Case Studies

Case Studies

St Stephens Primary School


English at St Stephens Community Primary School

At St Stephens, we believe English is fundamental to success for all pupils.

They need to be articulate communicators, have a love of reading and be able to write for a range of audiences and purposes.

St Stephens teaches the National Curriculum.

The aims of teaching English, as outlined in the programmes of study ensure that all pupils:

  • read easily, fluently and with good understanding
  • develop the habit of reading widely and often, for both pleasure and information
  • acquire a wide vocabulary, an understanding of grammar and knowledge of linguistic conventions for 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; they should be 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.

The Subject Leader for English is Mrs V Jones.

 Spoken Language

Children will be provided with opportunities to:

  • Talk for a range of purposes.
  • Regularly use partner talk to develop ideas
  • Use talk to clarify thinking and understanding
  • Communicate to different audiences
  • Listen and respond to different people
  • To use discussion to probe and remedy misconceptions
  • Observe and participate in dramatic activities

Opportunities to develop spoken language and listening skills will be developed through activities in English lessons such as book talk and storymaps. It will also be developed across the full curriculum e.g. through class discussions in SMSC.

Drama will be used to enhance spoken language, including opportunities for:

  • ­  Storytelling
  • ­  Characterisation and exploring dialogue
  • ­  Performing poems and rhymes
  • ­  Exploring issues and dilemmas
  • ­  Participation in class and school productions
  • ­  Film making and broadcasting using digital media


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At St Stephens, we believe that reading feeds children’s imagination and opens up a treasure house of wonder and joy for curious young minds.

We ensure that children are taught to read widely, fluently and confidently for pleasure using a range of authors old and new.

Children will be taught two key reading skills:

  • word reading (phonics)
  • comprehension

Word reading – the ability to decode words- will be taught through the use of the synthetic phonics scheme using Phonics bug.

Children will be benchmarked to assess which level of books they should be reading and to ensure that they progress appropriately. We use a colour-coded reading scheme to ensure progression.

It is our aim to encourage children to learn to love reading and to read regularly outside of school. Schemes such as Bug Club and read for my school are used to encourage this reading for pleasure. Celebrations such as World Book Day are used to invite authors into school and promote the pleasure and knowledge that can be gained from books.

The school library is regularly updated so we can provide a range ofImage result for books clipart high quality texts to encourage children to read widely. 

Reading at St Stephens

At St Stephens, it is our intent that every child will be taught to read fluently for meaning and will leave primary school able to read and comprehend a wide range of age appropriate texts. Children will be encouraged to develop a love of reading, through regular exposure to high quality texts that will be shared by adults; as well as developing the reading habits of avid readers, choosing to read for pleasure. 

Books to share and read aloud will be carefully selected by adults, to support thematic, book-led learning. These books can be found on our school reading spine, which is regularly reviewed and updated.

Reading skills will be taught strategically throughout the school, starting as soon as possible with the very youngest children.  The children will be taught through daily phonics, individual and guided reading, as well as having good quality literature, non-fiction and poetry read to them.

Children falling behind the expected standard will be quickly identified and given additional support to catch up, so that they stand every chance of being a fluent and lifelong reader.

Prioritising Reading

Accelerated Reader

Karate Reading

The Reading Environment

Reading Special Events


Reading in EYFS

How to support children with reading (advice for parents)

How can I find out more about reading?


At St Stephens, children will be taught to write, organise and present texts for a variety of readers and audiences.

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Children will be taught two key writing skills:

  • Transcription – the use of correct spelling and grammar
  • Composition – articulating ideas and structuring them in speech and writing

Spelling continues to be taught throughout the school and forms a key part of homework activities.

Children will be taught to write imaginative texts using a ‘Talk for Writing’ approach. This involves immersing children in quality texts which they learn, retell and write.

These writing activities will be stimulating, relate to the children’s experiences and interests and be prepared for real audiences and purposes. Expectations are high and children will write texts using a range of sophisticated vocabulary, varied sentence structures and an increasing range of punctuation.

The spelling and grammar appendices of the new curriculum will be followed in each year group.


At St Stephens we aim to deliver a fun, interactive and fast learning platform for children when they first learn to read. We currently use Phonics Bug and Phonics Play daily to help us deliver comprehensive phonics development. This programme offers our children the teaching of synthetic phonics through videos, interactive games and reading/spelling sessions.

Phonics is taught for at least 20 minutes every day in Foundation, Year 1 and Year 2 and we assess progress regularly to ensure that any child who is falling behind is targeted with quick interventions.

The Phonics Bug programme also provides parents/carers with access at home through their child’s personal log in.

The children have access to many different books linked to this programme which are phonetically decodable. They also use other schemes within our school to support their reading. We ensure phonics is used as the first method children use to decode new words to read or to attempt to spell in writing. This enables us as a school to offer children the opportunity to develop a path to a lifelong love of reading, whilst ensuring rapid progress towards age expected outcomes.

All pupils will take the Year 1 phonics test in the summer term and results are published and shared with parents.


Curriculum Statement


At St Stephens, we believe that the teaching of English underpins the entire curriculum. Therefore, it is our intention that the fundamental skills of speaking and listening, reading and writing and the delivery of the National curriculum, will be taught systematically through a carefully structured thematic approach. It is essential that children are able to communicate ideas effectively through collaborative discussion and interaction with their peers and adults; can read a range of text types to enhance their learning and are able to record their understanding in a range of genres which engage different audiences. We firmly believe in immersing our children in an environment that is rich in vocabulary and language. We aim to do this through a thematic approach to learning, where the children read and have read to them, a wide range of quality literature, non fiction texts and poetry carefully selected to spark a lifelong love of reading. Collaborative talk, and overlearning new vocabulary, will enable children to practise their skills and link their English work into cross curricular subjects, to ensure broad and balanced learning opportunities.

It is our intention that pupils will leave St Stephens as able, articulate communicators; fluent, avid readers and expressive, creative writers, who confidently apply accurate grammar, punctuation and spelling rules.


Speaking and listening

At St Stephens, we believe that communication and the acquisition of language underpins the entire curriculum. We strive to create a language rich environment, where children are encouraged to speak to their peers in talk partners; share ideas in collaborative groups and verbally rehearse ideas before writing. We believe that children should be given opportunity to develop their language skills, through the use of talk for writing, sentence stems and philosophy for children. We highlight and discuss new vocabulary, celebrate words and use working walls and word banks to support children in language acquisition.

Children falling behind their peers are identified early and supported through small, adult led sessions to catch up. As children move through school, they are encouraged to speak in a range of group and whole class situations, expanding on their peers ideas and suggestions, giving reasons and evidence for their theories.

Children will use talk partners and collaboration in all areas including maths, where they will use rehearsed sentence stems to explain their reasoning and solving of problems.


At St Stephens we believe that reading is a fundamental life-long skill, which lies at the heart of the curriculum. The curriculum has been built on a carefully chosen text spine, to ensure the children have been immersed in an environment of diverse, good quality literature.

We have built a culture which promotes the expectation and joy of regular reading from nursery  to Year 6, where children leave as confident, fluent readers; able to use their skills both for leisure and their future education.

In the early years and KS1, we teach reading through regular story sharing, daily explicit phonics teaching, individual and guided reading. We value the children’s reading, by giving them access to a wide range of stories to share, as well as phonically decodable reading books, matched to the phase they are currently learning. Books are banded by colour, to ensure that children are accurately matched to the correct stage. Children not keeping up or making insufficient progress are identified quickly for ECaR sessions, phonics intervention  groups or daily individual reading.

As they progress into KS2, children transfer to the Accelerated Reader programme, where they are assessed termly for reading  progress and comprehension. Children then have access to a wide range of real texts, new and traditional authors and non fiction books, which are closely matched to their ability. Children in KS2 have a dedicated reading session during each day, where they work: at individual skills, in guided adult led groups or on comprehension activities. Children who make slower progress, are quickly identified for additional 1:1 reading or ECaR.

Children’s success in reading, is celebrated through our Karate reading cards, which awards wrist-bands for the frequency of children’s personal reading. Alongside this, children are given reading certificates and badges when they reach milestones recorded on AR. 

Good quality reading displays and appealing book corners are organised to engage, interest and draw children in. Books are replaced regularly by the English lead and new titles and popular author releases are purchased to keep children’s interest. We also host book fairs, younger and older children paired reading events and celebrate World Book Day annually. Children are encouraged to share their positive reading experiences, by recommending authors and sharing books they have enjoyed.

Children will also have regular opportunities to listen to stories or a class novel selected and read aloud by the teacher.


At St Stephens the English curriculum has been carefully organised in a sequential manner, to systematically build on the children’s knowledge, skills and understanding. They will encounter a broad range of fiction, non-fiction and poetry types and will be asked to write for a range of different audiences in a variety of genres. These will be carefully linked to the term’s theme, to ensure an immersion in rich, vocabulary, which will allow children to make strong links across the curriculum.

Learning is organised around a reading spine of age appropriate quality fiction, poetry and non-fiction texts, which the children are immersed in through reading, listening, talk for writing and story maps. Through these texts, children will learn about grammatical structures, punctuation, cohesion and text organisation. The children will plan, practise and apply these structures in their independent writing. The children will be given opportunities to edit and draft throughout the writing process and peer assess and evaluate their learning.


At St Stephens, we believe that ‘excellence is in everyone’. Therefore, we have organised our curriculum to ensure that children are both supported and challenged in their learning to achieve the best outcomes. We thoroughly immerse children in language and literature, which gives them the confidence to speak, read and write with fluency and accuracy.

The impact of this vocabulary rich, structured approach ensures that children will make at least good progress in speaking and listening, reading and writing during their journey through school. We strive to provide the children with excellent communication skills and expect most children to attain  age-related expectations or better at the end of each year. Children are closely monitored through personalisation plans and the school tracking system to ensure they achieve to the best of their potential, regardless of their starting point. The impact of our English curriculum ensures that children at St Stephens, leave the school, fully prepared to succeed in the next stage of their education.

Early Years

EYFS is a fundamental part of children’s development in all areas of communication and provides the foundations for the building blocks on which the children’s literacy and oracy skills are built.

From the outset, children will be given a wide range of opportunities to develop their spoken language skills, through structured talk, well planned role play areas and free flow play. Children in the Early years and nursery will enjoy a rich range of stories and nursery rhymes to start them on their reading journey. They will be introduced to Phase 1 phonics, as soon as they arrive in school and will have regular opportunities to develop their early reading skills through sharing books, rhymes and captions with adults.

Children will have access to a wide range of mark making tools and will have carefully planned activities to help develop their gross and fine motor skills. The children will have regular ‘funky finger’ sessions and daily muscle strengthening activities and will be taught correct letter formation and pencil grip from the outset. Children falling behind in any of these areas will have swift, targeted interventions to catch up.

The teaching and learning in all aspects of Early Years Foundation Stage will be based on Development Matters and concentrates on the Prime and Specific Areas.


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