English at Willoughton:


At Willoughton Primary School, we recognise the importance of a high quality, engaging English curriculum. We aspire to ensure that all children are taught the key reading and writing skills to enable them to achieve their full potential in their education and beyond.

English is split into three main areas: spoken English, reading- with an emphasis on extending vocabulary and reading for pleasure - and writing. English is at the heart of each topic and meaningful links are created to provide exciting, engaging and challenging experiences for speaking and listening, reading and writing.


Our Intent:

  • To create a reading culture where children are exposed to a range of high-quality texts as part of a varied reading diet, enabling all children to become life-long readers.
  • For children to build preferences in reading and develop an enjoyment for reading.
  • For children to recognise authors and styles of reading which they enjoy.
  • To provide opportunities to engage in book discussion in a range of contexts, alongside adults and peers, including sharing and recommending of books.
  • To provide an effective early reading programme.
  • For children to gain knowledge of and widen their vocabulary across the curriculum.
  • To develop imaginative, creative and effective writers who are able to adapt their language and style to write for a range of purposes and audiences.
  • To create resilient writers who edit and improve their writing through the process of drafting, editing and re-drafting where appropriate.
  • For children to become confident, articulate speakers who are able to share and elaborate upon their ideas.


How we implement this:


At Willoughton, there are a number of ways in which we teach reading:

  • Phonics – this is the first step to reading where the children are taught the 44 different sounds used in the English language. We use the Read, Write Inc. (RWI) scheme which is a very rigorous and sequential approach to developing speaking and listening, and teaching reading and spelling through systematic phonics.  
  • Independent reading – our school actively promotes reading for pleasure, as well as reading for fluency and knowledge. In January 2022, we implemented Accelerated Reader, a personalised reading program which helps teachers to support and monitor children’s independent reading practice. Children self-select a book at their own level (ZPD) from our school library and when finished, they take a short online quiz to assess how much of the book they have understood.  All children have a reading diary and a book bag to take home daily. Parent helpers play a vital role in hearing our children read, so if you have any spare time, your support would be greatly appreciated!
  • Whole Class Reading – in these lessons children will develop their comprehension skills through access to a range of comprehension texts and novels. Each lesson will have a clear focus linked to one of the VIPERS reading strategies. In KS1, these are: Vocabulary, Infer, Predict, Explain, Retrieve and Sequence. In KS2, these are: Vocabulary, Infer, Predict, Explain, Retrieve and Summarise.
  • Story time- we understand the importance of modelling fluent and expressive reading to the children. Each class dedicates time to share a story with the children so that all of the children throughout the school spend time listening to an adult model fluent and expressive reading. 


The skills of writing for different purposes are taught within discreet English lessons. At Willoughton, we have a bespoke approach to the teaching and learning of English, which incorporates elements of the Talk4Writing scheme which we are now embedding into our existing writing process, following training in June of 2023. Each writing unit is structured as follows:

Cold task: Prior to the unit being taught, the children have a go at writing for a particular purpose, genre or effect. Teachers will then use pupils’ writing to set targets for them and to inform the elements of the Talk4Writing toolkit which will need to be explicitly taught. During this time, pupils will engage in a poetry unit where the children can be playful with language and broaden their repertoire of poetry.

Read: Pupils are exposed to high quality model texts and have the opportunity to learn these orally. At this stage, pupils may annotate the texts to identify key grammatical and structural features. Where appropriate, teachers may also engage in book talk around the text to further develop reading skills prior to writing.

Planning: Pupils have the opportunity to generate ideas for the vocabulary and content of their writing as well as planning the structure of their writing e.g. through use of describing bubble, senses grids or through boxing up the text. At this stage, pupils will also reflect on the purpose and audience of their writing.

Drafting: At this stage, pupils apply their plans into free writing. Teachers may support writing through use of modelled, shared and guided writing.

Editing: Pupils are given the opportunity to make changes to their own writing by correcting spellings and punctuation for accuracy as well as improving their composition by making changes to their vocabulary choices and sentence structure. Pupils may use this opportunity to re-draft, self and peer-assess their writing and the writing of others.

Present: Where appropriate, pupils will be given the opportunity to present, publish or perform their writing. This is where we celebrate writing pupils have produced e.g. through sending letters, performing poetry or publishing newspaper reports.  

Independent application: Following the teaching sequence, pupils have the opportunity to innovate or invent the text and apply the skills and knowledge they have learnt throughout the unit. Teachers will then use these pieces to inform their assessments.

As well as discreet English lessons, teachers plan numerous opportunities for children to apply the writing skills they are developing across the curriculum. We aim for each child to produce two pieces of unaided writing every half-term.

Grammar skills are taught discreetly through RWI and other resources; these are then applied in appropriate units of learning. We use the RWI Spelling scheme in both KS1 and KS2 to build upon the early reading programme in EYFS. Where intervention is required, spelling is taught using the spaced learning method.

The impact:

Our English curriculum is designed to ensure all children leave primary school with the key reading and writing skills they need to achieve their full potential both in their education and throughout their life. The impact of teaching is visible in our children’s books, on our Writing Gallery display and through discussion with our pupils. The impact of teaching is monitored through book looks, learning walks, data drops and whole school moderations. Monitoring is conducted by Mrs O’Neill, the senior-leadership team and by our school’s English governor.


For any queries relating to English at Willoughton Primary School, please contact Mrs O’Neill our English Subject Leader.