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Clophill St Marys CofE lower school


I love English because I like writing and I'm now much better.  I like that I get to read my work to the class. 

(Pupil Questionnaire Feedback 2022-2023)


It is our aim to fulfil both the EYFS (Early Years Foundation Stage) and National Curriculum English requirements in full through the use of a variety of carefully chosen fiction, non-fiction and poetry texts.  Through these texts, we strive to develop our children's love of reading, writing and discussion by creating a curriculum that encourages them to become excited and engaged with English.  By embedding the English skills and knowledge we teach in every English lesson and the wider curriculum, we endeavour to nurture the children's understanding of the value of English to them now in their futures.  


Miss Grassi is our English Co-ordinator. 

At St. Mary's we teach the Literacy elements of the Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum in Acorn and Chestnut (Nursery and Reception):

Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage

We teach the English National Curriculum in Birch to Oak (Years 1 to 4):

English Programmes of Study: Key Stages 1 and 2

I like the reading area in my classroom.

(Pupil Questionnaire Feedback 2022-2023)

Reading:  Reading is taught and encouraged across all subjects. 

The image below shows the ways in which we teach and promote reading at St. Mary's:

To support parents with reading at home, we have produced Parent Advice Booklets for each year group:

Acorn and Chestnut (Year N and Year R) Reading Booklet - NEW 2022!

Birch (Year 1) Reading Booklet - NEW 2022!

Hazel (Year 2) Reading Booklet - NEW 2022!

Rowan (Year 3) Reading Booklet - NEW 2022!

Oak (Year 4) Reading Booklet - NEW 2022!

Reading Scheme: We do not use one specific reading scheme at St. Mary's but instead, choose books from different schemes to provide a greater variety of reading books for our children to choose from.  We do follow the Oxford Reading Tree book band system and therefore fit any books we purchase into this banding system.  

Phonics:  At. St. Mary's we use the Sounds-Write programme to teach children phonics in Nursery, Reception and Key Stage 1. The programme is then delivered to small groups who require extra support with phonics in Years 3 and 4.  

More information about the Sounds-Write programme can be found here:

Sounds-Write programme

You can also watch a useful video of a child saying the sounds correctly and precisely, to support you with phonics at home: Pure Sounds Video

Sounds-Write is on the Government approved list of validated synthetic phonics programmes:

Choosing a Phonics Teaching Programme

Writing:  Children are taught and encouraged to write across all curriculum subjects.  Specifically in English lessons, teachers use carefully chosen fiction and non-fiction text as a stimulus for writing, which enhance and compliment our termly topics.   Most writing lessons use the elements of "The Write Stuff" by Jane Considine.  "The Write Stuff" follows a method called "Sentence Stacking" which refers to the fact that sentences are stacked together chronologically and organised to engage children with short, intensive moments of learning that they can then immediately apply to their own writing. An individual lesson is based on a sentence model, broken into learning chunks. Each learning chunk has three sections:

  1. Initiate section – a stimulus to capture the children’s imagination and set up a sentence.
  1. Model section – the teacher close models a sentence that outlines clear writing features and techniques.
  1. Enable section – the children write their sentence, following the model.

Children are challenged to ‘Deepen the Moment’ which requires them to independently draw upon previously learnt skills and apply them to their writing during that chunk.

"The Write Stuff"  uses three essential components to support children in becoming great writers

The three zones of writing :-

  • IDEAS -  The FANTASTICs uses a child friendly acronym to represent the nine idea lenses through which children can craft their ideas.
  • TOOLS - The GRAMMARISTICS. The grammar rules of our language system and an accessible way to target weaknesses in pupils grammatical and linguistic structures.
  • TECHNIQUES - The BOOMTASTICs which helps children capture 10 ways of adding drama and poetic devices to writing.

Handwriting:  In Nursery and Reception we focus on the correct formation of letters.  From Year 1 upwards, we begin to teach children cursive handwriting.  We teach at least two lessons a week using The Handwriting Rescue Scheme programme.

Speaking and Listening:  As with Reading and Writing, Speaking and Listening is also taught and encouraged through all areas of the curriculum and in all aspects of school life.  Children are encouraged to participate in all lessons - offering their opinions and answers whilst listening respectfully to those of their peers.  Children are also chosen to represent the school as School Council members, Values Ambassadors, Eco Committee Members and Sports Leaders, presenting their work to the Governing Body.  All children are invited to participate in class and whole school presentations to parents.  


All children are assessed in Reading and Writing, by their teachers, on a termly basis.  Miss Grassi then analyses the attainment and progress of the whole school in these areas.  This information informs future teaching and learning in English.

Children are formally teacher assessed in Reading and Writing at the end of Reception against the Early Learning Goals:

Early Learning Goals Parent and Carers Guide

The school takes part in the National Phonics Screening Check.  Children take the check at the end of Year 1 and then again in Year 2 if they do not pass in Year 1:

Phonics Screening Check Information for Parents

Phonics Screening Check 2023: Information for Parents/Carers

Children are also formally teacher assessed in Reading and Writing at the end of Key Stage 1 (Year 2):

KS1 SATs Assessment Parent and Carer Information Sheet

End of Key Stage 1 (and 2) Assessments 2023: Information for Parents/Carers

Our end of Reception, Phonics Check and KS1 SATs results can be found in the Our Results section of the website.