The overarching aim for English in the National Curriculum is to promote high standards of language and literacy by equipping pupils with a strong command of the spoken and written word, and to develop their love of literature through widespread reading for enjoyment. National Curriculum, July 2014.

Spoken Language

At Bishop Lonsdale we place great importance on encouraging high quality spoken language in order for children to develop their vocabulary and grammar. This enables them to communicate effectively and confidently and develops the skills required for reading and writing. We encourage children to respond to questions using full sentences and develop their confidence when speaking by using drama, presentations, discussion, debate and Talk for Writing.


At Bishop Lonsdale we encourage all children to be readers who share a passion for books and reading. We promote reading as a lifetime learning skill which provides children with enjoyment and excitement and an opportunity to gain information about the world around them. All classes have a daily story read to them by an adult.

The teaching of reading focuses on word reading (decoding) and comprehension (understanding).

Children are taught to read using Phonics from Nursery, Reception and through to Key Stage 1. They are taught in small groups across EYFS and Year 1 and 2 in discrete daily Phonics lessons. Phonics skills are also embedded within our daily teaching of literacy.

Across the school, children have many opportunities to develop their reading skills and they are encouraged to read for pleasure. In reading lessons, comprehension skills are developed through the use of a wide range of fiction, non-fiction and poetry. Children are taught these skills in small groups in order to facilitate high quality discussion and participation. During these lessons children also independently complete further work following teacher-led group reading, practise comprehension skills and read for pleasure.

Time is given during the school day for children to read their staged reading book independently and they also have regular opportunity to read one to one with an adult. Parents are encouraged to support their children with reading at home.


The teaching of writing at Bishop Lonsdale focuses on the competencies of transcription (spelling and handwriting) and composition (articulating ideas and structuring them in speech and writing).

Children are systematically taught spelling, grammar and punctuation using the National Curriculum English Programme of Study. Starting from EYFS, children use the Phonics programme to begin to segment the sounds they learn into letters that represent the sound and this is built on as pupils progress through school.

Handwriting is taught using the cursive script (joined letters) from Reception and pupils are taught how to form and join letters correctly. At Bishop Lonsdale there is an expectation that children present their work to a high standard both in using the cursive script and ensuring that writing is legible.

The composition element of writing is taught using Talk for Writing. This approach has an emphasis on helping children expand their vocabulary through the spoken word which then enables them to apply the acquired language into writing. Children build up a bank of orally rehearsed well known stories and rhymes allowing them to understand and internalise language structures. Children also learn how to write for other purposes and explore different structures related to non-fiction texts and poetry. These language structures give children a firm foundation on which to build coherent and expressive ways to communicate through writing.

Zoe Sumpter

English Subject Leader