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St Mary Bourne Primary School

Learning, growing and achieving together



“I know nothing in the world that has as much power as a word. Sometimes I write one, and look at it, until it shines.” – Emily Dickinson



At St Mary Bourne Primary our main aim is to develop children’s love of reading, writing and debate. We recognise that every child has their own starting point and progress is measured to ensure that every child can achieve their own excellence. We believe that a secure and embedded understanding of basic skills is crucial to a high quality education and will give our children the tools to become independent and successful learners.



We have a rich, text-driven English curriculum and framework that provides purposeful opportunities for reading, writing and discussion. We use a wide range of quality texts and resources that immerse children in rich and adventurous vocabulary. Not only do our stimuli motivate, they also aim to inspire our children. Cross-curricular links with topic may be woven into the programme of study where appropriate.


At St Mary Bourne School we plan English lessons which meet the needs of all children and help them to maximise their potential by providing help and support where necessary whilst striving to promote independence, equipping them with the confidence, tools and strategies they need.


English encompasses the teaching of speaking, listening, reading, writing skills, handwriting, spelling strategies and rules and the use of drama. These skills are used and embedded across all areas of the curriculum.


Speaking and Listening

Children take part in a variety of situations and activities in which they are taught how to discuss and ask questions. Opportunities are planned for so that children can tell stories, present, debate and build up a repertoire of poems learnt by heart, with increasing confidence, enthusiasm and expression. Whilst sharing and presenting their ideas, children are also taught the value and importance of being active listeners, across all situations and subjects to help children to gather ideas and structure their writing.



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


From Year R onwards, children are taught specific decoding skills including the use of phonics, recognition of common exception words (rainbow words), and making links to known words in order to develop reading fluency.


Children experience a wide range of texts and extracts by a variety of authors during their time at St Mary Bourne School and regularly hear books being read to them, in addition to reading for their own pleasure. We aim to foster a love of language and literature and an active use of our school library and class libraries is encouraged. Children take books home to share and a homework diary is used to develop dialogue about their progress, and for children to reflect on their reading by identifying words that capture their imagination and interest (Magpie them) so that they can broaden their vocabulary and understanding and in turn their use of phrasing in their writing.


In Early Years and Year One reading books are linked to the phonic levels that they can access and are either currently learning or to recap sounds that they have been previously taught and

is supplemented by a variety of reading schemes. When children are ready, they will start the colour coded scheme within the school so all children are accessing books at their reading ability. Children may bring the same book home more than once, this is extremely important in developing confidence and fluency. By reading a book more than once, children will improve and grow their interference and retrieval skills, identifying and picking out information that they may not have spotted when first reading the book.


We are lucky enough to have reliable volunteers, who alongside teaching staff, contribute towards the development of the children’s speaking and listening, allowing children to participate in discussions where they can express their views about a variety of books and poems.



“The secret to editing your work is simple: You need to become its reader instead of its writer.” – Zadie Smith


Children are given opportunities to write for a variety of purposes and wherever possible real audiences, using a range of writing types. They will learn to plan, draft, revise, edit and present their work, before evaluating the success of their writing. Feedback from the intended audience will be part of this process wherever possible. Writing journeys inform both the teacher and the children of the sequence of learning. Children are expected to write frequently across a range of forms.


“You may not write well every day, but you can always edit a bad page. You can’t edit a blank page.” – Jodi Picoult


To help children realise their full potential and maintain high expectations, we devise a list of writing expectations to be met and ensure that all previous learning is built upon. Any children that need extra support to achieve these expectations will have strategies in place with their class teacher. Shared and modelled writing, takes place within English lessons. This allows the teacher to demonstrate good writing practice while using the children's ideas. Teachers ensure that the writing demonstrated shows high expectations and covers the success criteria they would expect to see in the children’s writing.


In the English curriculum, punctuation, grammar and spelling play a key role in each child’s writing. Some sessions are taught as stand-alone lessons and others are taught to ensure that the writing purpose extends from the skills that have been taught. This allows children to develop their understanding of technical terms to be able to discuss and justify choices. Children will steadily build on their understanding of spelling patterns and rules as outlined in the National Curriculum.

The school follows a scheme designed to reinforce and strengthen spelling rules and patterns, using syllables, phonemes and understanding the etymology of words. All spellings that are sent home for children to learn are linked to words learnt in school spelling sessions, which strengthens spelling rules and the understanding of what each word means.


Cursive script handwriting is taught from Year One and is considered a skill that affects written communications across the curriculum. Our aim is that pupils will be supported to develop a cursive handwriting style which is clear and fluid with joining becoming a focus from Year 2 onwards. Inevitably some will be neater than others, but each child will acquire a consistent and fluent style enabling them to write with ease, speed and legibility.



Drama forms part of the English and wider curriculum and aims to encourage self-confidence, imagination and empathy. It is used to stimulate, explore and challenge ideas.



The impact on our children is clear: progress, sustained learning and transferrable skills as lifelong learners. We hope that their creativity, enthusiasm for English and high aspirations continue to grow as they continue on their educational journey