St Margaret Clitherow Catholic Primary School

We act with love, build our faith and grow as people


English schemes of work and Curriculum

Phonics and early reading

We believe that all our children can become fluent readers and writers. This is why we teach reading through Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised, which is a systematic and synthetic phonics programme. We start teaching phonics in Reception which ensures children build on their growing knowledge of the alphabetic code, mastering phonics to read and spell as they move through school.


Daily phonics lessons in Reception and Year 1

We teach phonics for up to 30 minutes a day. In Reception, we build from 10-minute lessons, with additional daily oral blending games, to the full-length lesson as quickly as possible. Once a week we review the week’s teaching to help children become fluent readers.


We follow the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised expectations of progress:

  • Children in Reception are taught to read and spell words using Phase 2 and 3 GPCs, and words with adjacent consonants (Phase 4) with fluency and accuracy.
  • Children in Year 1 review Phases 3 and 4 and are taught to read and spell words using Phase 5 GPCs with fluency and accuracy.


Keep-up lessons ensure every child learns to read

  • Any child who needs additional practice has keep-up support. Keep-up lessons match the structure of class teaching and use the same procedures, resources and mantras, but in smaller steps with more repetition so that every child secures their learning.
  • Keep-up sessions also take place for any child in Year 2 and above who is not fully fluent at reading or has not passed the Phonics screening check.


Reading practice sessions

  • We teach children to read through reading practice sessions.
  • These are taught by a trained adult to small groups of approximately six children
  • use books matched to the children’s secure phonic knowledge
  • Each reading practice session has a clear focus, so that the demands of the session do not overload the children’s working memory. The reading practice sessions have been designed to focus on three key reading skills:
    • decoding
    • prosody: teaching children to read with understanding and expression
    • comprehension: teaching children to understand the text.


Home reading

The decodable reading practice book is taken home to ensure success is shared with the family.


Reading for pleasure books also go home for parents to share and read to children.


The Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised parents’ resources has lots of information and resources about phonics, the benefits of sharing books and how children learn to blend.


Ensuring reading for pleasure


We value reading for pleasure highly and work hard as a school to grow our Reading for Pleasure pedagogy.


  • We read to children every day. We choose these books carefully as we want children to experience a wide range of books, including books that reflect the children at our school and our local community as well as books that open windows into other worlds and cultures.
  • Every classroom has an inviting book corner that encourages a love for reading. We curate these books and talk about them to entice children to read a wide range of books.
  • In Reception, children have access to the reading corner every day in their free flow time and the books are continually refreshed.
  • Children have a home reading record. The parent/carer records comments to share with the adults in school and the adults will write in this on a regular basis to ensure communication between home and school.
  • As the children progress through the school, they are encouraged to write their own comments and keep a list of the books/authors that they have read.
  • Each class visits the local library every half term.
  • The school library is made available for classes to use at protected times. Children across the school have regular opportunities to engage with a wide range of Reading for Pleasure events (book fairs, author visits and national events)




Assessment is used to monitor progress and to identify any child needing additional support as soon as they need it.

Assessment for learning is used:

  • daily within class to identify children needing Keep-up support
  • weekly in the review lesson to assess gaps, address these immediately and secure fluency of GPCs, words and spellings.


Summative assessment is used:

  • every six weeks to assess progress, to identify gaps in learning that need to be addressed,
  • to identify any children needing additional support and to plan the keep-up support that they need.


Statutory assessment

Children in Year 1 sit the Phonics screening check. Any child not passing the check re-sits it in Year 2.

Reading levels

All children follow a reading scheme which provides children with a colour stage. They are able to access books from their reading stage and will progress through the stages through regular reading practise at home and in school. When children have reached the final stage they become a ‘free reader’ which means they are able to read chapter books as well as their library book. Children are encouraged to select both fiction and non-fiction texts and also books from recommended authors.

Whole Class Reading

Reading is taught through the whole class approach. Each class has a text which they read aloud. New vocabulary from the text is selected and taught explicitly before answering comprehension based questions on the text.


Pupils working below age-related expectations are identified quickly and interventions planned and in place. We follow set interventions which include: Reading fluency, arrow and phonics.


Writing is taught predominately with a book as a stimulus. Children engage with the text and are presented with writing opportunities based on the story they are reading. Children are taught the key features of a writing genre and use these to produce their own piece of writing in a similar style.

Spelling, grammar and punctuation

Grammar, punctuation and sentence construction are taught either through the class text in writing lessons or as separate sessions. Spelling is taught in a systematic way; following spelling patterns and spelling tests are carried out weekly. Children are encouraged to spell ‘non-negotiable’ words correctly.


Handwriting skills are practised regularly and correct orientation is taught from Reception onwards. In Reception, children print words and learn the letters in ‘family’ groups of similar formation styles. Children move onto joined handwriting in year 1 with ‘lead in’ and ‘lead out’ lines. Handwriting practise is continued into years 2-6 with children receiving interventions if they are finding it difficult to produce legible work.

Speaking and listening

Children are frequently encouraged to listen, take turns in discussions and are given ample opportunities to develop confidence in expressing themselves clearly through a variety of situations such as: preparing and performing poetry, class assemblies, role play and storytelling. Good speaking and listening skills are modelled from EYFS upwards.