Teaching English at Over Hall Community School

'Be supported, feel supported - make a difference'

English lead: Mrs Whitehead


At Over Hall our high-quality English curriculum teaches 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. It provides opportunities for our children to develop culturally, emotionally, intellectually, socially and spiritually. We ensure our curriculum is planned and sequenced coherently so pupils are able to acquire knowledge and build on what they already know throughout the year, as well as across the whole school. High quality literature is used to provide context for our reading and writing lessons across school (see the books we use outlined in the document below). Over time, children will develop the skills of language they need in order to achieve well and lead happy, successful lives beyond the school gates.


We aim to ensure that all children:

  • Read easily, fluently and with good understanding
  • Read widely and often, for both pleasure and information
  • Aquire a wide vocabulary, an understanding of grammar and knowledge related to reading, writing and spoken language
  • Appreciate our rich and varied literary heritage
  • Write clearly, accurately and coherently, adapting their language and style in and for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences
  • Use discussion in order to learn; being able to elaborate and explain clearly their understanding and ideas
  • Are competent in the arts of speaking and listening, making formal presentations, demonstrating to others and participating in debate

At Over Hall our curriculum is inspired, planned, adapted and delivered through the following schemes. We use Literacy Counts; 'Ready, Steady, Read' for shared reading lessons and 'Ready, Steady, Write' for writing lessons. We follow 'Floppy's Phonics' as our chosen systematic synthetic phonics scheme. At the bottom of this page, you will find our reading, phonics and writing diets, alongside the reading and writing progression overviews for each year group.




All children in Reception and Year One have a daily phonics lesson in school. As and when appropriate, children in Year Two will continue to access daily phonics lessons until their phonic knowledge is secure.

We use Floppy's Phonics through which children are taught about letters and the sounds they make using a variety of approaches. These sounds are taught in a specific order to equip children with the knowledge and skills they need to decode words and read them accurately. The content of the phonic scheme is split into stages, of which there are five across Early Years and Key Stage One.

Generally, levels one to three (inclusive) are taught throughout Nursery/Reception. Level four and five are taught throughout Year One. Pupils in Year Two will consolidate level five (where appropriate) alongside their Year Two reading and spelling objectives. The scheme requires children to be supported in their learning at home through the use of reading books, activity sheets and Floppy's Phonics extra practice zone (online).

Children are assessed regularly (every two online books), enabling staff to have a secure understanding of each child's ability to recall GPCs as well as segmenting and blending to read words accurately. Interventions are planned and delivered in a timely manner and are focused on a particular 'area of weakness' in learning. Daily phonics lessons are taught as a whole class with additional, targeted support for those pupils requiring it. 

In the Summer of Year One, children take the statutory phonic screen check to assess how they are progressing with their knowledge of sounds and letters.

Further information regarding our phonics implementation can be found on our 'Phonics Diet' below.


All children are listened to reading on a one-to-one basis at least once a week, with children falling in the lowest 20% of each class being listened to on a daily basis and children working below age-related expectations listened to two or three times a week. We understand the importance of reading daily; we have a home-school agreement and expectation that children will be supported with their reading at home. It is expected that the children will read daily and record daily reading in their reading response books in Year Reception to Year Four, and in their school diaries in Years Five and Six. 

In Reception and Year One, children participate in group guided reading sessions which support pupils' letter-sound and word recognition alongside developing other skills for reading such as the context, the sense of the sentence, fluency, expression etc. Oxford Reading Tree books, closely matched to Floppy's Phonics scheme, are used to deliver guided reading sessions. The structure for these guided read sessions can be found in our 'Phonics Diet' below. Some children in Year Two may continue to recieve guided reading sessions until they are secure in their phonic knowledge where they will then move onto shared reading sessions, similar to that of children in Years Three to Six.

In Years Two to Year Six, we deliver regular, whole class, shared reading lessons using 'Ready, Steady, Read' from Literacy Counts, where we focus on the comprehension aspect of reading. Our sessions facilitate pupils' understanding of vocabulary and their skills of inference, prediction, retell and summary. Every lesson is also used to model how to read aloud clearly, with intonation, expression and awareness of an audience. Lessons are adapted, using assessment outcomes, to ensure children are taught the specific skills they need in order to continue to develop their reading skills and achieve success. In Summer term, children in Year One will begin to participate in whole class shared reading lessons to prepare them and support their transition into Year Two.

We provide a mixture of fiction, non fiction and poetry titles for children to access to read. Children in Reception to Year Two read books published by the Oxford Reading Tree. These books are in line with our Phonics Scheme and are colour banded to represent each level in the phonics scheme.  The books that children read are carefully chosen based on individual pupils' phonics knowledge so that each child is reading a text with 90% accuracy and a matched level of understanding. Once children are secure in level 5 phonics, they can continue to progress through the banded books from level 6 to 11, using PM Benchmarking to ensure children are reading the correct level books for fluency and comprehension. Once a child moves into Year Three and are able to read level 11 books accurately, they move onto our school levelled book bands. These are essentially our 'free-readers' and children are able to choose a book of their choice, from the correct level band; this ensures all children are reading an age-appropriate book. We use accellerated reader to level these books and children are assessed using FFT to identify their reading age and therefore the correct level band.

Further information regarding our reading implementation can be found on our 'Reading Diet' below.


When a child writes, they are often two distinct people. A composer and a secretary. Both need your teaching. Both need nurturing.’

The Writing For Pleasure Centre – promoting research-informed writing teaching

Writing is a complex task of which we unpick to identify key building blocks that allow children to become writers. It requires the coordination of fine motor skills and cognitive skills, reflects the social and cultural patterns of the writer’s time and is also linguistically complex (Myhill and Fisher, 2010; Fisher, 2012). Writing can be simplified into two main areas of transcription (spelling and handwriting) and composition (articulating ideas and structuring them in speech and writing).

Writing encompasses a range of genres, divided mainly in fiction (prose that describes imaginary events and people in a variety of genre such as poetry, playscripts, traditional tales, science fiction, mystery etc) and non-fiction (prose that is informative or factual, explaining and describing such as reports, explanations, manuals, prospectuses, travel guides and brochures; sometimes with examples of persuasion, argument or even advise.

Speaking and listening, phonics, spelling and handwriting skills lay the foundation for writing. Articulating ideas before writing means that children can focus more on their writing composition. Transcribing with increasing skill (spelling and handwriting) provides them with the confidence and flow. Writing for a purpose and ideally a ‘real’ audience provides a greater enthusiasm to write.  At Over Hall, we aim to provide exciting writing opportunities, time for purposeful practice and effective feedback. 

We base our lessons on an approach called ‘Talk for Writing’ that takes children through three stages. Firstly, they learn to imitate the language needed for a particular topic orally, before moving onto reading and analysing it, and then writing their own version. Over time, our teachers reduce the amount of scaffolding and modelling they provide, and children are able to write high-quality texts independently.

Over Hall has adopted Literacy Counts’ ‘Ready, Steady, Write’ scheme that works alongside the ‘Ready, Steady, Read’ scheme. ‘Letter join’ and ‘No Nonsense Spelling’ provide the framework and progression in handwriting and spelling beyond the phonics scheme of ‘Floppy Phonics’. The units ensure that teaching and learning begins from a high quality, language rich text and teaches the writing skills that children need to acquire in a coherently planned and sequenced way. The progression of writing skills we teach year on year is documented in the attachment below. Staff endeavour to provide writing opportunities wider than the English lesson allowing them to write for different purposes and to experience first hand the impact of great writing.

Intervention and support are offered in each of these key areas through personalised learning, adapted teaching alongside adult led or online programmes such as IDL and Phonics International.

Staff at Over Hall teach and nurture composers, secretaries, and above all, confident and enthusiastic writers.

Further information regarding our phonics implementation can be found on our 'Writing Diet' below.

Leadership - As a result of effective leadership staff receive regular training and support ensuring they have the knowledge, expertise and skills to effectively implement reading and writing within their cohort. Regular discussions with staff, monitoring of lessons/ pupil outcomes and analysis of data informs the next steps in terms of staff training and development. We work closely alongside the English Hub to ensure effective leadership and implementation of phonics and early reading, and with Oxford University Press to ensure we have a range of appropriate, phonetically decoable books for our children to read. Trustees are regularly updated on the progress we, as a school, are making in the implementation and outcomes of reading and writing.

Equal opportunities - All children have equal access to the English curriculum. Teaching and learning is adapted to meet the needs of each cohort, as well as individuals who require further support/ or who are capable of achieving more. Interventions are planned to ensure children continue to make progress and are able to achieving within lessons, as well as across the curriculum.

Planning - Our planning is informed by Floppy's Phonics, Literacy Counts 'Ready, Steady, Read' and 'Ready, Steady, Write' schemes of work. The long-term plan is progressive in term of knowledge and skills; each aspect of reading and writing are built upon and expanded each year in accrodance with the growing knowledge of the children. Our progression documents highlight the progression that is made across each term, in each year group. Planning may be subject to change, in occordance with assessment outcomes, to ensure areas of weakness for specific children/ cohorts are planned for to further develop these skills and ensure positve outcomes for all.

Breadth and depth - High quality reading and writing lessons equip pupils with the knowledge and skills they need to access the whole curriculum, unlocking many opportunities.

Teaching and learning covers the following areas in both Key Stage One and Key Stage Two;

  • Spoken language
  • Reading (word reading and comprehension)
  • Writing (transcription, composition, vocabulary, spellng, grammar and punctuation)

Please refer to the key learning documents below, which also outline the teaching and learning in Reception.

Wider opportunities - As we follow a cross-curricular approach, a number of topics within other subjects are influenced by our writing and reading units of work. Children are encouraged to use the knowledge, skills and vocabulary gained in reading and writing lessons to inspire and enrich work across the curriculum. Staff are encouraged to plan opportunities for children to write about real-life events such as trips that have taken place. Children are also informed about what the purpose and audience is for their writing, with opportunities to share their work with the intended audience.

Assessment - Teachers carry out assessments of the children as part of everyday teaching, and at the end of a unit of work to check learning. Both types of assessment help teachers to plan the next steps and they also help to monitor children’s progress and provide reports for parents and carers.

On entry to Reception, children take part in a national Baseline Assessment to assess skills in all areas. Reception staff record children’s progress using the Foundation Stage Profile. Teachers and Teaching Assistants observe and assess children whilst they are engaging in a variety of activities. The staff use the information they gather to plan appropriate work for all the children in their care. A copy is given to the parents at the end of the school year, and termly updates are sent out.

Children in Year 1 undertake a national phonics assessment in July and the results are shared with Parents/Carers at the end of the year.

Children in 6 are assessed as required by the National Curriculum, using teacher assessments in Writing and standardised tests in Reading and Grammar Punctuation & Spelling (GPS) - known as Key Stage SAT (Statutory Assessment Tests). Such tasks and tests are carried out between April and June.

Teacher Assessment takes place in all year groups throughout the year across the curriculum. Year group specific NFER tests each term are carried out for Reading (Years 2-6), and GPS (Years 3-6) identifying key areas of strength and gaps of learning which thus influence planning. 

Separate reports on end of Key Stage SAT results, alongside Teacher Assessment results, are given to parents of Year 6 pupils.

Verbal and summary reports that detail current attainment, progress alongside attendance are given at parent consultation evenings which are held in Autumn and Spring Terms. Parents/Carers are also informed if their child is/is not identified as SEND at these consultations.

An annual report is written by staff and shared with parents in the Summer Term. Detailing achievement and progress, a statement and target within the core subjects; alongside an indication of achievement and effort in the foundation subjects; and a final comment upon the whole child.

During lessons, teachers check that the children have learnt the necessary knowledge and have the skills required to complete the key learning tasks - this is demonstrated through discussion, hot marking and questioning throughout lessons. Teachers also use this assessment in a timely manner to identify common misconceptions and feedback which informs planning and adjustments to their teaching.

Subject leaders have a firm grasp of performance and delivery as a result of pupil voice, staff voice, work scrutiny and data scrutiny alongside lesson observation.



The impact of our English curriculum will be that pupils can communicate effectively through speaking, listening and writing in an accurate, clear, coherent and engaging way.

Pupils will secure knowledge of a variety of genres in reading and writing, use a wide, ambitious vocabulary and apply their English skills to access the wider curriculum.

Pupils will achieve, at least, expected standards for their age and take their enjoyment of and achievement in English beyond the school gates and into their future lives.

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