English Curriculum

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Without confidence in English, children are unable to access the full and broad curriculum and record their understanding. A significant percentage of children join Woodlands with no English. Initial focus is on developing spoken English, with phonics, reading and writing following in that order. It is possible that children from non-English speaking backgrounds may not access English reading through phonics, for them we develop a personalised programme.  However, phonics is the preferred way to introduce reading and spelling.
English is divided into four areas:
  1. Speaking & listening 
  2. Phonics
  3. Reading
  4. Writing, including punctuation, grammar, spelling and handwriting

Support programmes for English include:

  • Letters and sounds whole class phonics teaching. 
  • Bug club reading scheme, including phonic bug resources and eBooks to support the teaching & learning within class and at home with parents/carers. 
  • Rosetta stone for pupils new to English, particularly within KS2 
  • No Nonsense Spelling: Y2 – Y6
  • No Nonsense Grammar: Y1 – Y6
  • Basic skills curriculum 
  • Letter join: supporting the teaching of handwriting skills. 
  • Dimensions curriculum: supporting the writing development within foundation subjects.

Modern Life in Britain

We provide a broad and balanced curriculum and through our dimension topics. We promote preparation for and an appreciation of life in modern Britain, alongside our co-operative values. These values will provide:
"Acceptance and engagement with the fundamental British values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs; the pupils develop and demonstrate skills and attitudes that will allow them to participate fully in and contribute positively to life in modern Britain."

Download our Modern Life in Britain Plan here

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Woodlands uses the systematic synthetic phonics programme from letters and sounds and Read Write Inc. from Nursery to Year 6.

Read Write Inc. is used due to its:

  • Systematic approach to the introduction of phonics
  • The links made between reading and spelling; reading and writing
  • The structured, easy to follow, lesson plans ensuring consistency across the teaching groups
  • The range of support materials within the programme including reading books, writing workbooks, teacher materials 


Once children have completed the Read Write Inc. phonics programme, they continue on to read quality class texts including a range of stories, topic books, classic texts and poetry. Reading into writing continues to develop reading comprehension skills as well as links to writing and grammar. The children carry out individual reading, guided reading and shared reading of a story at the end of the day which they then present at the end of every half term. We develop a pleasure for reading through various author and poet visits, book incentives such as book fairs and writing competitions.

As well as phonics, children read a range of texts at an appropriate level throughout school:

  • The bottom 20% of readers in the year group are heard read one to one daily
  • All other children are heard across a 2 week period
  • Where possible, the better readers are heard in groups to stretch their comprehension, inference, prediction skills etc.
  • Our spelling scheme and teaching is used weekly to introduce new words to a child’s reading vocabulary 

Education.gov.uk Reading Exemplification videos on YouTube here. 

Click on the link to watch the example exemplification videos by the Government. They illustrate what being 'at the expected standard,' would look like in reading at the end of KS1 and at the end of KS2. 

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The Woodlands staff have developed a personalised programme putting quality literature at the heart of the curriculum and planning through quality texts which are decoded and used as a stimulus to reconstruct their creative writing based upon imitating the author, innovating their ideas and inventing their writing.  

We use this quality literature and an elicitation task to hook the children into their writing, by creating a stimulating entry point, such as going on enormous crocodile hunt or a pirate day when studying Peter Pan. The pupils gain experiences through quality books including classic texts such as Alice in Wonderland, Wind in the Willows and Treasure Island. This helps children gain a pleasure for reading, imagination and adventure. As far as possible we link our writing in a cross curricular way through reading books including topic based books and experiences through literature. Imitate, innovate and invent writing based upon the texts read. There are lots of opportunities for book talk.

Our curriculum is also designed to Link to foundation topics and educational trips to stimulate writing. There are opportunities to gaining experience from poets, poetry and classic texts. We carry out author and poet studies from Years 1 - 6.

We use examples from the government (KS1 Writing Exemplification and KS2 Writing Exemplification) which illustrate what being 'at the expected standard,' would look like at the end of KS1 and at the end of KS2.

In response to these writing exemplifications key stage 1 has a particular focus on character descriptions, narratives, fairy tales and recounts to really get the children interested in writing. In key stage 2 there is still a huge focus on narrative and story writing such as horror, suspense and fables whilst also developing grammatical structures further such as paragraphing. We also develop skills in debating, persuasion and autobiographical. Recount is used throughout the year groups, as personal experiences are important in the new curriculum.

We aim to use the quality texts to teach grammar in context to ensure the purpose of grammar is seen within their writing. Although, there is less of a focus now on text types, progression over time is the strongest source of evidence and we map out our reading and writing coverage. We have focused on how progression would look in narrative, non- narrative and poetry from Reception – Year 6. We aim to build upon non narrative from previous years’ work and introduce the beginning of ideas which will be further extended in the following year group alongside the grammar and punctuation elements of the curriculum. 


The speaking curriculum is in construction.


Spelling is developed through our spelling scheme by Babcock which focuses on the new higher demands of the new curriculum. The children have focused 10 minute daily lessons teaching the vital spelling skills so that they are armed with the strategies to spelling a range of words including attempts at new or unfamiliar words. They build upon and recap the spellings of the previous year’s words. They also have weekly spelling tests to inform teacher assessment.

Download our Spelling Policy Here!

How to deliver the English curriculum

Early Years:

All zones should present children with opportunities to develop their phonic awareness and write for a purpose in different ways. All children should engage in reading and writing activities as a regular part of their child initiated learning. A variety of media should be provided for children to engage in writing and letter formation. Children should be encouraged to read through a range of media including lists, labels, books, magazines etc.

Nursery: all children should be introduced to the phonic sounds as soon as possible on entry into school, initially as spoken sounds to encourage children to hear sounds in words, then – no later than Spring Term – to the Read Write Inc. programme.

By the end of Nursery all children should be able to:

  • Say the initial sounds of common words and objects
  • Sound out simple cvc words
  • Recognise Set 1 phonemes
  • Write their first name
  • Speak in full sentences when talking about a topic of interest and answer questions in full sentences

Reception: children are taught initially in classes and should be organised into English groups based on ability and development so that their individual needs can be met.

By the end of Reception all children should be able to:

  • Recognise Set 1 and 2 sounds
  • Spell simple common cvc and cvcc words
  • Write a simple sentence with a full stop
  • Speak with expression about a topic of interest and answer how? and why? questions in full sentences 
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