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              Mr Hogg                                      Mr P Hesketh & Mr A Dallas

    English Subject Lead                                 Subject Governors

What we believe for our curriculum (Intent) 


We aim to provide a wide range of opportunities for our pupils to read, write and speak in many different contexts, for a range of purposes and for real-life audiences. This leads to pupils self-reflecting, critiquing and becoming fully immersed in their topic areas. Our intention is to enable novice learners to embed skills & knowledge in this subject so that they can transition to experts. 


From when EYFS children first join Birchwood Primary, our English curriculum prioritises fluency in reading, writing and spoken language practices so pupil’s working memories are free for more complex application e.g. selecting language that shows good awareness of the reader/ articulating and justifying answers with confidence in a range of situations/ evaluating authorial intent when reading. In a nutshell, our aim is for all pupils to gain the foundational knowledge they need for future success.  


A strong reading culture exists within the school. Leaders have ensured that there is a sharp focus on teaching pupils to read, from Reception Year onwards. Excellent training has ensured that staff have the skills to teach pupils to read fluently. Pupils who fall behind are quickly identified. Staff give them expert support to rapidly catch up. Pupils are extremely positive about reading – Ofsted 2022


Learning in English is a combination of the following pedagogical areas: 


  1. Components and sequencing 


It is our plan that the English Progression of Skills grid is used to build and sequence children’s knowledge cumulatively e.g. building knowledge of sentences and syntax by….1. starting with a capital and full stop 2. including ‘and’ and ‘but’ within sentences 3. co-ordination and subordination 4. Learning about and then applying different sentence type 5. Considering the effect on the reader of different sentence types. We also acknowledge that knowledge taught in English needs to be taught hierarchically; for example, we know that children are unable to use the skill of reading comprehension before they have gained reading fluency. This sequencing from EYFS to Y6 builds up and builds upon pupils’ knowledge, year group by year group (as advocated in coherently sequenced progression grids). 


  1. Memory  


Our English curriculum is founded upon ensuring children ‘learn more and remember more’ by continual revisiting and remembering from year group to year group and across key stages. This curriculum is carefully structured with opportunities for revisiting topics and key knowledge so that it is embedded and can be built upon overtime.  



  1. Disciplinary Rigour 


We aim to ensure foundational skills in English are firmly embedded for all pupils so that they can achieve high levels of automaticity. This gives our pupils sufficient working memory to answer disciplinary questions, undertake key practices and make connections independently. Teachers of younger pupils use their disciplinary knowledge behind the scenes e.g. asking prediction questions about images in picture books.  


How we put our aims into daily practice (Implementation) 


Through English we aim to support this philosophy by: 

  • fostering the enjoyment that exploring our rich literary heritage can bring 
  • enabling children to develop and explore their skills in English with increasing maturity and awareness of audience; 
  • encouraging children to work and explore this subject independently and with others (pairs/groups) through speaking & listening activities; drama; writing for an audience and purpose and Philosophical discussions and debates; 
  • modelling to children how to improve the quality of their written work in English leading to them effectively editing and improving to a high standard; 
  • teaching children to critically analyse their work and the work produced by others 
  • encouraging and celebrating creativity and imagination in this subject 
  • teaching basic skills such as grammar terminology, spelling patterns, punctuation use, phonics and comprehension leading to their application across the wider curriculum 



Birchwood’s curriculum is driven each term by a key literary text that is central to the topic. These ‘class texts’ are part of our school our school reading progression which includes the Little Wandle SSP Programme… this reading spine is published on our school website. The key text each term enables us to support literacy across the curriculum as all topic areas focus around this. The initial ‘driving text,’ is then supported with additional literature around the same topic enabling the introduction of non-fiction, poetry and other genres. Carefully selected classic and high quality modern texts ensure that all children are immersed in a rich vocabulary-based curriculum. In addition to this, challenging context derived vocabulary is woven into the curriculum in the form of ‘fancy pants’ words for EYFS and Key Vocabulary word lists for Key Stage 1 and 2. These cross-curricular academic word lists are shared with parents as the term progresses and are clearly displayed in each classroom with visual cues. Over the course of a term pupils are encouraged to rehearse, revise and revisit the schema words and embed them into both their spoken and written English. Children’s knowledge and understanding of a wide vocabulary schema is also built through all subject leads sequenced key vocabulary within their subjects.  

 Valuable Speaking and Listening opportunities at Birchwood include: 

Poetry Recitals as part of National Poetry Day; Suffolk Day Dish presentations following the Suffolk Food 

Hall Trip; School Council and Pupil Voice assemblies; Eco-School Council and Junior Road Safety presentations; Chicken Monitor presentations and tours; School Productions e.g. Y5/Y6 Mission Implausible summer production.



Our aim is to ensure that prior to each topic children are immersed in experiences that allow them to access the curriculum and class text. Vocabulary and planning in other curriculum areas are deliberately organised to allow all children to access class texts and other subsequent learning experiences in English. We inform parents of the topic the term before it is taught encouraging them to support their children with relevant experiences, including ‘how you can help at home’ ideas to allow families to have control of the level of ‘pre teaching’ at home. Trips and experiences are arranged, wherever possible, at the start of each topic and then referred to as a valuable stimulus during the topic. 


Entitlement - English and inclusion 

English forms part of the school curriculum policy to provide a broad and balanced education to all children. Through our English teaching we provide learning opportunities that enable all pupils to make good progress. We strive hard to meet the needs of those pupils with special educational needs, those with disabilities, those with special gifts and talents, and those learning English as an additional language, and we take all reasonable steps to achieve this. For further details, see separate policies: Special Educational Needs (SEND); School Information Report; Disability Non-Discrimination and Access. 



For pupils who have special educational needs and/or disabilities, the English subject lead meets with the SENDCO to ensure and enable full access to the full curriculum offer. For example, resource review and tailoring of planning linked to specific pupils’ needs. Depending upon pupils’ needs, often, pupils who have SEN will need additional steps or more resources to reach ambitious objectives with the philosophy that all children are working to the same learning intention. SEND Funding has been used to facilitate this in many ways (e.g. LSA employment to provide pre teaching experiences for SEND pupils ahead of a new concept being introduced, larger/hands on manipulatives to facilitate the break down of aspirational composite end goals into much smaller, achievable component steps. 

When progress falls significantly outside the expected range, the child may have special educational needs. Our assessment process looks at a range of factors – resourcing, teaching style, and differentiation – so that we can take some additional or different action to enable the child to learn more effectively. Assessment against our bespoke assessment tool that has been created using the English subject leads progression of skills document allows us to consider each child’s attainment and progress against ‘expected’ levels. This helps ensure that our teaching is matched to the child’s needs and appropriate intervention can be accessed. 



Pupil Premium is the Government grant given to schools to support its ‘disadvantaged’ pupils. These are children whose families are eligible for free school meals or have ever been eligible for free school meals (EVER6) during their time at Birchwood. It is a statutory responsibility of all schools to publish on- line the level of Pupil Premium funding received, how the school has spent the Pupil Premium and the impact of the spending on learning outcomes for this group. This can be found on the school’s website by selecting the ‘Key Information’ and ‘Pupil Premium’ tab. 


English as an Additional Language (EAL) - At Birchwood EAL children, alongside SEND, Pupil Premium and cohort specific groups, are recognised as a key group to monitor in terms of their achievement outcomes. We celebrate the literary heritage these children and their families have experienced and encourage them to share it with us.


We are successful because (Impact) 


2) Pedagogy  

The English Subject Lead, the English Subject Governor and the Executive Head Teacher regularly check that teaching approaches match the intended curriculum goals for pupils. This is achieved through at least termly reviews of phonics, reading, writing and the subject leader annual cycle related tasks. End of unit reviews/ double page spreads ensure that English content, concepts and disciplinary knowledge are remembered long term. 


3) Assessment 

Teachers and Teaching Assistants assess children’s work in English by carrying out ‘live marking’ during lessons: this involves giving ‘on the spot’ feedback to pupils that they respond to through an immediate response to a next step comment. Highly effective questioning requires pupils to provide justification for their answers through the use of evidence. All pupils are encouraged to evaluate their own work, and the work of others, to suggest areas of weakness and ways to improve. Teachers record the progress made by children against the learning objectives for their lessons. At the end of a unit of work, teachers use core tasks, e.g. half-termly extended writing, to make a judgement against ‘expected’ and ‘greater depth’ against the subject leader’s bespoke assessment tool. Teachers record this information and use it to plan the future work of each child and identify gaps in knowledge, skills and understanding. These records also enable the teacher to make an annual assessment of progress for each child as part of the school’s annual report to parents. The teacher passes this information on to the next teacher at the end of each year and to the subject leader for analysis as part of the subject lead cycle.  


4) Culture  


The English subject leader provides a strategic lead and direction for English at Birchwood. They ‘fly the flag’ for their subject by supporting colleagues in their teaching, keep themselves informed about current developments in the subject and take the lead in policy development. By producing and overseeing schemes of work they ensure progression of skills and continuity throughout the school in all areas of English, working closely with other subject leads to identify cross-curricular links. Work with other schools and the wider community enables the English subject lead to ensure that extension activities and real life learning experiences are high on the agenda. 


Here are some examples that show how our curriculum design has impacted on our pupils: 


  1. October 2023 for National Poetry Day, every pupil in the school learnt a poem off by heart at home and recited it to their class. ‘Winning’ pupils, chosen by their classmates, performed their poetry in a whole school assembly with the local paper in attendance. 
  2. July 2019… End of key stage results in KS1, KS2 have dramatically improved compared to 2018 results and outcomes in all areas of English are above national. 
  3. Year 1 Phonics Screening Results were also above national in 2019 
  4. Year 2 2020 Phonics Results reported to Local Authority- 100% pass rate 
  5. Pupil perception questioning and learning walks regularly demonstrate that children throughout the school are passionate about reading and English. They speak enthusiastically about their class texts and how it helps them to learn about their topic. Children as young as 5 are able to read schema words such as ‘metamorphosis’ and can use these academically challenging words in context. 
  6. Year 6 2022 cohort exceeded national writing outcomes with 93% expected and 50% greater depth (approved by county moderation). 50% also met great depth in the SATS reading outcomes.  
  7. Following the introduction of a new Birchwood Reading Diet, an increasing number of children are reading regularly at home and reflect on their reading through the completion of weekly reading challenges. 
  8. Improved reading enthusiasm with the wider school community through the book share fridge where families and members of the public can take part in the Birchwood bookswap. 






5) Systems  


The monitoring of the standards of children’s work and of the quality of teaching in English is the responsibility of the English subject leader. The advanced core subject leader cycle involves data analysis, termly action planning, work sampling and resource review in the Autumn Term. In the Spring, pupil perception interviews are carried out, planning is scrutinised and writing is moderated with other schools. Finally, the Summer Term sees the subject leader reviewing the English policy, carrying out further work sampling and question level analysis of SATs returns. 


6) Policy 


Where appropriate English themes, content and concepts are interwoven within school wide curriculum schemata. For example, class texts in KS2 such a ‘Private Peaceful’ and ‘When the Sky Falls’ are key areas in English for children to learn about the local RAF history of RAF Martlesham Heath and its impact on flying craft in Britain, including booths WW1 and WW2. 




Discrete teaching of synthetic systematic phonics (SSP) happens daily at Birchwood in Reception, Year 1 and for those pupils in older year groups who require ongoing phonics support.  From January 2022, Birchwood has selected Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised as one of the DfE's approved SSP's to teach phonics.

Useful links to support writing:

Click here for our Progression of Skills, Knowledge, Understanding and Vocabulary documents. These sequencing documents show how knowledge builds from EYFS year by year to the end of Y6 so that children know more and remember more.