At Finstall First School, we believe that English is a significant life skill and that the development of strong learning foundations will enable our children to listen, speak, read and write confidently throughout their school career and on into adult life. We believe that it is important to foster an enthusiasm for, and appreciation of, the different strands of literacy in a  broad, cross-curricular and real-life sense at all stages throughout the school.


In English, there are three main focus areas:

    Speaking and Listening


    Writing (including Spelling & Handwriting)

During Key Stage 1 (Years R – 2), pupils learn to speak confidently and listen to what others have to say. They begin to read and write independently and with enthusiasm. They use language to explore their own experiences and imaginary worlds.

During Key Stage 2 (Years 3 – 4 at Finstall), pupils learn to adapt and develop the way they speak and write to suit different situations. They read a range of texts and respond to different layers of meaning in them. They explore the use of language in literary and non-literary texts and learn how language works.


The Structure of the Daily English Lesson

We make full use of the National Curriculum Programmes of Study for English (2014) to aid our teaching in this area. This is supplemented by cross-curricular topic work. Typical aspects of lessons include the following:

  • Whole class shared reading and writing activities using a variety of interesting texts;
  • Whole class work concentrating on phonics, spelling, punctuation, grammar and handwriting;
  • Group work, including guided reading and writing sessions with the teacher, using books appropriate to the children’s abilities.
  • Time for independent work including extended writing, the length of which will be determined by the age and ability of the children.
  • A plenary session when the children are reminded about the day’s learning targets and which allows time for the children to report back on their work.

This is supplemented by cross-curricular topic work.



The school places a high degree of importance on the teaching of reading. We have a wealth of resources including Big Books, reading schemes and an excellent reference library. Those who experience difficulties are given special attention through the school’s SEN policy. Silent reading as a whole school activity is carried out and ‘reading partners’ are set up whereby older children partner younger children, offering help and encouragement. We encourage home-school links by using a reading record diary for each child and a reading target bookmark to highlight areas for development.



Writing is closely related to reading. The two activities reinforce each other. It is important that pupils learn to write independently from an early stage. The teaching of phonics, spelling and handwriting complements this process and are used to support writing and build up accuracy and speed. Correct letter formation is taught from the beginning and joined handwriting is taught from Year 2. Later on, pupils are shown how to plan, draft, revise and proof read their work.

Children are taught to punctuate their work correctly using the most essential punctuation marks.



Great emphasis is placed on spelling within English lessons. The children are required to learn selected words, which support their reading and writing activities. Spellings are given each week and regular spelling tests are used to check children’s progress.

The children at Finstall First School have been follow a Cursive Script Handwriting scheme.  Handwriting is a skill which, like reading and spelling, affects all written communication across the curriculum. Children should be able to write with ease, speed and legibility. Cursive handwriting teaches pupils to join letters and words as a series of flowing movements and patterns. Cursive writing is also closely linked to good spelling. At the end of KS2 children can only be judged to be within the ‘working at’ or ‘working at greater depth’ standards if their handwriting is cursive and neat.
Below are examples of the handwriting joins that we teach and a link to website.
English Learning Objectives by Year Group
Reading at Home
Phonics & Spellings 
Worksheets to Download
Useful Websites