• Language

Northgate Primary School

Northgate Primary School

English curriculum

English Intent 

At Northgate, English sits at the heart of the curriculum. 

By the time they leave Northgate:

All children will, through talking, reading, writing and vocabulary acquisition, learn to communicate ideas, express themselves deeply and understand the world in which they live. 


Reading Intent 

We place a huge importance on learning the skills of reading, developing both decoding and comprehension in partnership. 

By the time they leave Northgate:

All children will become confident and skilled readers with a lifelong love of books. 


Reading Implementation 

Early Reading: Becoming an accomplished reader is underpinned by a strong start in early reading. Phonics (taught using Letters and Sounds.) is the beginning of our children’s journey towards mastering reading. Our team of Practitioners are relentless in their dedication to ensuring each and every child at Northgate learns to read as quickly as possible.

In phonics lessons, children learn one thing at a time, then keep practising it until they are ready to move onto learning the next skill.  The Letters and Sounds approach ensures that everything connects: children connect sounds with pictures and signs; decodable words and words that need to be leant by sight; stories with the sounds they know, and children connect their own experiences to the stories they read.

Starting from the third week of school, we teach phonics every single day to ensure success. Children are grouped according to their phonic ability so that every child makes rapid progress and any children falling behind are quickly identified and early interventions are put in place with trained staff.

We invest in the development of our staff through an ongoing relationship with the Somerset Literacy Network and the English hub (St Peter’s school, Portishead). There is regular coaching from experienced Phonics practitioners. We understand the importance of engaging parents: the Phonics Lead holds regular parent workshops, as well as maintaining dialogue with parents regarding their children’s reading.

Reading at school: Every child from Reception upwards at Northgate participates in both individual and guided reading sessions. These are based around high-quality books and are also supplemented with non-fiction texts and poetry. This exposure to a wide range of literature not only enhances comprehension skills but supports the acquisition of knowledge and ambitious vocabulary. Within these sessions, children learn the necessary comprehension skills of retrieval, inference, paraphrasing and sequencing as well as learning to make connections between texts; to discuss and evaluate ideas and to express opinions. Vocabulary is taught both implicitly and explicitly so that the children can rapidly increase their ability to embed new words into their writing and into their speech.

Reading at Home: At Northgate we recognise children need constant practice to become established, fluent readers and therefore place a strong emphasis on reading at home in addition to school. All children, from EYFS to Year 6, are expected to read at least three times a week and record their reading in a reading record book. Parents are encouraged to support children in this.  Teaching staff monitor children’s reading habits and book choices, working with parents to inspire our pupils to become great readers. In parallel with this, we celebrate children’s reading through sharing stories, partner classes, assemblies, awards and World Book Day.


Writing Intent 

By the time they leave Northgate:

All children will plan, revise and evaluate their writing, developing an awareness of the audience and the purpose and context of their writing. They will use a wide range of vocabulary and grammar and also have fluent, legible and speedy handwriting. 

Writing Implementation 

Writing: At Northgate, writing begins from a very early age - as soon as a child can mark make. Gross and fine motor skills are developed through our provision within EYFS, ensuring all children developmentally prepared to form letters correctly (taught in phonics sessions).

In Key Stage 1, children are taught the skills of writing through oral storytelling and discussion. This supports them to structure the text and independently write in the chosen genre.  In Key Stage 2, children write in various genres for a range of purposes.  They analyse the model text and unpick the grammatical features and organisation, in order to apply these in their own writing.

Throughout all year groups, we teach writing through engaging and challenging topic-based texts. This supports them in the application of vocabulary and structure.  Children are given termly enrichment opportunities to promote and inspire writing of a high quality across the curriculum.

Teachers initially model and scaffold the learning before giving the children the opportunity to practise the skills needed for them to write independently. Intentional monitoring is used throughout the lessons to provide the children with timely and constructive feedback, having immediate impact on their writing progression. Understanding the structural and technical knowledge of language, enables children to grow a life-long means of communication and ability to express themselves.

Spelling: Our spelling curriculum follows on from the Letters and Sounds Programme taught in Reception, Year 1 and Year 2, developing the children’s understanding of the rules of spelling and the common exception words required in each year group.  Children in Years 3-6 receive a spelling session where they are systematically taught the spelling rules and requirements before embedding them throughout the week.  Spellings are sent home as part of homework and children are tested each week.

Handwriting: We use Oxford University Press’s Nelson Handwriting scheme.  Children in EYFS practise letter formation as part of their daily phonics. This is carried through to Year 1 where children receive timetabled handwriting sessions.  In year 2, children will learn to join their handwriting. In Key Stage 2, children continue to work on joining, legibility and writing at length, receiving a pen license when they can fluently write in a neat, cursive style through the curriculum.  By the time children get to year 5, all children are expected to be writing in pen.  Handwriting progress is celebrated across the school through handwriting walls and published workbooks.

Our English overview 

We believe in the importance of using quality texts to support the teaching of reading and writing at Northgate. Our English overview for this year can be seen here: 

Northgate Primary School English Curriculum Overview and Progression Document

Northgate Reading Progression Document