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St James

Primary School

Where children shoot for the stars and shine



At St James Primary School, we believe our pupils have a right to a first-class English curriculum. We are passionate in delivering a syllabus that develops a secure knowledge base in English and will prepare our children for not only life in secondary education, but for life beyond the school gates. Through our choice of rich and varied literature, our pupils will develop a love for both reading and writing. We also wish to inspire our children to be confident in the art of speaking and listening so that they reach their full potential in life and are excited by their life prospects. Every child is given the opportunity to acquire the knowledge and skills necessary to become analytical readers and competent authors.

At the heart of our English lessons lie high quality texts, which act as a vehicle for learning across the whole curriculum. Quite simply, we want our pupils to become avid readers who read fluently, widely, and most importantly for their own pleasure. Our Key Stage 2 curriculum ensures that children are exposed to and immersed in at least five stunning texts, which cover a range of genres, forms and styles. In Key Stage 1 and Early Years, children are read to every day. Through immersion in carefully chosen narratives, teachers identify and explicitly teach rich and varied vocabulary. By doing this, we aim to close the vocabulary gap for our most disadvantaged children.

Carefully planned writing lessons allow pupils to study high-quality modelled texts and adapt their own language style in and for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences, whilst developing their own individual flair and promoting their creativity. In addition to this, we want our children to be able to write with grammatical accuracy and be able to apply spelling patterns correctly in a neat, cursive handwriting style. All children are expected to succeed and make progress from their own starting points.



Children follow clear, sequential episodes of learning based around an ambitious model text that allows for the development of vocabulary and contextualised spelling, punctuation and grammar. Each book is studied in depth with children producing at least two pieces of extended, independent writing every half term. Children analyse the model text to understand the techniques the author has used and the subsequent effect on the reader. The teacher models writing and undertakes shared writing and guided writing to develop the children’s knowledge and skills in readiness for independent writing.

By providing children with a range of writing opportunities, they are given the chance to draw on their reading and to adapt their language and style for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences. The curriculum is coherently planned to ensure that all objective are taught and revisited throughout a year group and age phase.  Where applicable, teachers also ensure that cross-curricular links with concurrent topic work are woven into the programme of study. Every class has a high quality text that is selected from a list of recommended texts. All the English work is then planned and delivered though the context of the book.

Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar (SPaG) is taught as part of the English lesson and there is clear progression throughout the school. Children are taught through both contextualised and non-contextualised teaching so that the children are able to recall information and use their knowledge in a variety of contexts. 

At St James, we identify children who need additional support and provide intervention in the most effective and efficient way that we can. We run intervention reading groups led by teaching assistants. We help each child maximise their potential by providing help and support where necessary whilst striving to make children independent workers once we have helped to equip them with the confidence, tools and strategies that they need.

Reading is celebrated in classrooms and around the school, where our bright and colourful displays celebrate children’s writing, their favourite books and reading reward schemes. In addition, throughout the school year our English curriculum is enhanced through our annual World Book Day, virtual author visits, sponsored spelling events and whole school writing days. Every classroom has a reading reward scheme to encourage children to read regularly at home.

At St James, we believe in the power of libraries. For this reason, we have created a central library for all of our pupils to access and enjoy. We invest heavily in restocking both fiction and non-fiction books which are diverse and inspiring for our young learners.

We teach phonics through a daily session with attainment groups using the ‘Little Listeners’ scheme (Nursery) and the ‘Read, Write, Inc.’ programme (EYFS and KS1). This is a systematic fast-paced approach to teaching phonics whereby the children read decodable books that match their phonetical ability. Our banded reading scheme in school includes a wide range of fiction and non-fiction texts taken from Bug Club, Project X, ORT and other well-known schemes. More confident readers are able to choose from class readers and our well-stocked library. Pupils are encouraged to read daily at home and this is monitored through a home/school reading diary. Interventions are provided for under-achieving pupils. These include Read, Write, Inc. one-to-one catch up and guided reading groups.

Speaking and listening is embedded throughout the curriculum. At St James, we actively teach children to think for themselves and form their own opinions on topical issues. Children are expected to express their opinions, giving reasons for their way of thinking, and debate real-life scenarios. Our creative curriculum also facilitates opportunities for pupils to learn, express and explain their newly acquired knowledge to others.


We are very proud of our pupils' handwriting and take particular care in our cursive/joined-up handwriting style. We use Letter-Join as the basis of our handwriting policy that covers all the requirements of the National Curriculum. Handwriting is a basic skill that influences the quality of work throughout the curriculum. At the end of Key Stage 2, all pupils should have the ability to produce fluent, legible and eventually, speedy, joined-up handwriting, and to understand the different forms of handwriting used for different purposes. We aim to make handwriting an automatic process that does not interfere with creative and mental thinking.



The impact of our English curriculum is easily identifiable. Our children make good progress, talk enthusiastically about both reading and writing and learn vitally important life-long transferrable skills. With the implementation of our writing journey being well established and taught thoroughly in both key stages, children are becoming confident speakers, readers and writers. Pupils use their English knowledge and skills in all curriculum areas to enable them to know more, remember more and understand more. Their cross-curricular writing demonstrates consolidation of their English skills.

Pupils in our school talk positively about English. Through discussion and obtaining pupil voice, it is clear that children at St James talk enthusiastically about reading and writing and understand that English is the bedrock of the whole curriculum. They can also talk about books and authors that they have enjoyed and can make reading recommendations. Pupils can make links between texts and the different themes within them. They are able to write with purpose and understand the audience they are addressing ensuring that the child writes with a distinct narrator’s voice.

We measure impact of our curriculum through learning walks, book scrutinies, formative and summative data (using our Insight tracking system) and pupil voice. All of our teacher’s judgements are backed up with the use of Rising Stars NTS Assessments. These assessments are carried out termly and the analysis of these are used to identify areas of development for individual and groups of pupils.

Teachers meet to review and moderate individual examples of work against the national exemplification material produced. Through regular training, our teachers have developed expertise in the use of ‘Insight’ tracker for analysis to help them identify next steps for both individuals and groups of pupils, and this is used to inform ongoing planning.

We aim that as children move on from St James, to further their education and learning, their creativity, passion and love for English travels with them into their next stage of life.



  • EYFS vocabulary development – word of the week
  • EYFS 1000 Stories – book trolleys for parents/children to access daily
  • EYFS Book Bag Books  and Reading for Fun books
  • RWI ‘speed sound’ charts – EYFS and KS1 classrooms and teaching areas (groups); desktop charts in KS2
  • RWI ‘wobbly wallets’ (interventions)
  • Reading reward charts
  • Certificates and prizes (Rainbow Readers) to promote and reward effort in reading
  • English working walls (Y1-6)
  • Sound button mats
  • English resource boxes (Y1-6)
  • Class texts (Y1-6)
  • Class text ‘knowledge organisers’
  • Handwriting practice
  • Dictionaries and spelling logs – used in daily lessons


Schemes of Work

  • Fine/gross motor skills activities e.g. Dough Disco, Funky Fingers
  • Squiggle Whilst You Wiggle – malleable areas
  • Rhyme Time/singing in Nursery
  • Poetry Basket approach (Nursery and Reception)
  • Helicopter stories (Reception)
  • Talk Boost (Nursery) and Wellcomm (Reception) – speech and language interventions
  • Little Listeners and RWI daily lesson (EYFS and KS1) – homogenous groups and regular assessment
  • ‘Vipers’ reading approach
  • Letter join alphabet displays – all classrooms (and table mats)
  • Colourful semantics
  • Letter join handwriting approach



  • EYFS writing sheds/dens (outdoors)
  • EYFS writing ‘caddies’ – all learning zones
  • Phonics role-play areas
  • Book/reading corners/areas – all classrooms
  • Classic text studies (Y1-6)
  • Poetry studies (Y1-6)
  • Hall display - Our Reading Journey at St James
  • Modelled examples (writing) – all year groups
  • World Book Day – dress-up, inter-house book quiz, competitions (Book-in-a-Box)
  • Visiting authors/storytellers
  • Pantomimes/theatre company productions – in-school
  • Pantomime/theatre trips

English Long-Term Overview

Our Reading Journey at St James

Our Writing Journey at St James

Reading Progression