English Curriculum

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. Through reading in particular, pupils have a chance to develop culturally, emotionally, intellectually, socially and spiritually. Literature, especially, plays a key role in such development. Reading also enables pupils both to acquire knowledge and to build on what they already know. All the skills of language are essential to participating fully as a member of society; pupils, therefore, who do not learn to speak, read and write fluently and confidently are effectively excluded from opportunities in their future lives.

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

  • are equipped with a strong command of the spoken and written word read easily, fluently and with good understanding;
  • develop their love of literature through widespread reading for enjoyment;
  • develop the habit of reading widely and often, for both pleasure and information;
  • acquire a wide vocabulary, an understanding of grammar and knowledge of linguistic conventions for reading, writing and spoken language;
  • appreciate our rich and varied literary heritage;
  • write clearly, accurately and coherently, adapting their language and style in and for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences;
  • use discussion in order to learn; they should be able to elaborate and explain clearly their understanding and ideas;
  • are competent in the arts of speaking and listening, making formal presentations, demonstrating to others and participating in debate.



Spoken Language:

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. The quality and variety of language that pupils hear and speak are vital for developing their vocabulary and grammar and their understanding for reading and writing. Our teachers will ensure the continual development of pupils’ confidence and competence in spoken language and listening skills. Pupils will develop a capacity to explain their understanding of books and other reading, and to prepare their ideas before they write. They will be assisted in making their thinking clear to themselves as well as to others and teachers will build secure foundations by using discussion to probe and remedy any misconceptions. Our children will also be taught to understand and use the conventions for discussion and debate.

Our pupils will be enabled to participate in and gain knowledge, skills and understanding associated with the artistic practice of drama. Pupils will be able to adopt, create and sustain a range of roles, responding appropriately to others in role. Opportunities will be planned for children to improvise, devise and script drama for one another and a range of audiences, as well as to rehearse, refine, share and respond thoughtfully to drama and theatre performances.


The programmes of study for reading at key stage 2 consists of two dimensions:

  • word reading
  • comprehension (both listening and reading)

Our teaching will focus on developing pupils’ competence in both dimensions; different kinds of teaching are needed for each.

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. Underpinning both is the understanding that the letters on the page represent the sounds in spoken words.

Good comprehension draws from linguistic knowledge (in particular of vocabulary and grammar) and on knowledge of the world. Comprehension skills develop through pupils’ experience of high-quality discussion with the teacher, as well as from reading and discussing a range of stories, poems and non-fiction. All pupils will be encouraged to read widely across both fiction and non-fiction to develop their knowledge of themselves and the world in which they live, to establish an appreciation and love of reading, and to gain knowledge 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 minds.


The programmes of study for writing at key stage 2 are:

  • transcription (spelling and handwriting)
  • composition (articulating ideas and structuring them in speech and writing).

Our pupils will be taught how to plan, revise and evaluate their writing. Writing down ideas fluently depends on effective transcription: that is, on spelling quickly and accurately through knowing the relationship between sounds and letters (phonics) and understanding the word structure and spelling structure of words. Effective composition involves forming, articulating and communicating ideas, and then organising them coherently for a reader. This requires clarity, awareness of the audience, purpose and context, and an increasingly wide knowledge of vocabulary and grammar. Writing also depends on fluent, legible and speedy handwriting.

Spelling, vocabulary, grammar and punctuation:

Opportunities for teachers to enhance pupils’ vocabulary arise naturally from their reading and writing. As vocabulary increases, teachers will show pupils how to understand the relationships between words, how to understand nuances in meaning, and how to develop their understanding of, and ability to use, figurative language. They will also teach pupils how to work out and clarify the meanings of unknown words and words with more than one meaning. Pupils will be taught to control their speaking and writing consciously and to use Standard English. They should be taught to use the elements of spelling, grammar, punctuation. It is important that pupils learn the correct grammatical terms in English and that these terms are integrated within teaching.


Upper Key Stage 2 – Years 5 and 6

By the beginning of Year 5, pupils should be able to read aloud a wider range of poetry and books written at an age-appropriate interest level with accuracy and at a reasonable speaking pace. They should be able to read most words effortlessly and to work out how to pronounce unfamiliar written words with increasing automaticity.

They should be able to prepare readings, with appropriate intonation to show their understanding, and should be able to summarise and present a familiar story in their own words. They should be reading widely and frequently, outside as well as in school, for pleasure and information. They should be able to read silently, with good understanding, inferring the meanings of unfamiliar words, and then discuss what they have read.

Pupils should be able to write down their ideas quickly. Their grammar and punctuation should be broadly accurate. Pupils’ spelling of most words taught so far should be accurate and they should be able to spell words that they have not yet been taught by using what they have learnt about how spelling works in English.

During Years 5 and 6, teachers will continue to emphasise pupils’ enjoyment and understanding of language, especially vocabulary, to support their reading and writing. Pupils’ knowledge of language, gained from stories, plays, poetry, non-fiction and textbooks, will support their increasing fluency as readers, their facility as writers, and their comprehension. As in Years 3 and 4, pupils should be taught to enhance the effectiveness of their writing as well as their competence. In Years 5 and 6, pupils’ confidence, enjoyment and mastery of language should be extended through public speaking, performance and debate.

By the end of Year 6, pupils’ reading and writing should be sufficiently fluent and effortless for them to manage the general demands of the curriculum in Year 7, across all subjects and not just in English, but there will continue to be a need for pupils to learn subject-specific vocabulary. They should be able to reflect their understanding of the audience for and purpose of their writing by selecting appropriate vocabulary and grammar. Teachers will prepare pupils for secondary education by ensuring that they can consciously control sentence structure in their writing and understand why sentences are constructed as they are.

Year 5 and 6 pupils at TMA who need support in developing their skills of decoding will be received intensive phonics teaching through the Read Write Inc programme so that they catch up rapidly with their peers. However, as far as possible, these pupils will follow the upper key stage 2 programme of study in terms of listening to books and other writing that they have not come across before, hearing and learning new vocabulary and grammatical structures, and having a chance to talk about all of these.

Pupils should understand nuances in vocabulary choice and age-appropriate, academic vocabulary. This involves consolidation, practice and discussion of language.

Cross-curricular links

Throughout the whole curriculum, opportunities to extend and promote English should be sought through a rich variety of texts and writing activities. At Two Mile Ash, we take every opportunity to develop children’s English skills across a range of lessons so that children see the purpose for reading and writing. For example, this can be drawing information from non-fiction texts in history, inferring about the lives of people in different geographical locations, speaking cohesively about a piece of art or writing a report in science.


Planning is based upon the National Curriculum 2014 and elements are drawn from a number of schemes including Wordsmith, Literacy Evolve and Read Write Inc. English teachers are responsible for the relevant provision of their own groups and individually develop weekly plans derived from the wide range of resources which give details of learning objectives and appropriate differentiated activities. Although planned in advance, plans should be reviewed and adjusted on a daily basis to better suit the arising needs of the class and individual pupils.

Updated September 2016