated Reader is a system which gives children significantly greater choice in levelled books that offer appropriate challenge; provides immediate and regular feedback to children; allows teachers to make in depth and accurate assessments of children’s reading and comprehension; motivates children to read independently and more frequently; and helps to develop a love of reading.
  • Children are provided with an AR book level range along with a reading target, which highlights a suitable level of challenge for them when reading independently and taking quizzes.
  • Children need to be aware that choosing books beyond their AR level will require some level of support. Children are encouraged to recommend books to each other and to make suggestions to staff of any books that they’d like to see in the school Library.
  • It is helpful if parents can support their child when logging books on AR after they have been read. Ideally, children should log books onto AR within 2 days of finishing them.
  • We do understand that not all books are on AR and ultimately, we want children to become independent readers, regardless of whether they complete the quizzes or not!
  • To read a parent guide about Accelerated Reader see the video below or CLICK HERE.


  • Accelerated Reader - Where you can log your quizzes after you've read a book and see your progress towards your targets.
  • Accelerated Reader Bookfinder - Where you can find what books to read next and use our code ME126286 to see what books we have available in our library right now!

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Scarcliffe Recommended Reads - Have a glance at this document to support your child with making choices about what to read next.

Download Document

Scarcliffe Virtual Library - Listen to a text being read by a famous author by downloading the document below then clicking on one of the books available!

Download Document

World Book Day 2023

This year, we celebrated book week with World Book Day on Thursday 2nd March.

On the day, the children participated in many book-related activities which included the World Book Day live events and stories from famous authors, listening to stories and poems from different members of staff and the opportunity to take part in a book swap.

Our Curriculum Overview for Reading

Coming soon...

Monitoring and assessing the impact of teaching in Reading

We understand the importance of teaching high quality reading lessons to all children and leaders monitor the impact of teaching in a variety of ways. Assessing reading is a challenge as it is a combination of a number of factors (E.g. fluency, phonics knowledge, vocabulary knowledge, background knowledge, grammar, syntax). Therefore we aim to triangulate our judgements around reading in various ways.

  • We assess phonics knowledge in KS1 by monitoring children’s understanding each lesson as they progress through the phases. Gaps are assessed throughout each phase with random sounds. A phonics screening check is completed at the end of each half term in Class 1. If children do not pass this check they are supported with intervention and are reassessed in Class 2. If children still don’t meet this expectation they are supported by the "ToeByToe" scheme in KS2.
  • Once children can decode accurately, fluency assessment becomes a crucial component of reading comprehension. Children in Class 2, 3 and 4 are assessed each term using our fluency assessment tracker. Children highlighed from this assessment are supported with their fluency by using the "StrideAhead" scheme.
  • To assess children’s language comprehension, teachers use formative assessment and quality-first teaching strategies through their whole-class reading instruction in order to gage children’s understanding of texts. Summative assessment, in the form of NFER tests (Y1,Y3,Y4,Y5) and past SATs test (Y2, Y6) are carried out each term to assess pupil progress in relation to national outcomes.
  • Star reading assessments (Accelerated Reader) are also used to assess children’s language comprehension each half-term in Class 2, 3 and 4, so that they can be allocated a suitable book for independent reading.

Scarcliffe Reading Support Flow Chart - This document highlights the way in which we provide support to children at different stages in their reading journey.

Download Document


What is Writing?

Writing is a way of making marks that represent spoken language and allow people to communicate their ideas and emotions so that they can be read and understood by others. All the skills of language are essential to participating fully as a member of society; pupils who do not learn to speak, read and write fluently and confidently are effectively disenfranchised.

The National Curriculum in England - July 2014

What is our vision for Writing?

At Scarcliffe Primary School we aim to create a love of writing where children feel confident and competent to express themselves and their ideas for a range of audiences and purposes, fluently, accurately and effectively.

“If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.”

― Stephen King

Writing curriculum intent

The National Curriculum for writing aims to ensure that all pupils:

  • Transcription – (Spelling and Handwriting)
    • Spell quickly and accurately by applying the relationship between sounds and letters (phonics) and by developing an understanding of the morphology (word structure) and orthography (spelling structure) of words.
    • Present their ideas fluently and legibly to a high standard with joined handwriting by the end of KS2.
  • Composition – (articulating ideas and structuring them in speech and writing)
    • Write clearly, accurately and coherently, adapting their language and style in and for a range of contexts, so that it can have the desired impact for the purposes and audiences.
    • Have an extensive bank of vocabulary alongside increasingly wide knowledge of grammar, punctuation and sentence structures.
    • Know how to how to plan, revise and evaluate their writing so that their writing is to the best of their ability and is improving over time.

Therefore, at Scarcliffe Primary School we aim to create a love of writing where children feel confident and competent to express themselves and their ideas for a range of audiences.

How Writing is implemented at Scarcliffe (including the use of schemes)

With high expectations, we provide our children with a range of opportunities to learn and apply writing skills across the curriculum through high-quality texts, immersive real-life experiences, such as school trips, in response to what we have been reading, or in order to entertain, inform, persuade or discuss. Over their time at the school, children will write a variety of fiction and non-fiction texts, including recounts, news reports, explanation texts, poems, plays and various narratives where they can also write like a scientist, a historian or a geographer etc.

Children aim to produce three writing outcomes from across the curriculum each half term, with exception of the first half term each year, in which there is a greater focus on sentence level work and grammar development.

A typical writing unit

Before writing, children need to be “hooked” and have a relevant audience and purpose for their final writing outcome.

A typical unit, builds up in small steps as follows:

  • Background knowledge – In this section, teachers immerse children into their writing and build up the children’s knowledge about the topic. An aspect of the children’s learning in our curriculum, or a high-quality text becomes the driver for the writing.
  • Reading - At Scarcliffe we understand the reciprocal relationship between reading and writing. Therefore, we expose children to high quality texts so that they can gather ideas, vocabulary, grammar, sentences and develop an understanding of what “good” looks like. We encourage children to read like writers and consider the impact of the author’s decisions.
  • Sentence level work – We aim to build all of our writing from sentences, so that children can express their ideas fluently and accurately in an impactful way. We promote a “Quality over quantity!” approach and set high standards of success for all. We use a scheme called “Rainbow Grammar” which uses colour to expose the underlying structure of sentences, so that children can understand how they work, imitate their patterns and then apply those patterns to new contexts.
  • Scaffolding – Once children have begun to develop some initial ideas, we scaffold and support children’s writing using a range of techniques including modelled writing, slow writing and paired writing which give children the opportunity to apply what they have learned so far and create coherent sentences for the desired audience and purpose. We model how to orally rehearse sentences and think aloud like a writer during this step in the journey to independent writing.
  • Independent – In the final step, children talk, plan, draft, edit and publish their writing. We use drama, role-play, storytelling and discussion to engage the imagination, before m independent independent writing where children have the opportunity to be creative and make informed decisions for their intended audience and purpose. We expect the highest standards of writing every time a child writes in any subject, not just in English lessons, and place great importance on the planning, drafting, editing and rewriting process when writing at length.

Our Curriculum Overview for Writing

Below is our curriculum overview for writing which highlights the range of purposes that children have the opportunities to write for as they make their journey from Class 1 to Class 4. Children are taught the areas blocked in white and will have several opportunities to revisit this. When teaching a particular text type, teachers model example texts known as WAGOLLs (What a good one looks like) so that children can contextualise their success criteria and apply this accordingly.

Rainbow Grammar

At Scarcliffe Primary, all years from Reception to Year 6 develop their understanding and application of sentences by following a scheme called Rainbow Grammar. Rainbow Grammar identifies eight larger sentence structures – clauses and phrases – and assigns each a colour. Three of these form the core of nearly all sentence structures in English. This basic structure, learned in Reception and Year 1, uses a simple traffic light model, where green represents the subject of a sentence (who or what the sentence is about), orange represents the predicate (the action in the sentence) and red represents punctuation that stops a sentence. (Children learn the technical names in key Stage 2.) Throughout Key Stages 1 and 2, children learn how to build upon this simple structure by both using the full range of eight Rainbow Grammar colours, which represent an increasingly sophisticated range of sentence elements, and by using the different patterns in which they can be joined together.

To find out more about Rainbow Grammar CLICK HERE.

Monitoring and assessing the impact of teaching in Writing

Assessing writing is a challenge as it is a creative, subjective and personal subject.Regardless of the intended outcome, each writer combines words in unique and creative ways to express their thoughts which can lead to difficulties when assessing the impact of this. Despite this, we use a number of strategies to ensure our judgements are more valid and reliable.

In writing lessons, teachers use formative assessment and give feedback “live” to the children to move their learning on. Also, teachers use “Whole-class feedback” to find common errors, strengths and next steps for the class which are recorded onto our template. From this, teachers can plan their next steps accordingly in order to address any areas of need. Children have opportunities to respond to this feedback and make improvements to their writing.

As well as formative assessment strategies, teachers use Evidence Gathering Grids, along with the teacher assessment frameworks at KS1 and KS2 to assess children’s writing in relation to year group expectations. Evidence is considered all year round but is gathered from the Spring Term across a range of texts in order to make judgements about children’s progress in writing. The children are assessed in their transcription and composition abilities across a range of areas. However, our consideration is weighted significantly towards the effectiveness of writing in terms of its impact on the intended audience and purpose.

To judge that a pupil is working at a standard in English writing, teachers need to have evidence which demonstrates that the pupil meets the standard described overall. A pupil’s writing should meet all of the statements within the standard at which they are judged. However, teachers can use their discretion to ensure that, on occasion, a particular weakness does not prevent an accurate judgement being made of a pupil’s attainment overall. A teacher’s professional judgement about whether the pupil has met the standard overall takes precedence.

To secure our judgements further, we regularly complete pupil-led book studies within our school and moderation activities at other schools in our local area.

Spelling and Grammar (SPaG)

Coming soon...

  • What is SPaG?
  • What is our vision for SPaG?
  • SPaG curriculum intent
  • How SPaG is implemented at Scarcliffe (including the use of schemes)
  • Our Curriculum Overview for SPaG
  • Monitoring and assessing the impact of teaching in SPaG
  • National Data

Below is our national data for English in KS1 and KS2.

We are proud of the progress our children make in English. Our end of Key Stage 2 data shows the impact the improvements we have made to teaching and learning in English have had on pupil outcomes. The most recent data set shows that we were above the national average using any measure. It also shows a clear upward trend in school which suggests that the changes we have made have been positive.

Download Document

Useful Weblinks

Here are some great websites to support learning in English:


  • Accelerated Reader - Where you can log your quizzes after you've read a book and see your progress towards your targets.
  • Accelerated Reader Bookfinder - Where you can find what books to read next and use our code ME126286 to see what books we have available in our library right now!
  • LoveReading4Kids - Free extracts of books which you may want to read next!
  • Little Wandle for parents - The resources on this page will help you support your child with saying their sounds and writing their letters. There are also some useful videos so you can see how they are taught at school and feel confident about supporting their reading at home.


  • Book Creator - A fantastic app which allows children to create and publish their own writing using designed templates which help to spark creativity, save time, and focus on the writing.


  • Grammarsaurus - A great Youtube website with inspirational videos and songs to support with spelling, punctuation and grammar.

Examples of pupil work

Coming soon...

Trips and visitors to school

On Wednesday 3rd March 2021, Class 4 were incredibly fortunate to meet Vashti Hardy, the author of their class novel (Wildspark). Vashti led an inspiring and engaging session for the children and showed them how to create their own fantasy story worlds.

We hope to see Vashti again in the future!