English Curriculum

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The Curriculum

English has a pre-eminent place in education and in society. A high-quality education in English will teach pupils to speak and write fluently so that they can communicate their ideas and emotions to others, and through their reading and listening, others can communicate with them. Through reading in particular, pupils have a chance to develop culturally, emotionally, intellectually, socially and spiritually. Literature, especially, plays a key role in such development. Reading also enables pupils both to acquire knowledge and to build on what they already know. All the skills of language are essential to participating fully as a member of society; pupils who do not learn to speak, read and write fluently and confidently are effectively disenfranchised.


Subject Lead: Miss Wildsmith

At Holy Family, we are committed to ensuring the curriculum is broad, balanced and purposeful. We recognise that we are building the foundations for life-long learning. A shared love of literature throughout school and our faith life and Gospel values, Trust Character Virtues and British Values.


We believe that phonics provides the foundations of learning to make the development into fluent reading, spelling and writing easier. The teaching of phonics is of the highest priority.


At Holy Family we use the Sounds-Write phonics programme to teach our children to read, spell and write.

The programme begins with what all children know from a very early age – the sounds of their own language. It then moves to carefully sequenced, incremental steps to teach the sounds in the English language and how they can be spelt.

In EYFS children will be introduced to the Initial Code. During KS1 children will continue following the systematic phonics teaching and learn the Extended Code looking at ‘same sounds different spelling’ and ‘same spelling different sounds.’

Sounds-Write teaches children that:

  • Letters are symbols (spellings) that represent sounds
  • Each sound may be represented (spelled) by a 1, 2, 3 or 4-letter spelling
  • The same sound can be spelled in more than one way (goat, slow, note, toe, over)
  • Many spellings represent more than one sound (ea in read and bread)
  • The following skills are taught throughout the Sounds-Write program:
  • Blending – the ability to push sounds together to build words (c-a-t = cat)
  • Segmenting – the ability to pull apart the individual sounds in words (pig = p-i-g)
  • Phoneme manipulation – the ability to insert sounds into words and delete sounds out of words. This skill is necessary to test out alternatives for spellings that represent more than one sound.

Additionally, we teach ‘tricky words’ these are words that appear frequently in books for children and are usually learned using a whole word approach, with an action.

At the end of Year 1 children take the statutory Phonic Screening Check, this shows how well children can use the phonics skills they've learned. Any children who do not pass this test have small group interventions to continue and review their phonics journey in year 2.


Children will become confident readers, spellers and writers.