English Curriculum

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go”

-Dr Seuss


Our English curriculum is designed to grow a love of language in our pupils and immerse them in a range of language-rich texts to develop their vocabulary and reading and writing skills. Our curriculum takes a systematic approach to the teaching of early reading and phonics. Please see the phonics and early reading policy for further information. We believe that reading is a gateway to learning and future academic success and our curriculum ensures our pupils can read accurately, with good understanding and become confident writers by the time they leave our school. Our curriculum also promotes a reading for pleasure culture throughout the school supporting our pupils to become life-long readers.


Speaking and Listening

At Village Infants School we believe that speaking and listening are central to teaching and learning in all areas of the curriculum. Adults support pupils to engage in high-quality dialogue and direct teaching so that they can articulate what they know and understand and develop their knowledge across all areas of learning, using the vocabulary they need to support learning. Thinking with a growth mindset is cultivated so pupils can take responsibility for enhancing their learning and collaborating with others without fear of failure. For pupils who need additional support targeted interventions are provided throughout the school to build attention and listening skills and develop both receptive understanding and expressive abilities to support communication and language development. All pupils are given the opportunity to work in pairs, small groups, large groups and as a whole class. Drama techniques, re-telling stories, and learning songs, poems and rhymes by heart are additional strategies used throughout the school to further support pupils’ oral language development. Random Talk Partners are used in each class to support pupils to practise their skills of listening, talking, and giving feedback.

Throughout the school adults will encourage pupils to speak audibly, in full sentences with an increasing command of Standard English. Adults will ‘think out loud’ and model new language for pupils, rephrasing and extending what the children say. Pupils are taught good listening skills through modelling, reinforcing and praising good listening with specific examples. Pupils are taught the routines of back-and-forth talk and encouraged not to put their hands up, but wait for a gap. Teachers will use ‘Talk for Learning’ strategies to extend pupils thinking. They will name a child before they ask a question, give thinking time and use open ended questions to encourage more meaningful dialogue.

Vocabulary Development

Vocabulary development has a high priority across the school from EYFS to Year 2. Adult interaction and purposeful experiences build our children’s language development and vocabulary. In EYFS key vocabulary is identified in planning and then displayed in indoor and outdoor learning environments to ensure all adults are embedding vocabulary in continuous provision and children are encouraged to use and explore language through direct teaching and purposeful play. In Reception all pupils are assessed on Language Screen to identify gaps in expressive and receptive vocabulary and an intensive 20 week Neli (Nuffield Early Language Intervention) programme is put in place. Key vocabulary is identified and taught to children for each curriculum subject and is progressive across the school. Listening to and talking about stories and non-

fiction develops children’s vocabulary with quality ‘book talk’ taking place daily, where new vocabulary is encountered it is celebrated, and displayed in each class. Dedicated rhyme time takes place regularly in each class to further extend pupils language development and vocabulary and each year group has a spine of carefully chosen poems, rhymes and traditional songs. Every year group identifies a ‘word of the week’ to learn and use at home and at school. Adults model using all new vocabulary in context throughout the day encouraging children to do the same.


Developing early reading is a priority at Village Infant School. We follow the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised systematic synthetic phonics programme. For more detailed information about our phonic programme please see the early reading and phonics policy. Pupils are also taught early reading skills in group guided reading Lessons two to three times a week, where they will read a book closely matched to their growing phonic knowledge which they can then take home to re-read. Pupils are given reading targets to work on at home and a Reading Diary for home/school communication. In KS1 once pupils are fluently reading beyond phonic phases they are given the opportunity to choose from a range of engaging texts for independent reading practise at home.

The power of reading approach is used by teachers in each year group to immerse children in a high-quality text. Each classroom has a welcoming book corner and a daily story time takes place in each class led by the teacher with additional adults timetabled to visit regularly. A reading spine is in place in each year group to ensure that all children hear a range of high-quality texts, and each year group has an author focus every half term. The children visit the school library every week to choose a book to take home and share with their family and each year group visit Dagenham Library to ensure all pupils have their own library cards to use outside of school. Regular parent workshops take place so we can work together to support our children’s reading development and ensure parents understand the importance of listening to their children read at home and also reading to them and the benefits reading for pleasure will bring to their lives. All adults at home and school are encouraged to share their love of reading with the children, their favourite books, authors, and places to read.


Phonological awareness, phonics and spelling are taught regularly and systematically throughout early years and KS1, following the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds SSP, and spelling strategies are explicitly taught in Year 2. Teachers will use a range of techniques such as model texts, story maps, boxing up and reading as a writer to develop the writing skills of each child. Each class celebrates the progress and improvement of their ‘star writers’ of the week. Quality texts form the basis for fiction and/or non-fiction writing in a variety of genres. The TalkforWriting approach of ‘imitation’, ‘innovation’ and ‘invention’ is used to support pupils independent writing activities. Writing will also be taught by shared writing, with the teacher modelling the skills and processes essential to writing eg thinking aloud as they collect ideas, drafting, re-reading and making explicit vocabulary choices and targeted small guided writing groups. Writing targets are given to pupils to support progress and feedback shared to enable improvement. Interventions are put in place for pupils who need additional support to develop their writing skills. Pupils are also taught in targeted guided writing groups.

  Please see Feedback Policy for more information.


Pupils will be taught to sit correctly at a table, holding a pencil comfortable and correctly. Pupils will be taught to form all lower- and upper-case letters with the correct start and exit points. When

pupils have mastered correct letter formation of individual letters, they are taught to use the diagonal and horizontal strokes needed to join letters. Letter formation is taught during phonic lessons and in discrete handwriting lessons three times a week using the following letter formation and families:

l t i u j y      c o a g d q      r n m p h b k      e f s      v w x z

Spelling, Grammar and Punctuation

Pupils are taught grammar within the teaching of reading, writing and speaking alongside discrete lessons. We follow the Little Wandle Bridge to Spelling programme and additional Spelling Programme alongside National Curriculum programmes of study for spelling, grammar and punctuation. In the Foundation Stage pupils are encouraged to use and explore language through play. Pupils will be encouraged to talk in sentences and to understand how to create a sentence from an idea. They will be encouraged to explore and understand the difference between letters and words and the spaces between words.

In Year 1 Teachers will expand on the sentence work done in Reception, introducing and reinforcing the use of more complex sentences. Pupils will be encouraged to use a wide range of vocabulary and begin to explore word classes such as adjective, noun, verb and adverb. Pupils will be taught to understand and use sentences with different forms: statement, question, command, exclamation and to punctuate their sentences using a capital letter and a full stop, question mark or exclamation mark. Pupils will enter Phase 5 of the phonic programme and broaden their knowledge of graphemes and phonemes for use in reading and spelling. Carefully chosen dictation activities will enable pupils to practise and apply their spelling knowledge and segmenting skills.

In Year 2 pupils will be encouraged to include more information in their speech and writing by using effective vocabulary. They will be taught more complex grammatical constructions and encouraged to use them orally and in writing. They will be encouraged to use present and past tenses correctly and consistently and subordination (using when, if that, or because) and co-ordination (using or and or, but) in speech and writing. Teachers will develop pupils understanding of the function of adjectives, nouns, conjunctions, verbs and adverbs and the use of pro-nouns to avoid repetition. In Year 2 pupils enter phase 6 and become increasingly accurate spellers. Pupils will be taught a variety of strategies for learning to spell new words and asked key questions to encourage them to explore and reflect on spelling patterns.

Pupils will follow the Little Wandle Bridge to Spelling programme and the Llittle Wandle Spelling Programme. The programme provides full coverage of National Curriculum spelling requirements.


All our pupils make good progress. At the end of Key Stage 1 our English results are consistently above LA and National average in Reading, Writing and Phonics. When they leave Village Infants our pupils read fluently with good understanding. They can write clearly and coherently for a range of purposes and listen carefully in a range of contexts, responding appropriately and asking questions to extend their understanding and knowledge.


English Tweets

Class Escort had a wonderful time in the school library with the newly decorated walls full of our favourite book characters. They love their weekly library visits.

Class Orion enjoyed their #WorldBookDay2024. We dressed up, read lots of different books, had special visitors, designed our own Elmer character, completed our book front covers and saved Alice in Wonderland from the Evil Queen of Hearts! What a wonderful day.

World Book Day 2024 Class Escort had such a lovely day today. We really enjoyed listening to stories read by special visitors, going on a book hunt and designing the front covers for our own Elmer story book.

Class Sierra had a great #WorldBookDay2024 today. We loved looking at each other’s costumes, having stories read to us by different people and completing some book activities. We really enjoyed designing our own Elmer!

Children and adults enjoyed dressing up into different book characters to celebrate the World Book Day today! Well done everyone for making the effort.😍

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