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English in the National Curriculum is divided into three sections: Spoken Language, Reading and Writing. We strive to equip all children with the skills to become competent, confident users of language in all its forms, enabling them to attain high standards in literacy and verbal skills. The overarching aim for English in the National Curriculum is to promote high standards of language and literacy by equipping pupils with a strong command of the spoken and written word, and to develop their love of literature through widespread reading for enjoyment.

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

  • read easily, fluently and with good understanding
  • 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.


The programmes of study for reading at key stages 1 and 2 consist of two dimensions:

  • word reading
  • comprehension (both listening and reading).


We follow the Letters and Sounds programme. The Letters and Sounds programme is designed to help teachers teach children how the alphabet works for reading and spelling by:

  • fostering children’s speaking and listening skills as valuable in their own right and as preparatory to learning phonic knowledge and skills;
  • teaching high quality phonic work at the point they judge children should begin the programme. For most children, this will be by the age of five with the intention of equipping them with the phonic knowledge and skills they need to become fluent readers by the age of seven.

The Letters and Sounds programme is structured in six phases.  However, the boundaries between the phases are deliberately porous so that no children are held back, or unduly pressured to move on before they are equipped to do so.  It follows that practitioners and teachers will need to make principled decisions based on reliable assessments of children’s learning to inform planning for progression within and across the phases.  The ‘typical’ age/phase progression is as follows:

Yr Group Phase Plus: Word List
Rec 2, 3, 4 Tricky/Unfamiliar words 100 High Frequency
Year 1 5 (revisit 2-4) Tricky/Unfamiliar words 100 High Frequency
Year 2 6 (revisit 5) Tricky/Unfamiliar words 200 Next Common Words


The programmes of study for writing at key stages 1 and 2 are constructed similarly to those for reading:

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