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Holy Cross Catholic

Primary School

Building relationships with God and each other,
working hard in faith and hope to give our best in all things.

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Building relationships with God and each other,
working hard in faith and hope to give our best in all things.

English Statement



The English curriculum consists of Speaking and Listening, Reading, Phonics, Writing, Spelling, Grammar and Handwriting. These areas are taught daily in specific English lessons as well as through other curriculum areas. Our aim is for the children to become: enthusiastic and fluent readers, to be able to express themselves in a number of different writing styles for different purposes, to be able to speak confidently to a range of audiences and to listen with concentration.


Speaking and Listening


Children are provided with regular opportunities to develop the essential skills of speaking and listening. The Four Strands of Speaking and Listening: Speaking; Listening; Group Discussion and Interaction, and Drama permeate the whole curriculum. Interactive teaching strategies are used to engage all pupils in order to raise reading and writing standards. Children are encouraged to develop effective communication skills in readiness for later life.




From Foundation Stage, children are taught letter formation and joins following our cursive handwriting scheme, which enables children to develop an independent, mature style of writing. Good presentation is expected at all times and displaying children’s work is an integral part of this process. Ultimately we want each child to develop a fluent, legible and attractive style of handwriting.




Opportunities, organisation and provision for the teaching and learning of writing are as follows:


  • Emergent writing: In Reception children are given daily opportunities to write freely within a particular genre and across the curriculum. This gives them the opportunity to become emergent writers.
  • Shared Writing : Within each teaching sequences shared writing is a key part.
  • Guided Writing/Independent Writing: Each teaching sequence ends with an opportunity for guided and independent writing. There are also frequent opportunities for independent writing throughout the other curriculum areas.
  • Extended writing: Throughout the term there are opportunities for extended writing. On a termly basis samples of these extended writing outcomes are used for assessment purposes.


Teaching Phonics at Holy Cross Catholic Primary School      


At Holy Cross we teach Phonics by usingLetters and Sounds: Principles and Practice of High Quality Phonicsas well asJolly Phonics. Jolly Phonics teaches the children an action to pair with the sounds for the day and it is a very effective and interactive way for young learners to recall phonemes.  ‘Letters and Sounds’ provides us with games and resources to support our teaching of phonics. It aims to build pupils’ speaking and listening skills, as well as prepare pupils to learn to read, by developing their phonic knowledge and skills.  It sets out a detailed programme for teaching phonic skills, with the aim of pupils becoming fluent readers by age seven.  Phonics is taught from Nursery to Year 2 and then in Lower KS2 if the children require additional support.

The Phonics programme is broken down into 6 phases.  Phase 1 is taught in Nursery and recapped in Reception.  Phases 2, 3 and 4 are taught in Reception.  Phase 5 is taught in Year 1 and Phase 6 is taught in Year 2.


The expectations for Phonics are as follows:


End of Reception – Secure in Phase 3

End of Year 1 – Secure in Phase 5

End of Year 2 – Secure in Phase 6


We recognise that children learn at different speeds and sometimes there are children who are not secure in their phonics at the expected level by the end of an academic year.  Therefore, we set lessons across KS1 so that children can be taught at the relevant phase for their needs.


At the end of Year 1, all pupils undertake a national Phonics check.  This is designed so that we can see if the children are at the expected levels in their phonics knowledge.  The Phonics check draws on many aspects of Phase 5 phonics and children need to be secure in this phase in order to pass the phonics check.  Those children who do not pass the Phonics check will retake it at the end of Year 2.


A breakdown of what is taught at each Phase is below:


Phase 1:


Showing an awareness of rhyme and alliteration.Distinguishing between sounds in the environment and phonemes.  Exploring and experimenting with sounds and words.  Discriminating speech sounds in words.  Beginning to orally blend and segment phonemes.


Phase 2:


Blending for reading and segmenting for spelling simple cvc words.

Letter sets:

Set 1 – s, a, t, p

Set 2 – i, n, m, d

Set 3 – g, o , c, k

Set 4 – ck, e, u, r

Set 5 – h, b,f, ff, l, ll, ss


Phase 3:

Knowing one grapheme for each of the 43 phonemes.

Letter sets:

Set 6 – j, v, w, x

Set 7 – y, z, zz, qu


ear, air, are, er, ar, or, ur, ow, oi, ai, ee, igh, oa, oo

Consonant digraphs:

ch, sh, th, ng.


Phase 4

This is a consolidation unit.  There are no new graphemes to learn but the children learn how to read longer words such as stamp, plug, flag, twig, bedroom.


Phase 5


ay, ou, ie, ea, oy, ir, ue, aw, wh, ph, ew, oe, au, a-e, e-e, i-e, o-e, u-e

Alternative pronunciations for:

i, o, c, g, u, ow, ie, ea, er, a, y, ch, ou


Phase 6

At this stage children should be able to spell words phonemically although not always correctly.  The main aim of this phase is to become more fluent readers and more accurate spellers.

Homework is sent home as soon as the children begin to learn Phase 2 phonics.  It is very important that homework is completed at home as it reinforces the learning that the children have been undertaking in school.


Parents’ Workshops are held in September/October for parents of children in Reception where we explain the teaching of phonics, demonstrate how you can help your child at home and show how to pronounce the 44 phonemes.  A similar workshop is help for parents of KS1 children where we explain the Phonics Check and the Phase 5 and 6 programme of Phonics.


How we teach reading

Reading is closely linked to Phonics, but in addition to the stand alone Phonics lessons, children are taught how to read through 1:1 reading and group guided reading sessions.  Levelled reading books are made available to the children from their Reception Year and continue throughout the school into KS1 and KS2.  Schemes that we use include Phonics Bug, Oxford Reading Tree and Ginn books.  These books are taken home by the children to read with their parents.  A home school reading record is also sent home for parents to complete with their child.


When reading in a group, children work with others of similar reading abilities and are challenged in their reading skills.  Group work focuses on the comprehension skills necessary to be a fluent reader.  It may consider an author’s intention in how a book was written or a discussion about the choice of language used.  Each session will focus on a specific reading skill.  Guided reading sessions take place daily with children being guided by an adult in their sessions at least once per week.  Children are heard read 1:1 as often as possible at school, but it is parents who are encouraged to hear their child read at home regularly, preferably on a daily basis.  Monday and Friday mornings are Shared Reading Mornings where parents are invited to come into school and read with their child in class between 8:45am and 9:00am.


Children are assessed on their reading skills, taking into consideration word recognition alongside comprehension skills including inference and deduction techniques.  Children are assessed using the ‘PM Benchmarking Kit’ which allows us to obtain a levelled reading band for the child depending on the amount of errors that they have made and their understanding of what they have read.  They are also assessed against the New National Curriculum age related expectations for Years 1, 3, 4 and 5. Years 2 and 6 are assessed against APP (Assessing Pupils’ Progress) and National Curriculum levels for the previous National Curriculum.  Children in Reception and Nursery are assessed against the Development Matters Document and the Early Years Foundation Stage Profile.


Story time takes place across the school daily whereby a text is shared with the class at the end of the day.  This may be a class text that is being used in the curriculum or it may be a text that is for pleasure.  Hearing and reading stories is closely linked with better performance in writing so all reading is encouraged not only to develop reading skills and a love of reading but also to help to improve writing skills.