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Barley Hill Primary School

Barley Hill Primary School
  1. About Us
  2. Curriculum Intent
  3. English


We believe that all children deserve to attain a high standard of English. Children are explicitly taught the skills of reading, writing, speaking and listening.   English lessons are timetabled each day throughout Key Stages 1 and 2 with skills being transferred to all other areas of the curriculum. We want to develop a passion for reading so books and stories are made the centre of everything we do.  Children will be read to regularly from a range of texts and will practise their own reading skills daily too.  Our library is being set up to help support our reading - watch out for its grand opening!

Reading and Phonics

Reading is taught as a basic skill in its own right and is practiced throughout all areas of the curriculum. In the early stages of reading, reading is taught as a discrete subject and is later practiced and enhanced as a lifelong strategy and pleasure.  Children will take part in a variety of whole class reading sessions (where all children read from the same text and link to comprehension skills), reciprocal reading (where all children read from the same text in groups) and guided reading.  There are plenty of books in al of the children's classrooms for them to choose from, plus many opportunities to visit Thame library and our school library to select books that they enjoy reading.

Phonics is taught  within Early Years and KS1 daily, following Letters and Sounds, a phonics resource published by the Department for Education and Skills in 2007.  Children will learn the spelling of tricky words, how to blend and segment sounds for reading and spelling and the reading of key words.  Letters and Sounds aims to build children's speaking and listening skills in their own right as well as to prepare children for learning to read by developing their phonic knowledge and skills. It sets out a detailed and systematic programme for teaching phonic skills for children starting by the age of five, with the aim of them becoming fluent readers by age seven.

In Year 1 the children have to complete the statutory Year 1 phonics screening check. This is a short, light-touch assessment to confirm whether individual children have learnt phonic decoding to an appropriate standard. It will identify the children who need extra help so they are given support by the school to improve their reading skills. They will then be able to retake the check so that we can track pupils until they are able to decode.

Parents across the school are encouraged to support reading at home and children are expected to read daily. Each child has an individual reading record which should be signed at least three times a week.  Children are rewarded through a "Read to succeed" scheme if they are reading frequently at home.  

Reading Questions

As you are reading with your child, please ask them questions about what they have heard or read, such as what did the character just do? What do you think might happen next? Why do you think that? What vocabulary did the author use to describe how that character was feeling? Why did the character choose to act in that way? These support your child's understanding of what they have read.

Please click below to be taken to some helpful Phonics resources on the web:

Mr Thorne does Phonics Episode

The cbeebies alphablocks series is great for early phonics/reading skills


Writing is promoted as a thinking tool, not just as a medium for sharing information. Children are encouraged to write at length across a range of subjects, not just in their English lessons.  Children will write for a purpose within their English sessions and all the children will have the opportunity to have their writing 'published' in some way, for example in a class book, a competition, on a display or with parents invited to have a look.    Children write using a cursive script, which supports the fluency of their writing.  They begin to learn this script in Early Years. 

If you would like to know more about how we teach writing in school, please click on the link below.

Writing Leaflet

If you would like to know about how we teach cursive writing in school, please click on the link below.

Handwriting Leaflet