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Holm Cultram Abbey
C of E Primary School


‘Once you learn to read you will be forever free’ 

Frederick Douglass 


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. At HCA we want every child to believe that they can become a capable reader and writer. 


We want to help encourage our children to become passionate and excited during English lessons. We plan lessons that are accessible for all and aim for children to feel a sense of achievement and accomplishment at the end of every lesson.


To ensure that children experience high quality English, we follow the CUSP overviews for reading and writing from Year 1 to Year 6. KS2 have daily reading and writing lessons, while KS1 have daily phonics sessions and alternate between a week of writing and a week of reading.   


English is a fundamental key skill that intertwines into all subjects, we therefore plan cross-curricular lessons, so children can feel confident when applying their English skills in all areas of the curriculum.

Where we can, we always link many of our subjects to relevant themes, local events or global issues which are prevalent in the children’s lives, giving them purpose.


In English, we aim to use a wide range of fiction, non-fiction and poetry texts and we have aimed to ensure that we have got a good coverage of books from different cultures, written by a range of male and female authors. Ensuring we have a wide range of good quality texts has helped to enthuse children and also gives them access to a wide variety of vocabulary which impacts upon their writing.

Reading and Phonics


At HCA, we recognise the importance of implementing and enjoying phonics from the first term in Reception right up until they can read texts, write and spell effortlessly. We value high quality lessons using Read Write Inc where the children are engaging in a fast-paced lesson focused on their sounds, reading, handwriting and spelling. The Read Write Inc scheme, which we use at HCA, advocates that lessons should be delivered using the 5 P’s: pace, praise, purpose, participation and passion. All of these combined will ensure the children are achieving the best results whilst finding pleasure and enjoyment in reading.


We help our children to develop their phonics in different ways: by talking with their partner, independent activities and focused adult supported work. We group the pupils homogeneously according to their progress in reading and therefore they should feel comfortable within their group as all the children will be accessing the same learning and reading book each session. This results in the children feeling like ‘readers’ from a young age as they are always reading books which are closely matched to their increasing knowledge of phonics and the common exception words.


To ensure the children experience high quality Phonics lessons, we have recently invested in the Read Write Inc programme which ensures the children are accessing and experiencing speed sounds, word reading, handwriting and spelling daily.  The scheme is implemented alongside the use of high-quality resources which all work together to provide a rich, learning experience.  Each lessons prior knowledge is considered through a quick recap of the speed sounds before moving onto the book, which matches their current phonics ability.


Read Write Inc ensures progression is evident throughout, providing resources for pupils in reception to year 2 who are learning to read and write; pupils in year 2, 3 and 4 who need to catch up rapidly and struggling readers in years 5 and 6 through the Fresh Start resources.


Read Write Inc planning addresses the New Early Years Foundation Stage Framework and the National Curriculum reading content, but also shows progression of other skills, including writing, across the school.