St Mary's Church of England (Aided) Primary School


How we teach English at St Mary's


How we teach Reading at St Mary's



The EYFS and Year 1 follow the Read Write Inc (RWI) programme using phonics to learn how to read.  Once children are able to access texts independently (Years 2-6), reading is taught in what is referred to as “Whole Class Guided Reading”.  Teachers use high-quality texts, and base lessons around VIPERS (vocabulary, inference, predication, explanation, retrieval, and summaries.)  Teachers ensure that a range of genres are covered each term.


Reading books

Every week, the children in FS and KS1 take home a RWI book -bag book that is linked to the RWI book that they are reading in school. They also take home a book from the coloured book boxes: these link to the RWI level that they are on and can be changed as often as needed.  Children  can also choose a book from the school library to read for pleasure.


In KS2, if children are still following the phonics RWI programme, they will take home a corresponding level of book. All KS2 children can choose a book from their own class book corners and a book from the school library to take home.



Formative assessment is ongoing.  Teachers are skilled in assessing progress during lessons through questioning and by viewing independent tasks. Teachers highlight reading objectives using The Alison Philipson progression in reading skills’ sheets.

Summative assessments are carried out termly, and results can be used to track the progress of all children.  These help teachers plan the next sequence of lessons.  Years 3,4 and 5 sit NFER reading papers; Years 2 and 6 sit past SATs’ papers; and Year 1 use “Rising Stars” reading tests.



All children are expected to read at home daily.  They are given a school reading diary, which should be filled in each time they have read.  Year 6 pupils will at times be given practice SATs’ papers, or comprehension exercises to complete at home.


How we teach writing at St Mary’s



Years 1-6 use a text -based planning approach.  High quality texts are used as stimuli for children’s writing.  The texts chosen for each year group are appropriate but challenging.  The whole school writing overview ensures that a range of genres of writing are covered during each key phase.  Teachers plan a Learning Journey based on one key text per term. The Learning journey is split into 3 parts. The first part is called “stimulate and generate” where the children become familiar with the text, characters, and language that the author uses. This part ends with a “site of application” write, where children use a previously taught genre to write in a new context. The second part is known as “capture, sift and sort”. Here,  children examine a model text and are taught skills, grammar and punctuation that will help them write in the chosen genre. The final part is called “create, refine and edit.” Children spend time planning, creating and editing their own piece of writing. Teachers emphasise the purpose, audience, and form for each Learning Journey.


Additionally, Years 2-6 follow the “Get Spelling” programme.  This uses videos and workbooks and ensures the progress of spelling skills and knowledge.  Year 1’s spelling curriculum is linked to RWI.


Handwriting is taught throughout the school using the “Letter Join” programme.



Formative assessment is ongoing and ensures that the lessons planned are appropriate to each stage in learning.  Teachers are skilled in assessing progress during lessons.  This could be done through questioning, observing, or marking independent written work.


Teachers keep track of writing objectives achieved by children by using The Alison Philipson writing progression of skills assessment grids when marking independent pieces of writing. Additionally, teachers moderate pieces of writing together to agree on levels and inform planning and next steps for learning.


Years 3,4 and 5 sit NFER SPAG (Spelling, Grammar and Punctuation) tests three times a year.  Years 2 and 6 sit past SATs’ papers. Year 1 use “Rising Stars” SPAG test.



All children are given spelling to learn, which are tested once a week.

Year 6 children have a SPAG homework book, with activities set for revision purposes.


Additional information

Subject leader - Sarah Hollander

Any questions relating to the reading and writing curriculum can be emailed to the subject leader via the school office.


School Library


Every child in the school has a library session in our well equipped and modern library facility.  Children are welcome to select books weekly from this provision which is supervised by our School Librarian, Lisa Harrison.


September 2022