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English Curriculum


We at Dovedale Primary aim to produce a lively and stimulating environment in which staff are committed to encouraging individual, group and class activities which promote rich and appropriate speaking, listening, reading and writing experiences.


We recognise that English is a core subject within the National Curriculum and essential for educational and social progress. Mastery over language empowers children to communicate; creatively and imaginatively, as well as allowing them engagement with the world at large.


We therefore aim to establish a curriculum which provides the necessary meaningful opportunities to develop competence in all language areas.


English Curriculum Intent relating to NC Programmes of study



To develop as effective readers, pupils should be taught to:

  • read accurately, fluently and with understanding
  • understand and respond to texts
  • read, analyse, enjoy and evaluate a wide range of texts



To develop as effective writers, pupils should be taught to:

  • write with confidence and fluency, developing ideas and communicating meaning to a reader
  • use a wide vocabulary and effective style, organising and structuring sentences grammatically and coherently
  • use accurate punctuation, correct spelling and legible handwriting
  • develop the use of a wide variety of forms for different purpose and audiences


Speaking and Listening:

To develop effective speaking and listening pupils should be taught to:

  • use the vocabulary and grammar of Standard English
  • formulate, clarify and express their ideas
  • adapt their speech to a widening range of circumstances and demands
  • listen, understand and respond appropriately to others


Implementation of the English curriculum at Dovedale


The reception classes follow the EYFS framework guided by Development Matters and the Early Adopter Curriculum.


The National Curriculum underpins our medium and short-term planning across Key Stage 1 and 2 and is driven by skills-based targets. As we have a creative curriculum, we encourage the application of literacy skills in a variety of cross-curricular purposes, linking to current learning blocks across different subjects.   

All children undertake daily literacy lessons. Some aspects of literacy such as spelling, punctuation and grammar (SPAG), phonics, guided reading and drama may be taught outside of that lesson. Children can be taught as a whole class, in groups and individually.


Reading Curriculum Intent


We seek to develop pupils’ skills so that they enjoy reading a wide range of texts, as well as learning how to read fluently and with understanding.


All pupils are entitled:

  • To improve their phonic knowledge and reading skills through direct teaching in daily phonics, literacy lessons and guided reading.
  • To practise and develop their skills through participating in shared reading across the wider school curriculum and being set regular reading as homework.
  • To be read to regularly in order to encourage pupils to read for pleasure.
  • To phonics teaching every day throughout Key Stage 1 and up to Year 3.
  • Guided reading within a group.


Implementation of the Reading curriculum at Dovedale


All pupils are provided with:

  • Two decodable reading books linked to their current phonics level.  
  • A reading book at the appropriate level once phonics knowledge is secure and they have progressed onto Accelerated Reader.
  • A reading diary or planner.
  • Daily opportunities to read and take quizzes if on Accelerated Reader.


At Dovedale, all pupils:

  • Read an appropriately challenging piece of text to their teacher, so that the child receives both encouragement and further instruction.
  • Are asked a variety of questions about the book or text they are reading to promote understanding of what they read.
  • Have up to date reading diaries / organisers, reflecting reading in school, at home and Accelerated Reader level.
  • Have their reading books monitored and recorded by the teacher – for Key Stage 2 pupils this includes guidance to ensure a wide variety of texts are experienced.
  • Be rewarded with a merit for three weekly reads at home, when signed for by an adult.


Assessment of Reading


Children will be continually assessed by the teacher and teaching assistants for reading accuracy, fluency and comprehension. Children’s reading levels are updated half-termly.  For children who are receiving phonics teaching, this is in the form of a phonics assessment in accordance with our scheme, Read Write Inc. For children who have progressed to Accelerated Reader, this will be in the form of the Star Reader assessment.


Judgments are supported by formative assessment through NFER and Rising Stars. This is in addition to SATs for children in Years 2 and 6.


Scaled scores for reading are determined from termly NFER assessments and are then recorded onto the Data Spreadsheet.



Phonics curriculum Intent


We aim to establish all children as fluent and accurate readers by the end of Key stage 1, by providing high quality phonics teaching and frequent assessment, so that learning can be adjusted and interventions can be delivered in a timely manner, with the intention of children gaining high order reading and writing skills.


Implementation of the Phonics curriculum


All KS1 children, and those children in Year 3 with gaps in phonics knowledge have daily phonics lessons and are steamed into ability groups to ensure they receive the most effective level of support and challenge. At Dovedale, this is delivered through the Read, Write Inc programme for phonics teaching. This allows children to have comprehensive phonics lessons including sound acquisition and opportunities to apply this through daily guided reading and writing.


Lessons are focussed around a decodable text whereby all words include only the sounds the child has been taught. The text is shared at every lesson. On the first reading, the children practice decoding and explore any unfamiliar vocabulary. On the second reading, children build accuracy and fluency. On the third read, children learn to use expression, and read with a ‘storyteller’ voice. 


Children at the more advanced stages of phonics learning continue to work with the text for a further two sessions, focussing on developing deeper comprehension skills.


At the end of the cycle, children receive a copy of the text to share at home. They also receive a ‘book bag book’. This is another text at the same phonics level, but is new to the child.


Our phonics teaching ensures that children experience success with reading from an early stage, helping them to develop into confident and enthusiastic readers.


Assessment of Phonics


Children’s phonic knowledge and understanding is assessed half-termly in accordance with the Read, Write Inc assessment.


All Year 1 children sit the Phonics Screening Check in June, and children who fail to meet the pass mark retake the check the following year.  In preparation for this, children in Year 1 and Year 2 children re-taking the check also sit practise papers every half term as well as their usual Read Write Inc assessment.  



Writing curriculum intent


Our aim is to teach effective communication through English lessons and the wider curriculum by offering meaningful opportunities to write with confidence and fluency, using a wide range of vocabulary and for different purposes and audiences. Teaching is skills-led, with a continuous focus on punctuation, spelling, and handwriting. Writing skills are reinforced through all subject areas and we have high expectations of the standard of writing in all children’s work. High quality texts are used as a vehicle for application of skills, in addition to introducing children to new vocabulary, composition and structure, with the overall aim being to inspire a love for literacy and to achieve competent, confident writers.


Implementation of the Writing curriculum


Children are taught writing skills in daily literacy and through the creative curriculum have regular opportunities to apply and practice these skills across a range of subjects and situations, planned by each class teacher. Lessons are skills-led and link to specific writing targets. Children are aware of their targets and understand what their next steps are in order to achieve these.


Lessons are varied and encourage children to develop a wide range of language and literacy skills.  Talk for Writing techniques are used in order for children to learn and internalise texts, giving careful consideration to composition and language before focussing on technical aspects of punctuation, spelling and handwriting when putting their ideas to paper.  Such techniques can include the use of talk partners, modelling and practicing vocabulary and articulation, and discussion of texts.


Teaching of key skills takes place throughout the week, with opportunities to apply skills in extended writing towards the end of the week. Extended writing could include assessed independent writing, or COLD and HOT writes, including time for talking, planning, writing, editing and proof reading.


Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar (SPAG)


Children in KS1 and KS2 are taught spelling, punctuation and grammar in accordance with the requirements of the National Curriculum.  These skills are practised in all cross-curricular writing, but particularly focussed in a weekly ‘Big Write’.  


For EYFS children, a spelling test of phonically de-codable high frequency words is introduced in Summer 2. 


Throughout KS1 and KS2, children are taught to spell high frequency words / specific year group statutory word lists, as well as spelling rules.  Spelling Shed is used to teach spelling rules and conventions, and coverage of this scheme ensures children have the opportunity to learn extra words that are beyond the given examples, thereby helping to develop deeper understanding and independent application.


Children are encouraged to develop self-awareness and responsibility for their spelling.  This is promoted through ‘dot not dodge’, checking ‘Zero Tolerance’ words, use of spelling journals and also thesaurus / dictionaries.


Years 5 and 6 extend their spelling lessons to give children the opportunity to investigate rules and conventions beyond the statutory lists given.  Children are taught a range of different strategies to learn and understand spellings and to promote independence.




We aim to develop good handwriting styles through a structured and consistent approach which offers continuity from infant to junior stages. We provide time for all children to practise the Twinkl handwriting scheme and the development of cursive writing. In order to have speed in writing, children are taught to hold the pen or pencil correctly and to form their letters accurately.


Early Years children use a variety of approaches: natural patterning, individual letter shapes progressing to flicks, hand movements, left to right orientation, size, spacing and refined motor control. Children are taught the pre-cursive script from Foundation Stage. Pencil grips are used when needed. This progresses as the child moves through the school with the expectation that all children will begin to understand the conventions of cursive writing by the end of Key Stage 1.


In Key Stage 1 handwriting will be taught discretely at least once a week in each class and in Key Stage 2 taught according to the class or individual needs. It will be modelled by the teachers. Children will use a variety of writing implements ranging from pencils, chalk and broad felt tips in the Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1 to handwriting pens in the later stages of Key Stage 2.


Handwriting practise is completed in English books, to ensure children understand how large the main body of a letter should be, and how long ascenders and descenders should be. Children will be taught to form letters from the line when their fine motor skills allow. This may happen in EYFS or Year 1. In year 2, all children are taught to begin from the line. Once letters are formed, joining letters will be taught and modelled.


When children’s handwriting is of a consistently high standard, children may be given a pen licence. It is expected that by the end of Key Stage 2 most, if not all children will be using pen to write.


Assessment of Writing


Children in KS1 have a list of non-negotiable targets for their year group stuck in the front of their books.  Appropriate wording and imagery has been used to ensure children understand each target.  The Common Exception word list is also included.  Both the targets, and common exception words are highlighted when evidenced from independent assessed writing.


Children in KS2 have a list of all targets (non-negotiable and other targets) stuck at the front of their books. These targets are highlighted off when evidenced from independent assessed writing.


Independent Assessed Writing takes place half termly and is based on a shared experience or knowledge that all children can access. Teachers assess writing based on the year group writing targets and will determine a scaled score from the conversion chart. Spelling evidence can also be gathered from independent spelling assessments (NFER, Rising Stars).



Marking and Feedback


Writing is marked according to our marking policy which may include a positive comment relating to the learning objective and a next steps target comment.  Children are encouraged to respond to the marking by ‘purple polishing’ their work or replying to comments / challenges in a purple pen.


Feedback and marking sheets are used to record misconceptions or next steps for learning, and from this, children can be given verbal feedback either individually or as a class.   Additionally, this can inform the Flashback starter which is used at the beginning of every lesson to embed skills.


The highlighting of misspelt words is to be limited to 3 for each piece of work in Key Stage 1 and 5 in Key Stage 2.  This is to help children focus on specific words and to promote a positive approach to spelling.  Where possible the part of the word, rather than the whole word is highlighted.



Speaking and Listening


We believe children need to have the skills, ability and confidence to deal with spoken language and respond critically in speech. In order to achieve this, the four strands of Speaking and Listening: Speaking, Listening, Group Discussion and Interaction, and Drama permeate the whole curriculum.


We give children a range of purposes for speaking and listening, using conventions of speech e.g. manners. We encourage using a variety of different sized audiences to contrast purpose. Speaking and listening will sometimes be taught discretely, but more often it will be taught within other areas of the National Curriculum.


Examples of where speaking and listening might occur:

  • Talk for Writing
  • Stories, songs & poems (including learning/reciting of classic and modern poetry)
  • Storytelling.
  • Describing events, observations and experiences.
  • Giving reasons for actions.
  • Explaining ideas and opinions in discussion and responding to others.
  • Planning, predicting and investigating in small groups.
  • Presentation to different audiences.
  • Reading aloud.
  • Imaginative play and role play
  • Drama activities.
  • Class council / school council.
  • Circle time.
  • Class assemblies.
  • Productions / performances.



Assessment of Speaking and Listening


Teachers assess children’s speaking and listening skills continuously using National Curriculum.




Accelerated Reader - Statement of Intent:


At Dovedale Primary School, it is our intention that children leave year 6 as fluent, resilient and independent readers. We have devised a curriculum to meet the needs of all of our children and the Accelerated Reader programme enables us to do this. Our REACH values underpin all that we do at Dovedale; through Accelerated Reader we give children opportunities to challenge themselves, develop a resilience in reading and build an attitude of positivity and accomplishment.


Children  across years 2-6 are able to select appropriate reading material independently.  They access books within a difficulty range,  enabling them to challenge themselves and hence increasing their reading comprehension and language levels. 


AR also provides staff with data, helping us to monitor and personalise reading across school and meeting the needs of all the children at Dovedale.



  • Children read books at an appropriate yet challenging level each day in school and at home. (Y2-6)
  • On completing a book the children take a Star Reader Test (quiz) on an IPAD in class.
  • Children swap reading books, being aware of the range of which they should choose from.
  • Children can track their own progress through the AR App on the IPADs. (Number of words read, number of quizzes completed, points for completed quizzes - rewards in class.
  • AR coordinator to monitor reading ages and number of quizzes completed each term across school & then share findings with staff. (Growth Reports).