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English Subject Lead: Miss L Davison

English is the heart of all learning.

It is vital that pupils are taught to communicate their ideas and emotions through the five strands of our curriculum: reading, writing, grammar, speaking and listening.



At Merstham Primary School we firmly believe that reading opens the door to learning. A child who reads regularly will become a good reader. A good reader will be able to read more challenging material. A child who reads challenging material is a child who will learn. The more a child learns the more they will want to find out. At Merstham Primary School, we encourage a life-long love of reading from EYFS to Year 6.

We aim to provide all our children with a literacy-rich environment, high quality texts and inspiring learning opportunities, which will help them to:

  • Gain a life-long enjoyment of reading and books.

  • Read accurately, fluently and with understanding;

  • Apply a knowledge of structured synthetic phonics in order to decode unfamiliar words with increasing accuracy and speed;

  • Be able to read with expression, clarity and confidence;

  • Develop a good linguistic knowledge of vocabulary and grammar;

  • Read and respond to a wide range of different types of texts;

  • Develop a deeper level of emotional intelligence and empathy;

  • Read fluently, and with confidence, in any subject in their forthcoming secondary education.

By the end of Key Stage 1 pupils should be able to: 

  • Read effortlessly with accurate word recognition, at an appropriate speed and with meaningful expression which enables them to construct the meaning of the text. 

  • Retrieve key information from a text. 

  • Talk about the books they enjoy reading. 

  • Understand the basic punctuation rules when reading. 

  • Acquire a good range of vocabulary. 

 By the end of Key Stage 2 pupils should be able to:

  • Read fluently.  

  • Read with confidence. 

  • Read for pleasure. 

  • Comprehend the text they read with a deep understanding of the narrative or information. 

  • Read from a variety of different texts for different purposes.

  • Acquire a wide range of vocabulary. 


Robust assessment and well trained staff ensures quick and effective intervention is delivered to any child who requires it. Those children in Year 2 who have not passed their phonics screening and children in KS2 who need additional support with reading will have support using the RWI scheme and PiXL therapies.

From Year 1 we also teach whole class reading sessions. Whole class reading sessions mean that children of all attainment levels are immersed in the same high-quality literature and the discussions that these texts promote. 

As a school, we follow the CUSP Reading Curriculum (newly introduced summer 2022). These lessons are completed daily for 30 minutes (in addition to daily teacher lead story time).These lessons use high quality texts and extracts, of varying genres, to teach comprehension skills, with the teacher reading the text as a class reader, for pleasure. Through this curriculum, each child will have had a suite of core texts that will form their depth study for the academic year. These texts have been mapped carefully to ensure a breadth of experiences, authors, texts and themes is addressed. 

Every whole class reading lesson will incorporate an opportunity for children to practise their reading fluency. We use strategies such as, echo reading, choral reading, speed reading, text marking and jump in.

To ensure inclusive practice for all children is embedded we implement the following:

  • Children are often sat in mixed ability pairs and encouraged to discuss answers.

  • Have adult support

  • Have pre-read the texts or in situations where longer texts are overwhelming, extracts of this same text are provided.

  • Teacher models with high quality answers.



At Merstham Primary School, we believe that all pupils should be able to speak and write fluently allowing them to communicate their ideas and emotions to others.We want pupils to acquire a wide vocabulary, a secure understanding of grammar and be able to understand and spell new words by effectively applying the spelling patterns and rules they learn. We want them to write clearly, accurately, coherently, and creatively, adapting their language and style for a range of meaningful contexts, purposes and audiences. We want all pupils to be able to plan, revise and evaluate their writing. We believe that all pupils should be encouraged to take pride in the presentation of their writing and it is our intention that all pupils leave our school being able to use fluent, legible handwriting.Therefore, here at Merstham Primary School, writing is a crucial part of our curriculum. All children from Foundation Stage to Year 6 are provided with many opportunities to develop and apply their writing skills across the curriculum.  

Our children need to develop a passion and skill for writing in which they feel comfortable in experimenting with different styles and formats.  From the Foundation Stage, all children’s attempts at writing, including emergent writing, are valued and built upon, so that children appreciate the importance of their writing in conveying meaning to the reader.


Writing is embedded across our wider curriculum. 

In KS1 and KS2 SPAG (Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar) is taught both discretely and as an embedded part of English lessons. Across the wider curriculum, children are encouraged to use the skills they are learning in all writing. These skills include using interesting and ambitious vocabulary, a wide range of conjunctions and thinking of interesting ways to open sentences.

We use the National Curriculum as a basis for our planning within the subject and expect all teachers to follow this principle. English is taught on a daily basis from EYFS to KS1 and KS2, and is based on a central high-quality text and supported and enhanced through our theme curriculum areas.

Within English lessons, we teach all children to have a deep and secure understanding of the concepts that they are being taught. Initially, children are immersed in a rich text, which teaches the key grammatical patterns of a specific genre. Each time they learn about a different text, they are extending their knowledge of what it is to be a good writer. Once they have internalised the patterns in the text, they are able to use the key features to innovate and invent their own version. 

In order to do this, our curriculum is designed to reduce cognitive load by ensuring we structure and design lessons in small coherent steps, which organically allows opportunity for the promotion of retention. This allows for an inclusive learning environment where all children are supported to transfer learning from short-term to long-term memory.   

  • We use the principles of writing for a purpose from EYFS to Y6.  This ensures a consistent and systematic approach to teaching the skills of writing across all cohorts and a consistent approach for all children, regardless of year group.

  • Early writing is taught through early mark making. When the children begin RWI phonics they are taught the letter formations. This begins with writing (whether with a writing tool or in the air) cvc words, moving onto short sentences using the sounds they have been taught.  The children also learn to remember and write stories.  

  • This process continues into Year 1, where children are encouraged to use the sounds they have been taught.  They have access to RWI sound mats, when they are writing, whether this is with the teacher, in continuous provision or independently.

  • Writing from year 1 to year 6. Teachers can use the cold task before they begin a new writing text.  They use this to assess the areas that their children will need to be specifically taught, even if this means tracking back to objectives from previous years, in grammar and text type. 

  • After the teaching of a unit, teachers assess the hot write (independent writing) at the end of the unit, using their year group curriculum writing checklist and can compare this to the cold task.  

  • Teachers use the NC moderation materials to assess writing.  It is expected that teachers will moderate across year groups, cross-phases and cross-schools in time for data drops during the year.

  • There is a focus on vocabulary and we are aware that the vocabulary deficit that most of our children have, needs to be addressed and nationally this is recognised. We use ‘The Word Collector’ to develop vocabulary and language across all phases. In each classroom we celebrate new vocabulary. 

  • There are linked opportunities to develop oracy before writing from EYFS to Y6. Children are given the opportunity to share their ideas, orally rehearse stories and present information in lessons. 

  • There is an expectation that all teachers' use of grammar is accurate.  To ensure progression in grammar skills, all teachers have been given a copy of the national curriculum document for grammar.  

  • Teachers model writing tasks for the children (what a good one looks like - WAGOLL), with a focus on appropriate grammar and specific targets.

Vocabulary, Grammar, Punctuation & Spelling

Often seen as the building blocks for writing, grammar is an essential part of the English Curriculum. VGPS starters are used in all English lessons from Year 1 to Year 6, which help to develop a critical understanding of key vocabulary, grammar, punctuation and spelling. 

As well as this, weekly discrete grammar lessons support the children in their grammatical understanding whilst teaching ensures that these objectives are interwoven into the writing learning journey, so that children are given the chance to embed new concepts without dampening creativity.

Since the changes to the National Curriculum (2014), the profile of spelling has been raised, with children expected to spell most common exception words, and words with a spelling rule correctly. In the younger years, spelling is taught in conjunction with our phonics lessons, giving children a chance to apply their knowledge of phoneme-grapheme correspondence to write words correctly. From Y1 onwards, children are introduced to Spelling Shed - the low-stakes games, quizzes and reward systems ensure that children find spelling fun. Teachers use Spelling Shed to help teach the children the age appropriate spelling rules and during writing lessons throughout the curriculum, children are then encouraged to use their spelling rules to help them spell independently.

Speaking & Listening

The national curriculum for English reflects the importance of spoken language in pupils’ development across the whole curriculum – cognitively, socially and linguistically. Spoken language underpins the development of reading and writing and our Curriculum reflects this. Teachers at Merstham Primary School have high expectations of vocabulary and pupils are required to explain their answers fully in all lessons. Drama opportunities not only support the children with their spoken language and ability to communicate to an audience but is also used to inspire and shape their writing.

At Merstham Primary School we have considered the development and progression of oracy skills. We have a designated oracy focused project in each year group, which takes place every autumn term. In EYFS to year 6 the children are given the opportunity to talk to their class about a particular topic which interests them. We use this time to assess oracy skills, note down areas for development and we celebrate the children’s achievements. 


Handwriting is a fundamental skill, which starts to develop from the very moment children start at Merstham Primary School. We understand the importance of early mark making and the pre writing shapes, which need to be embedded before moving on to learning the RWI letter formations. Once these letter formations are secure, the children begin to learn the Merstham Primary School cursive letter formations. 

English Celebrations

We understand the importance of celebrating achievements across the English curriculum. 

Children in Year 1 and Year 2 can earn a ‘golden pencil’ to recognise their progress and celebrate their handwriting. Children in year 3 and 4 can earn a provisional pen licence and in year 5 and 6, children can earn themselves an official pen licence where they get a pen and licence card.

Children across the school take part in 'Book Week' every year! This week is usually themed and the children come to school dressed as their favourite book characters on World Book Day too! 


Page Downloads Date  
Progression in Handwriting 01st Sep 2021 Download
Oracy Progression 01st Sep 2021 Download
Writing Progression 01st Sep 2021 Download
CLUSP Literature Spine Thematic mapping... 18th Apr 2022 Download
English Progression Documents Date  
Writing Progression 01st Sep 2021 Download
Progression in Handwriting 01st Sep 2021 Download
Oracy Progression 01st Sep 2021 Download
CLUSP Literature Spine Thematic mapping v2 3 18th Apr 2022 Download