English Policy

North Ealing Primary School

“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 their reading and listening, others can communicate with them.” (National Curriculum, September 2013)

At North Ealing Primary School we believe that literacy is a fundamental life skill. Literacy develops children’s ability to listen, speak, read and write for a wide range of purposes. Children are enabled to express themselves creatively and imaginatively as they become enthusiastic and critical readers of stories, poetry and drama, as well as of non-fiction and media texts. Children gain an understanding of how language works by looking at its patterns, structures and origins. Children use their knowledge, skills and understanding in speaking and writing across a range of different situations.

Aims and Objectives

• To enable children to speak clearly and audibly and to take account of their listeners;
• To encourage children to listen with concentration, in order to identify the main points of what they have heard;
• To show children how to adapt their speech to a wide range of circumstances and demands;
• To teach children effective communication, both verbal and non-verbal, through a variety of drama activities, including the communication of their ideas, views and feelings.
• To help them become confident, independent readers, through an appropriate focus on word, sentence and text-level knowledge;
• To develop enthusiastic and reflective readers, through contact with challenging and substantial texts;
• To foster the enjoyment of writing and a recognition of its value;
• To encourage accurate and meaningful writing, be it narrative or non–fiction;
• To improve the planning, drafting and editing of their written work, with emphasis on spelling, punctuation and grammar.

Teaching and Learning

At North Ealing Primary School we use a variety of teaching and learning styles in our English lessons in order to meet the needs of all our pupils. Our principal aim is to develop children’s knowledge, skills, and understanding.

In the Early Years Foundation Stage language and literacy development are incorporated in all areas of learning. Opportunities are provided for children to communicate thoughts, ideas and feelings. Purposeful role play is used to develop language and imagination. Children are given opportunities to share and enjoy a wide range of rhymes, songs, poetry and books.

An environment is provided which reflects the importance of language through signs, notices and books. Children are provided with opportunities to see adults writing and they can experiment with writing themselves.

In Key Stages 1 and 2 children receive a daily English session in which they experience a variety of activities including speaking and listening, reading and writing, focused grammar, punctuation and spelling activities, (SPaG), guided group, independent work and drama activities.

In all classes, children have a wide range of abilities, and we seek to provide suitable learning opportunities for all children by matching the challenge of the task to the ability of the child. Staff have high expectations that all children can achieve their full potential. Wherever possible, Teaching Assistants to work in class, supporting all ability groups, specific individuals or groups of children, ensuring that work is matched to the needs of the child.

Speaking and listening activities are embedded throughout the Curriculum. Children have the opportunity to experience a wide range of texts, and to support their work with a variety of resources, such as dictionaries, thesauruses and individual word banks. Staff provide balanced and varied learning opportunities within the classroom meeting different learning styles. Children use ICT in English lessons where it enhances their learning, as in drafting their work and in using multimedia to study how words and images are combined to convey meaning. Wherever possible we encourage children to use and apply their learning in other areas of the Curriculum

Curriculum Planning

The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) Curriculum 2012 is followed to ensure continuity and progression from entering Nursery, moving on to Reception and then through to the English Curriculum 2014 in KS1 and KS2. The Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum is divided into prime & specific areas of learning & development. ‘Communication & Language’ is one of 3 prime areas that are fundamental to, & support the development, in all other areas. ‘Communication & Language’ is made up of the following 3 aspects: listening & attention, understanding & speaking. ‘Literacy’ is one of 4 specific areas which include essential skills & knowledge. They grow out of the prime areas & provide important contexts for learning. ‘Literacy’ is made up of the following aspects: reading & writing. Pupil provision is related to attainment, not age. In EYFS, all aspects of literacy are taught. Children learn through play, speaking and listening activities, teacher modelling,
group work and self-direction.

English is a core subject in the National Curriculum and we use the ‘Art of Teaching Writing’ Programme, as the basis for implementing the statutory requirements of the programme of study for English in the National Curriculum 2014 in Key Stages 1 and 2.

We carry out the curriculum planning in English in three phases (long-term, medium-term and short term). We devise our own plans, in accordance with the Art of Teaching Writing, identifying key objectives in English that we teach with purposeful cross-curricular links in other subjects.

Our medium-term/short term plans give details of the main teaching objectives for each unit. These plans define what we teach, and ensure an appropriate balance and distribution of work across each unit covering a range of genres.

Our short term planning details the learning objectives, teaching input, the differentiated activities, including support where appropriate, success criteria and assessment against the learning objectives. Each unit of learning is underpinned by exploring a high-quality text. Deconstruction of these texts enables pupils to identify key features of the text type which in turn assists children to develop the proficiency and precision required to write their own high quality, extended texts.

The National Curriculum sets out expectations for children’s writing skills from year one to year six. In the introduction to the programmes for each block of study, yearly for key stage one and two-yearly for key stage two, it is clear that children need to be exploring a variety of sentence structures and drawing on this learning when composing their own writing. Therefore we incorporate Alan Peat’s Sentence Types into unit plans. In addition, children have the opportunity to meet the expectations of the national curriculum, exploring a range of punctuation in context, which can then be applied and extended in their own writing.

Our plans are continually adapted by teachers to suit our children’s learning and are very much a working document that shows good ongoing assessments.

Vocabulary and Spoken Language

From the Early years onwards pupils learn to speak confidently and listen to what others have to say. Children use language to explore their own experiences and imaginary worlds. They work in small groups and as a class, joining in discussions and making relevant points. They also learn how to listen carefully to what other people are saying so that they can remember the main points. This is built on the Early Learning Goals wherein Nursery and Reception, the children use language to imagine and recreate role and experiences becoming attentive listeners and interact with others in play. Children are routinely and explicitly taught the meaning of new words through a range of activities, to widen their spoken and written vocabulary. Children begin to read and write independently and with enthusiasm, using language to explore their own experiences and imaginary worlds. Oral rehearsal of sentences is acknowledged as part of the writing process and children are encouraged to – ‘think it, say it, write it and check it’.


Children participate in a range of drama activities, where they use language and actions to explore and convey situations, characters and emotions, creating and sustaining roles individually and when working with others. Afterwards, the children have opportunities to comment constructively on drama they have watched or in which they have taken part. Children develop their drama to convey action and narrative to convey stories, themes, emotions, ideas and devise scripts. They explore dramatic techniques and comment how authors use these techniques in their writing.

Standard English

We introduce to our children the main features of spoken Standard English and teach them how spoken language varies in different circumstances for example: formal and informal situations. This transfers into grammatical constructions in both key stages which the children are taught both discretely and within writing a wide range of texts.


Reading opens the door to learning. A child who reads a lot 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 he or she will want to find out. Throughout our Early Years and Key Stage 1 pupils’ interest and pleasure in reading is developed as they learn to read confidently and independently. They learn to read words and sentences and then whole texts. They learn how to re-tell stories they have read and work out the meaning of straightforward texts.

Reading is the key that unlocks the whole curriculum,so the ability to efficiently decode is essential. Children at North Ealing are taught to read primarily through the Read Write Inc (RWI) Phonic Programme, which is aimed at emerging readers and teaches synthetic phonics. RWI is a method of learning centred round letter sounds and phonics, and we use it to aid children in their reading and writing.

Using RWI, the children learn to read effortlessly so that they can put all their energy into comprehending what they read. It also allows them to spell effortlessly so that they can put all their energy into composing what they write. The children are grouped by ability within their year group and receive a daily session of planned systematic phonics delivery, with a wide opportunity for application of skills through the environment and other lessons.

When using RWI to read the children will:
• Learn that sounds are represented by written letters
• Learn 44 sounds and the corresponding letter/letter groups using simple picture prompts
• Learn how to blend sounds
• Learn to read words using Fred Talk
• Read lively stories featuring words they have learned to sound out
• Show that they comprehend the stories by answering questions.

Our aim is for children to complete the RWI Phonics programme by the end of Year 2. Children then consolidate their phonic knowledge by following the RWI Spelling programme. Children throughout years 3-6 are given weekly spellings to learn and are then tested by writing short dictation exercises.

RWI Phonics is also taught in KS2 to children who are new to English or have specific learning needs.

During Key Stage 2 pupils read enthusiastically a range of materials and use their knowledge of words, sentences and texts to understand and respond to the meaning. They increase their ability to read challenging and lengthy texts independently. They reflect on the meaning of texts, analysing and discussing them with others.

At this stage, children have the opportunity to discuss various assessment foci in a supportive way delving in between the lines to gain further meaning, inference and deduction. Children are also taught to look for meaning beyond literacy and make connections between different parts of texts. In Years 1 to 6, reading comprehension is included weekly within the English curriculum.

Guided Reading

As part of the English curriculum in Reception and Key Stage One, each child takes part in at least one guided reading session each week outside of the English lesson, encouraging children to further develop their reading and comprehension skills. This is assessed against national guidelines allowing teachers to make accurate judgments regarding a child’s reading level. Children are grouped according to ability.

At KS2 there are three guided reading sessions per week and children are grouped by ability. Once confident, they are encouraged to read as part of a ‘Reading Circle’. The ‘Reading Circle’ is designed to promote higher-order questioning skills alongside a range of strategies for children to become better readers. Children adopt the role of a group supervisor, question master, word wizard or bridge builder and discuss their findings on a given text.

Home / School Reading

All children are encouraged to read and to be read to at home, recording what they have read in a reading diary. Guidance is sent home to support parents/carers with strategies to support shared reading at home.


Pupils start to enjoy writing and see the value of it. From EYFS onwards, they learn to communicate meaning in narrative and non-fiction texts and spell and punctuate correctly.

Throughout our school, the children learn vocabulary, grammar, sentence construction and how to plan texts. Children are taught rich composition skills using adventurous vocabulary, sequencing ideas and events and recounting information in a clear structure in a high standard to suit the purpose and its reader. Children are then taught to draft and re-draft their work, making substitutions, developing their ideas and vocabulary with right discussions which then extends their writing into exciting texts. The children have discussions about their writing as if they were authors as well as readers.

Punctuation is also taught within English lessons giving context to their grammar and punctuation. However, spelling, grammar and punctuation are also taught discretely to ensure full coverage and understanding. Spelling is also linked to the phonics that has been taught that week and from Year 2 children are tested weekly.

As they develop, children gain an understanding and appreciation for non-fiction and non-literary texts such as: persuasion argument, explanation, instruction and descriptive writing. They are also taught how to write diaries, autobiographies, biographies and letters. They are taught to identify and use the most appropriate vocabulary for each text type and also links between structural and organisational features such as paragraphing, sub-headings and links in hypertext.

Children also learn a range of modern fiction by significant children’s authors, long-established children’s fiction with exciting new texts too. They study high-quality poetry, classic poetry, play scripts, fiction from different cultures and traditions, myths, legends and traditional stories.

Handwriting and presentation

At North Ealing Primary, the children take pride in their work and from Reception children are taught how to write by holding a pencil properly, writing from left to right across the page, forming letters in an appropriate size with finger space, to produce clear, well-formed, legible writing that is consistent and neat in appearance

Teachers have high expectations in the presentation of work in all areas of the curriculum. Handwriting is modelled daily and is specifically taught during discrete, weekly sessions, using the Join-It letter formation scheme and mnemonics from RWI.

A teacher should demonstrate the correct letter formation and the children should practise it. The teacher should monitor the formation of the letters. As children master joining and correct formation, the focus should be on writing neatly, consistently and at a reasonable speed. In the Early Years and Key Stage 1, letter formation is linked to phonics teaching. When ‘special friends’ are taught, two or more letters making one sound, letter joins are introduced. Therefore, by the end of Year 1 children should be able to join most letters consistently.

Cursive handwriting is consolidated in Year 2 and from Year 3 and 4 children are awarded a pen licence when they demonstrate a consistent handwriting style. All children should use pens from Year 5 onwards. This should be used consistently in all curriculum areas except Numeracy.

Handwriting intervention groups can be accessed for those children who require further support. Once children master joined handwriting, they should use it in every piece of work.


RWI phonics is taught in EYFS and KS1 therefore children learn to spell alongside learning to read using synthetic phonics as the main strategy. Tricky, non-decodable words are also learned in accordance with national guidelines. The RWI Spelling Programme is used from Year 2 onwards for the majority of pupils. Spellings are be given for homework weekly and tested in class regularly. Older children are given to learn spellings in accordance with the National Curriculum 2014. English lessons; these may cover the spellings given for homework, keywords, topic or science vocabulary or common errors made by children. The use of dictionaries is taught and encouraged and has been built into the English units of work. The children learn to self-correct when re-drafting their writing.

Contribution of English in other Curriculum areas

The skills that children develop in English are linked to, and applied in, every subject of our curriculum. The children’s skills in reading, writing, speaking and listening enable them to communicate and express themselves in all areas of their work at school.

Assessment of English

Assessment is a continuous process integral to learning and teaching. It is how teachers gain knowledge of their pupils’ needs, achievements and abilities, enabling planning and delivery to be more effective, thereby raising attainment for every child.

In the EYFS, pupils’ achievements are ongoing and assessed against the Early Learning Goals. All EYFS staff use Assessment for Learning (AfL) techniques and formative assessment occurs daily.

In KS1 and KS2 continuous assessments of reading and writing progress are made throughout the year. Summative Assessment is carried out once a term, using PIRA Reading tests and independent writing tasks, and at the end of each Key stage through the use of SATs and Teacher Assessment.

Children utilise success criteria to assess their own writing and peer marking provides opportunities for pupils to reflect on each other’s achievements and identifying areas for improvement. Teachers also mark against the success criteria and provide feedback to develop children’s writing.

Reading assessment

In EYFS and Key Stage One, children are assessed daily in RWI phonic lessons. Partner work is a key feature of learning in these lessons giving the teacher opportunities to assess the reading skills of individuals as they read out loud to their partner. The teacher assesses how children can read decodable and non-decodable words and comprehend ditty/storybooks.

Formal assessment is carried out periodically using the R.W.I. phonic checks. This allows for achieving homogeneity within each group and indicates the correct access point for new entrants.

National guidelines are used to track the progress of all children in Guided Reading sessions. This assessment information is used to inform planning, identify targets and the levels the children are working at. Formal reading tests are carried out from Year 2 – Year 6 on a termly basis, using PIRA assessment tools.

Spelling assessment

Spelling lists appropriate to the child’s level and ability are given out regularly and from Year 2 onwards, children are tested weekly.

Writing assessment

Children’s writing is continuously assessed and teachers provide written and verbal feedback against a set of differentiated success criteria for each piece of extended writing. A Summative assessment of a piece of children’s independent writing takes place each term and is marked and levelled in accordance with statutory guidelines.



Teachers use the end of key stage objectives set by NC14 and Ealing’s end of year objectives when making grade judgments to ensure they are consistent with national standards.


Teachers and support staff meet regularly to discuss evidence and to moderate pupils’ work. This is undertaken to review the accuracy and consistency of level judgements made by teachers and to confirm that these judgements are consistent and in line with the national standards. Moderation sessions are built into the phases and staff meeting timetables in order to ensure that there is consistency of grading throughout the school. Consistency of grading with other schools in Ealing is ensured through paired moderation with other schools, cluster group and borough-wide moderation sessions.

National external moderation occurs on a 3-year rolling programme for the EYFS, KS1 and for KS2 writing.

Special Educational Needs (SEND)

Where barriers to learning are identified, the class teacher will work closely with the SENCO and the English Co-ordinator, to ensure that difficulties are swiftly addressed as quickly as possible and a programme of learning is put into place to remove the barriers. If appropriate to their needs, the targeted children may access intervention groups including phonics, oracy work, handwriting and grammar work. If the child is on the Special Educational needs register they will have an IEP with SMART targets.

Roles and Responsibilities

Headteacher and Governing Body

• Support the use of appropriate teaching strategies by allocating resources effectively
• Ensure that the school buildings and premises are best used to support successful teaching and learning
• Monitor teaching strategies in the light of health and safety regulations
• Monitor how effective teaching and learning strategies are in terms of raising pupil attainment.
• Ensure that staff development and appraisal policies promote good quality teaching.

English Coordinator

• To have an impact on raising standards of attainment for English across the whole school.
• Ensure the Art of Teaching Writing is taught to meet the needs of all pupils and in accordance with National Curriculum expectations.
• To monitor the whole school and individual needs to be able to assess individual professional development opportunities and needs.
• To maintain the availability of high-quality resources.
• To maintain an overview of current trends and developments within the subject.
• To ensure, together with the Head Teacher, a rigorous and effective programme of lesson observation monitoring.
•To ensure a regular and effective programme of analysis of children’s work samples and moderation of assessment levels is in place.
• To ensure a regular and effective programme of analysis of short-term planning is in place.
• To ensure there is regularly reviewing and monitoring of children’s individual reading and writing targets.
• To effectively manage the English budget.
• Make effective use of Assessment for learning within English. To ensure work is differentiated to enable all children to reach their full potential.

Parents / Carers

We believe that parents have a fundamental role to play in helping children to learn. We do all we can to inform parents about their children’s learning and the progress they are making by:
• Having a Home/School Reading Diary to communicate progress in reading
• Keeping information on school pupil tracking tool up to date and holding parents’ evenings to discuss children’s progress
• Explaining to parents how they can support their children with homework, through parent briefings and informal meetings and curriculum workshops.
• Sending an annual report to parents in which we explain the progress made by each child, celebrate their successes and look at next steps.

Relevant Policies

• Assessment
• Equal Opportunities
• Foundation Subjects
• Inclusion
• Phonics
• S.E.N.
• Teaching and Learning

Committee with oversight for this policy
Curriculum & Standards
Policy to be approved by
Policy last reviewed by the Curriculum & Standards Committee
Policy ratified and adopted by the Headteacher
Policy / Document due for review
Spring 2022